3/30/2010 The Son of Man, exploring the Biblical concept
A Commentary on Immanuel
The Gospel of Truth
by Mel West
All the Law is Fulfilled in One Word.
In Galatians 5.14 Paul says that all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. While this quotation is also in Matthew 19.19, it does not appear in corresponding passages of Mark and Luke, which is strange; these quotes do appear, however, in the confrontation of the lawyer or the scribe, in all three gospels, who asked what is the greatest commandment? All three gospels agree: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind..and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments, said Jesus, hang all the law and the prophets. Here again we have the indication that Paul may have drawn his Gospel message from a gospel akin to Matthew; and we see when he quotes a gospel the pattern tends to continue to relate to MatthewÕs gospel.
Having focused on this precept, that all things are fulfilled in this One Word, we can see how Paul concluded that the Old Testament is now passed away and fulfilled in the One Word of Jesus, which is to Love thy God and thy neighbor with all thy heart and soul, etc. Again, while we do not believe that Jesus intended to scrap The Word of God for this one precept, knowing full well that many diverse doctrines on the love of God exist, even to the extent that they deny the resurrection, etc—like the Sadducees—we admit that it would be a great ideal if people were to meet these guidelines of loving God and one another, requiring no further law. Paul knew that the Law does not assure that you will love one another; it is your honest and sincere love for one another that is meaningful. The Law merely helps you keep on that righteous path, Peter might say. But how you arrive at that path, says Paul, is through Faith in Jesus, bringing his Love into your heart. This is the essence of the Gospel message preached even unto this day among the modern Ministry. And while we subscribe to this ideal we are nonplussed that one preaching it would, at the same time, preach the condemnation of the Jews. Preaching the disinheritance of the Jews and the gospel of loving one another do not go hand in hand and are, in fact, odd bedfellows. For the essence of the Law of Sin Atonement is the source of the gospel of loving thy neighbor. For in order to receive forgiveness from God one must forgive those who trespass against you. Loving one another and forgiveness go hand in hand. The Old Testament hangs on this thesis and Paul agrees with it.
Paul, however, was not a forgiving person. If you were opposed to his teaching, such as was Peter and James, you would be on his list of people to condemn:
Titus 1.10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers specially they of the circumcision:
1.11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucreÕs sake.
1.14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
1.15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
1.16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Timothy 2.23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
1.4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which in faith: so do.
1.6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
1.7 Desiring to be teachers of the Law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
1.8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.
II Thessalonians 2.14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Now the teachers of the Law were Peter and James and the elders. The argument in Paul's epistles is not directed against Jews who do not believe in Jesus. His argument, to the contrary, is towards those brethren who are Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah but also respect the law and the prophets. They hold a gospel in their hand and question Paul's assumptions about Jesus and his position that all the scriptures before Jesus can now be put into a book and called Old, now passed away. They would also question his conclusion:
II Timothy 3.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
3.17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Paul is fighting a battle on two fronts. On one front are the Gentile pagans whom he is trying to convert in the face of the opposition of the pagan priests and those who made their living off of the pagan religions. Apparently Alexander the coppersmith (II Timothy 4.14) depended upon his income to support the temples and was a considerable opposition to Paul. Instead of forgiving Alexander (or keeping his thoughts to himself) Paul concluded his epistle to Timothy hoping God would reward Alexander with the same evil Alexander passed to Paul. This is not a loving characteristic we see in Paul; for the most part it shows us a man who is bitter, condemning, and judgmental to anyone who does not follow his gospel or even questions it! Anyone caught teaching the law comes into the category of those who ought to be avoided and condemned. Again, he mentions those of the Circumcision by name. These people of the Circumcision, as emphasized so many times herein, are specifically Peter, James, and the Apostles in Jerusalem and they make up the other battle front which Paul fought. By the weight of PaulÕs words, however, we can see that the front against the Circumcision is the far more important battle front. Whereas he chastises idol worshippers nominally, the thrust of his attacks are really against the Circumcised church.
We note that he argued that he is anointed to preach to the Uncircumcision, while Peter and James were anointed to preach to the Circumcision. His arrows are clearly against Peter and James. It would be difficult for Paul's congregation to apportion his chastisements to certain Circumcised men without including in the same group of chastised men Peter and James themselves. We cannot but replay Peter's words in our ears when we think of this, because we heard him comment on those who call the circumcised church's teachings evil. In Peter we see a mature father-like personality responding to Paul's terrible accusations; in Paul we see a vicious non-father-like, impatient personality. The more we analyze Paul the less we like of him as a father figure to the church.
Paul believed that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that He was charged to preach the Gospel to all the nations. Here he establishes that Jesus is the Son of God and is the image of God Himself. We have seen that he even maintained the position that Jesus was not ashamed to even be equal with God. This would present a great rift in the church circa 600 A.D., when Mohammed objected in his Koran to Jesus being worshipped as a god, competing with God.
Paul justifies his mission quoting the Gospel of Mark, where the apparition of Jesus (or the Resurrected Jesus) tells the disciples to go out to preach to every creature. (Mark 16.15) This statement, it may be added, has a corresponding verse in Matthew, but Matthew has Jesus telling the disciples to preach to all the nations. Mark has Jesus telling them to teach all the creatures. Paul uses Mark's version; we might note here that Mark 16.14 may have been added to the gospel much later and in reflection of PaulÕs understanding of the instructions on Jesus's resurrection. For Paul bases his anointing as the Apostle to the nations upon his quotation of Mark 16.14, forward.
Colossians 1.12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
1.13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
1.14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
1.15 Who is the image of the invisible God the firstborn of every creature.
1.16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
1.17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
1.19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
1.20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
1.21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
1.22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreproveable in his sight:
1.23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
In II Timothy, Paul concludes his quotation of the "gospels," which tend to relate specifically to Matthew, and says:
II Timothy 2.8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
2.11 It is a faithful saying; For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
2.12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2.16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2.18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Paul's entire thesis, like Peter who also argues that he saw Jesus resurrected from the dead, is that Jesus was raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father until he comes to judge the secrets of men (or, as Peter says, the quick and the dead). Paul seems to quote Matthew once again:
Matthew 10.33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
To Paul whosoever denies His Gospel denies the One word, which is the Word of Love through the blood sacrifice of Jesus the Christ and the Faith that that sacrifice has atoned for all your sins, past and present, thereby relieving you from the Curse of the Law. We know this may seem to be a mouthful, but it sums up exactly what Christ represented in the mind of Paul. Paul had to take a lot of exegetical shortcuts to arrive at this conclusion. All of these precepts of Paul hinge on the belief that Jesus established a New Covenant or is that Messiah who was promised in Old Testament prophesy to bring the New Covenant. In II Timothy Paul argues that God would not Promise a New Covenant if He had not planned that the New replace the Old. Therefore, because a New Covenant was promised, he maintains in Hebrews:
Hebrews 8.13 In that he saith, A New Covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
10.9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God [ from Psalm 40.7: Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me]. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
This is a good illustration of the liberties Paul takes with quotations from the Old Testament. He takes the argument of a New Covenant promise as the foundation of translating Jesus into the New Covenant and presenting his teachings as a replacement of the Old Covenant. We have seen that the New Covenant is Promised to come at a specific point in time: to the remnant of the scattered Israel and at the time the Children of Israel are restored to the Promised Land again. PaulÕs appropriation of the New Covenant for his time was totally out of sync with scripture, as Israel was not yet scattered.
Capping the thesis Paul brings in the Messiah's voice from Psalm 40.7 as further illustration justifying his argument that the New Covenant of Paul replaces the Old Covenant. But here we can see a substantial distortion, or misuse, of scripture, for the Messiah's words are ...Lo, in the volume of the book it is written of me! Here the Messiah can point to the book to prove that he is the Messiah! All the things listed of him, including the bringing of the New Covenant and the Tabernacle, would be demonstrated through him. Jesus appreciated this verse. We note our confusion over his statement in Matthew and Mark concerning his argument that John the Baptist is Elijah. Jesus said, for they have done to him whatsoever was listed of him. This statement recognizes a list of prophesies that are fulfilled in the Bible through John the Baptist. Jesus, in effect, could point to those prophesies and say, Behold,
Elijah, using John the Baptist's life as a proof that the Scriptures are fulfilled. We were confused at Jesus's argument, however, because Elijah has but a few things listed of him, and of those things only a voice in the wilderness, seems to relate to John the Baptist. The other matter, mentioned by Malachi, of Elijah turning the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers, etc. at the time the world is about to be consumed in a fire in the Last Day, cannot be traced to John the Baptist. Thus, on the evidence of the scriptures, we cannot say concerning John the Baptist that he fulfilled the role of Elijah. Again, we recall Jesus mentioning at the time of the Transfiguration that Elijah is here already and implies he will come again and restore all things. This statement causes us to look through prophesy for the Restorer of all things and the things He will specifically restore! Where does this lead us? It leads us to the Deliverer Messiah and causes us to wonder whether Jesus had confused the Deliverer Messiah with the prophesy of Elijah. We wonder if he thought Elijah was one of Two Messiahs, the other being himself. In truth, we are hung up on Jesus's statement and wonder just what it is that Elijah must restore, which is listed in prophesy.
We know that the Restoration of things comes by the Deliverer Messiah, and we do not see any reference in the Old Testament which lists under Elijah the Deliverance epitaphs. Thus, we must focus this essay on the Messiah saying, Lo, in the volume of the book it is written of me, according to its intention. It is a statement which cannot be idly thrown around and relates specifically to the method by which the Messiah demonstrates Himself to Man as Proof that He is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. Among those proofs, concerning the Deliverer Messiah, is the presentation of a New Covenant which features, according to Ezekiel, the process of putting God's Law in our hearts, turning our stony hearts to flesh, etc. Here again Paul appropriates this promise to his own mission, justifying the precept of Salvation through Faith alone, works being to no avail. His argument being appropriated before the scene of the diaspora mitigates the underlying truth behind the Restoration in the Latter Days by the Deliverer Messiah. When the New Covenant is offered it is done under the circumstance that Israel has suffered beyond human anticipation and brought back to the Holy Land in Great Mercy. It also is placed under the anticipation that now God is set to turn his wrath against all those who had been against his nation Israel. The time of the New Covenant is a time when all mankind is about to cower in fear from the wrath of Heaven. Thus, we have Elijah preceding the Messiah of that event, causing the fathers to turn to their children and the children to turn to their fathers, etc. It is a Day of great fear!
Paul's appropriation of these Promises to his own day takes away the true meaning of the Promise. Not understanding the difference between the scattering of Israel and IsraelÕs Redemption, Paul believed that Jesus heralded the End of Days and that His return to judge the Secrets of men and the quick and the dead would not be too far into the future. Because Jesus represents, then, the beginning of the Latter Days, Paul concludes that he made the Promised New Covenant through His Blood Sacrifice forgiving your sins beforehand (assuming you accept him as your saviour):
Hebrews 10.10 by the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all
To those who would ask about the prophesies involving the scattering of Israel to all the nations, etc., which must occur before the Messiah comes, Paul would answer, as seen above, quoting Jesus, except time be shortened there would be nothing to survive. The precept here is that all the prophesies which exist in the diaspora and gathering of Israel now are compressed or vanished away since the Messiah is now here and has suffered. In all these arguments Paul ignores the thesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Zechariah 4.14, etc. which provide for Two Messiahs or Christs. The thesis of Two Messiahs was probably a common perception of the day among the Pharisees as well, since our modern priesthood, the rabbis and their Oral Torah, have continued the tradition of the Two Messiahs of the Bible. So Paul either was ignorant of this theme, or scorned it, concluding that Jesus is the only Begotten Son of God; which thing prevents another Messiah from claiming the inheritance. Hence, with regard to PaulÕs thesis, Zechariah 4.14, mentioning the Two Christs who stand beside the God of the whole earth, and all the other prophesies we discussed earlier, cannot be reconciled to Paul. They all become waxed and vanish away. His followers might be cajoled into believing this but those who were educated in Scripture could not.
Peter and the Elders in Jerusalem concurred with Paul as concerning the Salvation that is in Jesus and that He is the Son of God. It is important that Peter quoted a passage recalled in Matthew which acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God in whom God is well pleased. Both Peter and Paul seem to be working from the same Gospel sources; and the thesis of these sources is that Jesus is the Son of God and was resurrected.
In Paul's closing remarks reviewed above, he addresses those who maintain that the resurrection already happened, as following a false doctrine. Here we are confused, for Paul clearly establishes that Jesus was raised from the dead, yet argues that the resurrection is off in the future. The argument is such that Peter is compelled to answer that He with others saw Jesus resurrected. Paul would tend to agree with this report, one would think, since earlier he had mentioned that over 500 disciples had witnessed Jesus's resurrection. The five hundred he mentions, it is noted, are not listed by name in the Four Gospels. Jesus appeared to many of the disciples gathered at dinner but no number is mentioned. We assume Paul may be referring to the Day of Pentecost, when the congregation, Gentile and Jew alike, began speaking in tongues.
Paul's last remarks, concerning the resurrection of Jesus to be in the future, seems to reconcile with John's perception in Revelation, with The Word of God appearing on a white horse and his tongue destroying the wicked. This appearance is recorded in Revelation as The First Resurrection. Perhaps John and Paul were in concurrence that Jesus had not yet been resurrected but only seen in spirit or along some like thesis. Peter responds that he saw Jesus in the flesh after he had laid in the tomb three days! Now what really did happen as concerning these two opposing view points? In one case we have Paul arguing against those who maintained that the Resurrection already occurred in the past and those of Peter's side responding that the Resurrection of Jesus did occur and Peter witnessed it! We, in fact, cannot tell whether Paul is addressing Sadducees or taking the position that the Resurrection is yet far off into the future, to be evidenced, we presume, in the Rapture.
Whereas what is left of Peter's doctrine shows a consistent point of view on the basis of the Nazarene faith, Paul's doctrine, though comprehensively thought out and giving answers on many fronts, is confusing and contradictory. Whereas Peter accepted Jesus as the Messiah, recalling how he fulfilled the list of the Suffering Messiah and has promised to come again to bring a New Heavens and a New Earth, the Kingdom of God in earth, Paul erases this thesis. To recap the extraordinary effort he went into creating a new thesis we conclude:
1. Paul took Jesus at His One Word, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have eternal life. He assumed that Faith only was necessary to Salvation and this did not depend upon one's works. One can quote the gospels, however, to show that Jesus intended his followers to do the will of the Father, which is the Law, and to do as I say. Jesus asks, Why do ye call me Lord, Lord when ye do not what I say? Paul would sweep such comments from Jesus under the carpet, since they represent the value of works, as having no effect on your Salvation.
2. God will put his law in your hearts. This is a confirmation to Paul that the New Covenant is one of the heart, which is reliant upon faith. This New Covenant of the heart is clearly Promised to come with the Deliverer Messiah, which thing Paul denied, because:
3. If Jesus's teaching are Salvation and eternal life there is no need for a future redemption. We are already redeemed. Therefore, since we are already redeemed the Kingdom of God is already here. He can draw upon the gospel record, in the context of a Kingdom Now philosophy, since Jesus's parables taught that the Kingdom comes without perception and is found in one's hearts. In the early days of Jesus's Ministry Jesus went out preaching that the Kingdom is come, following in John the Baptist's footsteps. In preparation for that Kingdom, as a ritual of entering into it, one needed to be baptized. Thus, being rebaptized one is reborn into the Kingdom as a new soul of the body of Christ.
4. Since John the Baptist the Kingdom of God is preached. If the Kingdom of God is here already, then the next step would be the Judgment. And at the time of the judgment all the wicked would be burned and those who are without spot, clean and pure, prepared by Paul, would be raised up to Heaven to eternal bliss. This shortcuts the system of prophesy, concerning the redemption of Israel, the Circumcised would say. Paul would respond:
5. Israel gave up its inheritance by denying the Messiah. He quoted Isaiah where God said he would turn his face away from Israel unto another. Paul used this thesis to justify that his new church is now Israel, grafted in so to speak, through the blood of Jesus. For he argues that Jesus is the Son of God and if we are reborn in his flesh we are partakers of the inheritance of Jesus. Jesus, of course, inherits everything. And because Jesus is the end of prophesy (the Bible is dedicated to the production of a Messiah who will be Salvation to the world):
6. The Old Testament is passed away. For the New Covenant promised in Jesus replaces the Old Covenant. Therefore the Law of Moses no longer has any affect on our Salvation. We complained here, however, that Jesus never claimed to bring a New Covenant. He spoke of a New Testament, or Witness, which is his blood and body offered to redeem men. In that testimony He said that if you believe in Him you will have eternal life. Jesus was questioned on his position to the Law and the Prophets and answered that not one tittle of the Law or the prophets will pass away. Here, again Paul used a statement of scripture to justify his position which, being found out, is in opposition to the Scripture itself.
7. What about all the Old Testament Promises? Will they not come? Paul answers, quoting Jesus's prophesy in Luke, that except time be shortened all things will be destroyed. Therefore, Paul is justified in shortening time by removing the interceding promises of the scattering and redemption of Israel and their correlating epitaphs (like God taking his curse out against those who were against Israel).
8. Paul rewrote the Bible and made his own prophesy of redemption which he believed would happen in his own day, via the rapture of the church. The modern ministry have wrestled with this business of the rapture to no end, and, recognizing that it does not fit in with eschatological doctrine of the Old Testament, have created new theories of the End Times based upon this ill fitting adaptation of the Rapture of the church to a New heavens and a New earth for which Peter watched. Adapting Paul's logic to this thesis reveals a conclusion that the church is caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds, the earth is destroyed by fire, and the wicked are consumed, and then Jesus comes to claim his kingdom on earth, bringing his Saved church with him. This thesis maintains that all those who believe in Paul's Gospel, of abrogating the Law and the Old Testament Promises, disinheriting the Jews, will reign beside Jesus in his kingdom on earth forever.
Paul's entire thesis hinges upon the fact that God would not invent a New Covenant if He thought His Old Covenant to be eternally valid. What Paul did not understand in terms of the Covenant relationship of God to man is that God never abrogated his Old Covenant when he offered a New Covenant. All the Old Covenant terms given to Abraham continued in effect under the New Covenant terms offered by Moses. In like manner, the Bible's credibility is that God's Word is True and that there is one thing God cannot do is lie. So the confirmation of the New Covenant cannot be a thing which would imply that God lies. In answer to this thesis Paul and Barnabas came up with the doctrine of types and shadows, saying that the Old Testament was never a lie, but being intended to be replaced by a New Covenant. The Old Covenant really functions as types and shadows of the things to come. The truth of the Old Testament, then, is in its function as an instruction to understand Jesus when he comes. But when Jesus is come, then the instruction is no longer needed. Thus, we hear Paul calling the Old Testament a schoolmaster which is no longer needed once its Messiah is come.
One thing Paul forgot is that the Messiah brings judgment unto Truth. Therefore, the Messiah cannot lie; nor can he appear to lie. The Messiah of Truth, furthermore, is designed to come at a time when Israel is restored to the Promised Land. He, therefore, can look back and point out all things in the book which testify of events preceding and accompanying him, as well as his acts of Salvation which were prerecorded in the book. He brings the Tabernacle for instance. Any attempt to abrogate that function Promised in the book would negate his right to the inheritance Promised in the end of the book. To maintain His Inheritance, to claim it, the Messiah Deliverer must uphold all the Promises mentioned in the book; furthermore, those Promises which are directly related to him, as being fulfilled by Him, He must do also. Thus we have the dilemma that some prophesies strictly applied to the Deliverer Messiah were robbed two thousand years ago. We speak of the placement of a New Covenant and the injection of God's Law into the hearts of man; and we speak of these in terms of a vehicle for Redemption of all men and causing all men to bow down unto God and call upon His Name with one common consent.
As concerning this we can note that Paul did not take into consideration the need to present the Common Truth that all men will accept. That Truth cannot disinherit the inheritors of the Promised Inheritance, for it causes a split in the faith, not the unity of the faith. The unity of the faith, in fact, comes more through the foundation that was given to the church. That foundation was called a rock and that name was given to the man named Simon, now called Peter. Peter, in reflection of our discussions heretofore, did not buy into the disinheritance of the Jews and, in contrast to Paul, upheld the Law. He added to the Law of Moses, or Torah, the life and teaching of Jesus, being a fulfillment of the Torah and the prophets, and leading to the final Promise of the Kingdom to come. Those following Peter would continue in the expectations of the Old Testament Promises and be satisfied that on Jesus's Second Coming all things will be fulfilled. And these things of which we speak are fulfilled through the Messiah, who is the same as the Son of God who is, as Clement said in his epistle, as God on earth.
The Messiah to come, then, must argue these points in the end; otherwise he will be arguing to untruth. And here we see Paul has placed a terrible burden upon the Messiah. For Paul's contradiction of the Old Testament prophesies was so thorough that the Messiah must choose between Paul's Truth or the Old Testament Promises. He has no recourse except to choose the Old Testament Promises. We can say this from two points of view. To suggest that the Old Testament Promises are not true puts the Messiah in conflict with his Maker, God, and puts Him in the position of suggesting that God is a liar or did not know what he was doing. The other point of view is that the Messiah can only legitimatize Himself by pointing to the book to all the prophesies that are fulfilled in his lifetime and through him. If He cannot point out all prophesies, all the things listed of him, and fulfill them (which are called His Members) he is not the Messiah!
How well did Jesus measure up to this process of the revelation of Truth? Where all things are fulfilled in Him does He score 100 percent or something less than that?
If you ask one of the Children of Israel (a Jew) this question, as concerning Jesus, they are compelled to answer that Jesus did not fulfill whatsoever was listed of the Messiah. We have seen earlier in this work the many things that could not have been fulfilled through Jesus. He fulfills the prophesies of a Suffering Messiah, the son of the Virgin, who appears prior to the scattering of Israel. This we can point out as a list of things He fulfills in that Messiah. As for the Deliverer Messiah we can only measure Jesus as fulfilling that thing through His Second Coming. But then, in reflection of this future event, we conclude that the things listed of the Deliverer Messiah might put Him in conflict with Jesus or what was recorded of Jesus and His Teachings. And the conflict, we have seen, starts with the divergent Gospel records which have Jesus saying things He ought not to have said. Finally, to fulfill the prophesy of Daniel, the Deliverer Messiah must admit that he is not the Son of Man, as Jesus called Himself.
Our thesis all along must be that the Messiah is as God on earth. We derive this from the name of the Messiah born of the Virgin. His name was Immanuel, meaning God is with us. This manifestation of God, then, cannot lie. Nor can it deceive or intend to deceive. It must be above man, in that it cannot lie, and it must function for the glory of God, His Word, and not for his own purpose. The Messiah is a creation of God, and the fundamental essence of that creation was to Prove, in the Flesh, God's sovereignty over all men and to take those reigns of power one day, at the End of Days. How the Messiah does these things (and the events which occur at the time he does them) are listed in Prophesy, the Word of God.
While these things are fundamentals that Paul did not seem to understand, we believe that they are things you will understand. We believe this because you can bear witness to the record of the Deliverer Messiah's times, looking back, saying that truly Israel was Scattered and put to the spoil, sifted throughout all the nations, even fleeing when there was no one chasing them, and having no place to rest their feet; they were burned in ovens and melted down as one refines silver and gold; and they were gathered in great Mercy — even Christian Mercy — and they were transported on the ships of Tarshish (from Spain) and their children were carried to the Holy Land upon the shoulders and in the arms of the Gentile. And we can truly say that Israel, at this late date, has even celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Thus, we stand on earth, like no other, among a generation of Israelis who have never before existed nor will ever again exist, fulfilling a prophesy unique and in a narrow window of time. We stand precisely at the time, after waiting two thousand years, in which Israel has been Restored to the Holy Land! If you should take the time to read the Oral Torah you will learn what a great event this is, this day! Hear what the Oral Torah reminds us from men who, but a few generations ago, could not perceive of the Restoration in their own time:
The opening of the tent [Tabernacle] is the opening of Righteousness.
as the Psalmist says:
"Open for me the gates of righteousness.."
This is the first opening to enter.
Through this opening, all other high openings come into view.
One who attains the clarity of this opening
discovers all the other openings, for all of them abide here.
Now that Israel is in exile,
this opening is unknown;
all the openings have abandoned her.
It is impossible to know, impossible to grasp.
But when Israel comes forth from exile,
All the soaring spheres will touch down upon this opening,
one by one.
Then human beings will perceive wondrous, precious wisdom
never known by them before,
as it is written:
"The Spirit of YHVH shall alight upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and insight,
a spirit of design and power,
a spirit of knowledge and awe of YHVH"
All these are destined to alight upon the opening below,
The Opening of the Tent.
All these are destined to alight upon King Messiah
So that He may Judge the World,
as it is written:
"He shall judge the poor with righteousness..."
We see that the rabbis had no doubt that when they are returned to the Holy Land from Exile the Messiah would come. And when He comes it would be like the release of a tremendous amount of Wisdom, where, even all men will come to know God! It is a momentous occasion not to be taken lightly, and to spurn this Promise is to spurn God.
The rabbis understand this day, of which we are a part, as Israel has been restored from their Exile. And we ought to expect in the Messiah:
Isaiah 29.14 therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
Psalm 37.6 And he shall bring forth the righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday.
Psalm 37.30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
Habakkuk 3.4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.
Zohar: Then Human beings will perceive wondrous, precious wisdom never known by them before: all these are destined to alight on King Messiah so that He may judge the world.
Here is the truth of the Matter: The Messiah is expected to reflect Wisdom not seen before and its brightness shall be such that the Wise men put their hands over their mouths utterly awed at his knowledge. The Deliverer Messiah is called Faithful and True, which is The Word of God, in Revelation. He must, in the context, defend the Word of God. He would look silly agreeing with Paul that the Word of God is inspiration, for instance, for many claim to be inspired of God but few contain His Truth. The true containment of the word of God must be to the confirmation of His Promise, not the abrogation of it. Therefore, confirming prophesy:
Psalm 9.5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
Psalm 2.9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potterÕs vessel.
Psalm 18.44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
Certainly in the bringing forth of the Great Light the Messiah must rebuke the heathen. Why would he rebuke them? As it is said:
Psalm 2.1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2.2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Anointed, saying,
2.3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
2.4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
2.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
The Gentile, or the Heathen, attempt to break the bands and cords. Now these things were used to hold the Tabernacle, the Tent of God, together. The Messiah is supposed to restore the Tabernacle. The prophesy here imagines that the heathen will try to resist Him. The Paulists, in fact, and we speak more particularly of the Modern Church Ministry, have stepped forward in this resistance and not only have taken the Promise away but consider the Restoration of the Tabernacle an abomination. The Tabernacle was Promised to be restored and it was Promised in no uncertain terms. We see the Christian Ministry today taking a profound stand against the fulfillment of that promise. But we believe their stand will be to no avail, for as the Scripture says:
Psalm 2.4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Thus we can see the manifold difficulty in reconciling the Paulist church, which is the Modern Christian Church, to God. And we can see the Messiah saying to them:
Psalm 50.23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the Salvation of God.
And He will remind them who resisted Him:
Isaiah 33.20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
And one day it must be said:
Behold, the Tabernacle of God is among men.
And of a truth it will be said:
Bavli CLIX.k ..."The ox runs and falls, so the horse is put in its stall. Then it is hard to get the horse out." So the Israelites, having fallen, were replaced in power by the gentiles, but on their recovery, it will be difficult to remove the gentiles from their position without inflicting much suffering.
There can be a way out of this mess foreseen by the Bavli, involving the Redemption of Israel. All the Christians have to do is take the Gospel of Jesus at His Word and relinquish their power — to become one with the Redeemed — when the time of the Gentile is fulfilled. Because Israel, we see, has been Restored to the map again, we cannot say, Redemption draweth nigh; but rather are forced to say, by circumstance alone, that thy redemption has come. To understand it, let us now take a more detailed look at the Gospels, to understand their function as it relates to the Redemption of Man and Israel, and to point out things in them which can lead us to greater Wisdom and the Truth of God.
The Synoptic Gospels
Matthew, Mark, and Luke
If you concur with the teachers of the past, you will agree that the Messiah must review the Oral Torah and all the Scriptures with you. This — because the Gospel of Jesus claims to have a part in the inheritance of the Scriptures — would require the Deliverer Messiah to review the Gospels and the Oral Torah together, to determine whether they are true or untrue—or what portion of truth can be gleaned from them. In this similitude, to facilitate our way, we have prepared a matrix showing the three gospels laid side by side where their verses can be read simultaneously in one view (for the most part). This is where the term synoptic came from: these three gospels could be read all together. This is not entirely an accurate representation of these gospels, however, since it suggests that they pretty much agree with each other. The fact will be seen that they are three separate stories and often disagree with each other in major matters. Using our matrix guide, then, let us review them line by line.
Line 3 — There was man sent from God whose name was John.
This is how all the four gospels begin. Jesus derived his anointing, we are led to believe, because John the Baptist recognized him in the desert and addressed him as the Son of God, the Messiah expected in prophesy. This means nothing, of course, if John the Baptist had no anointing by God himself. So John must first be established as being a man or priest whom God sent to herald the coming of the Messiah. Thus, we have, There was a man sent from God whose name was John...
This thesis only introduces the complications of Proving that Jesus is the Messiah. The ultimate Proof that He is the Messiah is that He fulfilled all things Prophesied of the Messiah and lived at the exact time and events the Messiah was said to accompany. This becomes our first obstacle, in the justification of Jesus, because most of the prophesies of the Messiah related to the Deliverer and His Times, which, we have shown earlier, relate to the time when Israel is Restored to the Promised Land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Short of pointing out this List of things as Proof of the Messiahship, the disciples and Apostles of Jesus were faced with a rather terrible dilemma: How do they prove that He is the Messiah and, in fact, the Son of God, a deity to be worshipped or obeyed?
In reviewing the gospel accounts we can see a progression of thought, trying to wrestle with this problem of accounting Jesus to all scripture. At first Mark records the basic story of Jesus and accounts His Messiahship to the fact that John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God even. But what credentials did John the Baptist have? All the gospel accounts agree that he is the voice crying in the wilderness, like Elijah, heralding the coming of the Messiah. This, however, offers no proof in itself. When we examine when this voice cries in the wilderness, we find it is in the end of days; and when we compare this voice to Elijah it is clear that when Elijah is seen the world will be about to be burned with fire. And it comes by virtue of the fact that Israel had been restored to its land, at the protest or grudging of the nations; and God takes His Wrath out against the nations. Anyone looking at the prophesy relating to the Last Days and Elijah ought to have seen that ElijahÕs time had not yet come, that there was another event which must come before Elijah (and his Messiah) are seen in the world. But the Dead Sea Scrolls, reflecting at least some Jewish attitudes towards these prophesies, seemed also to have believed that the Last Days were at any moment. They make us consider, in fact, that many Jews actually believed that the days Jesus walked the earth were the Last Days mentioned in Scripture.
So they were expecting their Messiah at that time, and this attitude is in like manner reflected in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. The Gospel of Luke, perhaps written later and from a more accurate expectation to Scripture, acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah who is, in fact, the first installment on a Two Step Visitation: First He must come and be sacrificed, as in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and 69; and then He must be resurrected again, in the Last Days, to bring forth the Kingdom and the Judgment of all men. In contrast to this thesis, Matthew and Mark became confused and could not sort out the Two Events of Prophesy: The Sacrificed Messiah and the Deliverer Messiah. In contrast to their sometimes eminent expectation of a rain of fire and brimstone, the Dead Sea Scrolls could see these two eschatological events, of which the gospels of Matthew and Mark, unfortunately could not. This vision might have been impaired somewhat by the thinking of people like Paul, who thought that Jesus brought the Kingdom of God and that the next step would be the torching of the wicked in a world wide fire come down from heaven. Believing this to come any moment they sought to Save Souls from the fire to come through the preaching of Jesus. Jesus became salvation and eternal life. This thesis could be easily identified to that portion of prophesy which dealt with the purpose of the Messiah, to be the Savior of Man and the sacrificed Lamb for the Atonement of Sin.
Justifying Him in this function became rather difficult for the gospel writers. At first they focused on John the Baptist carrying the Anointing Oil to Jesus, as Samuel did with David. But then there were scriptural problems with John the Baptist, so other ways were sought out. Matthew concludes that all the prophesies Jesus fulfilled ought to be pointed out in the Gospel, so he takes that tack. In addition, he pulls in other testimony from other witnesses who recognize Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. First he draws upon Simon the Priest, who believed he would not die until he sees the Messiah; then he draws upon a story of three Magi following a star to Jesus's manger, bringing things prophesied in the apocryphal Adam and Eve story in token for His Messiahship. Then, as if this is not enough, he reports healings of Jesus as further testimony. His miracles, in fact, become the overriding confirmation that He is the Messiah. But those reading scriptures would see that the performance of Miracles has little to do with identifying the Messiah of God. The AntiMessiah, of Daniel, in fact, is one in scripture who is a noted miracle worker. Thus we see in the gospels the pharisees and scribes responding to Jesus's miracles, saying, He heals by Beelzebub, Satan.
Matthew also adds the story of the Virgin Birth to justify Jesus as the Messiah. He fails to emphasize, however, that the sign of the Virgin Birth is a sign that Israel will be scattered. Had he emphasized this point his argument would have been rock solid. But He could not appreciate this event, perhaps, because Israel had not been scattered at the time of his writing. Perhaps he didn't notice that a precondition of the MessiahÕs visitation is the Scattering of Israel to all the nations of the world! Luke noticed this, however, and we commend him for it. We say he noticed it only with some reservation, for we do not think he really appreciated the significance of the Sign of the Virgin to the Scattering of Israel. The two events are tied together in his gospel but not associated as Proof that Jesus is the Messiah. For the real Proof of the Messiah is that he is born of a Virgin or maiden at the time men come and turn the land into briers and thorns. For this shall be with burning and fuel of fire, saith the Lord. By reason of Luke's apparent perception of the Two Events — noting until the time of the Gentile be fulfilled — (and the fact that Peter and the Apostles were still worshipping in the temple at the end of Luke's Gospel) we have no doubt that Luke had written his gospel before Jerusalem was sacked.
Still lacking that unequivocal piece of Truth which would confirm that Jesus is the Messiah once and for all, the gospels finally took refuge in the fulfillment of a prophesy Jesus had continually talked about in his ministry: that he would be put to death and lay in a tomb for three days and then be resurrected. He had been so consistent in mentioning this the disciples and apostles would have been fools to not latch onto it as the keystone of their doctrine. Of course, "if Jesus is raised up from the tomb then God has an ability to raise us up from the tomb, some to shame and others to everlasting life. Believe in Jesus, therefore, and you will be among those raised to everlasting life." Whereas the original thesis of the resurrection was based upon one fell swoop in the Last Days to raise the Quick and the Dead to judgment and, for the faithful, everlasting life; the gospel tradition kinda sorta gravitated to the idea that once you receive Jesus you will, when you die, go instantly to heaven.
The Moslem religion, tying into this thesis, concluded that if you kill for God you are guaranteed a place in paradise. This came out of a tradition already in place which came to a head during the crusades: that the church had a divine mission of converting the wicked to Christ and to punish those who would not convert with the sword. Many who would not confess Jesus, or who may have doubted the story of Jesus, ended up on the rack with their limbs torn from their bodies. All this was done in the name of Jesus and those who did this believed that their actions would guarantee them a good seat in Paradise.
But as these stories of Jesus were being told, those who knew Scripture would have questioned them. We know, in fact that they questioned it because Paul's complaint against the Judaizers points to those who believed that the Promises God made to the Jews would yet come. And the gospels did not have the right answers to assuage the questions of the Judaizers, those, like Peter and the Apostles, who believed the Law of Moses was not abrogated by Jesus.
Perhaps each gospel gravitated out of the questions and answers concerning the place of Israel, its Messiah, and Redemption in respect to Jesus. The deeper one got into the questions, the greater was the need to find further proof that Jesus is Lord, the Messiah. Finally, in the pursuit of these proofs, we find the Gospel of John focusing simply upon the fact that John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah and, therefore, what Jesus said and did is all that matters; and what he said would establish Him as the Word of God.
Because the gospels began with the justification through John the Baptist, so must we also introduce our exploration.
Confusion over Elijah
We begin our trail of precepts on John the Baptist with Matthew pointing out the genealogy of John and how John would bear witness of Jesus, who says in Matthew 1.17 that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. This is an argument which is particularly reflective of PaulÕs thesis of Salvation through Faith and Grace, which thing Peter argued against.
Line 28 — Matthew tells us that Zacharias is the father of John the Baptist and a priest of God; and an angel tells Zacharias that his son shall go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet.
Line 539 —Matthew records Jesus affirming to his disciples, who are questioning Jesus as to whom John the Baptist is, that this is he of whom it is written , Behold, I send my messenger, etc.
Re: Malachi 4.5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
In Matthew 11.13 Jesus says for all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. Luke picks up the same theme, saying, The Law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached. In another place (most particularly the Gospel of James) we have Jesus asking his disciples whether they had understood how the head of prophesy was cut off with John the Baptist (Herod cut off John the Baptist's head and served it to his step-daughter on a platter). Here, then, we have gospels remembering that John is that messenger prophesied by Malachi and is, in fact Elijah resurrected. Though this is maintained in Luke and Matthew, the thesis is not altogether a rock of belief.
Line 870 —Jesus asks his disciples whom the people think he is. They are all recorded in the synoptic gospels to say that the people think Jesus is Elijah, others John the Baptist resurrected, and others thought him to be a prophet. The fact that these comments are recorded tells us that even the disciples were not sure whom Jesus was and probably thought that he was Elijah himself. So the tradition that John the Baptist was Elijah was not strongly believed nor had the disciples apparently paid much attention to Jesus's comment on how John the Baptist was that messenger, Elijah. As a guideline to when the Transfiguration occurred, the dialogue confirms that John the Baptist had been (long) dead when the questions were asked. These questions, in fact, leave a strange impression that John had to have been buried substantially before Jesus became famous, so that the people could identify Jesus's rising star, as a resurrected John the Baptist, after John met his demise. These impressions of the people, that Jesus was John the Baptist resurrected, run counter to the thesis that Jesus and John knew each other and walked concurrently on the earth.
Jesus turns to Peter and asks, Whom do you think I am? Peter responds in Matthew:
Matthew 16.16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
But in Mark and Luke Jesus is just the Christ:
Mark 8.29 thou art the Christ.
Luke 9.20 The Christ of God.
Here we have a problem already in the Gospels. Two of the gospels show Peter recognizing Jesus as the Christ but not necessarily the Son of God. In fact the latter two gospels, Mark and Luke, tend to reject the notion that Jesus is a god or the Son of God. They at least do not try to hang their credibility on it. Matthew, however, being consistent with the Son of God theme, which we have seen also tied to Paul's understanding of the Gospel, shows Peter answering that Jesus is the Christ which is the Son of God. In Peter's epistle we have Peter confirming this incident reported by Matthew, saying the voice said, this is my beloved son..
Line 937— Must Elias first come?
This question appears in Matthew and Mark at the time of Jesus's transfiguration. Again, we point out that Peter's epistle records the comment from the cloud which is recorded in Matthew alone:
Matthew 17.5 ...This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.
Mark and Luke do not mention the phrase, in whom I am well pleased.
Line 937— But must Elias first come? began this examination. Jesus responded in both Matthew and Mark that truly he shall first come and restore all things, but He adds, Elias is come already and suffered; likewise shall the Son of Man suffer. Mark says almost the same: Elias came already and they have done to him whatsoever was listed of him. What is significant here is that Matthew has taken from Mark and added the prophesy of Jesus that he would suffer likewise just as John the Baptist suffered. In addition we have another problem in prophesy. For there is no prophesy pertaining to a Suffering Elijah. Jesus concludes, by some prophetic authority, that they have done to Elijah whatsoever was listed of him; the authority for such a list only comes in the Psalms as they relate to the Suffering Messiah, chapter 53 of Isaiah and Psalms 22 and 69 for instance. There is no indication in prophesy that the Resurrected Elijah will be killed and suffer. We wonder, was Jesus seeing Elijah as that suffering Messiah of Isaiah? Matthew seems to answer our question, having developed from Mark's assessment: Likewise shall the Son of Man suffer. What was not clear in Mark is now cleared up. Jesus will be the Suffering Messiah. The list that John the Baptist fulfilled is still not clear, however. We suspect here that Jesus was not initially sure who John the Baptist was in terms of prophetic scripture. It is possible, in fact, that Jesus saw John as one of Two Messiahs, as propounded by the rabbis and certainly the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this context he certainly saw himself as the greater of the two. This, incidentally, corresponds with the Oral Torah's view of the Messiahs:
B. Sanh 98b They will be like Caesar and vice-Caesar
Line 1101 — Then he took the 12 and said, Behold we go up to Jerusalem and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished:
He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spit upon
And they shall scourge Him and put him to death and the third day he shall rise again.
These verses are recorded in all three gospels. We here, as well as other places in the gospels, have a consistent understanding that Jesus prophesied his own death prior to going up to Jerusalem. In this mode He prophesied the Son of Man as the Suffering Messiah. The Gospel of John, 11.51, records another matter, however, in that Caiaphas prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation.
John 11.52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Line 646 — At that time Herod the Tetrarch heard of Jesus and was told that Jesus is John the Baptist risen or Elijah or a prophet risen up. This is recorded in all three gospels. Again it is a confirmation that Jesus is the one thought to be Elijah risen up. If this were so, then Jesus could not be the Messiah and, therefore, Jesus would have been the herald of the Messiah to come, which in turn would have mitigated Jesus's importance. To counter this possibility, the gospel record had to insist upon the fact that John the Baptist is Elijah, that Jesus is not Elijah, and that John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the Messiah. The Gospel of John, however, did not buy this argument and had John the Baptist deny that he is Elijah to the disciples of Jesus. This is story-telling at its best, since John now introduces a catalyst which would throw the other gospel records to the wind. For Matthew, Mark, and Luke assume that Jesus is the Messiah forecasted by Elijah and in order for the Messiah to come, Elijah, in the person of John the Baptist, had to appear. Without Elijah Jesus's credibility as the Messiah becomes subject to reevaluation.
Line 133 — He that cometh after me is mightier than I, etc. and
Line 139 — whose shoes I am not worthy to bear—Here we have an affirmation in all three gospels that John recognized Jesus as being greater than he and the Messiah. But who is He?
Line 112 — The appearance of John the Baptist fulfills the prophesy of Isaiah of the one crying in the wilderness. Only Luke mentions this, among the synoptic gospels, perhaps realizing the problem in scripture in Mark and Matthew of not identifying John the Baptist. The gospel of John picks up on Luke's observation and translates Elijah out of the picture altogether, justifying John the Baptist alone as the voice in the wilderness prophesied by Isaiah. The voice in the wilderness is, in fact, the appellation of Elijah! Those who know prophesy would know that using the appellation, Voice in the Wilderness, would be a redundancy to the name Elijah. If one thing marked Elijah it was the fact that he spent a good deal of time in the wilderness, dressed in animal skins, and would suddenly appear at the court of the king or along a road to release his pronouncements against his evil generation and its king, Ahab. He lived in a cave in the wilderness.
Line 526 — John is in prison and sent two of his disciples to Jesus. They ask:
Art thou he that should come?
In Matthew 11.5 Jesus replies, Have ye not seen my miracles: the blind receive their sight, etc.? Luke 6.20 takes a more conservative position and records that Jesus performed some miracles and told the disciples to tell John how he healed and preached the gospel. Mark is silent about this momentous visit of John's disciples. We call it momentous because it shows that John the Baptist was not sure who Jesus is. It reconfirms what all the people believed, that Jesus was a prophet and perhaps even Elijah raised up. But it also records, taking the opposite point of view, that John the Baptist thinks he is himself that prophet preceding the Messiah. It reflects upon the affirmations already discussed that think John the Baptist is Elijah, who was prophesied to precede the Messiah according to Malachi. The doubt in John the Baptist is a thing which has produced continuing concern in the church. The ministry have written it off, however, as a normal expectation: that John the Baptist had seen Jesus not go for the brass rings of the Messiah, such as being a recognized King and Deliverer; and, because Jesus did not perform to John's expectations, John (as Judas Iscariot did later) began to doubt him. But this does not really help us feel secure in the sensational announcement, through John the Baptist, that Jesus is the Son of God. Either John knew this or he didn't. For the premise is that John knew it through Divine Revelation — through a voice coming out of Heaven — and we hope such revelations, being reputably witnessed, are without doubt. Otherwise, how could they be divine, of God?
Line 111— In the Gospel of John we have another matter: The Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John Who art thou? This is before he baptized Jesus.
John 1.21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he said, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, no.
1.22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
1.23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esais (40.3): The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God...and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Here we have another problem. John the Baptist denies that he is Elijah in JohnÕs gospel and goes on to affirm that he is that voice in the wilderness which proclaims make straight the way for the Lord. We can see that all four Gospels agree that John the Baptist is that voice in the wilderness; yet, Matthew tries to add to this the fact that John the Baptist is also Elijah. The Gospel of John refutes the fact that John the Baptist is Elijah. Why, we wonder?
Whereas Matthew tries to suggest that John the Baptist is Elijah, Luke goes on to affirm, through the prophesy of the Angel to Zacharias, that John will go forth in the Spirit of Elijah. Mark is silent on this question of John being Elijah, though Mark does record the men coming from Jerusalem to question John, agreeing that John is the voice crying in the wilderness. The truth of the matter is that John was dressed in animal skins and living in the wilderness, like Elijah before him; and he is reported to have been preaching salvation and the making of the way of the Lord. But he was not Elijah according to Mark and John. When we read Malachi the answer comes into focus:
Malachi 4.1 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
One of the first things John preached, along with the announcement that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, is:
Matthew 3.10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
By this statement alone John the Baptist revealed himself as being in the person of Elijah! For the statement assumes that the day cometh soon which shall burn as an oven...and all that do wickedly shall be stubble...
Malachi 4.2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
4.3 And ye [Israel] shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.
4.4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
4.5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
4.6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Malachi is specific that the day of Elijah is the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord: it is the day of Darkness, of Gloominess, of Burning, such as has never been nor will ever be again. It is the Last Day and the Day of Gog and Magog, God rains fire and brimstone upon all those who were against his people Israel, wheresoever they were scattered midst the nations (Gentile). We know this because Israel is promised it will go forth and tread upon the ashes of the wicked. When they go forth the wicked will already have been dealt with. And the wicked, we must note, are generally counted among the nations. While John the Baptist could be the voice of one crying in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord, for God in the flesh, he was not that Elijah which preceded the Day of the Lord.
The Baptist's denial that he is Elijah may, in fact, have been recognition by John the Baptist that the Day of the Lord was far into the future. Certainly Israel had not yet been scattered and it was not the time of the gathering of the children of Israel. Therefore, according to prophesy the time of the burning, fire and brimstone, of Gog and Magog, which Malachi is describing, was not yet in time. This, however, contrasts with Jesus trying to make the disciples believe that John the Baptist is Elijah in Matthew 11.14. This is not agreed to in Mark and Luke, however. In sum, if we count on the gospels' affirmations of John the Baptist, as a confirmation of Jesus's Messiahship, we are left with total confusion, if not considerable doubt. This is probably one of the many things which plagued Paul when he told his followers to not listen to the Judaizers and fables of the circumcised. To keep these things in context, pretend that we are Judaizers.
Line 546 - For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John — tells us that Jesus believed that John was the last prophet. Luke clarifies it by saying that since John, the Kingdom of God is preached. This affirms that Jesus is the Latter Day Messiah and the Kingdom is come with Him. Jesus in fact confirms this point of view throughout the gospels. Jesus, when he asks in line 533, What went ye out in the wilderness to see, described by both Matthew and Luke, reconfirms that he thinks that John the Baptist is that voice in the wilderness. If he thinks that he is the Latter Day Messiah, then he would also have to argue that John is Elijah. If he does not think his day is the Latter Day of fire and brimstone, then he must anoint John the Baptist to the mission of being the voice in the wilderness, or some lesser, obtuse function. But doing this compromises the validity of the Messiah! Whilst the issue of the Suffering Messiah, in truth, does not hinge upon the angelic messenger preceding Jesus, it does hinge upon whom Jesus thought He was and whom the people were actually told He was. The record, in this case, reflects a lot of confusion among the disciples and the writers who remembered what Jesus actually thought; and the confusion washes over into Jesus's own perspective of himself, which, itself, seems to be fraught with confusion.
Jesus, in the first part of his ministry, is not convincing us that he knows precisely his mission as the Messiah. Because the gospels do not all agree that Jesus thought John is the prophet Elijah, and because the Gospel of John actually has John the Baptist denying he is Elijah — for good reason — we conclude that Matthew and Luke had not thought the situation through thoroughly enough. We temper this with the possibility, however, that Jesus may have been clear on His point of view and what he said may have gotten lost in the confusion. The Gospel of John, however, thought it out, or remembered, that John actually did disclaim he was Elijah. Here, then, comes our first challenge in sorting out a lie from the truth. If the truth is that John did deny being Elijah, then all the arguments Jesus made in Matthew and Luke were dedicated to the production of a lie. One of the two were wrong: If Jesus is to be believed, then John has lied and is Elijah.
If the Gospel of John is to be believed, Jesus has lied and John is not Elijah. And when we begin examining such things as these we suddenly realize the truth of the matter: The gospel record is, as concerning the foundation of Jesus's Legitimacy as Messiah, confused and filled with contradictions between John the Baptist and Jesus; and, in any event, John the Baptist's recognition of Jesus as the Messiah is suspect. When he, being in Herod's prison and about to lose his head, sent his two disciples to Jesus to query him, we were given yet another suspicion as to whom John actually thought Jesus to be. The mere recording of the fact that John the Baptist had doubts that Jesus is the Messiah is sufficient cause to question the credibility of his conviction that Jesus is the Son of God earlier reported during Jesus's Baptism. What is reported here is a lot of questioning of both Jesus and John the Baptist, with everyone involved thinking either one of them is Elijah, but the bulk of the reports suggest that Jesus is Elijah resurrected! And if John is not Elijah, as was early reported in the Gospel of John, then one could conclude that Jesus is not the Latter Day Messiah.
Perhaps in an attempt to resolve the confusion, the disciples later asked whether Elijah must first come. This is a critical question to Jesus's Messiahship. Jesus responds, verily Elijah is here already. Now we have a serious problem. Jesus thinks that John the Baptist is Elijah which, in turn, would lead us to believe that Jesus is the Messiah of whom Malachi speaks, in which case, the disciples must believe that the world is about to be consumed in fire, etc. Later, when Jesus is teaching on the Harvest, the disciples ask whether they should go now and gather the tares and throw them into the fire. Jesus responds, let them grow with the wheat, and then we will send forth our angels to gather them and throw them into the fire. Thus, in our quest for truth, we find that the disciples were not schooled well enough in prophesy to ask the right questions or report the true history that did transpire. They did ask a crucial question, however: Must Elijah first come? The answer is, yes, which thing the disciples already should have known. But because of these controversies, we can see each gospel writer trying to make sense of something which was far beyond their schooling. Only John in his gospel was able to come to grips with the accurate way to present Jesus. And he believed that Jesus was the first of two signs of the Messiah. The Second Coming was far into the future, as reported in Revelation. This would be the First Resurrection of the Messiah. Had Matthew and Mark understood this time-frame, the questions and the answers concerning Elijah may have been handled differently.
The fact that Jesus added to Elijah's mission, and restore all things, causes us further consternation. For Elijah, unless He was thought to have a Messianic role by Jesus, had nothing to do with the Restoration. The Restoration involves not only the restoration of the Children of Israel to their land but also the Restoration of the Tabernacle. In the context of JesusÕs comment, we must conclude that John the Baptist would come again and restore, among many things, the Tabernacle of Moses! Thus, for Jesus to earn his credentials as a prophet Elijah must appear and restore the Tabernacle of Moses. What a problem for the Paulist Christians who deny the validity of the Old Testament Promises (and Tabernacle) of the Latter Days!
When Jesus prophesies of the end times there is a consistent report among the gospels that the Son of Man will return to judge the quick and the dead. Apparently some thought, however, that this would not amount to a resurrection, since Jesus had already been resurrected after three days in the tomb. The relationship of the Resurrection from the tomb and Jesus's return was not clearly recorded, it would appear; otherwise Paul would never have made the statement complaining about those who believed the Resurrection of Jesus had been already accomplished. As to the actual gospel record of the Resurrection, which shall be discussed later, the gospel accounts are confusing. Not one gospel agrees with another as to the reports of Jesus's resurrection from the tomb. The reports amount to different people observing different phenomena both at the tomb on the morning after the Sabbath and subsequent sightings of Jesus in such diverse places as Jerusalem and Galilee at the same time by the same people. Paul mentions that James, the brother of Jesus, saw Jesus resurrected; Peter claims he saw Jesus resurrected; Paul claims 500 people eating dinner saw Jesus resurrected; Mary Magdalene claimed she saw him as a gardener but did not recognize him at first; the gospels claim that Jesus appeared to Peter and James (and five others) who also did not at first recognize him, while they were fishing at Galilee; they also claim that he appeared to a multitude on the mountain in Galilee (where he preached the Sermon on the mount); the gospels claim that three women arrived at the tomb to find Jesus's body missing; another claims it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who first visited the tomb; another gospel claims they saw an angel sitting on the stone before the tomb; another claims there was an Angel sitting in the tomb; another claims there were two angels inside the tomb; another claims that the women saw Jesus being carried away from the tomb by two angels; one gospel claims that upon hearing of the missing body Peter ran to the tomb and went in and saw an angel; another, the Gospel of John, corrects the story and says it was Peter and the beloved apostle John who ran to the tomb and it was John who got there first and went in, followed by Peter.
All in all, the stories of Jesus's resurrection are so diverse and different in their testimonies, from one gospel to another, that any judge seeing them offered as evidence would dismiss them from the court record. Yet, the resurrection became the keystone of the faith which Paul and the other apostles preached. Jesus became the Messiah because he laid in the tomb for three days and was then resurrected. On both counts, Jesus laying in the tomb three days, and his resurrection, the evidence does not lead to Messiahship. We say this because the prophesy of laying in the tomb three days is not a canonized scripture and therefore cannot be used by the faith as evidence that Jesus fulfilled any Messianic scripture by laying in the tomb three days. Again, as relating to the resurrection, we have no two witnesses who observed it and recorded the same facts. We have testimony showing that two men carried Jesus from the tomb (appearing as angels), which shares in equal weight to all the other sightings of Jesus after his burial. But among all the testimonies is Peter, writing his epistle, assuring all the faithful that he did, in fact, go to the tomb the next morning and saw Jesus's body missing. As to where and how Peter saw Jesus again the epistle record is silent. Peter could testify what happened upon the mount, at the transfiguration of Jesus, and that the body in the tomb was missing. He sincerely believed some supernatural event connected with these two things, and he asked the congregation to believe it. This is more evidence than all the information of the gospels combined.
Because the gospels disagree on the sightings of the Resurrection of Jesus, it is probable that only one of them was "canonized" by Paul and used in his teachings. We have seen that the quotations he has used of gospel records all point to the Gospel of Matthew. The quotations used, in fact, are exclusive to Matthew and do not appear elsewhere. We make one exception, however, since Paul based his mission upon Jesus's prophesy of end times, saying, in effect, When the gospel is preached to all the nations, then shall I come. This phrase is not the phrase (referring to preaching the gospel to the nations) quoted by Paul, however, and we saw him quote Mark's concluding remarks (citing Jesus's instructions after his resurrection) saying, go preach this gospel to all creatures. Luke and Matthew, it is noted, record this instruction after the resurrection to relate to the nations, not all creatures.
Because Paul is consistent in his references to items alone in Matthew's gospel, we suspect that a more stripped version of that gospel is the one he used. The comment in Luke which Paul used concerns us, however, since we cannot relate the precept, until the time of the Gentile be fulfilled, to the Matthew-Mark precepts. The appendix of the resurrection (containing the statements that the disciples shall lift up snakes or if they take poison it will not hurt them) to Mark's gospel (line 2495) we also believe was probably a free floating document either not available to Matthew or rejected by him as he compiled his gospel using Mark's gospel as an outline. Matthew concludes his gospel by mentioning that Jesus finally appeared to the disciples on a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him, though some doubted him. In that sighting (line 2500) Jesus told them to go preach the gospel to all the nations / creatures.
Mark does not record where Jesus finally appeared, except it was to the eleven as they sat at dinner. Jesus upbraided them for not believing the earlier reports of his resurrection!
This comment in Mark tells us that the general consensus of opinion among the disciples, as concerning the sightings of Jesus resurrected, were not taken seriously.
Then in Mark's version Jesus tells the disciples to go preach the gospel to every creature. Luke records the instruction to preach to all the nations, and John, probably frustrated over what was actually said, dismisses the comment of Jesus altogether. In fact, John records specifically three sightings of Jesus, by the disciples, after he is resurrected from the tomb. The ministry would like you to believe there were eight sightings, etc. John confidently claims there were three! The last sighting involved Peter and six other disciples fishing in Galilee; and there Jesus mentioned nothing of the instruction to go preach the gospel to the nations, or creatures, but rather was concerned about Peter, prophesying what would happen to him.
While the three synoptic gospels conclude with Jesus instructing the disciples to go preach to the nations or creatures, only one of them appends further instructions:
Mark 16.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
16.17 Them that believe shall be followed by these signs:
They shall cast out devils in my name
They shall speak with new tongues
They shall take up serpents
If they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them
They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
After these sayings, concludes Mark, the Lord was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God; and they went forth and preached everywhere the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.
Luke, which appears to be the last gospel written of the three synoptic gospels, does not recall any such sighting recorded at the end of Mark. But he and Mark do agree on the previous sighting. In this sighting Mark records the fact that Jesus appeared in another form unto two men walking into the country. The men went to the residue of the disciples but they were not believed. Luke confirms this sighting and adds details, such as names. One of the two men, Cleopas, answered the stranger they saw and asked him where he had been. The stranger responded: Had he not heard what happened in Jerusalem and to Jesus of Nazareth which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people? Here we have a confirmation of a pattern established throughout Luke which disputes the other gospel records. Luke does not see Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus is the Anointed One, the Messiah (or Christ if you prefer) and, in particular and understandable terms, a prophet of God. All the people believed Jesus to be a Prophet or Elijah raised up. As to being the Messiah any such claims being made by any of the disciples, or the people round about, were taken as a controversy. In any event Cleopas reflects the common view reported in all the gospels, that the people thought Jesus to be a prophet, even after his death (which conflicts with the presumption that Jesus was identified as the Son of God early on). He makes another secret admission:
Luke 4.21 But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.
Though not clearly said, Cleopas was one of the disciples and the incident being reported was the very same day Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty. More so, Cleopas was Joseph the Carpenter's brother and Jesus's uncle. Even more can be said, for Cleopas was the husband of the other Mary who was a sinner and happened to be Jesus's Aunt Mary and sister of the Virgin Mary!
By consensus of the gospels, Mary Magdalene is the one person who all agree had gotten to the tomb first and found it empty. What she saw and who was with her to witness it is up in the air and discussed differently from one gospel to another.
Cleopas admits that he expected Jesus to redeem Israel. But Jesus did not redeem Israel (as Moses redeemed Israel from Egypt) and therefore was suspect, as the Messiah, in some disciple's minds . That suspicion continued to plague Paul in his ministry; as those to whom he preached, all at first being Jews in the synagogues, must have been sending a continuing barrage of questions concerning the Deliverer's prophesies his way. After all, though we made a cursory review of these prophesies, they are so abundant and obvious any thinking man would have to ask why Jesus did not fulfill them. Because he did not fulfill the prophesies of the Deliverance, or the Redemption, it would be hard to argue that Jesus is the Redeemer Messiah.
To those who knew the scriptures relating to Two Messiahs, which scriptures we again mention were certainly well known among the Dead Sea Scrolls and their Essene Communities, of whom Josephus and Philo speak, the problem of Jesus not being the Redeemer does not come up. We say this because the Dead Sea Scrolls clearly recognize Two Messiahs and one is a layman born of the seed of David; the other is a high priest. When John the Baptist was questioned as to who he is, he denied being the sign of God, Elijah, preceding the Messiah. Rather, he claimed that he is the Voice in the wilderness which comes before the Messiah-God. And while the voice in the wilderness and Elijah ought to appear to be the same thing: i.e., the herald coming before the Lord, they were not the same thing in John the Baptist's mind; otherwise he would not have made the distinction in the Gospel of John. And John, we might note, was one of the first Apostles to join Jesus. He was probably that other person walking behind Jesus with Andrew at the time of Jesus's Baptism by John the Baptist.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls the strongest Messiah is the Priest. He is Melkizedek; and the scriptures of Melkizedek show him being the one who anointed Abraham and to whom Abraham paid tithes. Melkizedek is by tradition believed to have been not born of flesh, having neither father nor mother, and is an eternal spirit which has never died. But he appears in the last days, as reviewed earlier, along with the lay-Messiah of David. When they sit at dinner it is the priest Melkizedek who first lays hands on the bread and wine and performs the blessing, passing it to the others at the table.
Everyone thought Jesus was the prophet Elijah. Elijah is another form of the priest who would precede the Lay Messiah. Elijah - Melkizedek — Messiah of Aaron; all these are the priestly Anointed Ones anticipated to appear on the great and terrible day of the Lord. Their appearance would be accompanied by another Anointed One.
It seems we go round and round on this subject, for now exploring this we have to again recall how the disciples questioned Jesus, whether Elijah must first come. Jesus answered Elijah is here already, but then implied that he will appear again in the future with Jesus's Second Coming. We are not sure exactly what he means by his answer, but suspect that he is saying John the Baptist is Elijah now and will appear again in the future and when he then appears he will restore all things. Both Matthew and Mark report this important conversation. Prudent Luke avoids it! Peter records the moment of that conversation in his epistles, where he affirms that God did speak out of the cloud atop the mount where Jesus was transfigured, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Again, Mark and Luke record that statement but do not say in whom I am well pleased. If Luke had Matthew's gospel in front of him, which we suspect did occur, we would expect him to record this saying. If it is understood that Jesus is the Son of God it should follow that God is pleased in him; nevertheless, anyone copying this record for historical purposes would, we suspect, leave the comment in, that God is well pleased in Jesus. But to the contrary Luke follows Mark's lead and says This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. This, then, is one suggestion that Luke did not have the version of Matthew which had in whom I am well pleased in it; otherwise he ought to have quoted that saying.
Line 925 — Let us build three tabernacles — one to you, one to Elijah, and one to Moses. Jesus did not answer this plea from his disciples on the mount. The comment again reflects the attitudes of the disciples at that moment in time, as recorded by all three gospels, that Jesus, Elijah, and Moses are equals. To correct them a voice comes out of a cloud, saying, This is my beloved son, hear ye him, etc. Having lost the evidence that John the Baptist is the confirmation that Jesus is the Son of God, or the Messiah, because John denied being Elijah and also questioned Jesus, as to who Jesus is, we must now rely upon some other confirmation. Here, then, is that confirmation, that Jesus is the Son of God. There are three witnesses who heard this saying. They are Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, James, and John. We are speaking probably of that same John who was Jesus's favorite apostle and who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation. We have a problem here, however, because the Gospel of John does not record this conversation. The Gospel of John, in fact, relies upon John the Baptist, who is not Elijah but the Voice in the Wilderness, to bare record that Jesus is the Son of God. From the latest gospel writer, John, then the conclusion is that Jesus is the Messiah because John bare record of it. And John the Baptist was he who was prophesied to precede the Messiah as a voice in the wilderness per Isaiah. Thus, very fittingly the Gospel of John begins:
John 1.6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
1.7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.
1.14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.
1.15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, he that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
1.16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
1.17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The man who wrote this gospel appears to have believed the same things Paul taught: namely that by faith alone, not works, one is Saved. And one is saved through the grace of Jesus in offering his blood sacrifice for the atonement of our sins, past and future. If you have faith that Jesus died for your sins, and if you are baptized to signify you are reborn in his spirit, you then are alive in his spirit, of his body, and therefore saved by Grace. While this may be exactly the way the modern ministry see their Salvation, and preach it, the fact is — and we have demonstrated it widely — Peter, James, and the other apostles in Jerusalem would add one significant point to this thesis: One's works determine Salvation, or eternal life with Jesus, and faith without works is death. Peter did not preach Salvation by Grace; rather he was a faithful follower of Messiah Jesus, who is the Son of God, and obedient to the Law of Moses. The writer of the Gospel of John takes exception to this point of view and adds: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, as if Moses and Jesus are in competition or conflict with one another, or that Moses's Torah did not offer grace and truth!
Again, we see that the writer, John, was in perfect agreement with Paul, that the Torah no longer applies and is now waxed away. The gospel was addressed to Gentiles and its writer would have known it would infuriate the Jews. Any Jew, such as Peter or the Apostles in Jerusalem, who would have read this gospel ought to have had the sense to ask this writer whether Jesus is he whom Moses prophesied and whether there is any truth in Jesus fulfilling prophesies which are not true! Again, we know that the writer of the Gospel of John knew that Jesus stood before the pharisees in Jerusalem and affirmed that he is the one of whom Moses prophesied (John 5.46). The Gospel of John, incidentally, is the only one that reports this statement of Jesus.
These details and others like them, how the Messiah is the fulfillment of prophesy and the Torah's expectations, suggest that the writer of the Gospel of John was not altogether familiar with Old Testament Scriptures. He, in fact, appears to be a Gentile, but this also may be suspect, because of many correlations of ideas between John's Gospel and that of the Dead Sea Scrolls: i.e., how the light of God is the Word and how the Word becomes flesh. This idea, however, is a precept of the Adam and Eve stories as well. Here John appears to be quoting scriptures that are not now in the Bible and therefore he quoted them in vain.
Although Peter, James, and John were upon the mount together, confirmed by all three synoptic gospels plus Peter's Second epistle, 1.17, and though the record shows a united view that God spoke out of the cloud to them telling them Jesus is his son, this alone did not seem to be adequate evidence upon which to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. We say this because John should have reported it in his gospel, rather than relying upon John the Baptist's testimony, which was in dispute. Anyone who had read the three synoptic gospels would see that they are not in agreement as to whom John the Baptist really thought he was, whom Jesus thought he was, or whom the disciples thought either were. Furthermore, the disciples of John the Baptist are recorded to have gone to the Baptist and complained that Jesus was baptizing also. The complaint significantly testifies of the common understanding — at least among John the Baptist's disciples — that Jesus was not equal to the Baptist. The gospels show the Baptist affirming that Jesus is truly greater and that whatsoever God has set will be done.
Unlike Mark, which seems not to be embroiled in issues justifying that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God, Matthew and Luke add more evidence controverting any questions suggesting that Jesus is not the one prophesied to come to redeem Israel and the world. So now in pursuit of more evidence we turn to genealogy.