4/2/2010 The Son of Man, exploring the Biblical concept
A Commentary on Immanuel
The Gospel of Truth
by Mel West
The Genealogical Record
Line 28 — Both Matthew and Luke offer the position that John the Baptist is Elijah. In Luke the birth of John was prophesied to his father and mother; furthermore it adds that the mothers of Jesus and John were cousins. Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, is a priest of the temple — a pretty important man — and an angel visits him to tell him that he will be the father of a son who shall go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah. Luke adds that Mary, the Baptist's Aunt, left Nazareth and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth in Judah. The fetus, which is John, in Elizabeth's womb, jumped when it saw Mary. Then Elizabeth gave birth to her son and Zacharias made a speech how God hath visited and redeemed Israel. Here the author has concluded that, through John, God will have redeemed Israel. The Christian conclusion is, in fact, that Jesus is the Redeemer. But as concerning Jesus being the Redeemer who restores the Tabernacle, temple, etc., such considerations do not apply. These do not apply because the temple was standing when Jesus came on the scene. So the Redeemer Messiah who is prophesied to restore the temple and the Tabernacle is not the Messiah Jesus claimed to be. Yet the gospel accounts thought He was the Redeemer. We see a suggestion, however, in Peter's Second epistle, that the Second Coming of Jesus is the actual coming of the Redeemer.
II Peter 3.1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.
3.2 that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3.3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers walking after their own lusts,
3.4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
3.7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
3.13 Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
This compares to Isaiah's Promise of the Latter Days:
Isaiah 65.17 For, behold, I create New Heavens and a New Earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
65.18 But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
65.19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
65,20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
65.21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
65.22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
65.23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
65.24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
65.25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpentÕs meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
Peter has here recalled the very essence of the Promise we have repeatedly seen among the prophets: the day of Peace and the reign of the King Messiah out of Jerusalem, where there shall be never a Tabernacle that shall be torn down and a flame by night and a smoke by day, etc. Paul, we have seen, would object to this thesis, in as much as he has passed the inheritance of the Jews on to the Gentile and condemned the Jews and their Laws. Paul's concept of the Last Days was, in fact, more of an abandonment of the earth to fire and the translation of all the Saved in Jesus to Heaven. He believed that there would first be a falling away from the church before the coming of the Lord, and then when He comes the Lord Jesus would be met (in Rapture) by the Saved in the clouds and taken to heaven to avoid the fire to come. Peter affirms that though there will be a fire come upon the earth as prophesied (the gospels confirm Jesus quoting the same), when the day of the Lord comes it really is a Promise of a New Heavens and New Earth. The Promise would have to entertain the other promises which went with it, that God would reign from Jerusalem and a new temple would be built. Jesus would have to bring the temple and see to the restoration of the Tabernacle. This would be the expected point of view of Peter, since he was a Jew still worshipping in the Temple; and it in fact happens to be the thesis of the passage of Isaiah Peter quoted in his epistle. Probably because of this passage and other passages in the same epistle which tend to strike back at Gentile denunciation of Judaism, this epistle has become, for some scholars, not an authentic epistle of Peter. The idea here is that anything which tends to discredit Paul's thesis would be discredited itself. The best way to discredit something of Peter is to deny it originated from Peter, thereby making Peter more in line with Paul's point of view.
Peter believed, however, that Jesus was the thing which caused our stony hearts to be flesh and was the Word of God put in our hearts, as Paul also taught. As a consequence he would have also adopted the view that our bodies are now the Tabernacle of the Lord. He certainly could not condemn worship in the temple or a future worship in a restored Tabernacle, however, since it would have gone against his doctrine that the Law of Moses must be upheld. Regardless, we can see him comparing his new body born through the blood of Jesus, as a New Tabernacle:
II Peter 1.12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
1.13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
1.14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
This echoes Odes 8 & 9 of the Wisdom of Solomon:
Or who can decide what the Lord wills?
For the calculations of mortals are timid,
And our designs are likely to fail,
For a perishable body weighs down the soul,
And its earthy Tent burdens the thoughtful mind.
Psalm 19.4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
19.5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Peter commented how he would one day put off his Tabernacle as the Lord had showed him. There is something remembered in the Gospels which recalls eter's death and oddly enough it is in the Gospel of John:
John 21.18 [the Spirit of Jesus prophesying] Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
21.19 This spake he, signifying by what death he (Peter) should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, follow me.
Tradition has it that Peter was crucified in Rome. John's gospel seems to remember that event in as much as it points out the prophesy directed to Peter's death, whereas the other gospels are silent. Had Peter been crucified in Rome it would give the writer of the Gospel of John good reason to remember how Jesus had prophesied Peter's death.
Line 39 — Jesus is a son of David, son of Joseph, who is the son of Jacob, etc. Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ is of the seed of David according to his gospel (II Timothy 2.8). The gospel of Matthew begins with the phrase, The Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. The corresponding verse in Mark recounts the story of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is yet another reason to suspect that the actual Gospel of Paul was the Gospel of Matthew; and Paul may have had his hand involved in writing it.
Luke disagrees with Jesus' heritage. He says that Jesus is (as supposed) the son of Joseph who is the son of Heli; therefore contradicting the record of Matthew. These, then, are two opposing genealogical records and may be the cause by which Paul was tempted to utter his complaint against those who followed fables and false genealogies. Because of Paul's (though infrequent) references to gospel accounts recorded only in Matthew, and since Matthew begins with a genealogical account, we suspect that Paul was not criticizing the Gospel of Matthew but that of Luke. We shall find he had good reason to object to the Gospel of Luke, for it not only caused arguments over Jesus's heritage and proof of being a Son of David, it also was more biased towards the Jewish point of view. That is, it would probably have been used by the Hebrews. We recall that Luke ends his gospel saying,
Luke 23.52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
23.53 and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Here is a record of pious Jews, like Peter and the Apostles, worshipping Jesus and continually praising God in the temple. The record does not appear to have been written by a Gentile biased towards Paul's point of view, which denounced the temple and the Law of Moses; and its authorship by a friend and companion of Paul, Luke the medical doctor, seems to be a contradiction to the very essence of the Gospel of Luke, which is an endorsement of Judaism. Paul's writings were dedicated against Judaism, on the other hand, to getting the Jews to give up their Laws of Moses and substitute Jesus for the temple.
Line 58 — Three Wise Men came with offerings to Jesus who is born in Bethlehem, Judaea, where David the King was born, and where the Messiah is prophesied to be born. Luke corrects Matthew and records the account as three Shepherds coming to witness the birth of Jesus. There is a major difference between the story of the Three Wise Men who came from the East to worship at the feet of Jesus and three local shepherds finding him in the manger. The offering of the Three Wise Men, who were Kings or Magi, also suggests the fulfillment of prophesy, but does not say so, since it corresponds to the offering God said in the Adam and Eve story, he would receive when His Word visits the earth:
Adam and Eve 31.2 For I will come and save thee; and kings shall bring me when in the flesh, gold, incense and myrrh; gold as a token of My Kingdom; incense as a token of My Divinity; and Myrrh as a token of My Suffering and of My Death.
This compares to Matthew:
Matthew 2.11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
These gifts are insignificant to the Gentile. The Gospel of Matthew was addressed to the Gentile and it is strange that it does not explain what the significance of the gifts were. It may assume the readers are familiar with the promise made in the Adam and Eve story; it may have expanded on this promise and then been edited out by later editors. What Matthew's motives for listing these gifts were are difficult to ascertain. But it is clear that Luke does not go along with the presentation, reducing his version of the story to mere Shepherds making their visit and then going out into the world to proclaim the good news that the King is born.
Frankincense came from Arabia and was a gum-like substance which, when dried, became brittle. It was used as we use incense today, by lighting it and burning it to release its most agreeable perfumes. Priests to this very day light a multitude of incense burners in the small (and dingy) sanctuary in Bethlehem which is believed to be the manger site.
Myrrh is an oily substance made from the gum of certain trees. It is bitter to the taste but can be used as perfume. It is the oil of holy ointment mentioned in Exodus 30.23 which was used in anointing the Tabernacle of the congregation and its Ark and furnishings. With it were Aaron and his sons also anointed. Samuel probably used myrrh in anointing Saul and David as Kings of Israel. When Jesus was on the cross, Mark records:
Mark 15.23 And they gave him wine mingled with myrrh and he received it not.
This compares to our Promise in the Adam and Eve story:
Adam and Eve 8.18 Then, after a long time, the city in which the gold, the incense, and the myrrh are found with my body, shall be plundered. But when it is spoiled, the gold the incense, and the myrrh shall be taken care of with the spoil that is kept; and naught of them shall perish, until the Word of God, and man shall come; when kings shall take them, and shall offer to Him, gold in token of His being King; incense, in token of His being God of heaven and earth; and myrrh, in token of His passion.
8.19 gold also, as a token of His overcoming Satan, and all our foes; incense as a token that He will rise from the dead, and be exalted above things in heaven and things in the earth; and myrrh, in token that He will drink bitter gall; and feel the pains of hell from Satan.
This compares to Psalm 69:
Psalm 69.21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Matthew corrects Mark, not knowing the significance of the wine mingled with myrrh, and adjusts the record to agree with Psalm 69, so that the scripture could be fulfilled, saying:
Matthew 27.34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
Here, then, we have an obvious attempt to trim the gospel record to reflect accounts which show Jesus fulfilling prophesy. Mark's account, which thing Matthew used as a guide in writing his account, was not adequate to the prophesy. Mark's Gospel responded to the Adam and Eve story but it did not address the approved prophesies. Luke appears to have taken a more accurate presentation of the truth by saying they offered him up vinegar on a sponge and he probably thought it unnecessary to mention whether Jesus spit it out or not. This appears to be the perspective of the writer of Luke, in fact, who is writing a record for posterity but not attempting to tailor that record to reflect that Jesus fulfilled prophesy. Whereas Matthew is concerned about mentioning how Jesus fulfilled prophesy, Luke is silent on these matters. He follows Matthew's and Mark's lead by mentioning those scriptural events but, like Mark, hesitates to mention how a particular event fulfilled prophesy. Thus, having mentioned the offering of vinegar, Luke goes on to say how they parted Jesus's garments. Matthew, again, relates this to prophesy, whereas Mark and Luke take the conservative path of leaving off the need to fulfill prophesy.
In any event, there is a gospel dispute as to whether it was myrrh put in wine or gall in vinegar or just vinegar that was offered up to Jesus. It is hard to imagine that the crucifixion scene would include participants who happened to have wine with them. Perhaps the gospel writers would have us believe that the Roman centurions always carried a wineskin on them. It would be harder still to believe that someone at the scene had vinegar, unless, of course, it was a common practice of taunting the crucifixion victims with vinegar. This may be the actual case. As to the mixing of it with gall we might lean to Mark's observation, that they put myrrh in the mixture offered up to Jesus. We arrive at this conclusion because the Sabbath was approaching and those crucifying Jesus and the other two men would have probably brought some ointments for preparing the body with them. And we know by tradition the tomb in which Jesus was placed was nearby the crucifixion scene. That tomb was chosen for two reasons, we are told. The first reason is that it was owned by Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man, who persuaded Pontius Pilate to give him the body. Joseph, who is mentioned in all of the gospels, but in more detail in the Gospel of John, was a secret disciple of Jesus, visiting him by night, and probably Nicodemus visited Jesus with him. We suspect they were father and son. They are the most mysterious figures in the Bible and it is through Joseph of Arimathaea, who later settled in Britain, that the story of King Arthur and the Round Table derive their lineage and history.
Whereas the gospels describe Joseph of Arimathaea taking custody of the body of Jesus, we are compelled to wonder why JesusÕs family, which we saw through Zacharias is related to the priesthood of the temple, did not take custody of his body. Neither did Aunt Mary and her husband, Cleopas, take possession of the body, and they lived in a large house in Bethany and were of substantial means. Certainly the family had its own family tomb. What about the empty spot vacated by Lazarus, Jesus's uncle? Or perhaps it is logical to think that Jesus could have been laid in the same tomb as Joseph, his father, though that tomb may have been in Nazareth. Jesus could just as easily been placed on a litter and carried to Lazarus's tomb (not far from the site of the crucifixion) as to the tomb nearby the hill of Golgotha. I should think that Uncle Lazarus and Aunts Martha and Mary ought to have put up a big stink over Jesus being placed in someone else's tomb. We suspect that Joseph of Arimathaea was a relative of Jesus, thus explaining why his tomb was offered.
According to John 19.39 Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, who were leaders in the Sandhedrim, brought Jesus to the tomb together with embalming ointments, myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. This tells us two things. They had myrrh with them and probably had it standing at the grave site, which was near the cross. The story also suggests that the two men carried Jesus alone into the tomb and rolled a stone across the entrance. If the two men were alone, then we also know the two men by themselves rolled the stone in front of the tomb to close it. And this would controvert stories that suggest that the stone in front of the tomb was too hard for just a few men to move, enabling the thesis that no one could have easily robbed the body from the tomb during the night, something we will discuss later.
According to the Gospel of John, 19.29, Jesus was given vinegar to drink, which was put in a sponge and raised up to him on a hyssop or reed. Jesus did not refuse it according to this account. Luke agrees but Matthew has the Romans giving Jesus vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when he had tasted thereof he would not drink.
The Virgin Birth
No prophesy in the Bible carries more mystery in it than the prophesy of Isaiah concerning the sign of the Virgin. We have seen that it is a Sign which appears before the nation is put to spoil, turning the land into briers and thorns, and the people scattered.
There is nothing in the gospel accounts that suggests that Jesus knew he was born of a Virgin. Neither does Paul seem to be impressed that Jesus is born of a Virgin.
As it happens to have turned out, the story of the Virgin birth seems to have been an added thought, confirming that Jesus was the Messiah, and introduced without giving too much consideration to the other arguments already offered in the gospel. For instance in both Matthew and Luke (Mark did not mention the Virgin Birth, which thing is shocking to our point of view, since the Virgin Birth is so significant) a considerable genealogical argument is made as to Jesus's history, that He is first born of a Virgin, Mary, and comes from the line of David. The argument of the Virgin and the argument of Jesus's lineage, as offered in the gospels, fight each other. For Jesus's inheritance from David is traced through Joseph the Carpenter, who by admission of the Virgin Story, is not Jesus's father. So the two gospels of Matthew and Luke make a lot to do of Jesus's genealogy through Joseph the Carpenter without giving thought to the fact that Joseph could not be Jesus's father if Mary were a Virgin. The two accounts, laying side by side in the gospels, causes us to wonder how much thought really went into the writing of them. Had the writers thought about what they had been writing, concerning the lineage through Joseph, they would have realized they had spent a lot of time researching something which was completely irrelevant to Jesus's inheritance. What they ought to have done is traced the lineage of Mary.
By the time the theologicians realized the problem of the inheritance of Jesus it was too late to do anything about it. The gospels had been out and taunted as the Word of God. So others tried to expand upon the Genealogy of Mary, focusing on her lineage to David, but such gospels, such as the The Infancy Gospel of James, were so lately written that they could offer no concrete information on Mary's background. Had the Gospel been written by James — who was the brother of Jesus and son of Mary also—we would have been told precisely the lines of begats from Anna, Mary's mother, and Joachim, Mary's father, back to David. But even this gospel, which gives us more information about Mary than we had in the other gospels, cannot recall any further back than to Jesus's grandfather!
Line 56 — Mark is not aware that Jesus is born of a Virgin. Matthew makes a case that Jesus is born of a Virgin thereby fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah. Again,the Virgin is a Sign of God given before Israel is scattered and the land turned into briars and thorns. We also note that the following prophesy concerning the Visitation of the Messiah who is Wonderful, Counsellor, Prince of Peace, begins with the introduction:
Isaiah 9.5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
9.6 For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
This compares to previous verses on the Virgin:
Isaiah 7.14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a Sign; Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
7.23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.
7.24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
The Virgin and her son, whose name is Immanuel, who is later described as the Prince of Peace are signs which appear before Israel is scattered and the land put to desolation. This may not have had any significance to the gospel writers: Luke ends his gospel with the disciples of Jesus continuing worshipping in the temple; Mark ends his gospel with a statement that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. We wonder how that writer knew that; he could have been less zealous and prefaced his comment by saying, "we believe Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the father." Then too Mark notes how the disciples spread out, doing mighty works, like lifting up serpents and speaking in tongues, which things are oblivious to the other gospel writers. This area of Mark, as suggested earlier, is probably a much later interpolation by some zealous priest patronizing the deity of Jesus at the expense of the truth.
The Virgin Birth produced a controversy the early gospel writers would not have considered. First of all, both Matthew and Luke attempt to establish that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Apocryphal gospels, such as the The Infancy Gospel of James, were later written to establish greater detail on the background of the Virgin.
Introducing the Virgin into the picture allowed the gospel writers to point to the prophesy concerning her and legitimatize Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God via that vehicle. Matthew introduces the Virgin story and Luke expanded upon it. Joseph, we learn, was an old man when he married Mary, and Jesus became their firstborn son, born out of wedlock. For we are told that Joseph took Mary his espoused wife, who was great with child, to Bethlehem, Judah, where Jesus was at that time born.
In the Apocryphal Infancy Gospel of James we learn that Mary's father, Joachim, was a rich man in Nazareth and married her mother Anna who was a widower and without child. When Anna gave birth it was in Bethlehem, however, even though her husband's business and home was in Nazareth. Because of the fact that Anna was barren and old when she gave birth, Anna had previously promised God that she would dedicate (her future child) Mary to the Temple or synagogue. Mary was dedicated to the temple and served the ministry; and it came to pass that Mary came of age and the priests decided to put Mary out for marriage. She was offered to the oldest descendents of David, and among those who contested for her hand was Joseph the Carpenter. Joseph was the eldest among the sons of David and protested taking Mary, as he was then an old man. In the Gospel of John we find that Joseph the Carpenter had a brother who married the other Mary of Bethany, sister of the Virgin Mary.
When we examine the arguments explaining how Joseph came to be betrothed to Mary and how his lineage traced back to David, being even the oldest unmarried son of David then living, we see the perpetual problem plaguing the gospel writers. They are always caught up in tracing Joseph's lineage, which is totally irrelevant to the Sign of the Virgin and can only be relevant should it be demonstrated that he is the father and the Virgin was not really a Virgin after she conceived Jesus. During their betrothal Mary got pregnant. The gospels worry the story to no end to show that her pregnancy was by God and not by the poor, embarrassed carpenter Joseph. In spite of these renderings concerning Mary's virginity, however, the Masoretic version of the Bible describes the Virgin simply as a Maiden. A maiden in the English language is usually understood to be a Virgin. A young girl under the old English ways was certainly expected to be a virgin if she were called a maiden. To this day maidens in the English language are understood to be virgins.
In any event the Masoretic version of the Bible takes issue with the sign of the Virgin mentioned by Isaiah and calls it the Sign of the Maiden, simply suggesting that a young unmarried girl gives birth to a son called Immanuel, whose name means, God is with us. This may not be the first instance of an anointed of God being born as a bastard, we might add. David's son, Solomon, may have been conceived out of wedlock to Bathsheba, the wife of David's general, Uriah [meaning light]. According to II Samuel 12, the child conceived by Bathsheba out of wedlock was not Solomon and that child was killed by God (so that God's name would not be disparaged). For in order to hide the adultery and legitimize the son in her womb, David ordered Bathsheba's husband to the front lines to be killed whilst he married Bathsheba. After the death of the illegitimate child, Solomon was then conceived, so the story goes. However, there is a chance that Solomon may have been that illegitimate child: we refer to I Kings 1.21 where Bathsheba complains to David — on his deathbed — that she and Solomon might be counted as offenders. Offenders of what? Bathsheba was an offender because she was an adulteress and caused her husband's death. Solomon could not have been an offender unless he was that bastard child causing Uriah's death.
Further light is shed on this in the epitaph, father of the fatherless. The derivation of the Sign of the Virgin may be a composite structure ordered from the memory of the illegitimate child of David (whose death was for David's sin) and the precept, father of the fatherless, given to the Messiah. A father of the fatherless can come about through two ways: He dies and leaves His child fatherless or He conceives the child out of wedlock. Immanuel, of Isaiah 7.14, is conceived out of wedlock. However, in chapter 53 of Isaiah we are shown a Messiah of whom God says, It pleased me to bruise him (for the sins of Israel); further light is shed in Isaiah 54.4, where God addresses Israel as His Widow. The links to the Widow and the Bruised Son of a Maiden cover both sides of our argument, how God's Messiah can be viewed as a Father of the Fatherless! The precept of the Virgin, then, comes with substantial thought given unto it and follows precepts already experienced in the history of the sons of Israel. We should like to check further, however, on the origin of the term Father of the fatherless.
There has been much controversy over the true nature of Jesus's parentage. Matthew and Luke argued over Joseph, his father's lineage. This at least suggests that they were not aware that Jesus was born of a Virgin. From the standpoint of a Virgin Birth such an argument tracing Jesus's lineage through Joseph has no meaning. So the true account of Jesus's lineage, as being a son of David, to be the True Messiah, depends upon his mother, Mary. Since Luke mentions that Mary had to go to Bethlehem with Joseph, though she was at the time pregnant and about to enter travail, we have testimony here that Mary was a daughter of David.
The fact that Mary is recorded to be betrothed to Joseph and pregnant is not a light issue in Judaic Law. In Deuteronomy we are told:
Deut. 22.23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
22.24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighborÕs wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
22.25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.
22.26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
22.27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
Clearly, according to the Law, Joseph ought to have been stoned — if Mary had gotten pregnant in the field, and not in the city, then she would be saved from being stoned.
The Apocryphal Infancy Gospel of James tries to examine all the alternatives which the synoptic gospels do not discuss and attempts to put forward an argument that Mary was examined even after birth to still be a Virgin. Again, amongst the Gentile such arguments would fall on deaf ears, since they would not know the Law; but to the Hebrews the mere suggestion that Jesus is born of a Virgin conjures up a raft of problems which have to be addressed and explained away. Questions come up: How did Joseph come to be betrothed to Mary? How do we know Joseph and she had not lain together before marriage? How do we know Joseph was a son of David? (He was the first in line of the line of David) and why is his lineage relevant when the Messiah traces his lineage through the Virgin Mother? And what are the details concerning Mary's mother and father, their status and their lineage?
By the time these gospels were written, and the questions on the Virgin Birth could be asked, the heritage of Mary had been forgotten. All that is mentioned is that she is a cousin of Elizabeth who is married to a Levite and herself a Levite. This would make Mary part Levite and part of Judah/David. At most, then, assuming Mary is of the line of David, Jesus is half and half: half of David and half of Levi. This, in turn, coincides with the precept of the Dead Sea Scrolls that Two Messiahs will come: one a priest, of Aaron (Levi) and the other a lay-king of David. The Oral Torah maintains this tradition somewhat, but envisioning one of the Messiahs, Messiah ben Joseph, to be on the priestly order, and Messiah ben David, who follows him, of the lay-king order.
The Gospel of Luke sort of develops this thesis: the duality of the Messiahs, when he records the speech of Zacharias, as he was filled with the Holy Ghost:
Luke 1.67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
1.68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people.
1.69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
1.70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
1.71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.
1.72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
1.73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
1.74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
1.75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
1.76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
1.77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
1.18 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us,
1.79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
This compares to Psalm 23:
Psalm 23.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
23.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
23.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Line 1503 — Luke 21.20 and when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21.24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be led away captive to all the nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Scholars suggest that Luke was written after the destruction of the temple. If so, we wonder why Luke did not dwell upon the fact that the Virgin and her son are Signs of Desolation. We conclude that LukeÕs gospel existed and was used among the Hebrew congregation well before the destruction of the temple and the scattering of the Jews, thus ending its story with the Apostles still worshiping in the temple. He concludes his gospel with the apostles [still] worshipping in the temple.
He shall be called a Nazarene
Line 81 — Matthew mentions that after Joseph left Bethlehem, fleeing Herod's order to kill the Messiah candidates, Joseph took up residence in his home town of Nazareth. We suggest it was his home town, though not born there, because it seems to be a colony to which Joseph and Mary's family migrated. Connected with Joseph's move to Nazareth, Matthew says a prophesy was fulfilled. Namely he relates , and He shall be called a Nazarene, in the context of Judges 13.5 and I Samuel 1.11: He shall be called a Nazarite.
Judges 13.5 refers to Samson, saying that preceding the birth of Samson was the prophesy that he, the child, Samson, would be the deliverer of Israel from the Philistines and that he would be called a Nazarite unto God. By referencing this prophesy to Jesus the gospel writer revealed his bias to the Types and Shadows doctrine of Barnabas and Paul. Making the connection of Jesus to Samson's personal prophesy cannot be made without adopting the thesis that Samson was a type of Jesus and his type of being prophesied to be a Nazarene applies to Jesus. With difficulty we restrain ourselves from making humor out of this when we review the direction Matthew is trying to take us; for Matthew made a slip in the use of the word Nazarene (we also made the same mistake and can thus appreciate a humor in it). The word applied to Samson is a Nazarite and a Nazarite is described in the book of Numbers:
Numbers 6.1 When either man or woman separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord; he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink and shall drink no vinegar..all the days of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled..all the days of his separation he shall be Holy unto the Lord..and on the eighth day he shall bring two turtle-doves to the priest..and shave the head of his separation and put it in the fire..and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.
Samson was a Nazarite, not a Nazarene. We recall the story how his strength was through the fact that he did not drink nor did he cut his hair. He fell in love with Delilah, a Philistine woman, and she persuaded him to tell her how he got his enormous strength. He finally was cajoled into telling her that he would be like any ordinary man if his hair were cut. She conspired with the Philistine leaders to cut his hair and thereby reduced him to their prisoner, blinding him in the process.
John the Baptist could have been regarded as a Nazarite, since he is remembered as wearing rough animal skins, living in the desert on locusts and honey, like a Nazarite, and drinking no strong drink. We know this because the pharisees came to Jesus and asked him how it was that he and his disciples fasted not and drink wine whilst John the Baptist and his disciples avoided strong drink and fasted regularly:
Line 350, Matthew 9.13 Jesus replied, I have come to call sinners into repentance.
Luke 5.34 Jesus answered, Can ye make the children of the bridegroom fast while the groom is with them?
This accusation does tell us two things: John the Baptist from many respects met the criteria of a Nazarite. Jesus was contrasted with him and, from the standpoint of being a wine imbiber, Jesus could not have been remotely considered a Nazarite. Yet we have seen above that Matthew attempts to identify Jesus as such and, in so doing, makes a stupid mistake of calling a Nazarite a Nazarene, which thing any priest ought to pick up as being representative of someone who knows little of the Jewish religion:
Line 80 - Joseph moved to Nazareth and this fulfilled the prophesy, Òhe shall be called a Nazarene."
Again the prophesy which Matthew was quoting had nothing to do with the Messiah but rather a historical Messiah Deliverer, Samson, of whom prophesy foretold he would be a Nazarite. Matthew did not know the difference between a Nazarite and a Nazarene. For this reason and others we suggest that Matthew was a knowledgeable man in Scripture, doing his best to portray Jesus as the Son of God, justified through fulfillment of Scripture, but became overzealous, as men tend to be in advancing a new idea, and got caught in his own zealousness for prophesy.
The religion which stemmed from Jesus was initially called by the name of Nazarenes, meaning that religion of the Nazarene, Jesus. But confusing as languages can be in translation, we ought to have expected the people from Nazareth to be called Nazarites! The people of Jerusalem, for instance, were called Jebusites; those of Bethlehem, Bethlehemites, etc.; so one not familiar with Jewish conventions might make the mistake of calling a person from Nazareth a Nazarite. But the gospels clearly call Jesus a Nazarene, meaning he is from Nazareth.
How Nazareth came to receive its name is open to question. Perhaps it was founded by an early colony of Nazarites who wished to separate themselves, as perhaps along the order of the Essenes along the Dead Sea. Some scholars suggest that Nazareth could not have been a very large town in Jesus's day. To this day it is a small community.
Ignoring Matthew's mistake, Smith's Bible Dictionary suggests that the appellation of a Nazarene for Jesus came from the Hebrew word for Shoot, or Branch, which is Ne'tser. It refers to the Branch or Shoot of Jesse and thus calling Jesus a Nazarene recalls that He is that Promised Branch. The Branch is promised to build the Temple of the Lord, which is, we suspect, something which modern Christian Scholars, in following Paul's guidance, would resist:
Again, Smith's error comes from the Types and Shadow's doctrine, giving Jesus the credit of being the Shoot but denying his Jewish heritage and obligations in fulfilling prophesy. So we ask our ministry to read Zechariah, one more time:
Zechariah 6.12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord.
Jesus, of course, could not have been that Messiah, as the Temple was still standing in His time! We appreciate Smith's acknowledgment of the Branch, as a Messianic expectation, and know that they will correct their understanding of the Shoot to reflect its proper time: when Israel is restored and its Temple restored along with it. They may, of course, fall back on the types and shadows thesis that Jesus is now our temple, and continue resisting the confirmation of the restoration of either the Tabernacle or the Temple, as promised in prophesy.
We suspect that the traditional view for the origin of the term Nazarite comes from the Hebrew word for the long hair of a Nazarite: n'etzer. We conclude that not all Nazarites are Nazarenes and probably few Nazarenes became Nazarites. We base this on the saying of Philip, when He heard that a prophet had come out of Galilee. To understand the Nazarite we must keep in mind that they are most Holy and Separated unto God, like Samson, like John the Baptist; and they can be either man or woman. And they cannot drink either wine or vinegar. Serving vinegar to a Nazarite would be an insult to God.
John 1.45 Philip findeth Nathanael and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
1.46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Note that we can apply the term, "separated unto God" to the scatttered children of Israel. When the term of their separation is fulfilled (or when the time of the Getnile is fulfilled), then they become "reinstated" unto God.
Although prophesy did suggest that the Messiah would bring light to Galilee (re: the people of Zabulon and Nephthalim saw a great light), the general attitude was that the Messiah must come out of Judah.
John 1.47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
1.48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
1.49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
1.50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.
1.51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. [re: Jacob's Ladder, Genesis 28.12]
Finally Jesus had met a man from Israel who presumably could be trusted, so the Gospel suggests. This group of verses not only point to a Gentile writer, who sees only craftiness in Jews, but also reconfirms the statement that no prophet can come out of Galilee. Deuteronomy 17.14 and Exodus 18.20 point out that whether it be a King or prophet raised up to Israel he shall be chosen of their brethren. In the dialogue between Nathanael and Jesus we have one of Israel confronting a Galilean, which was at that time under the Tetrarchy of Herod who was over Galilee and Syria.
The Galileans were considered foreigners as their territory, originally given to Naphtali, was bequeathed to Tyre by Solomon and later occupied by foreigners. Isaiah confirms the attitude that Galilee is a foreign territory:
Isaiah 9.1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zabulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations (Gentile).
Matthew 4.13 draws upon this prophesy and cites how Jesus brought that light to Galilee when he came and dwelt in Capernaum. At this time and place, says Matthew, Jesus began his ministry and encountered Peter, James, and John fishing. All of the prophesies of the Messiah sent as a light to enlighten the Gentiles can presumably be related to Jesus through his Galilean (Gentile) Ministry here.
The place was a valley in the shadow of death, for it was the main route from Syria to Jerusalem and on to Egypt. The Galileans were the first to be defeated in war and were not only a rich agricultural area, worthy of conquest on this score alone, but also the gateway for invading armies moving either north or south. Passing through this gateway, heading south west to the rich plains of Palestine and Gaza one would go through the valley of Megiddo (which place means crowded), where the troops in the battle of Armageddon are prophesied to meet. In the Jewish Wars we are reminded of the strategic significance of Galilee. Josephus tells us that he was a governor in Galilee and was one of the first captured by the Roman army in their march to put down the rebellion in Palestine. Once the Romans defeated Galilee they marched on to Jerusalem, with the inhabitants fleeing to that city in the shock wave before them.
The prophesies of the Latter Days show, in fact, Gog and Magog invading from the north and coming into the plain of Esdrelon at Megiddo. The route, once again, leads through Syria into Galilee.
So Jesus, though being a Jew, looked upon Nathanael as an Israeli, which province typically involved Samaria. The Samaritans were held in contempt by the Jews because they left their first love and raised up temples to Baal. They were punished for their apostasy by Assyria's king taking them into captivity. Two hundred years later the cities of Judah were carried off into captivity for the same reasons. We note the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable is about the people of Israel who were generally called by their leading city Samaria, begun under King Jeroboam. In the Gospel of John Jesus leaves Judaea for Galilee but needs must go through Samaria. Samaria in the context used would be Israel, the northern province. In that parable Jesus offers the definition of a neighbor in reference to the commandment to do unto thy neighbor as one would have done unto thyself. The question drawing out the parable was, Who is my neighbor?
Jesus answered by picking a type of a neighbor despised by the Jews: a Samaritan, also called an Israeli. He told them how a man (of Judah) laid injured on a road and passer's by ignored him. Finally a Samaritan came along and helped the man. That good Samaritan defines what a good neighbor is: one who helps his neighbor regardless of how he feels about him. Samaritans were known for having been Jews who intermarried with the Assyrians, after the captivity of Israel. Because of this the southern province, Judah, considered them foreigners and never again regarded them as legitimate heirs of God's Kingdom; later scriptures record a continuing aggravation between the two peoples. So Nathanael was typical of the Samaritan or Israeli, in the eyes of Jesus, being one who is always plotting against the Jews. The Samaritans were always plotting against the Jews. Nathanael, on the other hand, threw a jibe at Jesus by insinuating that Galilee was held to be definitely foreign to the heirs of Abraham. Whereas Israel may have some claim to fame, the sons of Galilee are not mentioned as a source of prophets or kings. Hence, the wit of Matthew caught this; we applaud him for it, and appreciate the fact that he tied back to a prophesy which brings the Messiah's brightness shining on the Gentile. The entire wrap-up of Isaiah's prophesy, of course, focuses upon the glory of the Gentile and how they function in the Deliverance.
This is my beloved Son
We agree that all the gospels, including PeterÕs Epistle, attempt to present Jesus as the Son of God. Some, like Matthew and John, dedicate their exposition to that end. Others, like Mark and Luke, are more conservative on the issue and do not press it.
It was not a minor issue and became the major argument of the Council of Nicea, under Constantine the Great, in the fifth century A.D. Through that council the precept of the Holy Trinity was given official recognition, giving Jesus equal status in the godhead as the Son of God. This, in turn, caused further controversy concerning the Virgin Mary, who also must have been a (God forbid) goddess! The Mother of God! So the thesis of the Messiah being the Son of God is no light matter in Biblical Doctrine.
We suspect that the rabbis and scribes in Jesus's day were no more occupied with the establishment of the Messiah's Divinity than the Dead Sea Scrolls. They acknowledge His Divinity but still treat Him as a Man, not a God in His own right! Two of the Gospels, however, took the tact of establishing that Jesus is the Son of God. The argument was not really required among the Jews. They had a precept of the Messiah which gives him a special relationship to God being even, as God, or in God's Stead, on earth, or His Representative. One could argue, should one be concerned about it, that the Messiah truly would be the Son of God and one could even further argue that the Messiah is, in fact, not the Son, but God Himself. One can do this quite easily by reviewing the prophesies of Isaiah quoted above. We doubt, however, that the Son of God issue, or the God in the flesh issue, was a profound point of inquiry to the Jews. They took it for granted and therefore we need not argue the point. We saw in the Dead Sea Scrolls how Melkizedek is God in the flesh, and we saw in the Oral Torah that the Messiah carries the Name of God, El, in Him. So the Son of God issue is not really an issue from a Jew's point of view. It is a given and has significance in an argument only in respect to those who do not understand the Messiah and their God. Thus, for the Gentile's benefit, not the Jews', the Son of God became an issue which otherwise would not have been brought up.
Jesus did not call himself the Son of God. He called Himself the Son of Man, something different. We realize this is splitting hairs so to speak, but the Messiah of Daniel, who relates to the Son of Man, is not called the Son of Man but One like the Son of Man. In this context, if Jesus is the Son of Man, then the Messiah to come is One like the Son of Man! It's a startling revelation isn't it? We must be careful how we assume terms.
The Jews should not have had a problem identifying the Messiah as the Son of God, though it would have been a chore for the Messiah to claim that divine name. Prophesy, such as Isaiah, contemplates this chore. He says that the Messiah called and no one answered, that he is rejected of men, etc. So the Son of God, the Messiah, has many cards stacked against him in the fulfillment of the King Messiah and Deliverer of Israel. Revelation picks up on this theme, calling the Deliverer Messiah, at the time of the First Resurrection, The Word, whose name is known only to himself. The Messiah, then, has an impossible mission set against Him from the beginning; yet, somehow he overcomes it and becomes recognized as King Messiah.
As suggested, the Son of God issue comes into play when we start teaching the Gentile what the Son of Man means. Since Jesus called Himself the Son of Man on a consistent basis throughout all the Gospels, it is evident that in time the question would come up, Who is the Son of Man? You tell me, who is the son of Man?
You know the Scriptures by now! Who is the Son of Man?
The Son of Man is a thing which is difficult to describe to nonJews. Even most Jews would have trouble defining what is meant by the appellation. In truth we can define One like unto the Son of Man, who is one that all men bow down to in the world, who is King over all mankind. But the Son of Man leaves us cold. We have, in fact, only a few prophetic similitudes of the Son of Man upon which to rely, and they are the appellation Ezekiel called himself: The Son of Man; the appellation Daniel called himself, and the name John, writing Revelation, called himself. So, if the Son of Man is like Ezekiel, or Daniel and John, he is a prophet. One like unto the Son of Man is another like Ezekiel or Daniel! But prophesy says the Deliverer Messiah shall say I am not a prophet! But these things are too complicated, we admit, and for new converts it might be easier to translate the Son of Man issue into just the Son of God. Pagans could identify with this because they had already been accustomed to dealing with gods who were sons of gods, such as Apollo, or Adonis (Tammuz) who were vegetation gods and resurrected like Jesus. In the proselytization of pagans all one need do is convince them that there is but One God, the God of Abraham, and one attains Salvation not through Adonis but through Jesus, the Son of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son..etc. To a pagan it is far easier to explain the Son of God than such obtuse concepts as Messiah or Son of Man, who eventually are recognized as sons of God.
Let us keep these things in mind as we review the Gospel record concerning these things.
Line 151 — This is my beloved Son...All the four gospels agree that John the Baptist's baptism of Jesus was accompanied with a voice coming out of the sky saying, This is (or thou art) my Beloved Son. We have mixed emotions over how the Jews ought to have received such a statement, that Jesus is the Son of God. The theme of Jesus being the Son of God is probably not the common expectation of those who were waiting for the Messiah, but certainly the Scribes could have translated any attempt to be the Messiah as being the Son of God. We must once again temper this proposition with the fact that Peter, in his Second Epistle, remembers not this event of the Baptist as proof that Jesus is the Son of God but remembers a much later event, the Transfiguration.
Perhaps there were two levels of understanding of the Messiah. The first level would have been at the superficial, calling him another man like Moses or David. The second level, however, puts Scripture to work and causes those arguing it to agree that the Messiah is the Son of God and even God in the Flesh. On the superficial level, the Son of God is a mute point and means nothing; at the scholastic level it means a great deal and would be a blasphemy for any one to claim it.
Many men claimed to be Messiahs in the past and many false messiahs were killed, or if they were lucky, ignored by Judah.
Although we have examples in the Old Testament (only a couple to draw upon) that point to the Messiah being the Son of God, or God in the Flesh, most of the prophets treat the Messiah as if he were another man. He is lowly, riding upon an ass, the foal of an ass, for example. The prophets portray the Messiah as a simple man whose comeliness and beauty is such that no one will desire him. They all agree that mankind would not accept Him in His Divinity, because His Divinity is so common and plain. Behold, says the Scripture, and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David: and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them (Zech. 12.8).
From these hints in scripture we have been told to watch for the Messiah not as some imagined divine being but rather a common son of man. He is a plain human being, nondescript and unworthy of Divinity! Upon this the prophets all agree. We also agree and would suggest from the point of view of the Messiahs that being the Son of God is not the issue of prophesy. Fulfilling the Will of God is the objective of Scripture; and, as the Servant of God's Will, this would be the prime objective of the Messiah. And since the Messiah is merely a vehicle chosen as a means of fulfilling Scripture, having various assignments to perform, he also can be described by several names. Hence, we have several names in Old Testament prophesy, not one of which is complete enough to describe the totality of His Purpose. Though Scripture says He shall be treated Highly, and Holy, and men shall quickly come to Him, the fact remains that the name, Son of the Most High God, is not a major thing upon His mind. For He knows where His Strength comes from and that you will obey Him anyway. He, being designed as a lowly and humble being from the beginning, knows that you will not come to Him because He calls Himself by the Name of the Son of God. He knows that you will eventually come to Him because the Lord God will make you come to Him. Thus, His purpose seems to be to no avail:
Psalm 40.7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.
Psalm 139.16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in they book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Isaiah 28.11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people.
28.12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
This compares to:
Isaiah 30.27 Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire.
30.28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.
He works alone:
Isaiah 63.3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
63.4 For the Day of Vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of My Redeemed is come.
Psalm 69.20 Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul..reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none: and for comforters, but I found none.
Isaiah 53.3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
59.16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto Him; and his righteousness, it sustained Him.
Isaiah 42.2 he shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
Job 39.11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great?
Isaiah 41.28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
53.2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
2.13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Psalm 71.7 I am a wonder unto many; and thou art my strong refuge.
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.
29.10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
29.11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
29.12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
Zechariah 13.4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
Isaiah 28.5 In that day, shall the Lord of Hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His People.
Zephaniah 1.15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.
2.8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Isaiah 42.1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Habakkuk 3.5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.
Psalm 18.11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
18.12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
Psalm 27.5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His Pavilion: in the secret of His Tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.
Isaiah 51.16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the Shadow of My Hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, thou art My People.
Ezekiel 34.12 As a Shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that He is among His Sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the Cloudy and Dark Day.
Zechariah 3.8 Hear now, O Joshua, the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for They are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
Isaiah 4.2 In that day shall The Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
Zechariah 6.12 ...and behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord.
6.13 Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall be the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and He shall be a priest upon his throne: and the Counsel of Peace shall be between them both.
Jeremiah 33.14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
33.15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David: and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
33.16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called The Lord our Righteousness.
Isaiah 11.1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His Roots:
11.2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
11.3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.
11.4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the Rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips will he slay the wicked.
11.5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reigns.
11.6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid..
11.9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Ezekiel 37.27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people.
37.28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Habakkuk 3.12 thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.Ô
Isaiah 33.17 Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.
33.18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he that counted the towers?
Micah 7.11 In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.
Ezekiel 36.24 For I will take you from among the Heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your land.
36.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Isaiah 49.3 And said unto me, Thou art my Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
49.4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
49.5 And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob against to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
49.6 And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
49.8 Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
Psalm 102.16 When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.
Psalm 18.14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
Odes of Solomon 23. And his thought was like a letter: His will descended from on high, and it was sent like an arrow which is violently shot from the bow: And many hands rushed to the letter to seize it and take and read it. And it escaped their fingers and they were affrighted at it and at the seal that was upon it...but a wheel received it and came over it. And there was with it a sign of the kingdom and of the government. And everything which tried to move the wheel it mowed and cut down..the letter was one of command, for there were included in it all districts. And there was seen at its head, the head which as revealed even the Son of Truth from the most high Father. And He inherited and took possession of everything. And the thought of many was brought to nought. And all the apostates hasted and fled away. And those who persecuted and were enraged became extinct. And the letter was a great volume, that was wholly written by the Finger of God. And the name of the Father was on it, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to rule for ever and ever.
Psalm 18.16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
18.29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
Isaiah 52.8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Zechariah 13.5 But He shall say, I am no prophet, I am a husbandman: for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
13.6 And one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Isaiah 53.11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall My Righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.
52.15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
55.4 Behold, I have given Him for a Witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
59.19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun.
Jeremiah 23.5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
23.6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: And this is His Name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.
31.28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.
31.29 In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the childrenÕs teeth are set on edge.
31.30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.
31.31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
31.32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
31.33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ezekiel 11.17 Therefore, say, thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
11.18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
11.19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.
11.20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
34.22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
34.23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even my servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd.
34.24 And I the Lord will be their God, and my Servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
34.25 And I will make with them a covenant of Peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.
34.26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in His Season; there shall be showers of blessing.
36.26 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
36.25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all you idols, will I cleanse you.
36.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
36.27 And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
36.28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and shall be my people, and I will be your God.
37.24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
37.25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant... and my servant David shall be their prince forever
37.26 Moreover I will make a covenant of Peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore.
37.27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people.
37.28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when My Sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore.
Jeremiah 23.20 The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: In the Latter Days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Ezekiel 21.7 And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? That thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God.
38. 14 Therefore, Son of Man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God: In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?
Now who among you can say that the Messiah of the Latter Days is going to be concerned whether you address Him as the Son of God or not?
When we look into the Son of God usage, the title The Son of God is not used to Prove who He is. The title, as it is used in the Old Testament—which is used but a few times anyway— is as a matter of fact. But He is not to be obeyed just because He carries that title and it is ridiculous—yea naive— for one to think that the use of the Title in His Presence would make any difference to Him. Furthermore, we have seen that He is created in exceeding humility. This business of the Son of God, as we see it presented in the Gospels, as a means of flattery, is just that: overzealous scribes trying to flatter without understanding. And this issue in the Gospels is not a substance of proof but really, in essence, the fulfillment of someoneÕs ego.
The voice the gospels report coming from heaven, at the time of JesusÕs Baptism and at the time of the Transfiguration, need not have said:
This is my beloved son, hear ye Him.
But could just as easily, with just as much force, He could have said:
This is my servant, hear ye Him.
For the truth of the matter, as we have seen above, is that the Messiah Deliverer is viewed in Old Testament Prophesy as the Servant of God. The point is well presented: You would do well to listen to Him. Why? Because, in the case of the Latter Days, pestilence goes before Him and at his feet are coals of fire. He is a sign of Desolation coming at his heels. And who is desolated? The Heathen and the kings of the earth: the Gentile. And how do they know it is He, the One who Redeems Israel and restores the Temple and sets God's Sanctuary midst His People, a Tabernacle that shall never ever be taken down? You will know by the bodies spread across the earth, from one corner to the other. That is how you will know; if you have not gotten the message when you see God's Sanctuary midst his people, you will have gotten it when you see the dead bodies covering the earth.
Man attributes the Son of God appellation to Jesus to fulfill, we must assume, Jesus's ego! Now the appellation Jesus was called was Master, or Rabbi, or Lord. He responded, Why do ye call me Lord, lord, when ye do not what I say? Here, then is the perspective from the Messiah's point of view. He is intended as Lord. If you follow Him, He is Lord. If you choose to follow another He is not Lord. How then does the Son of God appellation give him any better hold on your soul?
The Jewish biased scriptures, then, tend to focus on the Messiah as a man, not God, and generally consider him to be another like Moses or David. We have seen, in fact, the declaration many times in prophesy that the Messiah is a man, another David upon the throne of Israel. And David was not considered to be the Son of God. Jesus illustrates this example by asking the pharisees how it is that David calls the Messiah Lord (except that the Messiah is more than a son of David but rather the Son of God) justifying Him to be called by David, Lord. Daniel wonders about this as well, asking how this my Lord could talk to this my Lord. We combine the passage with another, recalling how the Messiah will judge the secrets of men (as mentioned by Paul):
Daniel 2.47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of Kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
10.17 For how can the servant of this my Lord talk with this my Lord? For as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
We recall that Nathanael is shown identifying Jesus by virtue of the fact that Jesus had known he had been laying underneath a Fig Tree. Jesus revealed a secret about him. As a result Nathanael calls Jesus the Son of God. Jesus questions his prudence, since he had very little basis of judging whether Jesus was the Son of God or not. This reflects our sympathies as well.
How is it that in the midst of the Gentile country a man (or even a devil, for that matter) can see Jesus as the Son of God but the Jews, even the disciples of Jesus, had a consensus that he was a prophet? We recall that after feeding the five thousand plus on the mount Jesus asked, Whom do men say that I am? Most of those people on the mount, that saw the miracle of the five loaves, thought Jesus was a prophet! And how is it that in most of the gospel descriptions of himself Jesus, who never volunteers the title Son of God as relating to himself, reveals himself as the Son of Man?
To those who are not versed in Scripture, the Son of God might be more meaningful as a description of Divine authority than the title, Son of Man. To one versed in the Old Testament the Son of Man description becomes very meaningful. For we have seen in Daniel the definition of the Son of Man meets every expectation of a King ordained by God to rule over all men. The Son of God thesis does not necessarily carry this expectation, particularly among the pagan Gentile. Among the Gentile it was a common expectation to have to worship the latest Roman emperor as a god. The emperor Vespasian, who began the conquest of Judaea and left the clean up job to his son Titus, was made a god. Juvenal tells us that he was in fact a priest of the god Vespasian, serving in his temple, etc. Vespasian, we might add, was believed by Josephus to be the Messiah prophesied in the scriptures. Held captive midst Titus's forces, Josephus stood before the walls of Jerusalem warning the people to give up and reminded them that the Messiah would be a king who would rule over the entire world. Vespasian was filling that role pretty well and gave Josephus good cause to suggest that Vespasian is That King Messiah, even though Josephus, being a priest himself, might not really have believed it. In any event it was not difficult midst the pagan world to visualize someone as getting the credit of being a god. In the Acts of the Apostles we are shown how Paul and his companion are worshipped, by virtue of their miracles, to be gods:
Acts 14.11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
14.12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
Being a god-man in Judaea would be another matter, however. Again, we can recall DanielÕs vision of the Son of Man:
Daniel 7.13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him.
7.14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
One like unto the Son of Man shall have this everlasting dominion over all peoples and all nations. This same epitaph is found also in the Adam and Eve story and the book of Revelation. The main character, the Messiah, is one like the Son of Man. In this regard Jesus called Himself The Son of Man. We ask, therefore, is The Son of Man the same character as the One like the Son of Man? Does it make any difference?
The common expectation concerning the Son of Man appellation is probably something on the order of being that of a prophet, perhaps even a special prophet of God. Since Ezekiel applied that term to himself, and John in Revelation is also addressed as Son of Man, we suspect that the common opinion of the Son of Man is one on the order of a prophet like unto Ezekiel, who is a man of common background (like David, the shepherd). Of course, we must add that in most cases where Jesus uses the Son of Man he addresses it to the claim Daniel gives One Like the Son of Man, which is the divinely anointed World Ruler.
In Matthew 7.29 we are told that Jesus taught in the synagogue and astonished everyone, as he taught as one that had authority. Luke adds to this, saying that he read out of Isaiah 61:
Isaiah 61.1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
61.2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; then saying, This day the scriptures are fulfilled.
John has this reading taking place in the Temple. And he says the Jews marvelled, saying:
John 7.15 How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
7.16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me.
7.17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Here Jesus confirms our thesis. If you know the Will of God, you will know whether the MessiahÕs Doctrine is of God or his own. In another place Jesus responded to his critics, If you had known the Father you would have known me, etc. This precept runs through all of JesusÕs doctrine, that he could not speak of himself, but of the doctrine of God and that one could easily recognize whether he is the Messiah just by reviewing his doctrine! This relates to the psalms which say, behold, my members are all written in the book. If you know the book you would recognize me. Of course, if you knew the book, you would also recognize the Father that is in me. For my father and I are One. He is in me and I am in Him. These become arguments upon which the Messiah hangs His Righteousness.
|On this issue of Jesus not knowing how to read, or not being a man of letters, as the Gospel of John represents, we have yet another problem which we may as well bring up here. When he was in Galilee many people began to follow him. Perhaps some of them were John the Baptist's disciples and the time may have been after John's beheading. In any event, the time was right after he healed the man with a withered hand (Luke says it was his right hand — see line 367) which he did on the Sabbath. Because the pharisees were upset with him for healing on the Sabbath and because of the multitude following him, he thought to tell his disciples not to mention his activities in the streets anymore:
Matthew 12.16 He charged them not to tell the people that he had been in the streets, so that the prophesy of Isaias could be fulfilled:
Isaiah 42.1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
42.2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
42.3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
42.4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
42.6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
42.7 to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.