Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #5

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

Re-read Peter’s grand confession as recorded in the three Synoptic Gospel Records. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ (Mark 8:29). “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God (Luke 9:20). This, of course, is the Gospel of the Kingdom, that Jesus is Israel’s King-Messiah-Christ. Father God had expected the Jews to believe this “Good News” during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Now, be careful to notice how the Lord replied to Peter’s declaration of faith.

Again, all three Synoptic Gospel Records document it. “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ(Matthew 16:20). “And he charged them that they should tell no man of him (Mark 8:30). “And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;…” (Luke 9:21). Jesus ordered them, He commanded them, not to tell anyone that He was Christ. Why? Does He not want them to believe on Him? Is not this Gospel of the Kingdom the only way at the time for them to come to His Father by faith? Then, why does He mandate His disciples keep His identity secret?

Remember, this Gospel of the Kingdom has now been preached in Israel for at least three years. John the Baptist proclaimed it, Jesus Himself has preached it, and the 12 Apostles have proclaimed it. In spite of this spiritual light, darkness abounds in Israel. The nation itself is both unable and unwilling to see Jesus as Christ (Matthew 16:13,14; Mark 8:27,28; Luke 9:18,19); they have wasted their time with unbelief and spiritual silliness. Therefore, six months before Calvary, Jesus orders His disciples to stay silent concerning His identity. Essentially, “If they still have not believed, they will not believe, so leave them in their ignorance. Do not tell them who I the Son of Man am!”

Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #4

Monday, August 30, 2021

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

On another occasion, the crowds of Jesus’ audience thinned because of conviction. Although they had followed Him physically, there was no following spiritually. The conversation’s deterioration throughout the chapter shows just how willfully ignorant they are of the truth: “[Jesus speaking] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?” (John 6:63-67).

It was here—approximately the time of today’s Scripture—that “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” Jesus turned to the 12 Apostles, inquiring if they would leave Him too. “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (verses 68,69). (If you read the next two verses, Judas Iscariot, the traitor, is an exception. Like the crowd’s unbelief, his faithlessness will be soon manifested.)

Here again, Peter, spokesman of the Little Flock, has been following the Lord in faith, not mindless adherence or pretending to be a disciple when he is not. Peter has realized and openly declares he has nowhere else to turn, for only the Lord Jesus Christ has “the words of eternal life.” As in Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:29, and Luke 9:20; so Peter confessed in chapter 6 of John, “we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Let us go back to Matthew, Mark, and Luke to read Jesus’ “startling” reply….

Who is Jesus the Son of Man? #3

Sunday, August 29, 2021

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13 KJV).

Who is Jesus the Son of Man?

After inquiring about the public’s opinion concerning His identity, and hearing all the ridiculous answers, Jesus posed a second rhetorical question. “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Do the disciples know any better? Indeed! The Apostle Peter, spokesman of the 12 Apostles and the rest of the Little Flock, replies with that simple declaration, that awesome profession of faith. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ (Mark 8:29). “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God (Luke 9:20).

Peter is an honest man, one of the few spiritually-minded souls left in his nation of millions. He has studied and received his Hebrew Scriptures by faith, and in Jesus he has seen them fulfilled scores, if not hundreds, of times. Going all the way back to John the Baptist’s ministry a few years earlier, Peter heard the preaching of God the Father in regards to His Son. Peter’s brother, Andrew, had also heard Father God’s words through John. “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (John 1:40-42).

Jesus is “Christ” (Greek), “Messiah” (Aramaic), God’s “anointed” (Psalm 2:2; Acts 4:26). Peter, like the remainder of Israel’s believing remnant, understands the Son of Man is also the Son of God, occupying the unique office of Humanity and Deity. Furthermore, he titles Jesus “the Son of the living God,” as opposed to dead idols of wood and stone that the heathen worship in nearby Caesarea Philippi (Psalm 115:1-8; Psalm 135:15-18)….

Seven Men Named Before Birth #5

Friday, August 6, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As we have seen now, in each of these situations, man’s sinful flesh is at work but God’s faithfulness overcomes it. Abraham (and especially) Sarah schemed to have a child their way (through Hagar) instead of God’s way (through Sarah). Then, Hagar was punished because of the ensuing domestic conflict; regardless, God blessed Abraham’s child through Hagar, Ishmael, for the LORD “heard” (took notice) of her dire predicament.

When joyous Abraham and skeptical Sarah finally did have a son, Isaac was appropriately named because of the “laughter.” The Abrahamic Covenant now had an heir. Although King David had illicit relations with Bathsheba, and that resulting child died, the LORD was faithful in giving them another son, Solomon, whose alternate name Jedidiah meant “beloved of JEHOVAH.” It was through this boy that God would achieve the Davidic Covenant: a son of David would reign over Israel forever. King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom was a pagan idolater; he caused the 10 northern tribes to stumble in heathenism. A son of David, King Josiah, destroyed Jeroboam’s religious system and instituted spirituality “founded of JEHOVAH.”

Though idolatrous Israel deserved her Babylonian Captivity, the LORD used Cyrus King of Persia to “possess the furnace” (overthrow Babylon), thereby freeing the Jews and letting them return to the Promised Land. Father God sent John the Baptist to announce the entrance of His Son: He had not forgotten His covenants with Israel, but would “favor” them according to His grace and fulfill those promises despite the nation’s rank unbelief. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself took upon human flesh, to shed His blood and become “JEHOVAH-Saviour”—first and foremost of Israel, but ultimately for the whole world!

One final note worthy of our consideration. Looking at the list another way, we can read the following message: “Being heard of God results in laughter, JEHOVAH has beloved and founded, the furnace/oppressor is possessed/conquered, for JEHOVAH is gracious and Saviour.” These are certainly descriptive of Jesus Christ’s ministry—what He will do especially for Israel.

Seven Men Named Before Birth #4

Thursday, August 5, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

After Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, the LORD addressed Satan the serpent: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). One day, a Man would be born to completely destroy Satan’s work in creation, a Man who would reverse the ruin and take care of the sin Adam invited into the world. It would take 4,000 long years to establish His bloodline—but He would come!

Throughout the numerous centuries of the Old Testament Scriptures, Israel’s Prophets foretold of that coming Messiah/Christ, that “Anointed One,” who would fulfill all the LORD’S promises to her: “Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Remember, however, sinful Israel—like the nations or Gentiles around her—began to increasingly oppose the Creator’s will. Thus began the 400 years of God’s silence. With John the Baptist’s ministry, God again speaks to stubborn Israel: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness,…” (Mark 1:1-4).

Some 700 years following Isaiah’s prophecy, the angel told Joseph concerning his wife Mary: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS [“JEHOVAH-Saviour”]: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:21-23). God Himself was made flesh, able to shed His blood for man’s sins.

Now, we summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

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Seven Men Named Before Birth #3

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As per the fifth course of chastisement in the Law of Moses, the idolatrous nation Israel was removed from the Land of Canaan via Gentile deportations and captivities (Leviticus 26:27-46). In the case of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, Babylon was its home for 70 years, circa 606–536 B.C. (Jeremiah 25:11,12; Jeremiah 29:10,11;  2 Chronicles 36:20,21). However, before Babylon thrice invaded and ultimately conquered Jerusalem, God promised a deliverer who would defeat/possess Babylon and grant the Israelites permission to return to the Promised Land and rebuild Jerusalem and its Temple.

“That saith of Cyrus [“possess the furnace,” King of Persia], He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;…” (Isaiah 44:28–45:1). Some 150 years after Isaiah, Cyrus—also called “Darius the Median”—fulfilled this prophecy concerning him (cf. Daniel 5:30,31; Daniel 9:1,2; 2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-3).

During the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, Israel repeatedly disregarded God’s messengers and remained in unbelief. Thus, the LORD warned He would eventually stop sending preachers to Israel (Amos 8:11-14). With Malachi’s ministry concluding, the Hebrew Bible was closed circa 400 B.C. No Scriptures were written either. (This is how we know the Apocryphal books are forgeries!) Finally, after four centuries of silence, God spoke to Israel again through John the Baptist’s ministry: “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John [the Baptist, “favored of JEHOVAH”] (Luke 1:13). Even after all this time, God in His grace still favors ungrateful Israel, and will still fulfill the covenants He promised them!

Now, the last man on our list, the greatest Man, the God-Man….

Confession Confusion #6

Saturday, June 26, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

By the time of John the Baptist’s ministry and Christ’s earthly ministry, national Israel is still apostate (refusing God’s Word) but a believing remnant (the Little Flock) is confessing their sins and their forefathers’ sins. Recall Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5. Ever since Moses 16 centuries prior, Israel has failed to “do” “all that the LORD hath spoken” (Exodus 19:1-8). The Jews have been habitually idolatrous, violating their agreement with JEHOVAH God at Sinai. Experiencing the fifth course of judgment or chastisement (Leviticus 26:40-46), they must confess their sins so as to be delivered into God’s earthly kingdom and enjoy the Abrahamic Covenant! Yet, as previously noted, religious Israelites refuse to learn the lesson of the Law of Moses (see their sin problem). Regarding all other Jews “sinners,” they believe they have no sins to confess and thus refuse John’s water baptism (Matthew 3:7-9; Luke 3:7,8; Luke 7:29,30; cf. Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32).

Today’s Scripture addresses these Jews who suppose themselves to be sinless, “good enough” in their works-religion: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:7-10). First John 1:9 is written to unbelievers in Israel! Now, look at 1 John 2:12: “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Here is Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock.

Having now established the context of 1 John 1:9, let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Confession Confusion #5

Friday, June 25, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Obeying Leviticus 26:40-42, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all confessed sins in light of the Babylonian Captivity. “And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O LORD, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;…. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;…” (Daniel 9:4,20).

“O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this…. Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore…. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange [pagan/heathen/idolatrous] wives” (Ezra 9:15; 10:1,11).

“Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned (Nehemiah 1:6). “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God” (Nehemiah 9:2,3).

Hence, John the Baptist’s converts were also confessing their sins….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘surfeiting?’

Confession Confusion #2

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Confession of sins first appears in Scripture in Leviticus 5:5,6: “And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.” We would do well to note the Law of Moses is in effect here. (Later, we will return to Moses and the Law.)

In addition to ripping 1 John 1:9 from its context, members of Christendom have also been trained to seize upon four other primary passages. The first two concern John the Baptist’s ministry. “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins (Matthew 3:6). “And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins(Mark 1:5). This is where denominational people really get into trouble! They wrongly believe Christianity started here… and nothing could be further from the truth.

Moreover, we have been erroneously indoctrinated into searching the Book of Psalms for victorious Christian living. After all, did not King David write the following in Psalm 32:5? I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Was it not King Solomon who penned this in Proverbs 28:13? “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

See, it is so easy to quote a verse here and quote a verse there, and seem to be correct. However, before (!) we claim verses as our own, we had better understand their dispensational setting, or we will surely wind up in spiritual darkness….

Proverbial Prophecy #4

Thursday, June 17, 2021

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 1:1-4 KJV).

Friend, did you know the Book of Proverbs is really a book of prophecy?

The first chapter of Proverbs closes with: “[31] Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. [32] For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. [33] But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” Unbelieving Israel will reap what she has sown!

In addition to foretelling the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, John the Baptist notified them of the outpouring of wrath. They could accept his water baptism and the subsequent Holy Ghost baptism, or the fire baptism would consume them: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). As we know, Israel rejected Messiah and demanded His crucifixion. Therefore, the Antichrist will now enter and deceive them: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43).

The Antichrist will be under the Devil’s control, endowed with satanic wisdom, a brilliant philosopher like this world has never seen: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up” (Daniel 8:23). The Antichrist will use the wisdom of this world—condemned in 1 Corinthians chapters 1–3—to mislead Israel. Proverbs is God’s wisdom for Israel’s believing remnant, that they survive the deception resulting from the Antichrist’s whorish religious system (Revelation 17:1-18). Hence, Proverbs repeatedly warns against uniting with the “strange woman” (2:16; 5:3,20; 6:24; 7:5; 20:16; 23:27; 27:13).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….