<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>In the New International Version of the Bible, “seed” is translated as “offspring” or “descendants” (Gen. 3:15b, 12:7a, 13:15, 15:5b,18, 17:7-10, 22:17,18). In the New Testament, Paul noted that God’s promises were spoken to Abraham and to his “seed” (Gal. 3:16a). He stated that this seed really was referring to one person, the Messiah or Christ (3:16b). This meant that all of the promises to Abraham (see “great nation from Abram (Abraham)”: C-2, P-II) and to his descendants through Jacob—that is, to the “great nation” (Gen. 12:2a) of Israel—would be fulfilled through Israel’s Messiah whenever He came upon the scene (centuries after Abraham’s time).
<!><!><!><!>Strict adherence to the “law” (that is, the “rules and regulations” for day-to-day living and for ritual sacrifices), which was given by God to Moses (see “God’s descent upon Mount Sinai”: C-4, P-IV), was the way to gain and maintain acceptance by God. The law remained in effect until the coming of this Messiah—“...until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come” (Gal. 3:19b). Jesus, the “Seed,” was prophesied long ago to be the one who would overpower the devil (Gen. 3:15b; 1 John 3:8b—see “Scorpio and Ophiuchus”: C-9, P-IV, S-1), as well as all enemies, including death (1 Cor. 15:25,26; Rev. 20:14a), on behalf of the human race.
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Jesus, the Son and the Messiah, is the bodily image of God the Father (Col. 1:15a); and He is the physical entity in which the fullness of God dwells (1:19) throughout eternity. Therefore, I believe the Bible is referring to Jesus whenever it names parts of the “body” belonging to the Lord God. Thus, Jesus is the “eyes of the Lord” or simply “eyes” (Psalm 33:18, 34:15a; Zech. 4:10c; Rev. 5:6b), as well as “his ears” (Psalm 34:15b), the “arm of the Lord” (Isa. 53:1), the “hand of the Sovereign Lord” (Ezek. 8:1), God’s “finger(s)” (Exo. 31:18; Dan. 5:5a; Luke 11:20a), and “his feet” (Exo. 24:10b). (See “names for and attributes of the Messiah”: C-3, P-I, for other references to God’s “body parts.”)
<!><!>Jesus told His disciples, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7). One disciple, Philip, said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” (14:8). Jesus replied,
Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves (John 14:9-11).
<!><!><!><!>Just as someone looking at you might say, “Show me your essence, the real you,” so Philip had asked Jesus, the “Body” of God, to show to the disciples the Father, the “Essence” of God. They failed to realize that God the Father, who dwelled (and dwells) within Jesus (Col. 1:19, 2:9), was spiritual, and that Jesus was (is) the physical manifestation of the Father. Just as you could not physically materialize the “real you” (which dwells inside of your physical body) because it is spiritual, so Jesus could not materialize the Father because He is spiritual. And just as people know your inner self by how your outer self (the “you” they can see and touch) speaks and acts, so Jesus expected His disciples to know the Father by what and how He spoke (John 12:49) and by the miracles He performed (John 3:2b; Acts 2:22).
Many people believe that Jesus never actually claimed to be “God.” Personally, I feel that most people who believe this simply do not themselves want to believe that Jesus was (is) God; and they use the invalid statement, “Jesus never claimed to be God,” as alleged “support” for their lack of belief (and lack of careful study of the Gospel accounts).
<!><!>Firstly, as the Messiah or Servant appointed by the Father (to accomplish His Plan of salvation for mankind—Isa. 59:16), it was not Jesus’ purpose to extol Himself as God (even though He was). It was up to the Father to exalt Jesus to His right hand after His mission on earth was accomplished; and it is up to the Father, at a time in the future, to cause everyone to know that Jesus is Lord and to bow before Him (Acts 2:33a; Phil. 2:9-11).
Secondly, the enemies of Jesus recognized, through His many statements, that He claimed to be God. Certain people are our enemies because they vehemently disagree with what we represent or espouse. And that is why Jesus’ enemies hated Him, not even realizing—or, rather, refusing to take the time to comprehend—that He had something to offer them which would have infinite and eternal positive payoffs.
There are, in fact, numerous places in the Gospel accounts where Jesus asserted that He was God or the Messiah (Christ), or claimed to be the Son of God (thereby implying His own divinity). In a number of other places, many people—including His enemies—acknowledged that Jesus was God, that He was the Son of God, or that He professed to be God or God’s Son.
In this statement, Jesus implied that He was the Lord (God) and that He was the Son of God the Father:
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 7:21).
<!><!><!>When many were about to stone Jesus for blasphemy (John 10:33), He said, “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” (10:36b).
Other claims by Jesus to be the authoritative, revealing Son of God are,
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven (Matt. 10:32,33),
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Matt. 11:27).
<!>John made some strong but true statements about our relationship with God the Father through God the Son:
No one who denies the Son [Jesus] has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. ... And this is the testimony: God has given us [believers] eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 2:23, 5:11,12).
The only way to eternal Life in the presence of the Father is through Jesus, the Son.
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Jesus’ favorite term for Himself was the “Son of Man” (Matt. 8:20, 9:6a, 10:23b, 12:8,32a,40b, 13:37,41a, 16:27a,28, 17:9b,12b,22, 18:11, 19:28a, 20:18b,28a, 24:27b,30,37b,39b,44b, 25:31a, 26:2b,24ab,45c; John 1:51b, 5:27, 6:27a,62, 8:28a, 9:35, 12:23, 13:31). Using “Son of Man” really was an expression of humility, an indication of how God actually had been willing to lower Himself to mankind’s level. Now, it generally was accepted by the chief priests and teachers of the law that “Son of Man” meant “Son of God.”
<!><!>When Jesus made the statement that “...the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God,” they asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” (Luke 22:69,70a). Jesus replied, “You say that I am,” which is interpreted in the NIV as, “You are right in saying that I am” (22:70b). His enemies confirmed that they understood this to be a claim by Jesus to be the Son of God by their response, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips” (22:71).
<!>Once, a paralytic man was presented before Jesus for healing, and Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:21). The Pharisees and teachers who witnessed this thought, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But Jesus (God in flesh) knew their thoughts and queried,
“Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home” (Luke 5:22-24).
At this, the man “...stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God” (Luke 5:25). Jesus’ skeptics were right: Only God can forgive sins.
<!>The expression, “son of man,” was used in the Old Testament by Daniel as the term for the Messiah Who, at His second descent to earth at the end of this age, would arrive “...with the clouds of heaven” (Dan. 7:13a). This same scene was described in more detail by John:
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand (Rev. 14:14).
the Messiah (Christ)
<!><!>Once many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of a woman’s testimony: “He told me everything I ever did” (John 4:39), she said. While speaking with Jesus, she had said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us” (4:25). Jesus’ response was a claim that He indeed was the Messiah: “I who speak to you am he” (4:26).
Another statement by Jesus was, “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me” (John 6:45b). He was asserting that the Father points to Him, Jesus, as the intermediary (Messiah) between people and the Father.
Even as Jesus hung on the cross, many people who stood watching said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ [Messiah] of God, the Chosen One” (Luke 23:35). This confirmed that they understood Jesus to have averred to be the Messiah. (Rather than save Himself, Jesus forfeited His own personal “human rights” so that others could be saved. How many Americans today are willing to give up their “human rights” voluntarily on the behalf of others? The number seems to lessen every day.)
<!><!>It was at Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Dedication of the temple, that many gathered around Jesus and said, “If you are the Christ [Messiah], tell us plainly” (John 10:22,24). Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me...” (10:25). He later added, “I and the Father are one” (10:30).
<!>They picked up stones to stone Him (John 10:31). They told Him that they were not going to stone Him for performing miracles but, rather, “...for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (10:33). They knew what He was claiming. Do you? More importantly, do you believe Him?
A name of God, revealed to Moses, is “I AM” (Exo. 3:14—see “YHWH or Yahweh, the ‘I AM’”: C-2, P-I). In fact, Jesus also made claims of Himself as being the great “I AM”—and, thus, God.
<!><!>Once, when Jesus’ disciples were rowing across the Sea of Galilee, a storm arose; and Jesus walked out a few miles on the surface of the water to where they were (Matt. 14:22-25). They were terrified, thinking He was a ghost; but Jesus said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (14:26,27). The phrase, “It is I,” is translated literally from the Greek text, “I am.” It was a claim by Jesus to be God; soon thereafter the storm calmed (14:32), because only God could have caused it to do so.
<!><!><!><!>To another group of people, Jesus twice affirmed that He was the “I AM.” (Yeshua, Hebrew for “Jesus,” means “Yahweh [God, the ‘I AM’] saves.”) He said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am..., you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23,24). Later, Jesus stated, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (8:56). They questioned how He could have possibly seen Abraham, since Jesus was not yet even fifty years old (8:57), to which Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth,...before Abraham was born, I am!” (8:58). Knowing what He had just claimed, “...they picked up stones to stone him...” (8:59a). Jesus is eternal, as are the Father and the Holy Spirit.
<!>At the Last Supper, Jesus predicted that one of His disciples (Judas) would betray Him (John 13:18). He said, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He” (13:19)—or, literally translated, “that I am.” Only God could know beforehand exactly what was going to happen.
<!><!>When the soldiers and officials came to arrest Jesus, He asked who it was that they wanted (John 18:4). When they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus’ response was, “I am he”—or, literally, “I am” (18:5ab). When Jesus stated this declaration to be God, “...they drew back and fell to the ground” (18:6). Why? Because they were in the direct presence of God in flesh, and a momentary release of His great Power had overwhelmed them.
<!><!><!><!>Finally, when Jesus was being falsely accused and interrogated by the high priest, chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law (Mark 14:53,55-60), the high priest directly asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” (14:61b). “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (14:62). The fact that the high priest (and the others) understood this to be a claim by Jesus to be God is evidenced by his comments, “Why do we need anymore witnesses? ... You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” (14:63b,64ab). They knew that Jesus had claimed to be God, and they “...all condemned him as worthy of death” (14:64c) because they simply did not want to hear nor believe it.
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>There should be no question as to whether or not Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, and even God, the “I AM.” He did, and He was (and is). As shown, many recognized His affirmations to be these things. Many believed and agreed (Matt. 2:1,2,11a, 3:16,17, 8:8,19, 14:33, 15:31, 16:16; Mark 1:7,8, 3:11; Luke 8:43-48, 18:35-43, 24:44-53; John 4:42, 6:14, 8:30, 10:42, 11:45, 20:28). Others made up lies to attempt to explain away the miracle of His resurrection (Matt. 28:11-15); but a “large sum of money” (28:12b) would not have been given to cover up the resurrection event if it had not happened.
Paul said that Jesus “...through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:4). If He was resurrected from the dead and is the Son of God, are you willing to take a chance, a very costly risk, by assuming that He was not? Believe the truth; do not fall for a lie.
<!><!><!><!><!>I believe, without any doubt, that 1) Jesus was God before His physical manifestation on earth, 2) He was God as He walked as a man on earth, and 3) He continues to be God in the presence of the Father in heaven. Some Christians believe that Jesus “gave up” His deity while on earth. Just one reason I disagree with this is because, “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him...” (Psalm 49:7). If Jesus were only a man, His sacrifice would not have been enough; only a perfect, sinless God Himself could carry enough value to ransom mankind from the consequences of sin. Also, Jesus retained the Authority, during His life on earth, which the Father had given Him (Matt. 7:29a, 21:24b; Luke 4:36b; John 10:18bc—see “Authority”: P-II). And He would not have been able to give this same Authority, as well as the Power (see “Power”: P-IV) which accompanies it, to His twelve disciples (Matt. 10:1) if He temporarily had “forfeited” His deity. Jesus never has ceased to be God.
<!>John said, “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5). (See “overcoming”: “repentance, enduring, and overcoming”: C-12, P-III, S-1.) Jesus helps us to overcome the many temptations and problems we encounter daily, because He personally knows how difficult it is to overcome. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). By believing in Jesus, He not only will give us strength to overcome, but one day He also will introduce us personally to the Father and the Father to us. What an awesome day of pure amazement and rejoicing that will be!
<!><!>A unique event occurred at one point during Jesus’ earthly life which unquestionably confirmed His divinity. On a high mountain, with Peter, James, and John as witnesses, Jesus was transformed. His face shone as bright as the sun, and His clothes became dazzling white and as bright as lightning. Appearing and talking with Him were Elijah, the prophet, and Moses. A bright cloud enveloped them, and the Father’s voice from the cloud stated that Jesus was His Son and commanded all to listen to Jesus (Matt. 17:1-3,5; Mark 9:2-4,7; Luke 9:28-31,34,35).
For a few moments, Jesus seemed to pull back His flesh and reveal the radiant glory of God (see “Shekinah Glory”: C-12, P-III, S-2) within, further demonstrating that He was God in flesh while He walked the earth. The Father acknowledged Him as the Son of God during this awesome event.
It seems that human nature requires an idol, a physical form or image of a god, to worship. (Of course, all idols crafted by people are worthless—Isa. 44:9-20). This is one reason why Jesus came: so we could have an accurate, physical picture of the One, True God.
Jesus also is the Word—the spoken representation of God the Father (see “the Word of God”: C-10, P-II). John explained how Jesus always had been present with God the Father in eternity past and is the personification of God’s Word:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [Jesus, the Word] was with God in the beginning. ...
The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his [Jesus, the Word’s] glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1,2,14).
<!>Peter stated that “...long ago by God’s word [Jesus] the heavens existed and the earth was formed...” (2 Pet. 3:5). And John reiterated that “the Word” is a title of Jesus when he stated that “...his [Jesus’] name is the Word of God” (Rev. 19:13b).
The Father, the Source of all things and the “Mind” of God, conceived of the design of the universe and everything in it. Then He literally used His “hands,” Jesus (who, in turn, utilized the Power of the Holy Spirit—see “Power”: P-IV), as the direct agent to bring the universe, and everything in it, into existence out of nothing:
It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts (Isa. 45:12).
Paul, recognizing Jesus as the entity through which the Father created everything and through which everything continues to be sustained (held together), said
He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col. 1:15-17).
<!><!>Once, when Jesus was in a boat with His disciples (Mark 4:36a), “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped” (4:37). Jesus (who was asleep, so they had to awaken Him) “...got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. ... They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (4:39,41). Jesus clearly is Lord over everything He has created, including the elements.
<!>John said, referring to Jesus, the Word, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). And yet another indication that Jesus is the spoken Word of God, as well as the agent used by the Father to produce and maintain everything, is the fact that God the Father
...has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb. 1:2,3a).
Indeed, without the creative ability of Jesus, nothing other than God Himself would exist. And, without the sustaining capacity of Jesus, everything which has been created simply would disintegrate.
<!><!><!><!><!>A “smart” lamb would make the best shepherd, because it personally would be familiar with the goings-on, straying, and independent, rebellious nature of sheep. Likewise, one who fully is aware of the importance and significance of a sacrifice would be the most qualified high priest. Being the sacrificial Lamb of God (Isa. 53:7cd; John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7b; Rev. 5:6a), Jesus thus has qualified to be both our Shepherd (1 Pet. 2:25) and our High Priest (Heb. 8:1).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>God is Jehovah-Ropheka, the “Lord our Healer” (see “additional names for and attributes of God”: C-2, P-I). Jesus, by the Power of the Holy Spirit (see “Power”: P-IV), miraculously healed the physical diseases and infirmities of countless people (Matt. 4:23,24, 12:15, 14:14, 15:30, 19:2, 21:14; Acts 10:38; John 21:25). Now, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Therefore, although He has left the earth physically, He still performs the same healing miracles for many everyday. It is because of the wounds (or stripes) which Jesus took for us that we can be healed (Isa. 53:5d; 1 Pet. 2:24b).
<!><!><!><!><!><!>God (through Jesus, by the Spirit) can heal instantaneously (Matt. 8:2,3; Mark 10:51,52; Luke 13:11-13; John 5:5-9a), if He so chooses. Often, though, a healing may occur at some point in time after the promise of a healing is given by God. For instance, Naaman (commander of King Aram’s army) had leprosy (2 Kng. 5:1ac). A messenger of the prophet Elisha told him that, to be cured of his leprosy, he must dip himself seven times in the Jordan River (5:10). After Naaman had done so, he was healed (5:14).
<!><!>This is not the only time the number “seven” has been associated with a healing from God. In Jesus’ day, the son of a royal official was sick; and the man pleaded with Jesus to heal his son (John 4:46b,47). Jesus promised the healing (4:50ab), and the son was healed at the seventh hour (4:52).
Some time ago, a pleasant lady, Marquita Clevenger, and her mother appeared on “The 700 Club” program with Pat Robertson. When Marquita was born, the doctor regretted to announce that Marquita had no eyes; she did not even have slits where eyes should have been. Her mother went on to explain how she and Marquita’s father went to numerous top doctors to see if anything could be done. They all insisted there was no way to create eyes that were absent; there was not even a ray of hope.
However, Marquita’s mother prayed earnestly for God to provide eyes for Marquita. She even asked God to give her the gift of faith (see “gifts of the Holy Spirit”: P-IV) to believe that the healing would occur, so God gave her this faith. One day, seven weeks after Marquita’s birth, her mother was bathing her and suddenly felt the Power of God enveloping both of them, a wonderful sensation she could not express in words, other than saying that it made her shake tremendously. When Marquita was laid down, she opened her eyelids, behind which were perfectly formed brown eyes. Marquita said that people have marveled all her life at what beautiful eyes she has; this gives her the opportunity to tell them the miracle Jesus did for her, glorifying Him everytime she does so.
Donald Whitaker, M.D., used to have a weekly show, “Calling Dr. Whitaker,” on Christian TV. He has described that many years ago, when he was an atheist, he contracted acute hemorrhagic necrotic pancreatitis, a disease which is fatal virtually 100% of the time. Deathly ill in the hospital, he slipped in and out of comas. But, after having had three out-of-body experiences and becoming totally convinced that there is a hell (see “a necessary place”: C-14, P-I), he accepted Jesus as His Savior and Lord. Then a friend prayed and laid his hands on Dr. Whitaker, and he was completely healed. Even though every usable bit of his pancreas was removed, after his healing, he did not need to take insulin; and he could eat anything he wanted. His doctors admitted that it was a miracle, which it was. Jesus did not stop healing when He left the earth.
<!><!><!><!><!>Jesus, when He walked the earth, healed by different ways and means: by touching (Matt. 9:29,30a); by being touched (Luke 8:43,44); by speaking directly (Mark 2:10b-12a) or from a distance (Matt. 8:13); by spitting directly onto a man’s eyes in combination with touching them (Mark 8:23-25); and by spitting on the ground, making mud with the saliva, and applying it to a man’s eyes, after which the man washed it off and could see (John 9:6,7). Why did Jesus use so many varied means, some of them seemingly extreme and even distasteful? I do not know why, nor do I question why; Jesus is God and can do whatever He wants, as He sees fit, to accomplish any purpose.
<!><!><!><!><!>Today, also, Jesus in heaven uses diverse methods of healing. One might be healed after asking the Father directly (in the Name of Jesus) for the healing of oneself (John 16:23). Or one might be healed after being touched by (or even by being near) someone who has received the gift of healing (Acts 3:2,6-8a, 5:15,16, 8:6,7, 14:8-10, 28:8,9—see “gifts of the Holy Spirit”: P-IV; and “healers vs. frauds”: C-9, P-III). The healing may be instantaneous, or it make take time (hours, days, months, or even years). It may be entirely supernatural, and/or it may be as a result of utilizing natural medical or surgical modes.
Furthermore, Jesus certainly is not limited to healing only those who believe in Him and in His healing Power by the Holy Spirit. Multitudes of people who never have heard of Jesus and/or never even have acknowledged the existence of God have been healed by God. I believe this mainly happens, particularly when medical science has been unsuccessful in providing a cure, as Jesus’ demonstration to these people and/or to others who know them that no one but God could have performed such a miracle. They are attempts by Jesus to get the people who are healed, and/or their family members and friends, to turn to Him.
Why do some people not get healed when they ask to be (or when other people pray for them)? I believe there are a number of reasons: 1) refusal to forgive another person or God for something; 2) personal bitterness or strife; 3) major unconfessed sin within one’s life; 4) lack of faith that God can or will heal; and/or 5) willful counteracting of natural laws (like continuing to drink alcohol or smoke, not getting enough rest, or refusing to eat nutritiously). God may even choose not to heal someone because, by not being healed, that person may 6) learn to depend totally upon God for strength to get by and 7) glorify God to others by demonstrating unconditional love for God, even though he/she has not been healed. Finally, just because God does not grant a healing now does not mean that it will not be bestowed later. The reason for the delay may be 8) so that, first, the person (and family members, friends, and doctors) will know for certain that the problem cannot be cured or repaired by medical or surgical means; then the healing may occur to prove to everyone that only by God’s Power could it possibly have been done, thus glorifying God.
If you desire a physical healing for anything (cancer, AIDS, heart trouble, diabetes, cataracts, a severed limb—anything), ask God for it and believe that you will receive it. If you lack the faith to believe in a healing, ask God to give you the faith, since faith is a gift given by God (see “gifts of the Holy Spirit”: P-IV). Thanking Him for the healing, as though it already has occurred, may help enhance your faith, thus increasing the likelihood that the healing will occur. (If the healing, cure, or repair is to be manifested, then it already has occurred, since God inhabits eternity which includes past, present, and future all at once.) If you do not receive it, give it time; do not refrain from asking. Possibly, God is testing your patience and perseverance, as well as your faith. If it is in the Father’s perfect Will, Jesus will make certain that you are granted a healing by the awesome Power of the Holy Spirit.
When you encounter a situation or person that profoundly “breaks” your heart, when your conscience cannot get over a deep sense of guilt or regret, or when you are so depressed over and/or obsessed with something or someone that you do not think you can stand the intense misery and distress anymore, what is the reason for this, and what can you do about it? The reason, I feel, is that the emotions and drives of your soul are “out-of-control.” It may be that your feelings have been shattered by some external source, you have experienced a significant degree of shame or remorse for a wrongdoing, or your soul may have converged its attention on some object or person upon which it should not have concentrated in the first place. Your spirit’s mind, with its logical efforts, is not strong enough, on its own, to quiet these outbursts within your soul—replayed over and over again like a broken record—resulting in a seemingly endless production of pain and frustration, from which you so desperately long to be free.
To help quiet these negative “rumblings” within your soul, your mind needs to divert its attention away from the soul’s emotional “clamoring” by becoming involved in an activity or project of some sort (like exercising, reading, writing, photography, gardening, carpentry or helping others through volunteer work). With this distraction as a type of spiritual “anesthetic” or “bandage,” the soul will be calmed with time (when it realizes that its eruptions are not being heeded). However, that emotional turmoil within your soul can resurface and resume if your spirit is not controlled by the Holy Spirit, who redirects your attention toward Jesus. Pray to receive the Holy Spirit, and He will show you Jesus, the ultimate Healer (Jehovah-Ropheka) and Sustainer. He is the only one who can revive (heal) your weak spirit and help you to gain permanent control over your soul. Only then can you attain the inestimable peace of mind-spirit and heart-soul which you desire.
<!><!><!>Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the Law given to the Jews through Moses by God, as well as the predictions about the Messiah made by the Old Testament Prophets (Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:44—see “Psalm 22,” “Isaiah 53,” and “more prophecies fulfilled”: C-3, P-II). He also fulfilled the Hebrew Spring festivals/holy days (see C-4) and will fulfill the Fall festivals/holy days (see C-5).
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Countless books have been written on the teachings of Jesus. But, briefly, He spoke against such things as murder (Matt. 5:21), adultery (5:27,28), worrying (6:25-34), judging other people (7:1-5), divorce (19:3-9), and religious hypocrisy (23:1-33). On the other hand, He stressed the importance of such things as humility and generosity (5:38-42), loving even one’s enemies (5:43-48), giving to the needy (6:2-4), and obeying the Father in heaven (12:50).
Although many religions teach similar precepts, no founder of any religion that I know of actually claimed to be God, as Jesus did. He is not just a way to the Father and eternal Life; He is the only way (John 14:6).
In my opinion, the greatest attribute which Jesus portrayed was humility—to a much greater extent than any other person has or ever will. It was due to His humility that He was able to surrender, constantly and in every way, to the Will of the Father. He was the Servant Messiah sent by the Father into the world, and the Gospel accounts are replete with His countless acts of submission and service. One must possess genuine humility to be a true and effective public servant, which Jesus did and was.
While He lived here, Jesus was obedient to the Father, surrendering not only to Him but also to the human race, providing us with our sole means of eternal spiritual renewal and salvation.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him... (Heb. 5:7-9).
<!><!>Besides humbling Himself before the Father and the whole of mankind, as well as constantly ministering to, teaching, healing, and feeding multitudes of people, Jesus demonstrated service and humility by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:4,5). Jesus also prayed for His disciples and for all believers (17:6-26). Above all, on the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of the Father (see the following section, “wrath upon and death of Jesus”), all of which, otherwise, eventually would have been poured out upon the entire human race. This may have been Jesus’ ultimate act of surrender—being willing to die (physically) the most shameful (not to mention excruciating) death of all on the cross, an execution reserved only for the worst, most detestable criminals of the day. And, near the end, He even was humble and loving enough to make this request for His murderers: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a).
The apostle Paul, in teaching how we should demonstrate the same humility in our lives that Jesus did, summed up the divinity of Jesus, His humility as a servant, and His exaltation to His rightful position above all things, with this passage:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God [the Father] exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:5-11).
God Himself, in the bodily form of Jesus, stepped down from the Throne of Creation, out of eternity into time, to experience “human-ness,” personally, as an example for us. He was willing to prove that being any type of leader—even the Leader of the universe—first involves being humble (seeC-9, P-II). Jesus voluntarily made His Name of no worth and chose not to use His own supernatural, divine Might (which He could have used at anytime, since He was God, to destroy His enemies), even after intense temptation.
Instead, as the only perfect man, He continuously and voluntarily surrendered and yielded to the Father’s Will by utilizing the Power of the Holy Spirit (see “Power”: P-IV) to perform miracles and to resist temptations. This had two positive effects: 1) exemplifying and epitomizing humility to the people who knew Him and who would know of Him and 2) displaying and exhibiting the correct way to make use of the Holy Spirit’s Power, which is available to all believers with the proper humility and faith.
Jesus proved that for one to be exalted permanently—for eternity—one cannot exalt oneself but must ever be humble. The Source of all exaltation is God the Father; if any of us is to be exalted, the Father will grant the sanction for it to be done. Accordingly, the Father and the Son should be praised and exalted by us above any other “god.”
<!>All evil, necessarily, has been or will be punished (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19), because God is fair and just. The rightful penalty for people, all who have transgressed against an infinite, perfect God, is an outpouring of the Father’s wrath directed against them and eternal separation from Him. (The penalty for rejecting eternal Life with the eternal God only can be eternal separation from Him.) Jesus came to take upon Himself and to absorb the wrath of the Father in the place of anyone of any age throughout history who, humbly, would trust in the redemptive quality of God.
The night before the crucifixion, knowing what was going to happen to Him, the “human” component of the mind of Jesus (the “Body” of God) asked the Father (the “Mind” of God) if there was no other way to save humanity than for Him to drink the “cup” of the Father’s wrath against sin. Yet, being God (as the Father is God) and having the identical goals and following the same Plan as the Father, Jesus was fully acquiescent to the Father’s Will (Matt. 26:39,42).
It was like one’s own body obeying the will of one’s mind. If, for example, one wants to lose excess weight, improve one’s heart efficiency, or develop muscle definition, the body must conform to the diet, aerobic exercise, and/or weight-training regimen set out by the mind. There is no other method for the desired results to occur than for the body to submit to the goals of the mind. If the body does not wish to undergo the discipline, even pain, involved in achieving the set goal, the objective cannot be attained; “no pain, no gain” is a truism. Similarly, Jesus was reluctant but willing to undergo the pain, because he knew that the joy of the resultant permanent, eternal gain would more than compensate (Heb. 12:2).
<!>After about six hours on the cross, “...Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’—which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt. 27:46). Shortly thereafter, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed His last” (Luke 23:46).
I believe that at the time of the first statement, the wrath of the Father was being poured out upon Jesus for the sins of mankind, somewhat like a person’s mind would allow a body part to be lost (“turning away from” or “abandoning” it) if it were for the benefit of the entire body as a whole. (In the case of Jesus’ “abandonment” on the cross, it was for the benefit of the Church Body—see “the ‘Holy Triad’”: P-V.) Then, Jesus voluntarily relinquished custody of His own Spirit over to the Father, coincident with the Father’s act of temporarily removing His Life and Power (the Holy Spirit) from Jesus’ body (a mystery we cannot fully understand with our limited minds). Since Jesus was/is the eternal, infinite God, these events were sufficient (and necessary) 1) to pay for the countless sins of mankind throughout the ages and 2) to compensate for the otherwise eternal removal of the Holy Spirit from anyone freely accepting this redemptive act by God, through Jesus, on our behalf.
Whether or not the Spirit of Jesus is the same as the Holy Spirit is a question deserving more time and space than I can devote to the topic in this book. I believe that the two are the same and different, again something we cannot comprehend because it involves supernatural knowledge in higher dimensions inaccessible by our minds—knowledge which at this time only God possesses but which, ultimately, will be given to saved believers in His presence. Suffice it to say here that I believe when Jesus gave up His “Spirit,” He let go of the “Mind-Spirit” of God—that is, presence of the Father—coincident with the removal of Jesus’ “Soul”—the Holy Spirit—resulting in physical death.
At the moment that Jesus died on the cross, “...the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51a). (Note that a hanging curtain can be torn more easily from the bottom than from the top, due to less force binding the material at the bottom than at the top; therefore, the curtain’s spontaneously being torn from top to bottom is a greater miracle than its being torn from bottom to top.) The miraculous tearing of the curtain was symbolic of a magnificent truth which is almost beyond our imaginations to comprehend.
<!><!>In the temple, there were two major rooms, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, divided by two adjacent, parallel curtains (Exo. 26:31-37). Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the high priest entered into the Most Holy Place (see “the slain goat and the ‘scapegoat’”: C-5, P-II). He would atone (make amends for) the sins and transgressions of himself and all the people by presenting blood sacrifices to the Lord (Lev. 16:2-19; Heb. 9:7,8). No one else could enter this latter inner sanctuary, under penalty of death.
<!><!><!><!><!>Jesus was the final and ultimate sin offering for mankind (Isa. 53:6b; Heb. 9:26b,28a, 10:12). Jesus became both the sin offering (the Lamb), as well as the one who offered it (the High Priest). From that point onward, there was no need for any further sacrifices to be offered for sin on the earth; as a result, the inner curtain of the Most Holy Place in the temple was torn in two, removing the barrier into this previous off-limits area. Jesus’ body represented the eternal “curtain” (shredded and torn by the flogging whip, the crown of thorns, and the nails on the cross) through which all who believe now may “enter” boldly (though respectfully) into the presence of God the Father, in the true heavenly Temple, by prayer and supplication. This is evidenced by the following quotes:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest [Jesus] over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10:19-22).
...Christ...as high priest...went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:11,12).
...We...have...a high priest [Jesus] who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man (Heb. 8:1,2).
Jesus, our intercessor
<!><!><!><!>We should not attempt to use people, alive or dead, as “go-betweens” to speak to, ask forgiveness from, or make requests of God the Father. We have liberty to speak directly to the Father ourselves, in the name of Jesus (John 15:16c, 16:23b; 1 John 5:14,15). The Father directly hears and listens to what we ask or request in the Name of Jesus (because Jesus is the one and only mediator between the Father and mankind, by virtue of His atoning blood sacrifice—1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 12:24).
<!><!><!><!>Jesus said not to ask Him directly for anything (John 16:23a). He does not repeat or state our requests to the Father (16:26b); rather, He makes appeals to the Father for us. Jesus is the intercessor or advocate between us and the Father (Rom. 8:34b; Heb. 7:25)—as long as we ask in His Name. An earthly way to think of it is that Jesus, in a sense, is our legal “power of attorney”; He “pleads” our case to the Father on our behalf and uses “persuasion” in our support. For those of us who have accepted Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, whenever we break any of God’s laws, Jesus “...speaks to the Father in our defense...” (1 John 2:1b).
<!>Whenever we petition the Father to forgive us, to give us something, or to cause something to happen, Jesus advocates that we are worthy to receive what we have requested and notes that it aligns with the principles and Will of God (assuming that it does, of course). I believe that Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, examines the reasons for and motives behind whatever we request, as well as the intent of our hearts and whether or not we have the glory of the Father in mind (Rom. 8:27a; Heb. 4:12); and He relays this vital information to the Father, who looks at us through Jesus, His “eyes.” (Jesus is the “window” through which we see the Father, and vice versa.) Then, Jesus is the agent through which the Father forgives us or gives His approval to grant us our appeal. In the latter case, the “OK” is given by Jesus to the Holy Spirit to create the manifestation of our request; and whatever we have asked for becomes reality.
When Jesus came, He demonstrated repeatedly (through His teachings and miracles) to His own people (the Jews) that He was the Way of salvation. But, as a whole, they did not believe in Him (and, to this day, most of them still are looking for the first appearance of their Messiah—see “minds not understanding, eyes not seeing, ears not hearing”: C-3, P-III). Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He approached it on Palm Sunday, because He knew the people would reject Him and would be afflicted severely for doing so (Luke 19:41-44).
<!><!><!>Through the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, though, God permitted the Gentiles (non-Jews), as a whole, to be offered the Plan of salvation (Acts 10:34–11:18). As a result, Gentile believers have been “adopted” spiritually into the faith; and Abraham, the genetic father of the Jews, has become the “spiritual father” of these Gentiles as well (Rom. 4:16-18). In a sense, Gentiles are like “branches” grafted onto the living “tree” of Jesus (11:11-24). John said, “He came to that which was his own [the Jews], but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name [Jewish and Gentile believers alike], he gave the right to become children of God...” (John 1:11,12).
To better understand the significance of Jesus’ relationship with us, let us first look at the Jewish engagement and marriage customs at the time of Jesus. The bridegroom had to approach his chosen bride with a contract or covenant of marriage (the Shitre Erusin); he then paid a price (often high) to the bride’s father. At the signing of the contract, the groom would drink a toast with the bride; her partaking of the wine committed herself to this man, agreeing to follow the contract that now was a legal document. At this time, they would be called husband and wife, although their status actually was that of being betrothed rather than being fully married (Matt. 1:18b).
Next, the bridegroom would tell the bride that he was going to prepare a place for her. He would return to his father’s house, where he would build a bridal chamber (or chadar or “little mansion”), the place of their eventual honeymoon. The bride—who was bought for a price, consecrated for marriage, and set apart—would stay at home. She wore a veil, emphasizing her purity and modesty and showing all other men that she already belonged to someone else. She knew the general time that her intended husband would come for her but not the exact day; therefore, she always was ready and watching for his return. The bridegroom would take his father’s advice about the price paid for the bride, the suitability of the honeymoon chamber, as well as the best time to go and get his bride.
Finally, the long-awaited day would come when the groom and his two groomsmen (the two witnesses required for a Jewish wedding) would slip unexpectedly over to the bride’s home. A quick shout and trumpet sound would be given to announce the groom’s arrival, and the bride and her attendants would rush out quickly to meet her bridegroom before he even reached her home. Everyone in the bridal party would return with the bridegroom to his father’s home. There would be an official ceremony (the Kedushin) with a second contract (the Ketubah) containing the promises that the groom pledged to his wife. The celebration would last from one to seven days, depending on the wealth of the groom’s family.
<!><!><!><!><!><!><!>Jesus brought with Him a new covenant (Jer. 31:31,32; Heb. 8:8,9,13, 9:15, 12:24a) to the Jews (and then to the Gentiles), which was different from the old one God had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (seeC-2, P-II). The new covenant was much superior to the old one (Heb. 8:6,7). As a “contract” for His “Bride” (all believers), He would have to pay an extremely high price—His own life (Gal. 1:4) and blood (Matt. 26:28). Why?
...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Eph. 5:25-27).
<!>At the Last Supper (Passover Seder), Jesus drank a toast to His disciples (Matt. 26:27), the first members of His Bride. They drank the wine with Him (as all believers do during Communion), sealing their commitment to remain true to Him until His Second Coming. The wine was representative of the blood He would shed for them (see “Jesus’ blood, the wine”: C-4, P-II).
Jesus told His disciples,
In my Father’s house are many rooms [mansions or chambers]; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).
<!><!><!>After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He ascended to His Father’s “house” in heaven (Luke 24:51). He has promised to come again to take away the resurrected and transformed bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-53—see “changed bodies” and “caught up”: C-12, P-V, S-1) of all who believe in Him to the place He has prepared for them (John 14:3; 1 Ths. 4:16,17).
<!><!>While on earth, Jesus indicated that nobody knew the exact day nor hour of His return; only the Father possessed this knowledge (Matt. 24:36—see “dates of prophetic fulfillment”: C-12, P-VI). Two witnesses (Rev. 11:3a—see “the two witnesses”: C-12, P-III, S-1) will appear prior to Jesus’ coming back to “steal away” His Bride at the Rapture of Believers (see C-12, P-V). After Jesus and the believers have been in heaven for a period, they will return to earth altogether. Soon thereafter, I believe, a great and marvelous banquet, the “wedding supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9a—see “wedding supper of the Lamb”: C-12, P-IV, S-1), will be held, outshining any feast which ever has taken place at anytime or anywhere. And what a time of rejoicing and celebration that will be!
Proceed to Chapter 6, Part IV
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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.