2010 The Life of Christ in the Gospels


John 5:11 He replied, "The man who made me well told me, 'Pick up your bedroll and walk.'"




John 5:12 "Who is this man who told you, 'Pick up your bedroll and walk?'" they asked.




John 5:13 But the man who was cured did not know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.




John 5:14 After this, Jesus found him in the temple complex and said to him, "See, you are well. Do not sin any more, so that something worse doesn't happen to you."




John 5:15 The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.




John 5:16 Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.




John 5:17 But Jesus responded to them, "My Father is still working, and I am working also."



Matthew, Mark, Luke and John


Notes from Berachah Church under R. B. Thieme, III, who began this study the second service, November 7, 2010


John the Apostle had a unique position in life. When he wrote the gospel of John, most of the disciples had already died martyrs deaths and the new institution of the church had been born, and the new doctrines of the church had been circulated. It had become clear that believers now lived in a new and different dispensation.


Jerusalem had been destroyed and Israel as an independent nation was no more. The Temple was gone; completely destroyed by the Roman army. The Old Testament institutions of the offering of sacrificial animals at the Temple no longer existed, although some animal sacrifices were being offered up in various and separated areas.


The gospels and the epistles, for the most part, had been circulated among the believers of John’s time. Believers from the dispensation of Israel and believers from the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union had been brought into the Church Age, with its new doctrines and the universal nature of the spiritual life.


John witnessed the events of the life of Jesus Christ along with some nearly unique events, including the transfiguration of Jesus Christ before him, James and Peter. So, what could he say? What could he add to all that was already known? John did not write the history of this, as if he had nothing to add to it. It was already well-circulated. There was nothing he could add.



Lesson #0001    Introduction to the Gospels November 7, 2010              Sunday 2


We are going to study 4 books at one time and studying a specific subject, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. We will examine the Author and Finisher of our faith. We will look at His background, life, theology, enemies, His future; all that He was and all that He did in the 1st Advent. If we do not understand the Lord Jesus Christ, then we cannot understand Him now.


Christianity is not a religion, but based upon Jesus Christ. There is this comparison of religions and many come to the conclusion that there are many pathways to God, even though these religions are contradictory. If these things are contradictory. How can God lie about this or that religion? That makes Him a liar.


Another view is, Jesus Christ is a good man. That is an absolute contradiction. Jesus Christ cannot be simply a good man. He claimed to be God. So how can He be a good man? If His claim is true, He is far more than a good man; and if He lied about this, then He is certainly not a good man. Many have died for Jesus Christ. How can you call Him a good man, if that is the case?


There are those who simply call this a myth; but that has nothing to do with scholarship. These 4 gospels are our only source of knowledge about Jesus Christ.


If you mention His name, there will be no middle ground. There will be antagonism or love.


Jesus Christ was a true historic figure. He is just like us in everything. For some of us, that is hard to realize.


One difference: He was born with a sin nature. He experienced everything else that we do; heat, cold, hunger, thirst.


Satan hate His name. That is his doom.


Without knowing these things about Him, we are no better off than those who claim that there are many ways to God.


The Apostles defined for us the unique spiritual life of the Church Age.


The more divine viewpoint we take in, the more we grow and the more we change. The Apostle Paul was great in defining this for us. We cannot live the spiritual life without that Church Age doctrine. The spiritual life was prototyped by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived the unique spiritual life; this life was our paradigm. The mind of Christ refers, to some extent, mystery doctrine; but His thinking extends beyond all dispensations, and this is His actual thinking.


The more that Bobby gets into this, the more he appreciates the Lord Jesus Christ. It is amazing how we can link His Words to His thinking; and His thinking will translate to our thinking. This study will guide us toward reciprocal love. We cannot help but love Him unless we are not really interested.


The gospels do not reflect all that happened in the life of Jesus Christ. This is sketchy at best. The gospels cover very little. Jesus will spend 12 years in Egypt, and we know nothing about this. We know a small amount about his young life. But most of the gospels are all about 3 years of His life.


We will see Him for Who He is and what He has done. Bobby’s objective is an exegetical study of all the incidents of His life; and to look at parallel examples of His life.


Bobby had a lot of choices. He did think about 2Corinthians and some Old Testament books. The story we will study is The Story; beyond the imagination.


Why Are We Studying the Life of Jesus Christ?

1.       Christ’s coming, His arrival on this earth, the incarnation, that event and His life is the focal point of all human history. This is the salvation event of mankind. There is His brith, His life, His death and resurrection. Human history surrounds it.

2.       He is the central fact and figure of human existence. His life is truly the narrative of the ages; there is none more important.

3.       This narrative stands foremost over all literature, either religious or secular. On a literary level, pure story telling, nothing approaches the gospels in terms of drama and personalities, intrigue and general appeal. It is all true here; there is nothing supernatural or made up here.

          a.       This is a reaffirming study. Satan can never equal the grace of God; he can never equal Jesus Christ, who was born in human form, and inferior to Satan. Satan can ever equal the spiritual life that Jesus Christ provides for us. Many have taken the fruit from Satan and participated in his arrogance.

          b.       We cannot be confused when we understand His Words and His life.

          c.        If we follow the cosmic system, our life is doomed. Anyone who puts their hope in the cosmic system is doomed. Anyone who does not put their faith in all that Jesus has done is confused.

          d.       This study is of the most awesome and celebrated life that there has ever been. We have personal access to His life. His spiritual life on earth is our paradigm, our pattern; and we have His thinking. Understanding His life is to understand our own life in Christ.

4.       The Biblical significance of the life of Christ.

5.       Because of the gospels revelation of Christ, these 4 gospels are the center of the Bible.

6.       As the center, they are the bridge between the two testaments. Jesus is the link, while remaining separate from both.

7.       This time is the pivotal time of all the dispensations. Jesus is the victor in the Angelic Conflict; He has defeated Satan. He is God and He is man; and we can go right along with it. Hopefully, we will have the greatest appreciation that we can of Jesus Christ, above and beyond what we already think.


Lesson #none                            November 10, 2010                                 Wednesday


Betty Thieme passes away.


Lesson #none                            November 11, 2010                                     Thursday


Betty Thieme passes away.


Lesson #0002                The Gospels November 14, 2010                         Sunday 1

Communion Sunday:

 

There is the evil out there which suggests that there is no sin. Many think that the sin they commit is overcome by the good that they do. God must always judge sin and condemn it. There can be no confusion as to God’s view of sin. God has recorded the history of man as a sinner. The Bible reveals how God’s judgment falls against the human race. Sin and divine judgment go together. It must be this way. In all of this, God forgives sin. If He must judge sin, then how can He forgive sin? Our salvation can never be fully understood unless we understand the basis for divine forgiveness.

 

We need to understand the source of our sin. Sin did not originate with mankind. The evil in this world did not begin with the fall of Adam. Sin was present before the fall of Adam; we were in the middle of it, as Satan had already fallen. Satan tempted man in order to bring him into his sin. Adam was the source of sin for all mankind. Just as through one man, sin entered into the world, because when Adam sinned, we all sinned. The Scripture says, In Adam, all die. Adam’s genetic propensity to sin has been passed down to all mankind, and all men are born in sin. Sin is imputed to Him. We are all spiritually dead at birth. We are born separated from God and hope, despite the fact that we emerge from the womb with physical life.

 

Some allege that Adam is exposed to sin implicates God in the fall. The very essence of God mitigates against this view. It was Satan and man, by their own independent free will, who chose to sin against God. God has a reason to allow sin and evil to run its course. His purpose is to reveal His unfailing love. His plan is infinitely greater than any opposition that Satan can muster or the mind of man can conceive of. God provides the only hope for man. How blessed is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity. This is one who has come to know the reality of forgiveness.

 

Galileo was said to have been imprisoned for the Capernicum view of the universe; and they were both correct. As punishment, Galileo had to be repeat the Scripture of Psalm 32; it reminded him over and over of God’s grace and not His judgment. It is most reassuring to know that there is forgiveness from God, even though man may never forgive.

 

In this case, the punishment is self-discipline and put into the Lake of Fire for all eternity. Even though God’s justice condemned us, He placed this upon our substitute. His work destroys the barrier which is between God and us. Redemption is the picture of His divine impersonal love toward us and His amazing grace toward the human race.

 

Only Jesus Christ could open the gate of the slave market of sin. Man can walk through that door, free from God’s condemnation. That is what the cross does.

 

Expiation and redemption is a part of Christ’s work on the cross. When Christ died on the cross, there is no forgiveness in expiation and redemption; only potential. We must respond to what Jesus did for us on the cross. When we were dead in our transgressions and sins, He made us alive, having forgiven us all of our transgressions and sins. As believers, we are not free from the act of sin. So God provided rebound for all post-salvation sins. This prepares us for the remembrance of His work.


Bobby watched his mother pass from life into eternity, as he did with his father. We will all experience this for ourselves. A Wednesday night memorial in lieu of Bible class.


We have just begun a study, of our Lord, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We will learn the grace revealed in His life, every moment of this life dedicated to grace. We will see His thinking and all of his actions, which reflect His thinking; the incredible mind that He had. It was all divine viewpoint. We have the mind of Christ. We must implant these doctrines into our soul that we can see the human perfection that He was on this earth. This is what He demonstrates, so that we can have no doubt. We will see the depth and the breadth of His mission here on earth, as well as the agony of the cross, and the glory of His triumph. His triumph is our triumph, His eternal life is ours; His royalty becomes ours.


There are some specific facts which make His life important to all of us.


Lesson #0003                The Gospels November 14, 2010                         Sunday 2


7 pm start time for Betty Thieme memorial on Wednesday.


We need to put it all together before we actually begin this study.


There are many great stories of romance and heroism; but this is the greatest literature ever written, when it comes to appeal, beauty, intrigue, personalities, etc. It has it all. This study will clear up any misconceptions that we may have about Jesus Christ. We will no longer have to ask ourselves, what would Jesus do? His thoughts, words and actions will be known to us, and we will be able to act accordingly.


Do you think that politicians are distorted in their lies? The father of lies spends much of his time distorting the life of Jesus Christ. These gospels reveal the absolute truth of Jesus Christ. What has He done for us? Satan has tried to duplicate our Lord’s existence, His notoriety, and inspired so many new religions, promises of utopia, and so many human systems and philosophies. None can equal the life of Jesus Christ.


The revelation of Christ in the gospels is the very center of the Bible; this is the pivotal event of all human history. God took on humanity in order to be our Savior. He is God and man in One Person forever; which is, in itself, hard to understand.


The history and destiny of all mankind comes together and meets God. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that God has promises to Israel. A Messiah and a Savior. This goes all the way back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is also the bridge between Israel to the church universal. He is the Savior for all mankind, the guarantee of eternity, from Adam to the last person born.


Then there is a personal significance. We as human beings can only know God through knowing His Son. Who is Christ? In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God; and the Word became flesh and lived among us. He has no beginning and He has no end.


God is Spirit, so God is unseen by man. But Jesus Christ, as God, is the visible manifestation of God. He is the only visible Person Who is God. As such, He is the revelation of God to man.


A simple word holds our universe together and a simple word will destroy it. His power holds the universe together; it holds us together.


God the Son glorified for His work. He is seated at the most elevated position of any person ever.


Heb. 1:2–3 God has in these last days spoken to us by the Son, whom He appointed the Heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. For He is the radiance of the Glory of God and the very expression of his Being, upholding all creation by the power of His word; and, when He had made an expiation for the sins of men, He 'took his seat at the right hand' of God's Majesty on high,


Our spiritual growth is based upon knowledge of Him. Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, for, to Him, is the glory. We grow because we think like Him. We renovate our thinking. Word comes from the mind; the things which He did come from His thinking. We have the mind of Christ, and resulting actions right in front of us, the 4 gospels.


There is a great blessing for those who have a special interest in God’s Son. Bobby wants us to have a PhD in the Lord Jesus Christ before we are done with this study.


What does God offer us and what does He require of us? These are questions which have troubled man throughout His existence. They have the same answer: the life of Christ.


We know the importance of this series.


What about the source of our knowledge, the 4 gospels?


What Are the Gospels?

1.       The gospels are the record of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not cover all of the events of His life.

2.       3 of the gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, are called the Synoptic. These 3 agree in the general order of events. They also agree in content. They are parallel to each other. Many of the same events are covered in all 3 gospels.

3.       The 4th gospel highlights the character of Jesus Christ; not so much the events, but more with His Person and character.

4.       John’s gospel seeks to reveal the divinity of Jesus Christ. This is introduced right from the very beginning. He became flesh and lived among us. And John 20:31 These things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that, by belieiving, we might have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Bobby likes to give as much gospel as possible. This is no other name given among men under heaven by which we might be saved. John’s gospel is very evangelistic. It is a bold theological statement of Who He is and what He has done.

5.       All 4 gospels present His life, works and teaching. Why? To meet the salvation and spiritual needs of mankind. Bobby wonders if these 4 men would realize that these books would meet the salvation interests of all man. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.” There are not dozens of pathways to God; it is impossible. They are all antithetical.

6.       However, we must understand that each gospel is individual and unique. If that were not true, why not just one gospel? Yet, there are 4 of them.

7.       Why? Each gospel was directed toward a different audience.

8.       Each gospel appealed to different types of people. It is like being a pastor. Bobby may appeal to certain people and perhaps not to others.

9.       Each gospel has different purposes, different highlights, different viewpoints. Without essential discrepancies in any of them. That in itself is amazing. How many 4 books would exactly agree and not contradict one another at one point. Only the guiding hand of God makes this so.

10.     One account is one gospel showed the legitimacy and divine hand of all 4 accounts. Vice versa. What does this mean? 4 different authors, different kinds of individuals, during relatively different times, with the same exact message. Bobby says it is unlikely they they looked at each others work.

          a.       Matthew a.d. 50–60 and his was probably the first written. He is a Palestinian Jews. It was probably written in Jerusalem or somewhere in the surrounding area; in the holy land. Matthew would have had contact with many eyewitnesses for his account and many eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus Christ. Matthew could talk to many of these witnesses directly.

          b.       Mark was always Jewish, and a cousin of one of Paul’s co-workers, Barnabas, and a close associate of Paul. He had significant contact with the Apostle Peter and the entire Jerusalem church. Peter no doubt had great influence on his writing and perspective. Peter was an eyewitness of everything, just about. Mark wrote his gospel in Rome around 64–65.

          c.        Luke was the only Gentile author in the New Testament and a close associate with Paul. Paul influenced his account, writing around a.d. 60. He probably wrote this in Ceasarea. Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea for 2 years, giving Luke time to put this together. Matthew and John were both Apostles; Mark and Luke were co-workers.

          d.       John wrote his gospel after a.d. 70 and probably after that. He wrote the final book around a.d. 90. John probably wrote his gospel in Ephesus since he spent 20 or 25 years in Ephesus ministering.

11.     88 incidents in the synoptic gospels and 71 are found in all 3 and there is no deviation when it comes to the order. There are some diversities, and all are perfectly explanatble.


Lesson #none                            November 17, 2010                                 Wednesday


memorial service for Betty Thieme tonite at 7pm.


Lesson #0004                The Gospels November 18, 2010                         Thursday


Bobby may refer to Christianity as a religion from time to time, and that ought not concern ourselves with that. Christianity is centered on the grace of God. Christianity is the only religion among all the other religions which depends upon the grace of God for salvation. This separates the religions of the world. We cannot really escape this term when describing Christianity in a comparative way. All other religions propose a set of works of accomplishments by which we may gain God’s approbation.


No imperfect person can meet the perfect standards of God. One sin separates us from God. It is impossible for man to ever meet God on the basis of merit. Those who think they can earn salvation have no idea Who and What God is. God can have nothing to do with sin. There are many systems of belief and worship. Christianity like all other religions has a belief system and a worship of God. Christianity can fall under that category. Christianity is the true religious system.


Bobby is going to look at the historical aspects of Christianity. Many religions have no historical basis. They are subjective; like most eastern religions. The historical facts are unimportant. The historicity of a founding figure, like Buddha, is immaterial. Christianity is objective in every sense of the word. The life of Jesus Christ was an historical event in every sense of the word. This is the central event of all of history. The reality of all history is tied to His mission on earth. In His own words, the Lord Jesus Christ came to fulfill the historical promises made to Israel and all mankind. Christianity is firmly rooted in history and the destiny of Jesus Christ.


Some comparative religious studies have relegated Jesus to nothing more than a myth, meaning that He is apart from history, which has become more popular of late. They see that it is unimportant for Him to be tied to actual events. They try to say there are just the universal truths.


They see the incarnation as important only as it affect us. They like the harmonious union between God and man and that Jesus Christ is just one of those connections. His life and work are presented as separate from an historical reality. Jesus, to them, has no real existence, and that His story just fulfills some human need.


His work is what is important, but to such thinkers, He is just some religious symbol.


Can we prove that He was a real person in history? There are these gospels, but is there any other reference to Him? There are meager references to Him outside of the gospel. Most scholars today admit that there really was a Man named Jesus Who lived in the time that the gospels say that He lived.


Jewish testimony. Much of this was unfavorable. Many of the religious writers of that day did not look kindly upon Him. But in their hatred of Him, they verified that He was an historical figure. Babylonian Talmud, compiled about a.d. 500. On the eve of Passover, Jesus Christ was hung. He has led Israel astray. Let anyone who can come to His defense, come forward. The Jewish tradition had to mention Him. They could not set it aside.


Josephus was a great Jewish historian around a.d. 70, after the destruction of Jerusalem. He wrote about the Jews to explain them to the Romans. He was a Jew and Jewish sympathizer, but he allied himself with the Romans after they destroyed Jerusalem. Antiquities and there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call Him a man, for He was a doer of marvelous deeds; when Pilate condemned Him to the cross, those who loved Him at first did not cease to love Him.


Josephus was no friend of Christianity. Some have claimed that this was inserted by someone else after Josephus, and Bobby tends to agree with this. However, even if some Christian added this later, there was already a reference to Jesus Christ.


Josephus speaks of the martyrdom of James, the brother of Jesus who is called the Christ.


There are Roman testimonies. Pliny the Younger. a.d. 61–112 and he having a lot of trouble and he was seeking guidance in dealing with Christians who got together and sang about Christ as God.


The most famous of all Roman historians, Tacitus. 56–117 wrote a treatise on Nero and about how he set fire to Rome, and then he blamed the Christians. Christos, the founder, had undergone the death penalty under the reign of Tiberius under Pilate and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, but it broke out like a disease, in Rome itself. Every cult and religion that was around ended up in Rome. More unbiased proof of Jesus existence.


Swatonius another Roman writer 70 born. Emperor Claudius expelled the Christians because of the tumult they caused in Rome. The Jewish synagogues were having problems with the Christians. Claudius expelled them; and that is how Priscilla and Aquilla ended up in Corinth.


So, even though Jesus had been dead for some 30 years, His followers were still around and this was not dying out.


Another major proof is institutional evidence. It is a logical proof.


Institutional Evidence

1.       The New Testament church is a monument to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Life.

2.       Without His life being observed by 1000's, His ministry, His miracles, His death and resurrection, the church lacks an adequate cause. If He is not real, there is no reason for the church to exist.

3.       Massive persecution has no purpose. Why would hundreds of thousands of people undergo such terrific deaths for a myth.

4.       His life and the meaning of His death carried more weight that the persecution and personal death that these men were will to die for. How many people are willing to die for something they do not really believe in?

5.       Closely connected to this logic is the progress of Christianity.

6.       Judaism and the Romans had killed the Lord Jesus Christ. They also would have dealt with His followers very severely, and they did. The Jews hated the Christians as much as they hated Jesus. The Romans hated these Christians because of these uproars.

7.       If the Jews could have demonstrated in some way that Jesus was a figment or unworthy, then they would have done so. If they could have done it, they would have done it. Christianity progressed and spread. Missionary Christianity spread faster and further when it was persecuted than when it was not.

8.       The Jewish persecution and Roman persecution had no effect at all against the testimony of men and women who had seen and believed in Jesus Christ and His resurrection.


Without an historic Christr, the church would have died out years ago. The gospels are a source of truth about Jesus Christ.


Now we are going to compare all of the gospels, so that we understand their purpose, characteristics and similarities. These are the testimonies that we will study all at once. 71 of the 88 incients in the life of Christ are covered in all the synoptic.


Kατα Mατθιον, which means according to Matthew.


The Authorship of Matthew

1.       Matthew was originally named Levi and he was hated because he was a member of the Palestine IRS. He heard the gospel and he responded. He was an Apostle, and we know Apostles wrote the Scripture. However, nowhere in the Bible do you have him specifically named as the author. Paul named himself often; Matthew never did.

2.       External proofs. From a very early period in the church, the early church fathers recognized Matthew as the author. These men wrote prolifically. They lived very close to the actual time of the authorship of the gospels. The proof which carries the most weight, the most we can rely on what he or she said.

3.       Who did Matthew write to? This gospel was directed to a Jewish audience. Each gospel went to a different audience. This target audience who had not accepted Christ as the Messiah, we can see who they are immediately. He wrote a genealogy. He traces Jesus back to David; the accepted ancestor of the Messiah. Jews knew the ine that Jesus would com fom.

4.       Matthew also emphasizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. He was writing to those who believe prophecy of the Old Testament and that to them, this was important. Jews cared about the fulfillment of prophecy. He wanted them to know that Jesus was the One they had been looking for, for all of those centuries. He wanted to prove this to these Jewish readers.

5.       Matthew used a lot of Jewish terminology. Matt called Him the Son of David, which is a Jewish designation.

6.       The purpose of Matthew\s gossip was to demonstrate and convince the Jews. The religious types knew these prophecies and Matthew keeps linking these prophecies to Jesus. Jewish religious leaders wrote on a sign, King of the Jews; and they rejected Him.

7.       


The time frame of Matthew is the entire life of Jesus. He was born 4 or 5 b.c. and died cira a.d. 30. He covered the resurrection ministry for 40 days until His ascension.


Matthew focuses on His Galilaean ministry.


Lesson #0005                The Gospels November 21, 2010                         Sunday 1

This is a time when it will be clear that this is a classroom for learning.


It is ironic and interesting that Jesus is not mentioned very often in secular literature. The literature of His Own people has very little about Him. They simply wanted Him to disappear; and His followers as well. They expected once they had gotten rid of Him, that would be the end of it.


A brief reference to Jesus in the Babylonian Talmud and by Josephus. The Messiah, the center of Jewish life, is mentioned only once or twice in the most famous history of the Jews, who wrote only a few years after our Lord’s ministry, and his references were not very complimentary. Pliny the Younger and Tacitus and Swatonius all mention Jesus (Roman historians and authors); and they were not favorable to the Jews or to this new religion. The coliseum in Rome is read with the blood of Christians. The Romans always had trouble with the Jews; they were a thorn in the side of the Romans constantly; and they saw this as just a new set of problems which threatened Roman hegemony.


Jesus was a real Person with a real life with a real message, which had an impact upon the entire world, and it spread over the entire world rather rapidly. Most scholars today agree that there was an historical Person named Jesus. His full name is the Lord Jesus Christ.


However, the primary source of His message and His life is found in the gospels. Bobby is going to cover them all at once.


Why 4 Gospels?

1.       Each gospel brings a unique perspective to His life. They all examine the same essential events (particularly the synoptic).

2.       Each gospel has a central purpose, but with the intent of revealing Who He is.

3.       Each gospel addresses a different audience at that time. There is, obviously a universal appeal.

4.       Different purpose, different perspective and unique approach of each one.


Matthew was the author of κατα Mατθιον. Nowhere, is it stated that Matthew is the author, but that has been the tradition. Matthew’s audience was the Jews; particularly to those who had not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah. This is seen right from the beginning. This is simply tracing the family line of Jesus back to King David, as that Old Testament prophecies promised this. Matthew starts out by saying, look, this is His line; this is Who He is genetically.


Then he tried to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Old Testament prophecy.


There is an extent of time of Matthew’s gospel and his covers the full life of Jesus, from birth of Jesus.


The second gospel is κατα Mαρκον. The author of Mark is anonymous in the pages of the gospels. Mark never states that he is the gospel. However, from a very early period in the church, the author is said to be Mark. Clement and others recognized Mark as the author. Their testimony as to the authorship of these gospels is important. They came in just a few years after the church began.


John Mark is his full name, was the son of Mary in Jerusalem. There is a lot of speculation that Mark actually witnessed some of the events of the gospel. Mark was possibly the disrobed man running around named in his gospel; however, this is conjecture.


Mark’s History

Mark was very active in a ministry.

1.       Mark traveled with Paul and Barnabas in the late 40's on the first missionary tour.

2.       Mark left them because he had a hard time.

3.       He later went to Barnabas on another missionary journey.

4.       He possibly was in Rome. Mark may have spoke as Peter’s interpreter. Peter’s Greek in his epistles is not very good. Mark had access to Peter’s account of his close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

5.       Mark was not an Apostle, but a writer of Scripture. He was under the tutelage of one who could give a first-hand account of Jesus’ life.

6.       Mark was initially a failure in his ministry. Some pastors go to a church and fall flat on their faces the first time through. Many immature believers do not do well in a Christian ministry. Mark becomes one of Paul’s great co-workers. The conclusion of Paul’s ministry is his beheading. Mark may have been there.

7.       Tradition records that mark ministered in Alexandria, Egypt. There is a 9th century tradition that the merchants of Venice stole the body of Mark and enshrined it in Saint Mark’s basilica in Venice.


What is the extent of time of Mark’s gospel? He begins with our Lord’s public ministry, when He is baptized by John. There is no mention of His early years or His birth. Only 3 or 4 years of our Lord are covered.


The target audience of Mark’s gospel was the Romans. They were taught that Jesus is God’s Servant Who gave His life as the Servant of all mankind. Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.


The purpose of the gospel of Mark. He recorded a number of miracles. He did not record more miracles than is found elsewhere, but a greater proportion of his book is devoted to them. The Romans would have been impressed with the supernatural aspect of it.


The 3rd gospel is κατα Λυκον. There is internal and external evidence for this. His name is not mentioned as such in the text??? Early church fathers understood who wrote these gospels.


Who was Luke? He is the only gentile to write in the New Testament. He attached himself to the Apostle Paul. He probably came from Antioch and he joined Paul in Troas Acts 16:10. He went with Paul to Philippi. Then he went with Paul to Jerusalem. He was there for a lot of Paul’s ministry. He went with Paul to Rome. He was the last man to leave Paul during Paul’s 2nd and final imprisonment. Mark and Timothy were both requested, but Luke was definitely there. a.d. 59–68.


Luke was a physician by profession (Col. 4:14). Luke uses a lot of medical terminology. He may have actually been Paul’s traveling physician. Luke was also a missionary in his own right and an able historian. He was also an author. He was somewhat a Renaissance man, but long before the Renaissance.


He was the most literary author of the New Testament. He speaks much in his gospels to individuals. He gave special attention in his gospel to women.


Luke also wrote the book of Acts, which is the history of the early church. Both of these books were addressed and dedicated to Theophilus, who is named in both books, a very prominent Greek. This type of address to just one person for a book is for common for Greek literature, even though the audience would be much wider, for the most part.


Luke was writing to the Greeks. He accompanied Paul so often, and Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, like Corinth and Ephesus. There developed a need for a gospel record which would speak to the Greek mind. There are 2 genealogies in the New Testament; one in Matthew and one in Greek. This genealogy traces our Lord all the way back to Adam, the father of the human race. Greeks loved this sort of stuff. They liked the history of man.


Luke avoids Jewish terminology; and Jesus is called a master or a teach but not a rabbi.


There is less emphasis upon the fulfillment of the kingdom. Greek names are used instead of Hebrew names. So there is a distinct Greek character found in his book.


Birth of Christ to His death and resurrection. There was one particular verse where his gospel is revealed: Luke 19:10 The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.


Lesson #0006                The Gospels November 21, 2010                         Sunday 2


Kατα ιοωνον John is a whole different situation. John covered some of the same events as the synoptics; but this is the greatest source of Christology in the gospels.


There are many things which occurred in the life of our Lord which are not herein recorded. All that is said, all that is needed to grow in grace and knowledge.


Was John the author? Again, this gospel is anonymous in the Scripture itself. There is internal and external evidence which points to John.


Internal evidence: he is clearly a Palestinian Jew. He uses very simple Greek. He quotes literally from the Old Testament and there are more quotes from the Old Testament than any other gospel writer. He is very familiar with Palestine and the areas where our Lord ministered. By his own admission, he is an eyewitness to the events of his gospel. John 21:20–24 and he is the gospel whom Jesus loved, one in the inner circle, along with Peter.


There is also external evidence. Church fathers confirm his author. He is probably the only apostle to die of natural causes, and he lived almost into the beginning of the 2nd century. Ireaneaus writes about John’s authorship, who was born perhaps 20 or so years after John die. This is in Against Heresies. There is a mention of John residing in Ephesus, which was the center of Christianity in that day. Timothy and Paul taught there; and John lived there, along with others.


A similar statement from someone of Antioch and others.


John lived there until the time of Trajen. a.d. 98–117 is Trajen’s rule. Where these apostles are buried is unimportant. They worshipped only One. When we pray to an apostle, we are way out of line.


He is called the son of Zebedee and the brother of James. He is a partner in a business; Peter and Andrew and John are all a part of this business. Salome is his mother and she might be the sister of Mary. John became an early disciple of John the Baptizer. He then followed Jesus after an encounter in Bethany, which is east of the Jordan.


He walked away from his business and became a fisher of men. John and James were called the sons of thunder, an interesting title. Very strong witnesses and very strong adherents to the Lord. Along with Peter, they were probably the closest and most trusted of the Apostles. John and Peter were both there for the transfiguration. The Deity of Jesus Christ was shown forth through His humanity. This knocked them on the ground. There was enough presented to them; the Shekinah glory. He is the 2nd person of the Trinity shown in a glorified state. This was a great honor given these men.


John also occupied a place of privilege at the Last Supper; sitting next to Jesus, laying his head on Christ. John was as the cross and Many as well, and Jesus told John to take care of Mary.


The gospel of John was directed by Jewish thought; so this is directed toward the Jews. Matthew toward the Jews in Palestine; and John to the Jews outside of the land. John 1:41 11:52. John also takes a universal tone, “God so loved the world, that anyone who believes....” His gospel is not restricted to the gospel of the Jews; and that this would include the enitre Christian church; it is a unifying gospel to the entire church.


His emphasis is different. He focuses on another ministry. Jesus began in Galilee and the Samaria and the Judæa and Jerusalem. The focus is on the latter 2. John is not concerned with a full chronology of our Lord’s life. Each event in the synoptics progress; John does not do this. He begins with our Lord’s public ministry beginning. 3 Passovers are named.


There is an apologetic purpose as well. That is a defense of the faith. But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and you might, by believing, have eternal life.


His gospel is heavily theological; that is a great focus of his gospel. His gospel is often titled the gospel of belief, which word is used 98 times. This is a tough gospel for the Calvinists. They think that God brings belief to mankind. The emphasis in John is the free will of man to believe.


 

Comparing the Gospels

 

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

written to

 

 

 

 

Jesus presented as

 

 

son of Man to Greeks

Son of God to all

the arrangment

dispensation arrangement

chronological arrangement

a historical approach or arargnement

a theological arrangement

highlights

the long discourses of Christ

miracles

the parables

personal interviews

viewpoints

his own

Petrine account

Paul’s account

his own

purposes

to convince that Jesus is the Messiah

to instruct the Roman Christians

to present the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of Man to the Greek world.

To show Jesus as God and man.


Jesus Christ arrived at the perfect time. There was a reason Jesus came along in 5 b.c. What was He born into and why was He born then?


The geography of the land. The drama of history is enacted on the stage of geography. What happens in history occurs on a piece of ground. Geography plays a critical part of any battle and it can be the most critical aspect of a battle. Geography is also important in the life of Jesus Christ. Geography often tells its own tale.


Palestine is the geography where Jesus was. He did not travel north of Galilee; he did not go further than south of Jerusalem. All of His ministry was confined. This area is called microscopic in size, however, this is cosmic in import. There is not greater land than this thumbnail of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. This little area is a land bridge between 3 continents. Every army on earth has gone through this area and much trade goes through here. Also significant in its religious impact. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all are born in this tiny area.


This area is about the size of the state of Vermont. Great variety of terrain in this area. Along the Mediterranean sea is a costal plain, much like Houston. Very little elevation. To get away from this costal plain, you travel into the foothills that go into the Hill Country. Beyond the hill country are higher mountains, 2000 to 4000 ft. Mount Tabor is about 2400 ft. hills around Jerusalem are around 2600 ft. Then is one of the strange geological features of the world. From Galilee to the Dead Sea is the deep ditch valley of the Jordan River. It begins near Mount Herman, 9000 ft. Jordan River drops right down to sea level.


It further drops to the Sea of Galilee, which is 700 ft below sea level. Our Lord’s entire life took place in this small area. The Sea of Galilee figures heavily in the life of Christ. This is where He began His ministry. Bethlehem is where His parents came to be taxed. Jesus was raised in Galilee. South of there is Samaria, and the Jews hated them. Then we come to Judæa. At the bottom is Idoumia, which is where Herod the Great came from. He had a tremendous impact on this land and shortly after Jesus was born. A king, a messiah was born; and Herod wanted to know about this, and he was going to kill anyone who was a rival.


The maggiai this did come back to him, so Herod went to kill all of the children in a specific age bracket.


The early part of Jesus ministry is around the Sea of Galilee; it is 13 miles long and 8 miles wide, and it is a freshwater lake; and it has sudden and dangerous storms there. These storms on the sea result from different temperature gradients between the sea coast and the mountains beyond. There is a temperature differential and the sea is bounded by hills, where they are up to 2000 ft. high and higher as you go out. Cool dry air out in the heights. In contrast, there is tropical and semi-tropical. However, there is moist warm air near the Mediterranean Sea. Large and quick temperature changes and a variety of pressure changes. When contrasting air masses meet, the result is strong winds, and these winds funnel right onto the center of the sea of Galilee. This wind causes problems on the Sea of Galilee. This is a relatively shallow water. When a wind hits shallow water, it whips up watre much more than a deep water. So there are great waves which are whipped up. Lake Erie is very similar to the sea of Galilee, except it is much larger. Shallowest of the Great Lakes. It is known as the storm generator. Quick storms arise. This storm is always dangerous for anyone on the lake.


This explains what happens to our Lord and the disciples. They are sound asleep on the boat and the storm is whipped up. The disciples are cruising around and the waves are washing over the boat. They are in the boat with the God of the Universe. They wake Him up, and He makes everything stop. The lesson is, we do not need to panic; we are in the Lord’s hands.


The Dead Sea is quite weird.


Lesson #none               The Gospels November 24, 2010                     Wednesday


No Bible class


Lesson #none               The Gospels November 25, 2010                         Thursday


No Bible class


Lesson #0007                The Gospels November 28, 2010                         Sunday 1

Jesus never left the general area; he remained in a very small piece of land about the size of Vermont. It is amazing that such a small, minute part of the world can have such an impact upon world history. It has a great impact on history than anywhere else in the world.


This relatively small population; this race called the Jews; this race of recalcitrant, faithless people should receive such grace from God. There is a past and a future which is tied up with the Lord Jesus Christ who is a Jew. There is no more important moment in history than this, the crucifixion.


The land in which they lived was the very land promised to Abraham by the very One Who entered into thie world in the winter of 5–4 b.c. This is a period of a few months that Bobby is looking at; December of 5 b.c. of Jan of 4 b.c.


Some of us barely know where the city is that we live in. People unfortunately do not know geography or history. You cannot fully understand Jesus Christ unless you understand some history and some geography.


Palestine was the very crossroads of the Middle East. It is between Asia, Europe and Africa. It is the center of the earth, for all intents and purposes. On much of the near east, we find the Semites; on Africa the Hamites; and in Europe, the Japhethites.


Most of that part of the world at that time was controlled by Rome, including Palestine. Many of the Jews of the diaspora were drawn to Palestine. We are in the middle of one of the greatest diasporas of all history.


The topography of the land is fascinating as well. Palestine has almost every type of terraine that you can find in that area. Sea coast, foothills, high mountains, desert, and very unusual landlocked bodies of water.


There are 3 great provinces. In the north, there is Galilee, which is next to the Sea of Galilee. He grew up there, in Nazareth, in the Galilee area. This was an area where the people were only half Jewish. Then below that is Judæa, which is the center of the land of Palestine, and where much of our Lord’s ministry would take place.


2010gospels_bobby.gif

There is this coastal plain all along Palestine, very similar to the topography that we have in the south of Houston. It is flat. Here, we have about 60 miles of this topography. There, it is only a few miles. Our hill country is similar to theirs, but spread out. Further east, there are higher mountains, deep valleys and some desert. This is not unlike west Texas. For us, we have to drive to El Paso to get there, which is half-way to California.


The Jews did not want the Samaritans to worship in the Temple; so the Samaritans worshiped at their own Temple. There was certainly some influence there in the life of Christ.


You go a little further, and you come to the Jordan River. There are high hills and mountains on either side of the Jordan River. It plunges into a deep valley ditch here. 9100 foot mountain, and it drops down into the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake, which is below sea level. This is about 8x13 mile lake, very small, and it was subject to dramatic and sudden storms. These storms are brought about by the cool dry air meeting the warm moist air coming up from the ocean. When these meet, there are sudden storms.

2010gospels_bobby1.gif

Then we move down to the Jordan River, which moves from north to South. There is just 60 miles between the 2 lakes, but it goes on for about 200 miles, so it is a strange, meandering river. After 200 miles of winding, the Jordan River dumps into the Dead Sea, which is very salt water. It is one nasty brew of salt, sulphur and other minerals. It is twice as salty as the Great Salt Lake in Utah. 46 miles x 10 miles. The Dead Sea goes down about 1300 ft below sea level. At its deepest point, it is about 1000 ft deep, so that makes is 2300 ft below sea level at its deepest point.


If a fish swims into this area, it dies immediately. It is not deadly to human beings. Because of the salts, you cannot go underwater.


The Roman seat of government was in Caesarea, built by one of the more interesting men of history. Decapolis means 10 cities. Greek culture affected and de-unified Jewish culture.


The Jews today tend to congregate in their own communities, even today.


There is a great background to know, and when Jesus was born is the perfect time in human history.


Setting the Historical Stage

1.       Palestine was under the thumb of Persia. In 586 b.c., Jews were enslaved and under the Chaldean empire, which then went to Persian control.

2.       538 b.c. Zerubbabel given the permission to return to the land. Only 50,000 Jews returned to Palestine, and Zerubbabel led them back and he rebuilt the Temple, which he completed in 516 b.c.

3.       Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Judæa. Nehemiah went back in 444 b.c. and they were surrounded by those who hated them and did not want them to return to the land. Edom, Ammon and Moab all wanted to destroy these Jews. Nehemiah got the walls up in a record number of days, and much of this is covered in Freedom through Military Victory.

4.       Jerusalem and Judah were back in business, and this was the time of Malachi’s prophecies.

5.       332 b.c. was the conquering of that part of the world by Alexander the Great, the great Macedonian. He had a lot to do with the land of Palestine, and a good relationship with the Jews. The Greco-Macedonian Empire. Alexander the Great was on his destiny off to destroy the world. He came to Palestine, and demanded their surrounded. When he came to Jerusalem, some Jewish priests came to meet him and said, “We will capitulate” and Alexander was taken into Temple and he demanded to hear the scrolls of Daniel. He was well-informed. Daniel’s prophecy included the great image of Daniel 2; he foretold of the Greco-Macedonian Empire. Alexander liked it, and he said, “This is a good omen. I am going to have a great empire.” Alexander gave them excellent terms. He treated the Jews very well, an then he marched off to Egypt and destroyed it.


Lesson #0008                The Gospels November 28, 2010                         Sunday 2


The Chinese version of the Night Before Christmas was put out by mistake in the library.


One of the big issues in the breakup of the British empire was Palestine. The boundaries in the Middle East are artificial boundaries set up, primarily, by the English. And these are people who do not get along.


The notes below are partially from the previous hour and this hour.

 

5.       332 b.c. was the conquering of that part of the world by Alexander the Great, the great Macedonian. He had a lot to do with the land of Palestine, and a good relationship with the Jews. The Greco-Macedonian Empire. Alexander the Great was on his destiny off to destroy the world. He came to Palestine, and demanded their surrounded. When he came to Jerusalem, some Jewish priests came to meet him and said, “We will capitulate” and Alexander was taken into Temple and he demanded to hear the scrolls of Daniel. He was well-informed. Daniel’s prophecy included the great image of Daniel 2; he foretold of the Greco-Macedonian Empire. Alexander liked it, and he said, “This is a good omen. I am going to have a great empire.” Alexander gave them excellent terms. He treated the Jews very well, an then he marched off to Egypt and destroyed it. The Greeks brought a common language to Palestine called Koine Greek, which is the language that the New Testament is written in. God brought Alexander the Great there for a reason. The years of Persian influence was over. 323 b.c. is when Alexander died; and then Palestine became a blood-soaked battleground between Egypt and Syria.

6.       301 b.c. Ptolemy secured Egypt and Palestine? Cleopatra was one of the last Ptolemy’s. From Alexandria, a great library was fonded; a library of Jewish history.

7.       In 285 b.c., scholars in Alexandria translated the Old Testament. This had a huge impact and this was because of Alexander the Great.

8.       323–198 b.c. Greek rule.

9.       Antiachus took over Palestine, removing the Ptolemy’s. This new group is the Selucid’s. 198–166 b.c. their rule of the Selucid’s and their reign was a nightmare. Judaeaism was outlawed in Palestine. He walked into the Temple and desecrated it, sacrificing swine in the Temple, so the altar of God ran red with pig’s blood. The Jews were beside themselves. On Dec. 25 (Antiachus?) he set up Zeus worship. 198 b.c.?

10.     This led to the Maccabean revolution. This was a brutal 2 year war against Antiachus and his house. Judas Maccabeas led the war, and he was just as brutal as the Selucid’s and Israel gained independence.

11.     Dec. 24th 164 b.c. they rededicated the Temple, and this is Honicha. The rule until 63 b.c. The Maccabees were involved in great anarchy, bloodshed.

12.     The Hamonian high priesthood became rulers in Palestine. Caiphas the High Priest is in this line.

13.     142 b.c. the Hasmonian line made a treaty with Rome.

14.     135 b.c. the Hasmonian line John Heirchanus became the high priest and ruler. In Palestine, there was no separation between Judaism and . John allied himself with Rome and he was able to extend the Jewish kingdom from the sea to Idumea. All of this was an expansion. He also destroyed the Samaritan Temple on Mount Gerizim, and this caused a further rift between the Jews and the Samaritans. There was great animosity between these people. Samaritans were forced to become Jews. Same thing happened to the Idumeans. In 135 b.c., John Hierchanus became high preset and ruler, and this is where there are 2 sects, the pharisees and the sadduccees became strongly divided.

15.     By 110 b.c., the pharisees began to oppose the Greek inculturation. This was the conflict which Jesus would face during His ministry.

16.     Aristobulus was the son of Hierchonus. He was the high priest for a year and this was one of the worst years and there was rioting during his rule. His brother came to power, Alexander Janus. He married his brother’s wife in 103 b.c. This gave him a good political alliance. He enlarged the kingdom to the size of David and Solomon’s kingdom. The Jews loved this. There was a problem with him. He was a vile man. His vileness brought outrage from the pharisees. So there was a bloody revolt over the high priesthood. A war over religion.

17.     When our Lord arrived, Palestine is a dark and bloody country.

18.     76 b.c. a woman succeeds Janus as ruler. Solemy Alexandra. It was rare for a woman to be in power in this area. She was not a high priest, of course. Secular rule began to splt from the priesthood. As ruler of Palestine, she reestablished peaceful relations between the pharisees and the sadduccees. They had been fighting for years. Then she made a mistake, appointing her son, Hierchonus II as high priest. She was uniting the priesthood and secular rule again. However, this does not work out.

19.     67 b.c. her sons got into a civil war over the throne in which their mother sat and the high priesthood that Hierchonus II had. So things were in turmoil.

20.     Now Rome came into the picture. They could not agree on the high priesthood so they appealed to Rome; specifically to the Roman general Pompey. He was in the neighborhood at that time, which is why they went to him. He was roaming about with nothing to do at this point. So they asked him to settle this for them. He arrives in Jerusalem by invitation. He assigns the high priesthood to Hierchonus. Then this gentile goes into the Holy of Holies, which was blasphemous, and at that moment, he terminated the rule by Jews. Why did they invite in the Romans? From that moment on, the Jews became vassals to the Roman empire.

21.     60 b.c. the first Roman triumpherate was formed (3 rulers splitting the rule). Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Krassas all splilt up Rome, and they had an unofficial alliance.

22.     48 b.c. Cæsar defeats Pompey and controls all Rome. Events began to unfold.

23.     An Idumean army officer named Antipeter was a man of great wealth and influence and a man of foresight. He saw an advantage to support Julius Cæsar. Out of gratitude, Cæsar granted him Roman citizen and made him governor of Palestine. Hierchanus was again confirmed as high priest, with 2 governing bodies. This began an uneasy relationship between Roman political rule and the priesthood. The Jews, at the point, began to long for independence. Rome had an iron grip, and if there was a problem, a legion walked in and destroyed the problem.

24.     Idumean Antipeter appointed his son, Herod, to rule over Galilee. He will later be called Herod the Great. Antipeter wanted a family member to watch his back.

25.     Herod reigned for 37 years and he would become Herod the Great and his family would reign for the rest of the century. This one man would set the stage for the advent of Jesus Christ. Herod only lived one year after Jesus was born, but he still had a great impact.

26.     Political events began to unfold rapidly. 44 b.c. Cæsar was assassinated. Another triumpherant. Gaius Octavius, Mark Anthony and some other guy in 43 b.c. Then Antipeter was poisoned. Herod was a political animal and he was ruthless. He had an instinct for power and how he could preserve it for himself. There was a lot of blood on his hands.

27.     Shortly after our Lord was born, Herod would not allow for any challenge to his power. So he sends Roman soldiers at age 2 and under and had them killed. Herod had everything in this life.


Lesson #0009                 The Gospels December 1, 2010                      Wednesday


Bobby took us back to the Assyrian, then Chaldean empires. We have studied how Jesus Christ prepared history for His coming.


The Roman empire had the greatest impact upon Palestine during the time of our Lord. There was a great impact in 63 b.c. Pompey, fresh from victory, was invited into Jerusalem by a group of Hasmonians; and they were descended from the Maccabees. This is one of the bloodiest grounds of the world. At the time of Pompey’s entrance, a civil war was raging between 2 members of the Hasmonian house; Aristobulus and Hierchonus II. Pompey was called in to settle this dispute. He told Hierchonus, “I like you best, so you are the new high priest.” Then Pompey went into the Holy of Holies, an act only to be done once a year by the high priest. This heathen, this Roman did this. The Jews were often stirred up about something; but he goes in there to demonstrate his dominance over the high priest. He appoints the high priest, and then he does what only the high priest could do, going into the Holy of Holies.


From 60 b.c., Rome exerted control over that area. Triumperant. Cæsar Pompey, and Crassas were men who split up the empire 3 ways. Events began to unfold rapidly, which would impact our Lord’s coming.


By 48 b.c., Cæsar defeats Pompey and unites the empire for the first time in a century. Idumea is down at the Sinai peninsula. There are some Jews down there, but mostly others (Idumeans). Antipeter was a man of wealth and power in this area; and he supported Cæsar and helped him in his conquest of the others in this triumperate.


The high priest still had an important place in Jewish religion. Antipeter had a son Herod, and he liked members of his family in charge, so he put Herod in charge of Galilee. He would become Herod the Great, and his family would reign in Palestine for the rest of the century. His reign was quite momentous for that period. Herod himself would have direct impact on the very early life of Jesus Christ, even though he died when Jesus was a year old.


It was Herod Antipeter who would face Jesus Christ on the day of his trials and crucifixion. Jesus would call him fox, because he was. This is Herod’s son.


Early History

1.       Julius Cæsar assasisnated on the ides of March in 44 b.c.

2.       Then the second triumpherate was born. Guis Octavius, Mark Anthony and Lepidus formed the 2nd triumpherate.

3.       Antipeter, father of Herod, was poisoned. Herod stepped up.

4.       This is when Herod began to exert his own authority and to expand his power in this region. He was a ruthless political animal. He had a tremendous instinct for power. He wanted power and was willing to preserve it by any means. There was a lot of blood on his hands.


Herod married well to form a political alliance. It had little to do with love and attraction. Aristocracy married for power, place, politics and influence; this allowed for the consolidation of power. He married Mariamni, who was well-known for her beauty. She was a Hasmonian. Herod therefore had allied himself with the reigning religious family. By 40 b.c., his marital and allied stratagems paid off, so the Roman Senate named him king over Palestine. He set out to control the recalcitrant Jews. He then began to get rid of the Hamonian heirs. However, this did not endear him to his wife. She did not like seeing her family wiped out.


While these events took place, the Roman world turned over. The 2nd triumpherant was at war with one another. 2Sept 31 b.c., Gaius Octavia bottled up Mark Antony and Cleopatra off the coast of Greece. He had 90,000 men and about 400 warships. Mark Antony had a similar army and 500 warships. Antony was having problems with logistics; he could not supply his army, and they began to desert. He had to do battle before his situation deteriorated further.


His ships were cumbersome and were no match for Octavian’s lighter and more nimble ships. Mark Antony managed to escape back to Egypt, to organize for more war. Octavian was now the undisputed master of the Roman empire. The man with the army held the power. Battle of Actium ended a century of civil war.


His name then became Augustus Cæsar, and called the founder of a new golden age. The cessation of 100 years of great war. The great Pox Romana began. The peace of Rome. This was the right time for the Lord Jesus Christ to come. The first peace in decades of upheaval. There was no longer a focus on the wars and the power brokers, so man could focus on the Messiah.


The Right Time for Jesus Christ to Come into the World

1.       Piracy was a huge problem in the Mediterranean. Augustus put an end to this. This helps commerce.

2.       Banditry declined on land, so people could travel without fear.

3.       Augustus brought a general stability to the frontiers of the empire.

4.       The settled conditions allowed commerce to flourish; people became wealthy and business prospered.

5.       He built roads all over, which helped the commercial world, which paved the way for Jesus Christ and for Paul later. This allowed for the spread of Christianity in the Christian world.


Herod in 31 b.c. This conflict had an effect upon Herod. He had been a supporter of Mark Antony, and Herod had backed the wrong horse. This put him in a very precarious position. It was hard to explain his choice to the rising star of Rome. However, Herod considered all of the angles. He was slippery and he was savvy. He made a decision which affect his career and Palestine for the next 35 years. He decided to back the winner. He had no real loyalty. He was only interested in those who would advance him. He knew that he needed to charm Octavian. He needed to make an excuse for what he had done. A misstep could have caused him to lose his power and his life.


He decided to tell Octavian the truth. He told him that he had given Antony aide, and his help was extensive with money and troops and support. He then pledged to give Octavian the same sort of strategic support. Let me keep this kingdom, and I will further your cause. This was a good bargaining chp; and Herod had stablized Palestine, which was not an easy thing to do. Octavian then stuck a deal with Herod. This was a smart deal for them to come to an agreement here. Both men were smart here.


So Herod retained his power and he kept it until he died. After the meeting, Herod did exactly what he said he would do. Octavian marched to Egypt and destroyed Mark Antony and Cleopatra.


Octavian went back to Rome to consolidate power in the capitol. Augustus Cæsar was in control of Rome when Jesus was born.


The Environment Created by Octavian (Augustus Cæsar)

1.       There was universal peace in the empire, for the most part. Of course, some difficult firestorms here and there.

2.       He built road.

3.       He circulated a common currency.


Herod was ruthless and brutal, and he earned the title Herod the Great at this time, becoming a great asset to Augustus during this time.


What Herod Did

1.       He sent military expeditions east of the Jordan River. He knew what Rome wants; so he sent Roman troops eastward into Arabia. He was a military genius and excellent in war. Putting territory under the Roman Empire was a good thing.

2.       He furthered the cultural aims of Rome and Augustus. He stayed loyal to Augustus because Augustus kept him in power. Augustus wanted to develop a uniform Greco-Roman culture throughout his empire, and Herod did everything he could to further this end. He made Palestine Greco-Roman, as far as he could. He supported the cult of the empower was divine, which was anathema to the Jews. He built temples to Augustus. He rebuild Samaria, between Galilee and Judæa. They were only half-Jews, and the Jews did not like them for this reason. Sebaste is the Greek work Augustus, and that is the name he gave to Samara. Augustus like being revered as a god. He built more temples in Samaria, a theater; a hippodrome for chariot racing. Jews did not like this. They did not like all of this Roman culture coming into this area.

3.       To furnish Augustus domain with a seaport, he guilt the city of Caesarea for Cæsar. He hauled tremendous blocks of limestone, and this was a great engineering feat for that day. Temple to Cæsar dominated the skyline. In the middle of Palestine is Caesarea, which was the center of Roman power in Palestine, and Herod did this all. This was unique in all of Jewish history. He built an amphitheater in Jerusalem as well.

4.       One of his greatest accomplishments, which also ingratiated him to Augustus, he maintained power over Palestine for Rome. Herod’s later descendants were unable to do this. He subdued the Jews, the most turbulent of people under Roman control. They would not accept another king, so they were often stirred up. There were strongly isolationist and they wanted to be free. They expected their own king to free them from this Roman oppression. The Jews resented Herod and Rome. This hatred continued to a.d. 70. Herod set up strategic positions where he could march in a put down any rebellion.

5.       Herod rebuilt the Temple, and the Jews appreciated this. This was the center of their religious life. Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. 500 years later, it was Zerubbabel’s Temple which Herod refurbished; and Herod spared no expense. He enlarged it and he enriched it. This was the center of Judaism. This exceeded Solomon’s Temple in magnificence. This was his crowning achievement. He called it Herod’s Temple. For all of its magnificence, it lacked the Ark of the Covenant. Nebuchadnezzar probably took it to Babylon. It was not in Herod’s Temple. There was no Presence of Jehovah Elohim. The Shekinah Glory would appear in Herod’s Temple in theh flesh.


Lesson #0010                 The Gospels December 2, 2010                          Thursday


Octavius’ word was law. Palestine was under the sandal of the Roman legions, and it was a part of the Roman empire. Octavius had the king of Palestine guarding his interests. These men shaped the province in which Jesus was born. Herod of Caesar’s most important asset in that region.


Herod originally backed Mark Antony, but he later went to Octavian and said, “I backed the wrong horse.”


Herod extended the empire, and Cæsar really liked this. During his time, he sent military expeditions east of the Jordan and he subdued some of the wild beduin tribes in that area. This allowed for the formation of the Roman province of Asia.


Herod also had a great talent for building, so he had temples dedicated to emperor worship, and he built hippodromes and various coliseums, and he rebuilt Samarai, renaming it Augustus.


He built a sea port where there was no port before, and then built the city of Caesarea from the ground up, and that became the seat of Roman power and government at that time.


All of this currying of favor did not gain him any favor with the Jews. One of Herod’s great accomplishments was maintaining control over Palestine for Rome for a long time. The Jews were a very independent lot. The Jews deeply resented subservience to Rome.


The history of Palestine was not an easy one. The Jews were their own worst enemy. They were very likely to stir up at any moment trouble and they were not above stirring up violence in Palestine. Herod crushed any Jewish riot or revolt against Roman rule.


Herod built a line of forts in Palestine where trouble seemed to brew the most. When the Jews started something, soldiers would come out and crush this revolt, killing many.


However, Herod did try to placate the Jews to some degree, the Temple had fallen into great disrepair and it was supposed to be the house of God. So, why not rebuild the Jewish Temple. He began this project 500 years after the previous Temple had been done, in 516 b.c. Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed 70 years previous. Herod’s Temple was his crowning achievement, so he spared no expense. Herod’s Temple even exceeded the magnificence of Solomon’s Temple. He designed it and began it around 19 b.c., and it would be 46 years that the Temple would be under construction; and it was actually finished in a.d. 64. 6 years after it was completed, it was leveled, where the only thing left was the Wailing Wall. The legions of Titus destroyed the Temple.


Herod improved economic conditions in Palestine, he built a lot of buildings and was well-known for his architecture genius. He was very highly successful.


His personal life was a disaster. It was a constant thorn in his side, and it had a great affect on his reign and upon events around the time of the birth of Jesus.


His personal life had become very complicated. He returned from this meeting with Octavian, after pledging his loyalty to him; he found the domestic situation that was completely out of control. There was no loyalty at home. Herod married a beautiful woman named Mariamni, from the Hasmonian line, which gave him religious power. She had come to loathe Herod, although he loved her. Herod had a mother-in-law who could not stand him (Alexandra). She actually plotted against him, wanting him dead. This was because Herod was dedicated to destroying the Hasmonian line.


His sister, Salomne who did not like Alexandra or Mariamni. So Herod had his hands full with these 3 women under one roof. Salomne got Mariamni executed on a trumped up charge of infidelity; then Alexandra was taken care of by convicting her of a real plot.


Herod got a little crazy. Then he made a comeback; but it left a mark on him. His charm was gone. He became very moody and suspicious of everyone, and very conspiracy oriented, seeing enemies everywhere.


They say that Stalin maintained power because everyone was an enemy to him, so he played them against one another. He would send off various men to gulags or they would simply disappear in the night.


A short time of peace when his wife and mother-in-law died. However, family conflict resumed a few years later. Herod had a lot of sons, and 3 of them wanted Herod out of the way so that they could take power. So, Herod executed all 3 of them. It was a very dark decade of Herod’s life. He died around 4 or 3 b.c., a year after the birth of Jesus Christ.


The wise men stopped by to see Herod and they said they were going to see the King of the Jews born to them at that time. Herod asked to see Him, but the wise men did not return by way of Herod.


Herod died of intestinal cancer and edema. He tried to kill the Lord Jesus Christ, and he then died painfully.


Archilaus, named the Tetrarch of Samaria, Judaea, Idumea, and somewhere else. These are prime areas, but


Herod Antipas named Tetrarch of Galilee and Peria. Also called the fox. He executed John the Baptist.


Philip became tetrarch of somewhere else.


There was a predominant culture; a culture mix of Greek and Roman, called Greco-Roman culture, and he forced this upon the people of Palestine. The Jews resisted this violently. Secular Greek art, literature and art permeated this part of the world.


Epicureans were skeptics and they declared themselves against all religions, putting them at odds with all religions, including with Jews and emperer worship. They believed the world arose by chance; they were the evolutionists of that day. There was no divine providence or divine action in that day. There was no spiritual, there was no life after death. Their philosophy was pleasure, which was hedonism. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.


The Aristotilians from Aristotle. They were deists. There were a lot of people in the colonies who were said to be deists. God existed as just a principle to them. God did not interfere with the affairs of man. He left man alone, for the most part. These are the most ironic. Their philosophy was, “God does not interfere” whereas, at this time, God would greatly involve Himself with the affairs of men. How futile these men were.


Then there are the academics. They were agnostics who held that objective truth could not be ascertained or confirmed. There was no objective truth, in their thinking, even though Jesus was the Truth.


The Platonists, from Plato. They limited God’s essence. He was not the God of the Bible.


The Stoics; there was a bit of deity in all of us. Human virtue is the chief end of life; being virtuous is the end of life and the aim. This is similar to modern eastern religion. On the ethical side, it had much in common with Christianity, which is virtue first. They got the moral part, but they did not get the theological part.


There is nothing new under the sun in Satan’s cosmic system. These same philosophies are found in one form or another even today. They repeat themselves. We need to be able to recognize Satan’s deceptions. This is what Jesus faced on the Greco-Roman side.


The most popular of the Greco-Roman culture were the epicureans, and pleasure was their chief pursuit; therefore, immorality was rampant. The Roman empire had about 6 million slaves. More slaves in the city of Rome than there were free men. The middle class began to disappear. There was the wealthy aristocracy and the slaves; and the slaves began to run Rome. The slaves had to be entertained in this time.


Rom. 1:18–32 So, too, there is a revelation from Heaven of the Divine Wrath against every form of ungodliness and wickedness on the part of those men who, by their wicked lives, are stifling the Truth. This is so, because what can be known about God is plain to them; for God himself has made it plain. For ever since the creation of the universe God's invisible attributes-his everlasting power and divinity-are to be seen and studied in his works, so that men have no excuse; Because, although they learned to know God, yet they did not offer him as God either praise or thanksgiving. Their speculations about him proved futile, and their undiscerning minds were darkened. Professing to be wise, they showed themselves fools; And they transformed the Glory of the immortal God into the likeness of mortal man [man became god], and of birds, and beasts, and reptiles [like those who inordinately favor animals today]. Therefore God abandoned them to impurity, letting them follow the cravings of their hearts, till they dishonored their own bodies; For they had substituted a lie for the truth about God, and had reverenced and worshiped created things more than the Creator, who is to be praised for ever. Amen. That, I say, is why God abandoned them to degrading passions. Even the women among them perverted the natural use of their bodies to the unnatural; While the men, disregarding that for which women were intended by nature, were consumed with passion for one another. Men indulged in vile practices with men, and incurred in their own persons the inevitable penalty for their perverseness. Then, as they would not keep God before their minds, God abandoned them to depraved thoughts, so that they did all kinds of shameful things. They reveled in every form of wickedness, evil, greed, vice. Their lives were full of envy, murder, quarreling, treachery, malice. They became back-biters, slanderers, impious, insolent, boastful. They devised new sins. They disobeyed their parents. They were undiscerning, untrustworthy, without natural affection or pity. Well aware of God's decree, that those who do such things deserve to die, not only are they guilty of them themselves, but they even applaud those who do them.


There is no standard which can keep these people in check. The reversionistic believer becomes just like these people. There was little connection between religion and morality except in Judaism. Judaism was the great antagonist to the Lord Jesus Christ. These religious leaders missed the Messiah right in front of them.


Lesson #0011                 The Gospels December 5, 2010                          Sunday 1

There are many wonderful psalms in the Bible, and all of them were, at one time, set to music. The music has been lost.


There were many factors feeding into the winter of 6–5 b.c. and thse factors influenced the life and times of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have examined the cultures and the geopolitical circumstances. The climate and topography also played a part in His life.


There is a confluence of events and peoples. The very central event of history took place in this area.


Assyrian empire in 721 b.c. to the Chaldean empire in 586 b.c. began a series of disporas which continue even until today.


In the 4 centuries, before Jesus, the Greeks, firsst under Alexander the Great, and then the Egyptians and the Selucids of Syria all left their mark on the land, and most of it was violence. Then after all of this blood letting, Rome entered into the picture. The victory of Octavian over Mark Antony in Octavia. Octavian and Herod shaped much the world into which our Lord came.


Greco-Roman culture. Heathen temples build by Herod the Great. 5 Greco-Roman quasi-religious groups: the Epicureans (they liked pleasure), the Aristotilians (Deists), the Academians (who are agnostics; science becomes God); the Platonist (with high ideals of God); and the Stoics (virtue was the aim as the absolute virtue; God somehow figured into their thinking). But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.


The most influential faith of that day was Judaism. So we are going to examine the religious background of the Jews of that day. Religion is the Devil’s ace trump. Isn’t religion one of the good things in the world? Isn’t religion a seeking of God? Religion obscures or repudiates Jesus Christ. Satan, in religion, poses as an angel of light.


Those who are skeptics often say, “I don’t like religion;” and Bobby doesn’t either. We can never gain the favor of God by our works. Nowhere is the evil of religion more apparent than the time of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Satan heavily influenced Judaism at that time. Religiosity had blinded the Jews to the grace of God. That is what religion does as a cosmic system tool.


The Jews were law keepers and they condemned those who did not keep the Law. They reject the concept of salvation by grace. They missed the opportunity to know the Messiah they had waited for, for centuries.


They missed the meaning of the cross. They wanted a king; they wanted a crown; not a Servant Who would die. They missed the prophecies of Isa. 53:


Isa. 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn't value Him.

Does this sound like a king to you? This was not a part of the wish-list of Judaism.


Isa. 53:4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.


A majority of the Jews were intensely religious people, even to fanticism, and they were called Zealots, some of them. There was a good side to Judaism, because some knew enough Bible doctrine to recognize Jesus Christ as their Savior. There were those who did not, however.


Isa. 53:5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.


Isa. 53:6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.


Isa. 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.


Isa. 53:8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of My people's rebellion.


Isa. 53:9 They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.


Isa. 53:10 Yet the LORD was pleased to crush Him, and He made Him sick. When You make Him a restitution offering, He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will succeed by His hand.


Judaism in the Time of Christ

1.       During that time, there was less atheism than anywhere else in history.

2.       Judaism was a powerful religion; it had the inner strength to stand against incredible foes and persecutions. It is based upon the Old Testament scriptures, even though it is apostate.

3.       Many of the Jews during this time period were open to accepting the Messiah when he appeared. They were even seeking Him. And these prophecies had occurred centuries before.

4.       This was the bright and the dark side of this time period. Some were closed to Him and some were looking for Him.


The Mosaic Law and the Temple were the centers of the Jews. The Jews saw the Torah as the norm of their life. All Jewish boys were grounded in the teaching of the Pentateuch. They began with the book of Leviticus. It was the parents who were to teach their children the Mosaic Law.


This is why many people in that day recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of many of these festival days.


The synagogues came into existence because of the diaspora; their centers of worship. The synagogue services were not a lot different from ours. Prayers, Scripture reading, a message and a benediction. Any Jewish man was capable of reading the Scriptures; he knew the Law. The choice of the reader might be anyone.


Jesus was a learned man, and he was called upon to read from time to time. He claimed to be the Messiah and He claimed to be God. He said that He was about His Father’s business, which including cleansing the Temple. The ruler of the synagogue exerted tremendous influence. These Jewish communities were religious at this time.


However, there was a great problem as well. There was the Mosaic code and the way that they handled it.

`

Lesson #0012                 The Gospels December 5, 2010                          Sunday 2


The big problem for the Jews was the Mosaic Law. They added to it. This is apostasy in relgion. Something is added to Scripture, which obscures what is actually there. There was an oral tradition, which was the Rabbinic interpretations and explanations for the Scripture. They did not interpret these with the correct hermeneutic. They forgot about the original intent of the Scripture, and they went way beyond htat. They left the literal meaning of the text behind. Their traditions became more important than the Old Testament itself. That was the arrogance of Judaism. In many circles of Judaism, there was just support for this oral tradition. They reinterpreted and they focused in on the King of Kings and they ignored the suffering servant. These traditions were not written down until a.d. 200, the Mishna, which is the second law. Before, what was passed down was simply according to their memories. To say the least, this was inaccurate and departed from the Old Testament. Judaism focuses on the Mishna and the Talmud, and that is why they do not understand the Bible. They depend upon their oral traditions.


The religious leaders of that day, therefore, became the enemies of Jesus Christ. They relied more upon what they thought the prophecies meant. As important as the synagogue was, the Temple was also important to their religious life.


The cloud by day and the pillar by night; and our Lord’s residence was localized over the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was removed by Nebuchadnezzar. The true meaning of the Temple was lost in the shelter, and it became merely a religious symbol; a religious building.


The Jews in the land and of the diaspora all had a tremendous tie to the Temple. Jesus Christ at age 12 first entered the Temple and He spent a lot of time there. Here is the Shekinah glory returning to the Temple, and no one recognized Him.


The great feasts were celebrated at the Temple as well. Passover, Atonement and Pentecost all play an important part of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Temple had great importance for Jesus Christ personally. At age 12, Jesus argued with the Rabbis and He continually refuted their weird traditional positions. He stood in front of those hardened scribes, pharisees and He explained the Scriptures to them.


There is another fact about Judaism. Every year, the Jews of the diaspora converged upon Jerusalem and came to attend the various festivals to attend, Passover and Pentecost. This was a great time of worship and religiosity. All of this was going on 5–4 b.c. The true Passover was about to be sacrificed, and the Jews from all over would be there to observe this. The Temple was the center for the Jews for those from all over the Roman world.


This also had an impact after the cross of Christ. The gift of tongues came upon the disciples at Pentecost.


It is necessary to understand 4 of the major groups to understand the religious atmosphere at the time of His incarnations. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Escenes and the Zealots.


The Pharisees were the most important. Their name means set apart. These were all men and they distinguished themselves from all of the other religious groups. They set themselves apart because of their superior holiness. This was self-righteousness and hypocrisy. The ones our Lord called hypocrites.


This sect developed for a good reason. This was to set them apart from the heathen. They go back as far as 586 b.c. They wanted to maintain the Old Testament; they wanted to keep it separate from the heathen influences.


There was the Hellenistic influence (the Greeks). The Pharisees separated from all of that. Hellenism had infiltrated Jewish thinking and philosophy, making them more worldly and secular. This was their mission in Judaism, to keep them pure from other influences. They also withdrew from political leadership. They were not political leaders; they were political leaders. In those times, the religious leadership cozied up to the political leadership.


What Did the Pharisees Believe?

1.       They had a very high concept of God.

2.       For them, God was very active in human history. Particularly in the history of Israel. They recognized that God was active in Israel’s history.

3.       There was a problem with this exalted concept of God, that they made Him transcendental and even mystical, so that the reality of Him was not there.

4.       God’s activities happened through different agents. The Law came to replace God in the thinking of the Pharisees.

5.       The Mosaic Law had become the true agency of God in dealing with man. This is why they were so argumentative when it came to the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law was God to them.

6.       Judaism of the pharisees was centered on God’s Law rather than upon the spirit of the Law. If you know anything about the Mosaic Law, then you know that you cannot keep the Law. The pharisees violated the Law all of the time. Jesus pointed out to them that they could not keep the Law. The correct understanding of the Law was that no one could keep the Law in order to gain God’s approval. These pharisees were as hard as flint.

7.       Beliefs:

          a.       Resurrection and a future state.

          b.       They believed in the supernatural, including angles.

          c.        They believed in God’s will that His sovereignty acted side-by-side human free will. From their own free will, they will reject Him.


Josephus compared them to the Stoics of that era. The Stoics were virtuous; sort of like Mormonism. Most Mormons are very upstanding and very conservative. They believe in a Christ, but they do not see Him as the only way of salvation. They are nice people; and you do not want to seem them condemned. There were some good men among these pharisees; Nicodemus was a pharisee. “What must I do to be born again?” He was a pharisee and He got it. Joseph of Aramathea, and he helped Jesus carry the cross to the hill. Paul was a pharisee. These men all understood the Scripture. They were very moral and law-keepers. However, legalism and religiosity are a part of their thinking.


Religion is the devil’s ace trump. They rejected Him. They were moral and nice people; some were very self righteous and hypocritical. Jesus showed us the difference between grace and religion. Pharisees are great examples of rejection of the good and part parts of religion. One of the greatest deceptions of mankind is religion.


A large number of them later believed in Jesus Christ and were incorporated into the church. As they began to realize who Jesus Christ is, that they missed Him at first, and they began to pull it all together.


Circumcision had been part of the symbols of salvation, of regeneration.


At the time of Christ, there were about 6000 pharisees, the dominant influence of Judaism at that time. For the most part, the people of Palestine were not secular at all. You cannot separate the Jews from the religion of Judaism. And the pharisees had great influence over the Jews. However, individually, many pharisees believed in Him.


Lesson #0013                 The Gospels December 8, 2010                      Wednesday


There are many ways that we can look at opposition to Christianity, e.g., atheism. However, there is agnosticism and humanism (a more current one; man is placed first). One of the things which is most opposed to Biblical Christianity is religion. Religion is one of the most subtle oppositions to Christianity because it is so deceptive. There are many similarities, so we think, maybe we ought to like it. Subtle deception is Satan’s forte. The life of Christ is a perfect example. The greatest problem that Jesus Christ had was with the religious leaders of Judaism. He presented His legitimate credentials to the religious crowd, including miracles that only God could perform; and religion rejected Him and they made up His greatest opposition. They were such law keepers that they did not understand grace. They were utter failures and complete hypocrites.


Jesus Christ was telling them things and interpreting the Law, and outdoing them in this way. What He taught had a complete ring of truth and legitimacy to it, and this was irritating to the religious types. They hated Him and wanted Him dead. Religion is the devil’s ace trump.


There were pharisees, sadducees, scribes, essences and zealots; and most of Jesus’ opposition came from the pharisees. The pharisees always strove to preserve Judaism from foreign influence. They were a very important group in Judaism; they were attempting to preserve their religion. What appeared to be something that was instructive ended up being destructive. They had expanded the parameters of the Law to fit the circumstances. For them, the Law became the center of Judaism. The Law was more important to them than God. They had concluded that God’s activity was manifested through the Law. The pharisees were the arbiters of the Law and saw themselves as being closest to the Law. The Law was the criterion for everything that the pharisees thought.


There were about 6000 pharisees during the time of Christ. Religious influence was the most important aspect of life to the Jews. Those in the land and the diaspora were tightly knit by Judaism. The pharisees had a great impact on all Jews. The pharisees were the arbiters of Judaism.


Who Were the Pharisees?

1.       The pharisees are the religious party of the common people.

2.       They were anti-foreign, very patriotic, even chauvinistic.

3.       They shared, along with most Jews, a burning hatred of the Romans.

4.       Their doctrines and practices were respected in the communities. Their interpretations of the Law were taken very seriously.

5.       As a force for Judaism, they had the majority of power in the Sanhedrin, which was the ruling religious body in Palestine at that time; the religious court. The religious rulers of Palestine.

6.       Therefore, the pharisees had plenty of say in the direction of national life. National life and Judaism were closely connected.


They were the group with whom Jesus had the most interaction and the most confrontations.


What Did Pharisees Believe?

1.       Mainly their extreme weight and interpretations of the Torah. God had become transcendental and the Law had become God to them. Any violation of the Law was an act against God. Violation of the Law was a serious breach of piety.

2.       They interpreted the Law in a certain way by the use of oral traditions. These traditions were superimposed over the actual Biblical code. These are Scriptural interpretations or applications which go beyond the plain meaning of the Old Testament. They began to expand on the meaning and get mystical and expansive. These traditions were passed down orally from generation to generation. As a result, there were many distortions. Around a.d. 200 they wrote this down as the Mishna. Their traditions became as binding as the Law. That which God had given on Mount Sinai was now being added to. What the pharisees did is quite similar to what has been done to the United States of America constitution, and the real points have been changed or obscured. There has been a constant battle over this. E.g., what does it mean to keep and bear arms?.

3.       The pharisees were ingenious in adapting the Law to fit circumstances.

4.       In doing this, they gradually and greatly liberalized and expanded the Law to meet all sorts of new issues. Some think the constitution is no longer valid because it was written 200 years ago.

5.       In their view, the Mosaic Law was normative in every situation. They always went to the Law; so their interpretations became normative for every situation.

6.       The pharisees were prepared to expand God’s Law to fit any circumstance.

7.       Sometimes, the Law was expanded so much that the result contracted the Mosaic Law.


Deut. 15:1–2 the law specified that all debts must be settled in the Sabbatical year (every 7th year). This was to display the generosity and grace and the idea was to illustrate that God forgave debt. It was perverted by those who held the debt. In practice, the lenders began to refuse to give loans. Why give loans to people who ride this out to the Sabbatical year? They did not want to forgive this debt. Therefore, the poor could not get a loan anywhere near the 7th year. This was an abuse of the Law by the lenders.


The pharisees found a way around this. The pharisees ignored God’s grace for legalism. They developed prosbul which was artificial and outside of the Law. This was a declaration which was made in court, that the requirements of the Law to forgive all debt was set aside. So loans could be made without reference to the Sabbatical year. The poor could never get that 7th year break and kept going deeper and deeper into debt. The original intent of the Law was nullified. The pharisees, while priding themselves that they had the poor at heart, actually ended up going deeper in debt.


Legalism always opposes the grace of God. For all you economists: it sounds like this debt relief was a redistribution of wealth? This was not giving someone else’s money as a bailout for others. This was a liquidation of debts and providing a new start. This was so that people could get out of debt and get a new start. The lender could make it up in the other years. They could claim and expand and borrow again. This is God’s Law and God knows how to take care of His people. This one point in the Law represents was Jesus Christ did for us in grace. Economics can represent


Jesus Christ incurred the loss and forgave us our debt. This gave mankind a new start. The pharisees destroyed this completely in their legalism.


The Law itself was designed for future economic expansion for the benefit of all. This was a private sector legal cooperation. This was to maintain a middle class unencumbered by overwhelming debt. The Law represents the grace of God.


The pharisee interpretation was interpreted in favor of the money lenders. God’s Law is perfect; why mess with it? This was designed to reflect grace and to set up economic recovery. Grace is opposed to legalism at every turn.


The pharisees were into all of these various rituals. They fasted and followed rituals, but they did not understand what they were doing. No one could do anything on the Sabbath. When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, they saw this as a violation of the Law. This is how distorted it all became.


The pharisees believed they could follow the Law; and if they couldn’t, they changed the Law so that they could follow it. The pharisees spared nothing in their devotion to the Law and its interpretation. It was adjusted as needed, but only by the pharisees. They wanted the Law to fit their own behavior.


The pharisees did not like challenges to their authority. Even at age 12, the child Jesus was arguing and refuting the pharisee interpretations.


Rom. 10:4 Jesus made the Law obsolete. For those who believe, Jesus justified. We are righteous. He fulfilled the Law. “What do You know, You upstart? We are doctors of the Law.” The professors; the experts of the Law. The scribes and pharisees were often mentioned together. Scribes put the Law under a microscope, looking at every letter and every word. Our Lord blasted and castigated the Scribes and the pharisees.


Lesson #0014                 The Gospels December 9, 2010                          Thursday


People are surprised to hear that religion is the devil’s ace trump. People think of religion as being essentially good. The devil is the great deceiver and religion is deceptive. Satan uses some truth and perpetrates falsehood by doing so. As he uses some truth, it sounds good. Religion has some similarities to Christianity. When the doctrine is misleading, it is evil. The greatest opposition that Jesus faced was Judaism, which is religion. The pharisees are the great confrontational group who opposed our Lord.


Judaism was grounded in the Law and the Prophets, and it was deceptively similar to the message of Jesus Christ. Satan could take the Old Testament and distort it. They left the heart out of the Law. Religion always leaves grace out. Religion is all about law and the legalities of Judaism.


There were a number of reasons for the religious opposition of the pharisees. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of David, and He claimed to be the Son of God. He was God and He was a brilliant expounded of the Law. No one could explain the Law as He did. He wrote the code. It was His Law; He wrote it.


There are all kinds of interpretations given to the 2nd Amendment; and the pharisees were quite good at giving all kinds of interpretations to the Law. The constitution of Israel was written by God. No one knew more about how the Law ought to be interpreted than He did.


In refuting the pharisees and their practices, Jesus kept saying, “I am doing the work of My Father” which indicated that the pharisees were doing the work of their father, the devil. Our Lord did not endear Himself to the pharisees, nor did He want to. They expected Him to be in their fold and they expected to get some respect from Him. They were extremely jealous of Him and His notoriety. All He had to do is to begin speaking and He would draw a huge crowd. The pharisees could not do that. Compare this to political figures today. This was overwhelming to these men of the Law.

 

These were the religious supreme court; and this young man shut them down on every issue, and everyone watched it. As they heard Jesus expound upon the Law, it made them angrier and angrier.


The pharisees were the epitome of apostate Judaism. The Law had replace God. They figured that God no longer worked directly with Israel, as He did previously with Moses and the prophets; but He gave His Law. Therefore, He must work in some other way; therefore, through the Mosaic Law, which they saw as the primary agency of God. This religion of the pharisees was centered on God’s Law; and their interpretation of the Law. And they saw God acting through them, as they interpreted the Law. They saw themselves as the arbiters of the Law.


They missed the fact that God was still working with Israel; not through the Law but through the Messiah, the ultimate work of God. This brought down their entire house of cards; their authority was seriously challenged.


The pharisees also gave equal weight to the oral tradition. This was the interpretations and applications of rabbis from generation to generation. They would read the Law, and they would make an interpretation. This interpretation would fit the circumstance rather than God’s intent. This occurs in the courts today all of the time; one law is taken in a new way, and then given a whole new application.


These interpretations were not even written down; they were passed down from person to person. Every generation added a new twist, a new application, a new interpretation, for whatever reason that men do these things (popularity, power, giving themselves an out).


Their interpretations became more important than the Law itself. It is like the pope speaking papal bul. The real Law and its divine intent was obscured by the pharisees.


Christ called them hypocrites because they constantly misapplied the Law. The pharisees were very arrogant and very possessive of all matters religious. Think about the Democrat politicians and the money that rich men make. In their eyes, it is their money, and not getting enough taxes means that these rich men are causing the government deficit.


The scribes and the pharisees are often named together. The scribes are the Jewish scholars closely aligned with the pharisees. They were copyists; custodians of the scrolls, and they were interpreters of the Old Testament. These guys were devoted to a minute and scientific study of the Law. That is what they did all day long. They were professional Law interpreters. They were called doctors of jurisprudence. Their interpretations were often expanded and they conflicted with the Old Testament. However, to the pharisees, this was gospel information. They were the great doctors of the Law.


When Jesus came on the scene, He denounced their lying scholarship. Matt. 23 is a scathing attack on the pharisees. Our Lord tore them to pieces. They spent their lives interpreting these scrolls, and this young upstart claimant to Messiah correctly lays out the Law.


Many times, these men wanted to kill Jesus; they even took up stones to stone Him. All of the malicious powers of Palestine could not remove Him from this earth.


There were those looking for a King; they understood the Messiah as King. They had a taste of independence. The Jewish state had not been independent for a very long time. They have been enslaved by Chaldeans and Macedonians. They were an independent people, and they hated those who kept them under control. They were looking for a king to free them from political control. They were not looking for a Savior.


They also reject Jesus because He was beneath them in His station. They rejected Him on bigoted grounds. He came from Galilee. These are red necks in Galilees. He lacked the higher education. He has been educated only at home.


They did not like that He kept company with tax collectors and prostitutes. Pharisees would never spend time with tax collectors; what could be lower than a fellow Jew who collected money on behalf of Rome? So they despised men like Matthew, and hated that Jesus spend time with him.


Another Jewish faction were known as the sadducees. That means the righteous ones. They were among the religious hierarchy of that day, and they were in opposition to the pharisees. There was a stormy and bloody history between these men.


The Sadducees and How They Differed from the Pharisees.

1.       The pharisees were the purists; strict Jewish law keepers. The sadducees tended to make concessions to their Roman conquerors. They were compromisers and pragmatists. Today they might be like orthodox versus reform. One very strict and the other much looser.

2.       The sadducees were the aristocrats and the pharisees were more common. The sadducees were the land owners.

3.       The sadducees were not as disturbed about Roman occupation.

4.       Among the sadducees were the families of the governing class of Herod the Great; the Hasmonians. The sadducees were in this ruling class. They were the overt political arm of Judaism. They were a part of Herod’s entourage and they drew power from this. They had been like this since the Maccabees and would remain so until a.d. 70.

5.       They had a tendency toward materialism. They like money and possessions. The pharisees not so much.

6.       The sadducees were responsible for the administration and feasts etc. of the Temple, which was also a source of power. Jesus spent a lot of time in the Temple. This bothered the sadducees, who saw it as their house.

7.       Glaring differences in theology, which brought them into glaring conflict:

          1)       The sadducees adhered only to the Pentateuch.

          2)       They rejected the pharisees overloading the Law with their oral traditions. They were more pure in this way.

          3)       The sadducees were closer to a purely Biblical approach. The pharisees did not see themselves as being anti-Biblical.

          4)       They did agree on the Pentateuch.

          5)       This is like liberals and conservatives and their approach to the Law.

          6)       Their disputes dealt with several theological matters.

                     (1)      The pharisees accepted the concept of the resurrection; the sadducees rejected it.

                     (2)      the sadducees had a lesser concept of God and a greater confidence in man, which made them humanistic.


The essenes were another group. These were not in any major cities; they were northwest of the Dead Sea in Engedi and other isolated places. 4000 essenes at the time of Jesus Christ. There was no private property among the essenes. The Qumran community may have been Essenes. They abstained from marriage and they were strict Sabbath keepers.


The sadducees, the pharisees and the essenes all have their own interpretation of the Bible.


 

ISBE on the Essenes

Essenes, The

es-sēnz´, (Ἐσσηνοί, Essēnoí, Ἐσσαι?οι, Essaíoi):

I.        The Name

Forms It Assumes - Etymology, Origin

II.       The Authorities for the Tenets of the Essenes

1.       Philo

(1)      Description from Quod Omnis Probus Liber

(2)      Description from Quotation in Eusebius, Preposition Evang.

(3)      Description of Therapeutae from De Vita Contemplativa

2.       Josephus

(1)      Description from Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, i, 5

(2)      Description from Wars of the Jews, II, viii, 2-13

(3)      Incidental Notices

3.       Pliny

4.       Hegesippus

5.       Porphyry

6.       Hippolytus - Uses Josephus, but to Some Extent Independent

7.       Epiphanius - Confused Account

III.      Deductions and Combinations

1.       Government

2.       Doctrines

IV.      History and Origin

1.       Essenes and H@as|4dh|4m

2.       Position of Essenes in Josephus

3.       Doctrinal Affinities

4.       Essenes and Pythagoras

5.       Buddhism and Essenism

6.       Parseeism and Essenism

7.       Essenism Mainly Jewish

V.       Relation to the Apocalyptic Books

1.       Reasons for Holding the Essenes to Be the Writers of the Apocalypses

2.       Objections Answered

VI.      The Essenes and Christianity

1.       Resemblances between Essenism and Christianity

2.       Points of Difference

3.       Disappearance of Essenism in Christianity

4.       Monachism

Literature

When Josephus describes the sects of the Jews, he devotes most of his time and attention to the third of these sects, the Essenes. Strangely enough, although there are frequent references in the New Testament to the other two sects, the Sadducees and Pharisees, no reference has been found to the Essenes. Notwithstanding this silence of the Gospels, the prominence of this third sect is undeniable. Even in Egypt they are known. Philo, the Jewish philosopher, gives an account of these Essenes in terms that, while in the main resembling those used in Josephus, yet differ enough to prove him clearly an independent witness. Another contemporary, Pliny the Naturalist, also mentions these Essenes. Approximately a century later we have a long account of the habits and tenets of these sectaries in Hippolytus' Refutation of All Heresies. A century and a half later still Epiphanius describes these under various titles. Despite the fact that no reference to the Essenes can be found in the Gospels or the Acts, at all events under that name, there can be no doubt of their existence. Would one understand the Palestine in which our Lord's ministry was carried on, he must comprehend the place occupied by the Essenes.


I. The Name

This assumes several forms in different authors - indeed sometimes two forms appear in the same author. Josephus uses most frequently the form of the name which stands at the head of this article, but sometimes he speaks of individuals as “Essaeans” (BJ, II, vii, 3; viii, 4). This latter form is that preferred by Philo, a form that is adopted by Hegesippus as quoted by Eusebius, IV, 22. Pliny in his Natural History, v.15 writes “Essaeans.” Hippolytus also has “Essenus.” Epiphanius has mixed his information so that this sect appears with him under several names as “Ossaei” and “Jessaei.”

Forms It Assumes - Etymology, Origin

It is clear that the name is not primarily Greek - it has passed into Greek from another tongue, since none of the forms has any easy derivation in Greek. Notwithstanding, there have been attempts to derive it from some Greek root, but all are preposterous as etymologies. The etymology must be sought either in Hebrew or its cognate, Aramaic The usage in regard to the translation of proper names is our only guide. Reasoning from the practice as seen in the Greek translation of the Scriptures and in Josephus, we can deduce that the first letter of the original word must have been one of the gutturals עחהא. That the second letter was a sibilant is certain, and the last was probably יא, for the final “n” in the common form of the name is due to the desire to render the word suitable for Greek accidence. We may say that to us the two most likely derivations are עשׂיא, ‛ăsīyā', “doers” or אסיא, 'ăṣīyā', “healers.” Our preference is for the latter, as one of the characteristics of the Essenes dwelt upon by Josephus is the fact that they were healers by means of herbs and incantations (BJ, II, viii, 6). This view is held by the great mass of investigators, as Bellerman, Gfrörer, Hamburger, Herzfeld, Dähm, etc. The name “Therapeutae” given by Philo to the kindred sect in Egypt supports this etymology, as it would be in one of its senses a translation of it. Lightfoot's objection that it is improbable that the ordinary name of the sect “should have been derived from a pursuit which was merely secondary and incidental” does not follow analogy. The term “Methodist” was derived from a purely temporary characteristic of the society that gathered round Wesley. The extreme probability, from the fact that the name is not found in the New Testament, is that it was the nature of a nickname, like “Quakers” applied to the Society of Friends. The multitude that followed Our Lord affords evidence of the influence that a reputation for healing gave to one.


II. The Authorities for the Tenets of the Essenes

Philo and Josephus, as contemporaries and Jews, are necessarily our principal sources of information.

Next is Pliny, though a contemporary of the sect, yet as a Roman, of necessity receiving his information secondhand. There is next in point of date Hippolytus in his work Refutation of All Heresies, written more than a century after the fall of the Jewish state and the disappearance of the Essenes. One point in his favor as an authority is his habit of quoting from sources that would be reckoned good even now. He seems to have founded to some extent on Josephus, but he appears to have made use of some other source or sources as well. Slightly later is Porphyry. He avowedly draws all his information from Josephus The latest of the ancients who may be reckoned as authorities is Epiphanius. Writing in the 4th century, and naturally of a somewhat confused intellect, any statement of his unsupported by other authority is to be received with caution.

1. Philo

In estimating the evidence that Philo gives concerning the Essenes, we must remember that he was living in Alexandria, not shut up in a Ghetto, but mingling to some extent with the scholars and philosophers of that city. The Jewish community there appears to have been more completely Hellenized than any other assemblage of Jews. The object of Philo's numerous works seems to have been the twofold one of commending Jewish religious thought to the Greek philosophic society in which he mingled, and of commending Greek philosophy to his Jewish kinsmen. The geographic distance from Palestine may be to some degree neglected from the frequent communications between it and Egypt. The work in which Philo devotes most attention to the Essenes is his early work, Quod Omnis Probus Liber, “that every good man is free.” This treatise is intended for a Gentile audience - the “Lawgiver of the Jews” is introduced casually first, and then more emphatically, till he is named. The Essenes are brought forward as the very flower and perfection of Mosaism.

(1) Description from Quod Omnis Probus Liber

“There is a portion of that people called Essenes - over four thousand in my opinion. They are above all servants (therapeutaí) of God. They do not sacrifice animals but study to preserve the sanctity of life. They live in villages, avoiding all cities on account of the lawlessness of those that inhabit them. Some of these men cultivate the soil, others live by peaceful arts and so benefit themselves and all their neighbors. They do not lay up treasures of gold or silver for themselves, judging contentment and frugality the great riches. With them are no makers of arms or of military engines and no one is occupied with anything connected with war. They all avoid commerce and navigation, thinking that these employments make for covetousness. They possess no slaves, holding all men to be free and all are expected to aid one another as real (gnēsíois) brethren. They devote their attention to the moral part of philosophy - to the neglect of logic - using, as instructors, the laws of their country which it would have been impossible for the human mind to devise save by Divine inspiration. They abstain from all work on the seventh day, which they look on as sacred. On it they assemble in sacred buildings which are called synagogues and, seated in order according to age, they hear the Scriptures (tás bíblous) read and expounded. They are thus taught to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. They use a threefold criterion - love of God, love of virtue, love of man. They carefully avoid oaths and falsehood - they regard God as the author of all good. They all dwell in companies, so that no one has a dwelling absolutely his own. They have everything in common, their expenses, their garments, their food. When they work for wages they do not retain these for themselves, but bring it into the common stock. The sick are not neglected when they are unable to contribute to the common store. They respect their seniors as if they were their parents. Such men never can be enslaved. As a proof of this none of the many oppressors of their land were able to bring any accusation against the Holy Essenes.”

The above is a very much condensed summary of the passage on the Essenes in Philo, QOPL. No one can fail to be struck with the resemblance all this has in the first place to the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and the practice of the early church. Although celibacy is not mentioned it is implied in the picture here presented of the Essenes.

There is another account in a passage quoted from Philo by Eusebius, Preparatio Evangelica, VIII, 11:

(2) Description from Quotation in Eusebius, Preposition Evang

“Our lawgiver trained (ḗleipsen, “anointed”) ten thousands of his followers and formed them into a community called Essenes from their holiness. They dwell as numerous communities in many cities and villages of Judea.” It will be observed that this contradicts the statement above that there were only 4,000 Essenes and that they avoided cities. “This sect is not hereditary. There are no children nor youths among the Essenes as such persons are unstable. No one among them has property of his own. They regard all possessions as part of a common stock. They all dwell in the same place, forming themselves into clubs and societies. They do everything for the benefit of the whole society, but different members take up different employments, laboring ceaselessly despite cold or heat. Before sunrise they go to their work and do not quit it till sunset. Some are tillers of the soil, some shepherds, some tend bees, some are artisans. These men when they have received their wages give them up to the general manager who purchases what is necessary. Those who live together eat at the same table day after day. Their dress also is common. In winter they have thick cloaks, in summer light mantles. Each takes what he wants. When anyone falls sick he is cured from their common resources. Old men, even if they happen to be childless, are as if they had a numerous offspring of affectionate children. They repudiate marriage because they look on woman as a selfish creature and specially addicted to jealousy and hypocrisy, thus likely to dissolve their brotherhood. A man bound to a woman is hampered by his affection, is no longer a free man but a slave” (compare 1Co_7:1. Paul mentions the same difficulties in regard to wedlock).

(3) Description of Therapeutae from De Vita Contemplativa

In his Treatise De Vita Contemplativa Philo, commencing with a reference to the Essenes, passes on to describe a similar class of coenobites who have their settlements near the Moerotic Lake. These he calls Therapeutae, or in the feminine, Therapeutrides, a title which he interprets as “healers.” While there are many points of resemblance, there are also not a few features of difference. We shall give as full an extract as in the previous instances.

It is related that they have separate houses and only come together for worship or for feasts. They have parallel societies for men and for women. As in the case of the Essenes there is a reading of ancient sacred books and an exposition of the passage read. The name Therapeutae, with the explanation of the name given by Philo, affords a link, as said above, with the Essenes, if the etymology of their name which we have seen reason to prefer be the true one. There seems also to be some connection between these Jewish monks and the Christian monks of some three centuries later. It ought to be remarked that many suspicions have been thrown on the authenticity of De Vita Contemplativa. Although critical names of authority may be named on that side, yet it may be doubted whether the reasons are sufficient. Lucius, who is the main opponent, does so mainly to invalidate the existence of the Therapeutae. He thinks De Vita Contemplativa was composed by a Christian to give an antiquity to the Christian monks. To prove a practice to have been Jewish would be far from commending it to Christians. But more, the resemblance to the Christian monks, although close on some points, in others of importance the difference is equally prominent. While the common feast suggests the Agapae of the early church, we must remember that this was not a monastic peculiarity. The fact that a female community existed alongside of the male and joined with them in worship is out of harmony with what we know of early monasticism. The feast of the 50th day has no parallel in Christianity.

2. Josephus

Like Philo, Josephus wrote for a non-Jewish audience. In Rome the philosophic ideas held in the Hellenic world were prevalent, so he, as much as Philo, had a temptation to be silent on any subject which might shock the sensibilities or provoke the ridicule of his masters. In particular, in describing the habits and tenets of the Essenes, for whom he professed so high an admiration, he would need to be specially careful to avoid causes of offense, as in such a case he would be liable to be involved in their condemnation. In dealing with the notices he gives of the Essenes we would consider the descriptions at length first, and then the incidental notices of individual Essenes.

(1) Description from Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, I, 5

The description which comes earliest in history - not, however, the earliest written - is in Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, in connection with the census and survey under Quirinius (Cyrenius) and the resistance to it by Judas of Gamala.

He there (Ant., XVIII, i, 5) begins by referring to their theological position, that they believed in the most absolute preordination. They teach the immortality of souls and a state of rewards and punishments. Although they dedicated gifts to the temple they offered no sacrifices, presumably bloody sacrifices, as they have offerings of their own. A singular statement is made that “they are on this account excluded from the common court” (koinoú temenísmatos). They occupy themselves with husbandry. “They excel in justice all other men.” They have all things in common. They neither marry wives nor keep slaves. He says, as does Philo, that they number over four thousand men. They appoint “good men priests who should receive the fruits of their labor for the sake of corn and food.”

(2) Description from Wars of the Jews, II, VIII, 2-13

A much fuller account is found in the earlier written treatise on the Wars of the Jews, II, viii, 3. In this work he emphasizes the ascetic side of Essenism.

“The Essenes,” he says, “reject pleasures as vice. They despise marriage though they do not absolutely repudiate it, but are suspicious of women. They despise riches and have all things in common. They think oil a defilement. They wear white garments. They elect overseers (epimelētaí) to manage their common affairs, much as the Christian bishops did those of the churches under them. They have no one city but many of them dwell in every city.” It may be observed that this statement is a contradiction of Philo's statement and that of Josephus himself above, that they were only 4,000. “When any of them go from one city to another they find the houses of those of their sect open to them as if they were their own.” It is probable that as the apostles, when sent out by our Lord to preach, were on entering a city to ask who in it was worthy, the traveling Essenes would inquire who in it were Essenes. Like the apostles they took nothing with them when they traveled save weapons for defense against robbers, just as the apostles had at the time of the Last Supper two swords with which they had likely provided themselves for similar reasons. “They get up before sunrise and offer up prayers which they have received from their ancestors. They are then dismissed to their several employments to the fifth hour, they bathe in cold water, put on white linen garments and enter the refectory as if into a temple. Food is set before each.” Much like the Christian grace before meat, a priest offers up prayer. Again, as grace after meat, when the meal is finished the priest again prays. “Both before and after their refection they sing praise to God. As Christ commanded His disciples and said, 'Swear not at all,' they avoid oaths, indeed esteem them worse than perjury. New members were admitted to the society by baptism, and oaths were laid upon them that they were to be submissive to those in authority in the society. They were to keep the doctrines of the sect secret. They kept the Sabbath with greater strictness than did any other section of the Jews. Heinous sins were punished by expulsion from the order which, as they felt their oaths still binding on them, amounted to death. Judicial sentences are arrived at with the utmost care; decisions are come to by an assembly of not less than a hundred who are chosen to be judges. When once the sentence has been pronounced it stands fixed. They regard the bodies as corruptible but the souls are immortal. They believe in a Paradise resembling the Islands of the Blest.” One thing is to be observed: “they are bound by oath to preserve the sacred books of their sect, tá hairéseōs autón bíblia, and the names of the angels.” They utter predictions by means of their sacred books, which predictions are generally fulfilled. There is, however, another sort of Essenes who do not avoid marriage.

The philosopher Porphyry mentions that Josephus had an account of the Essenes in the second book against the Gentiles. If this means Contra Apienem, no such passage is to be found in that work now. It may, however, be some work of Josephus which has not come down to us, which Porphyry has misnamed, though this is unlikely.

(3) Incidental Notices

This is not, however, the whole of the information concerning the Essenes which we can gather from Josephus. The earliest of these incidental notices occurs under the reign of Jonathan (Ant., XIII, v, 9), when the historian mentions the three sects of the Jews, when the only peculiarity he assigns to the Essenes is that they believe that everything happens according to fate. Next, in relating the fate of Antigenus, he tells how Judas, an Essene teaching in the temple, when he saw Antigonus, declared that he was proved a false prophet, as he had foretold that Antigonus was to die that day at Struto's tower (Caesarea), and he was now six hundred furlongs off from there. Here the statement that the Essenes were excluded from the temple seems directly contradicted. In the days of Herod (XV, x, 4, 5) Josephus relates that while Herod demanded oaths of submission from others he excused the Essenes, from the favor he had to them on account of one Menahem, a member of this sect, who foretold his reign. This Essene seems to have been about the court and to have nothing of the coenobitic agriculturist about him. The Essenian fame for prediction and the interpretation of dreams is related in regard to Archelaus, the son of Herod (BJ, II, vii, 3). Archelaus had a dream, and applied to an Essene, Simon or Simeon, who foretold the end of his reign. In singular contrast to what had been said by Philo of the objection the Essenes had in regard to everything connected with war, one of the leading generals of the Jews when they rebelled against the Romans was John the Essene, who was made governor of certain toparchies in the North (BJ, II, xx, 4). He was killed in the battle near Ascalon with which the war began, which ended in the capture of Jerusalem by Titus (BJ, III, ii, 1). There is also mention of a gate of the Essenes in Jerusalem, which seems to imply that a number of them permanently resided there.

3. Pliny

Pliny speaks of the Essenes in his Natural History (v.17) in somewhat rhetorical terms. They dwell on the west side of the Dead Sea - “a wonderful race without women, without money, associates of the palms.” They are recruited by those wearied of life, broken in fortunes. “Thus a race is eternal through thousands of ages (seculorum) in which no one is born; so fruitful to them is repentance of life in others.” He refers to the fertility of Engedi and adds, “now burned up.”

4. Hegesippus

There is an enigmatical passage quoted by Eusebius from Hegesippus in which the Essaeans (Essenes), the Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbotheans, Samaritans and Pharisees are declared to hold different opinions about circumcision among the sons of Israel “against the tribe of Judah and of Christ” (katá tḗs phúlēs Ioúda kaí Christoú).

5. Porphyry

Porphyry's note regarding the Essenes is simply taken from Josephus

6. Hippolytus: - Uses Josephus, but to Some Extent Independent

In the great work of the mysterious bishop, Hippolytus, discovered some sixty years ago, there is a description of the Essenes. Although the work is a Refutation of All Heresies, implying that the opinions maintained were erroneous and required to be refuted, the author does nothing to exhibit the erroneousness of the Essene tenets or habits. In regard to the Gnostic heresies Hippolytus endeavored to reach original sources; presumably he did so in the present case. Although there is no doubt of his indebtedness to Josephus, yet for the features where he differs from Josephus, or supplements him, we may assume that he has behind his statements some authority which he regarded as valid. In some cases there may be a suspicion that in his eagerness to show that certain heresies were derived from this or that heathen philosophical system he has modified the heresy to suit the derivation he has supposed. This, however, does not apply to the Essenes.

In the ninth book of his Refutation of All Heresies, Hippolytus takes up Jewish sects (haíreseis) which, following Josephus, he reckons as three. The first he discusses is the Essenes. They are very devotional and temperate and eschew matrimony. They despise wealth, and from sharing with the destitute they do not turn away (compare Mat_5:42; the verb used is the same). Anyone joining the sect must sell all that he has (compare Mat_19:21; the same words are used in Act_4:32, Act_4:37). Overseers epimelētai are chosen by show of hands χειροτονειν, cheirotoneín (Act_14:23). They do not stay in one city but many settle in every city. They dress always in white, but do not own two cloaks or two pairs of shoes, much as our Lord's instructions to His apostles when He sent them out two and two (Mat_10:10). Their daily course of conduct is described very much in the same terms as those used by Josephus Before dawn they begin their day by prayer and singing a hymn. They return from their work before midday, at the fifth hour, and bathemselves in cold water and clothemselves in garments of white linen. After that they repair into the common apartment. They seat themselves in silence; the cook places food before each individual. The priest prays and pronounces a blessing on the food. At the end of the meal the priest again prays, and those who have partaken join in singing a hymn of thanksgiving. They lay aside their white linen garments, and resume their ordinary clothing and betake themselves again to their occupations. Supper at sunset is conducted in a similar manner. All obey the president (proestō˙s) in whatever he enjoins. No one amongst them is in the habit of swearing. They are careful to read the law and the prophets. Other works of faithful men they also study. All that join the sect are put on probation. The entrant receives a white robe and a linen girdle, and is supplied with an axe for the purposes mentioned in Deu_23:13. He has to take solemn oaths to worship God, to be just, not to hate anyone who injures him, but to pray for him (compare Mat_5:44). He promises also to show respect to all in authority, as all authority is from God (1Pe_2:13). He is not to divulge the secret doctrines of the society. There follows a description of the fate of those expelled from the society and the mode of conducting trials, borrowed from Josephus Hippolytus proceeds to give an account of four different subsects of the Essenes, all seeming of more than even the wonted fanaticism of the Essenes. One sect would not use coins because of the image of the Emperor on them, inasmuch as this was of the nature of idolatry. Others were prepared to enforce circumcision at the point of the sword. According to Hippolytus the Zealots were Essenes. Later he mentions the class that were freer and did not abjure marriage. A very marked point of difference between the tenets of the Essenes, as described by Philo and Josephus, and those attributed to them by Hippolytus, is in regard to the doctrine of the resurrection. Hippolytus affirms that they did believe in the resurrection of the body. The others, while not in terms denying that they did believe in it, ignore it in such a way as might lead the reader, as indeed it did Bishop Lightfoot, to think that they denied it altogether. The treatment Paul received at Athens when he preached the resurrection showed how incongruous this doctrine seemed to the Greeks. Philo and Josephus wrote for Greek audiences - for the Romans, so far as culture went, were Greeks - and had to consider their taste. Another point held in abeyance by both those writers was the Messianic hopes that we know from the New Testament were so prevalent. Hippolytus says “all sections look for the Messiah,” but held that He was to be merely man born in the ordinary way. The reason of Philo's silence and that of Josephus is easily understood. They had commended the Essenes so highly; if they mentioned that they had treasonable hopes of a Messiah who should rule the world, their own personal loyalty would become doubtful. For our part we should regard all the positive elements in Hippolytus' description as worthy of acceptance.

7. Epiphanius - Confused Account

The last authority to whom we would refer is Epiphanius. In his anxiety to make up the number of heresies, the Essenes figure repeatedly under different names. He declares the Essenes to be a sect of the Samaritans closely associated with the Sebuans and Gortheni. Among the Jews he has three sects whom he calls Hemerobaptistae, Nazaraei and Osseni. Besides he has a sect called Sampseans, evidently also Essenes, which he mixes up with the followers of Elkaisa. He does not seem to have any clear idea about their tenets or habits. The Samaritan sects differ about the three Jewish feasts, but he does not make it clear in what they differ. The Sebuans seem to have reversed the order of the Jewish feasts, but whether the Essenes and Gortheni did so likewise is not clear. That the Essenes whom we are considering were not Samaritans appears to be as certain as anything about this enigmatic sect can be. The obscure sentence quoted by Eusebius from Hegesippus might be interpreted as supporting this statement of Epiphanius, but it is too enigmatic to be pressed. As to the three Jewish sects the first named - Hemerobaptistae - suits the daily washings of the Essenes, but he asserts that they agree with the Sadducees in denying the resurrection. The Nazareans or Nazarenes are not to be confounded with a Christian sect of nearly the same name. They resided in the district East of Jordan. They held with the Jews in all their customs, believing in the patriarchs, but did not receive the Pentateuch, though they acknowledged Moses. The Osseni are the likest to the Essenes, as they are said to dwell near the Dead Sea, only it is on the side opposite to Engedi. Epiphanius leaves them to denounce Elxai and his brother Jexais, of which latter nothing further is known.


III. Deductions and Combinations

From the characteristics so many, so confusing, indeed, in some respects so contradictory, it is difficult to get a consistent picture. They are said to be only four thousand, yet they are many ten thousands. They reside in Engedi, a company of coenobites. They dwell in villages and avoid towns, yet they dwell many in every city and in populous communities. They avoid everything connected with war, yet one of their number is one of the trusted generals of the Jews in their rebellion against the Romans. They keep away from the Temple, yet one of them, Judas, is teaching in the Temple when he sees Antigonus, whose death he had foretold. The only way in which any consistency can be brought into these accounts is by taking advantage of what Josephus and Hippolytus say about the subsections into which the Essenes were distinguished.

A parallel the present writer has elsewhere used of the Methodists is illuminative. While the most prominent body of Methodists are Arminians, there are the Calvinistic Methodists. While Wesleyan Methodists do not allow women to preach, the Primitive Methodists do. This is so far confirmed by the fact that while the abjuring of marriage is a marked feature in the representation of Philo, yet the latter says that one class of the Essenes not only do not themselves oppose matrimony but regard those that do oppose it as enemies of the human race. The residents in Engedi formed but a small proportion of the Essenes. It is probable that of them the statement, found alike in Philo and Josephus, that they were 4,000, applies. All the features of the picture of the daily common meals, rising before sunrise, joint devotions, may be true in their fullness only of the community by the Dead Sea. What Philo says (quoted by Eusebius, Preposition Evan., VIII, 11), that among the Essenes “there are no youths or persons just entering on manhood, only men already declining towards old age,” would indicate that the settlement at Engedi was an asylum for those who, having borne the burden and heat of the day, now retired to enjoy repose.

1. Government

They had communities apparently all over Palestine, if not also beyond its bounds, over each of which there was a president appointed (Hip., IX, 15). This would mean that in towns of any size they would have a synagogue. They appear to have had houses of call, though it may have been that every member of the Essene community kept open house for all members of their sect who might be traveling. The traveler, when he came to a city, would inquire for any that were Essenes, as the apostles were commanded by their Lord, in similar circumstances, to inquire (“search out”) who in a city were “worthy.” The common meals might to some extent be observed in these different scattered communities, probably at intervals, not daily as at Engedi. At these the secret sacred books, read and studied with so great regularity at Engedi, would also be read. In this synagogue not only would the canonical books be preserved but also those other books which gave them the names of the angels, as now in the synagogues of Palestine the library preserved in the synagogue may be used by those connected with it throughout the week. The head of the community at Engedi might have some suzerainty over all the different communities, but in regard to this we have no information. One external feature which would at once make the Essenes known to each other was the fact that they always dressed in white linen. They had priests probably in every one of their communities. The Jewish exorcists in Ephesus, in whom Bishop Lightfoot (Col, 93) recognizes Essenes, were the sons of one Sceva, a high priest (archiereús, Act_19:14). The high-priesthood was evidently not connected with the temple at Jerusalem, for no such name appears in the list of high priests. It thus most probably was an Essenian high-priesthood.

2. Doctrines

In regard to their tenets, their belief in the absolute preordination by God of everything appears the feature in the doctrinal position which most appealed to Josephus Hippolytus affirms in terms their belief in the resurrection of the body. This point, as above noted, Philo and Josephus ignore. The passage in Hippolytus is the more striking from the fact that the latter portion so closely resembles the parallel passage in Josephus. Josephus as we have suggested above, avoided crediting the Essenes with belief in resurrection because of the ridicule to which it would expose not only the Essenes, his protégés, but also himself. Hippolytus, writing with information other than what might be got from Josephus or Philo and as, writing for Christian readers, without the fear of ridicule, in regard to the resurrection of the body, boldly and in terms ascribes that doctrine to them. The silence of our two main witnesses as to the Essenes cherishing any Messianic hopes cannot be pressed, as their silence may be explained as above mentioned by fear of the suspicions of Rome in regard to any such hopes. The statement of Hippolytus that all the Jews had these expectations may be said to cover this case. The abjuring of marriage and the shunning of everything connected with war seem to be prominent opinions in some sections of the Essenes, but not held by others.


IV. History and Origin

There is much in Essenism that is difficult to understand. We have seen contradictory features assigned to the Essenes by different authorities; but even in the case of those features concerning which there is least dubiety the new difficulty emerges as to how it appeared as a characteristic of a Jewish sect. This is especially the case in regard to abstinence from marriage. Easterners always have an earnest desire to have sons to keep their memory green, for on a death many of them had and still have ceremonies which only the son of the dead can perform. Yet despite this they avoided marriage. The Jews with their Messianic hopes desired children, as no one knew but that his child might prove the child of promise, the Christ of God.

1. Essenes and Ḥasīdhīm

The earliest note of the existence of the Essenes, as of the Pharisees and Sadducees, is under the pontificate of Jonathan, the successor of Judas Maccabeus (Ant., XIII, v, 9). Josephus says “at this time there were three sects of the Jews,” and proceeds to name them. If this, however, were precisely true, it is singular that there is no mention of any of these sects in either of the books of the Maccabees. The only sect named is the Hasideans (ḥăṣīdhīm) who are called (1 Macc 2:42) “mighty men of Israel, every one that offered himself willingly for the law” (the King James Version “voluntarily devoted himself to the law”; Greek hekousiazómenos). These again are not mentioned by Josephus The meaning of the word is “saints,” and in this sense it appears frequently in the Psalms. A parallel in modern history to their warlike activity and their claim to saintliness may be found in the Cameronians of “society folk” in Scotland toward the end of the 17th century. They were Peden's “praying folk,” yet they fought and won battles. When William of Orange came they formed the Cameronian regiment which helped to quell the clans and checked their advance after Killiecrankie. Some have identified these Hasideans with the Pharisees (as W. Robertson Smith, article “Assidaeans,” Encyclopedia Biblica, and others). Hitzig would regard their successors as the Essenes. The great resemblance there was between the Pharisees and the Essenes renders it not improbable that originally they were really one sect and split off. If Josephus is to be trusted this division must have occurred, if not before the Maccabean struggle, at least early during its continuance. The Sadducean authors of 1 Maccabees may have grouped them together. According to Josephus, John Hyrcanus was a Pharisee, from which it may be presumed that Judas Maccabeus and his brethren belonged to the same sect of the Jews. The Assideans deserted Maccabeus, so that it would seem at least possible that by that time the separation had become complete, so that the Hasideans are now to be regarded as Essenes. It would seem as if they deserted the Maccabeans when they - the Maccabeans - made alliances with heathen powers like Rome. Then they objected to the high-priestly family being passed over for the Hasmoneans, hence their foolish surrender to Bacchides because Alcimus (called by Josephus Jacimus = Jehoiakim) was with him, a descendant of the race of the high priests. All this is utterly unlike the quiet contemplative lives of the coenobites in Engedi. It would seem that the thousand who died in the wilderness themselves, their wives, their children and their cattle (1 Macc 1:29-38), were more like the inhabitants of Engedi. Before leaving the Hasideans it must be said that the representation of the connection of the Hasideans with Judas Maccabeus put in the mouth of Alcimus by the writer of 2 Macc 14:6 is not trustworthy. After this desertion of the Maccabeans the more religious of them retired to Engedi, while the rest of the party were scattered over the country in the various cities and villages.

2. Position of Essenes in Josephus

As above mentioned the earliest mention of Essenes is by Josephus (Ant., XIII, v, 9) while Jonathan was high priest. The next is the story of Judas the Essene seated in the Temple surrounded by his scholars “who attended him (parémenon) in order to learn the art of foretelling,” thinking that the appearance of Antigonus in the Temple courts proved his prophecy false that he was that day to die in Strato's tower (Caesarea). Judas is evidently a resident in Jerusalem and meets his pupils in the Temple courts. This would imply that he had no horror of the Temple nor was debarred from its courts. He had no repugnance for residence in cities. Menahem, the next figure that presents itself, shows a man who is mingling in court circles. He inflicts on Herod, the son of the favorite counselor of the high priest, a playful domestic chastisement and prophesies his future greatness. Herod, as we are told, always favored the Essenes in consequence. Later Archelaus consults Simon or Simeon, an Essene, as to the interpretation of a dream. He is at all events resident in Jerusalem and known in the court circles. He may have been Simeon of Luk_2:25-35. It must, however, be observed that the name is one of the commonest among the Jews at that time. After this they disappear, unless Hippolytus' identification of the Zealots with a section of the Essenes is admitted. Those in Engedi were aside from the course of the war, though if Pliny's representation is to be taken as accurate the vines and palm trees of Engedi had been burned and the settlement had been rendered desolate. They may have betaken themselves to Pella like the Christians, so as not to be involved in the destruction of the city and the Temple. The communities of the sect in Asia Minor disappear also. To all appearance they are absorbed in the church.

3. Doctrinal Affinities

Owing to the fact that so many of the doctrines and practices attributed to the Essenes have no resemblance to anything else in Judaism the question of origin has a special meaning in regard to them. Although like all Easterners the Jews have a desire for progeny - indeed the man who has no child occupies a secondary place in social esteem - yet the Essenes, or at all events some of them, shunned marriage. Despite the elaborate system of animal sacrifices that claimed to originate with Moses whom they venerated, they abjured bloody sacrifices. Although the seed of Aaron were anointed priests, they set up priests of their own. Their habit of morning and evening prayer, timed by the rising and setting of the sun, suggested sun-worship. The external resemblance of these tenets of the Essenes to those of the Pythagoreans impressed Josephus, and was emphasized by him all the more readily, since thus he brought himself and his nation into line with Greek thought. This suggestion of Josephus has led some, e.g. Zeller, to the deduction that they were Jewish neo-Pythagoreans. The features of resemblance are formidable when drawn out in catalogue. He shows (Philos. der Griechen, I. Theil, II, 239-92) that like the Pythagoreans the Essenes regarded asceticism a means of holiness. Both abstained from animal food and bloody sacrifices, admired celibacy and, dressing in white linen garments, had frequent washings. Both prohibited oaths; both formed a corporate body into which admission was had by act of initiation and after probation. Community of goods was the custom in both. Both believed in transmigration of souls. The value of this formidable list is lessened by the fact that there is something of uncertainty on both sides as to the precise views and customs. Philo and Josephus unquestionably Hellenized the views of the Essenes when they presented them before readers educated in Greek culture; further the views of Pythagoras have come down to us in a confused shape.

4. Essenes and Pythagoras

As to the assertion that the Pythagoreans dressed in white linen, Diogenes Laertius says that linen was not yet invented. Zeller has no sufficient evidence that the Essenes avoided the flesh of animals as food, and Diogenes Laertius expressly says that Pythagoras ate fish, though rarely (VIII, 18). While there seems no doubt as to the Pythagorean belief in the transmigration of souls, it seems certain that this was not a doctrine of the Essenes. Neither Philo nor Josephus attribute this view to them. This is the more striking that, immediately after dealing with the Essenes, Josephus proceeds to take up the doctrines of the Pharisees to whom he does attribute that view. Moreover the distinctive views of the Pythagoreans as to numbers and music have no sign of being held by the Essenes. On the other hand the fact that Pythagoras had a wife seems to throw doubt on their alleged preference for celibacy. Another chronological difficulty has to be met. The Pythagoreans as a society were put down in the 5th century before Christ. They may be regarded as having disappeared, till in the 2nd century ad they reappear as prominent neo-Pythagoreans. It is true that Cicero and Seneca mention Pythagoreans, but only as individuals who would claim to be the followers of Pythagoras, and not as members of a sect: they were without influence even in Italy.

5. Buddhism and Essenism

Chronology is equally against the view favored by Hilgenfeld that the influence of Buddhism may be traced in Essenism. As late as the end of the 2nd century ad, Clement of Alexandria, although acquainted with the name Buddha, is ignorant of his tenets and of divisions of his followers. The Alexandria which Hilgenfeld identified with Alexandria of Egypt, in which there was a Buddhist settlement, was really to be found in Bactria, where a Buddhist settlement was likely.

6. Parseeism and Essenism

There is more to be alleged in favor of Parsee influence being traceable. Neither geography nor chronology protests against this influence. The Jews were for centuries under the domination of the Persians, who were followers of Zoroaster. They seem on the whole to have been favored by the Persian rulers, a state of matters that would make the Jews all the more ready to view with sympathy the opinions and religion of these masters. Moreover the Persian worship had spread away to the west, far beyond Syria. At the same time it is easy to exaggerate the points of resemblance. The dualism alleged to be a leading feature in Essenism is more a matter of deduction than of distinct statement. Indeed the proofs alleged by Zeller are almost ludicrous in their insufficiency, since Philo says that the Essenes shun marriage because women are selfish (phílautos), and Josephus, that they do so because women are addicted to excess (asélgeia); that therefore they regard the female generally as under the dominion of the evil principle, the fact being that this is really a part of the Hellenizing which the Essene views underwent at the hands of Philo and Josephus. The alleged sun-worship is scarcely more worthy of credit: it is a deduction not even plausible. When carefully looked at the evidence points the other way. Their first prayer is offered not at sunrise but before it (BJ, II, viii, 5); in other words, they work while it is day. Their evening orisons are offered after the sun has set. At the same time their elaborate angelology seems to be due to the influence of the Zend-Avesta, but in this the Essenes merely shared with the rest of the Jews. We know that the Jews brought the names of the angels with them from Babylon.

7. Essenism Mainly Jewish

The most singular feature in Essenism is really a feature of Judaism emphasized out of proportion. It was unlike the Jews to shun marriage, yet in seasons when special holiness was required intercourse between the sexes was forbidden (Exo_19:15; 1Sa_21:5). The whole act of sexual intercourse was regarded as unclean (Lev_15:16-18). In the Pauline Epistles uncleanness is used as equivalent to fornication (Rom_1:24; Rom_6:19, etc.). So also in 2Pe_2:10. Such a view naturally led to the idea which soon became regnant in Christianity that the state of virginity was one of special sanctity (Rev_14:4). The respect they gave to the unmarried state may be exaggerated. If Philo's representation (quoted in Euseb., Preposition Evan., VIII, 11) be correct, men were not admitted until maturity was attained and passed, when, therefore, such desires had begun to die down. Their avoidance of marriage is a matter of less importance. Their extreme reverence for the Sabath is of a piece with their celibacy. Their avoidance of the Temple sacrifices, so far as they did so, may well be due to something of more than contempt for the religion of the Sadducean high-priestly party. Moreover the long residence of Israel in Babylon, when the Temple worship had to be in abeyance, and the consequent prevalence of synagogue worship, tended to lessen the importance of the sacrifices of the Temple. Thus it would seem that the Essenes were really a Jewish sect that had retained more of the Zoroastrian elements than had the rest of the Jews.


V. Relation to the Apocalyptic Books

Among the features of Essenism which seem to have impressed Josephus most was the fact that they had sacred books of their sect which they preserved, as also the names of the angels, thus bringing the Essenian special books into connection with angelology. These books their proselytes were bound by oath to preserve (BJ, II, viii, 7). Concerning the kindred sect of the Therapeutae, Philo says, “They have also writings of ancient men” (De Vita Contemp., III). On the other hand we have a mass of writings the same in character, dependent on one another, all apparently proceeding from one school of Jewish thought. Of the three sects of the Jews from which alone they could have proceeded the Sadducees are excluded because, while the apocalyptic books are full of angels, they believe neither in angel nor spirit (Act_23:8). While doctrinally the Pharisees might suit, the fact that practically there is no reference to any of these books in the Talmud, which proceeded from the Pharisaic school, renders them unlikely to have been the authors. The Essenes seem to us to have been the school from which these apocalyptic works proceeded. The sect, at the fall of the Jewish state, disappeared in Christianity, and in the Christian church these books are preserved.

1. Reasons for Holding the Essenes to Be the Writers of the Apocalypses

The section of the Essenes who dwelt as coenobites beside the Dead Sea were in circumstances specially liable to see visions and to have distorted views of morality, so that the composition of pseudonymous writings, literary forgeries, might seem right. As seen in the study of the apocalyptic books there is the undue prominence given to sexual sin - a prominence that seems to be symptomatic of the unhealthy mental state engendered by celibacy. These writings are the product of a school that professed to have secret sacred books. In 2 (4) Esdras 14:45, 46 we have an account of how, while 24 of the sacred books were published to the multitude, 70 were retained for the “worthy,” that is, for some inner circle, some brotherhood like the Essenes. In the Assumption of Moses, Joshua is commanded to place the revelations given him “in certain vessels and anoint them with oil of cedar.” Such an order would be held as explaining at once the disappearance of the book for the years succeeding Moses and its opportune reappearance. On the one hand we have a sect that professes to have secret sacred books, and on the other we have sacred books that have been composed by a school that must have had many features which we recognize as Essenian. Further, the Essenes disappeared in the Christian church, and in the Christian church and not among the Jews are these books preserved.

2. Objections Answered

The main objection to this ascription is the prominence of the Messianic hope in the apocalyptic books, and the absence of any notice in Josephus and Philo that the Essenes had this hope. But from neither of these writers could be discovered that any of the Jews cherished this hope. Yet from the New Testament we know that this hope was a prominent feature in national aspirations. Philo, associating perpetually with Greeks, would be sensitive to the ridicule to which such views would expose him, and how it would undo much of his laborious efforts to commend Judaism to the Greeks as a higher philosophy. Josephus had not only that motive, but the more serious one of personal safety. To have enlarged on Messianic hopes and declared these hopes to have been cherished by these Essenes whom he had praised so much would be liable to bring him under suspicion of disloyalty to Rome. The silence of these two writers proves nothing because it proves too much; and further we have easy explanation of this silence. The assumption of Dr. Charles that the Essenian ideal was ethical and individualistic is pure assumption. There is another objection that while the doctrine of resurrection is recognized in these books we know nothing of the Essenes holding it. That the Greeks and their scholars in philosophy, the Romans, looked at the idea of resurrection from the dead as a subject for ridicule would be reason sufficient for Philo and Josephus to suppress such a feature in their description of the Essenes. From them it could not be learned that the Pharisees ever had any such belief. It is also objected that while the Essenes held the pre-existence of souls, there is no trace of this belief in the apocalyptic books. Josephus, however, does not really assert that they believed in the prior existence of individual souls, but rather in a soul-stuff from which individual souls were separated. Thus both positively and negatively we think there is a strong case for the Essenes being regarded as the authors of the apocalyptic books. Further objections are brought forward by Dr. Charles as applicable to the Assumption of Moses specially. One is the interest manifested in the Temple by the writer while, so says Dr. Charles, “the Essene was excluded from its courts,” and refers to Josephus, Ant, XVIII, i, 5. He must have forgotten, while penning this sentence, Ant, XIII, xi, 2, in which Judas, the Essene, is represented as teaching in the Temple. His objection that Josephus credits the Essenes with a belief in a paradise beyond the ocean like the Greek Islands of the Blest, appears to us to lay too much stress on what is in both cases figurative language. Moreover, in Enoch the description of Paradise (chapters 24 through 26) would almost seem to be the original from which Josephus (BJ, II, viii, 11) drew his picture. He seems to regard our ignorance of how far the Essenes agreed with the rest of their countrymen in considering the enemies of Israel “the wicked,” as evidence that they disagreed with them on that point.


VI. The Essenes and Christianity

1. Resemblances Between Essenism and Christianity

That there were many points of resemblance between the Essenes and the church in its earliest form cannot be denied. The Essenes, we are told, maintained a community of goods and required anyone who joined their society to sell all he had and present it to the community (Hippolytus, Adv. Heret., ix; x; Josephus, BJ, II, viii, 3), just as so many of the primitive Christians did in Jerusalem (Act_4:37). Another peculiarity of the Essenes - noted by Josephus (BJ, II, viii, 4) - that they moved about from city to city, and wherever they went found accommodation with members of their order, although perfect strangers, may be compared with our Lord's instructions to His disciples when He sent them forth (Mat_10:11): “Into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy.” When one thinks of who those worthy persons could be, and what was the evidence by which their worthiness was expected to be established, one is almost obliged to suppose that it was some specially easily recognized class that was so designated. If the worthiness in question was the moral quality, there are so many ideas of moral worth that when the apostles inquired, on entering a city, who was worthy, before they could act on the answer they would need to discover what was the criterion of worthiness in the mind of him from whom they had inquired. If, however, this term was the private designation of the members of a sect, one by which they, in speaking of each other, indicated that they were co-members, as the “Quakers” speak of each other as “Friends,” the inquiry for those who were worthy would be simple enough. If the Essenes were “the worthy,” then identification would be complete, but we cannot assume that. The majority of the points in which the Essenes resembled the primitive Christians are noted above in connection with each feature as it appears in the passage or passages of the authorities that record it, and to these we refer our readers.

2. Points of Difference

At the same time, although there are thus many points of likeness, it is not to be denied that there are also many features in Essenism which are at variance with the practice of the early church and the teaching of our Lord and His apostles. The most prominent of these is the difference of attitude toward marriage and the female sex. Our Lord sanctified marriage by His presence at the marriage at Cana of Galilee, although He himself never married. He used the festivities of marriage again and again as illustrations. He drew women to Him and had none of the contempt of the sex which Josephus and Philo attribute to the Essenes. The apostles assume the marriage relationship as one into which Christians may be expected in due course to enter, and give exhortations suited to husbands and wives (1Pe_3:1-7; Eph_5:22-33; Col_3:18, Col_3:19). The apostle Paul uses the relation of husband and wife as the symbol of the relation of Christ to His church (Eph_5:32). The writer of the Epistle to the He declares, “Marriage is honorable in all” (Heb_13:4 the King James Version).

Another point in which the Essenes differed from the practice of our Lord and His disciples was the exaggerated reverence the former gave to the Sabbath, not even moving a vessel from one place to another on the seventh day. our Lord's declaration, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mar_2:27), cuts at the feet of that whole attitude. The point of His conflict with the Pharisees was His disregard of the Sabbath as fenced by their traditions. The Essenes shrank from contact with oil, which our Lord certainly did not do. On the contrary He rebuked the Pharisee for his neglect (Luk_7:46). He was twice anointed by women, and in both cases commended the deed. The purely external and material bulked largely in the opinions of the Essenes. our Lord emphasized the internal and spiritual. Many have held and do hold that our Lord was an Essene. If at the beginning of His career He belonged to this sect He must have broken with it long before the end of His ministry.

Why Our Lord Never Meets the Essenes

There are some phenomena which, irrespective of these resemblances and differences, have a bearing on the relation between Essenism and Christianity. The first is the fact that our Lord, who met so many different classes of the inhabitants of Palestine - Pharisees and Sadducees, Zealots and Herodians, publicans, Samaritans, Greeks - never is recorded to have met an Essene. The common answer, which satisfied even Bishop Lightfoot, is that they were so few and lived so retired that it was no marvel that He never encountered any of them. They had little or no effect on the national life. This mistaken answer is due to forgetting that though both Josephus and Philo say the Essenes were 4,000 they also declare that they were “many in every city,” that there were “ten thousands of them.” our Lord must have met them; but if the name “Essene” was a designation given from without like “Quakers,” then they may appear in the Gospels under another name. There is a class of persons three times referred to - those “that waited for the consolation of Israel” (Luk_2:25 the King James Version), “looking for the redemption” (Luk_2:38), “waited for the kingdom of God” (Mar_15:43 the King James Version; Luk_23:51 the King James Version). There are thus Simeon and Anna at the beginning of His earthly life, and Joseph of Arimathea at the end, connected with this sect. If, then, this sect were the Essenes under another name, the difficulty would be removed. If, further, in any sense our Lord belonged, or had belonged, to the Essenes, then as He would be perpetually meeting and associating with them, these meetings would not be chronicled. A man cannot meet himself. If they are the authors of the apocalyptic books, as we contend, then the title “waiters for the kingdom of God” would be most suitable, full as these books are of Messianic hopes. If this opinion is correct our Lord's assumption of the title “Son of Man” is significant, taken in connection with the prominence given to that title in the Enoch books.

3. Disappearance of Essenism in Christianity

Another significant phenomenon is the disappearance of Essenism in Christianity. Bishop Lightfoot, in his dissertation on the Colossian Heresy (Comm. on Col, 21-111), proves that it was Essenism. These Essenes must have been baptized into Christ, or they could not have got entry into the Christian communities which had been drawn to Christ from heathenism. But that is not the only heresy that is connected with the Essenes. The Ebionites seem to have been Essenes who had passed over into Christianity. In the Apostolical Constitutions the Ebionites and Essenes are brought into very close connection. Epiphanius, in his confused way, mixes up the various names under which the Essenes appear in his works with a certain Elkaisa, a connection also to be found in Hippolytus, an earlier and better authority. But Elkaisa claimed to be a Christian. His leading follower, Alcibiades, appeared in Rome and was resisted by Hippolytus. The Clementine Homilies, a religious novel of which Peter is the hero, has many Essenian features. It is assumed to be Ebionite, but that only makes the evidence that the Essenes had become Christians all the more convincing. The Ebionites were Christians, if defective in their views, and the presence of Essenian features in a work proceeding from them emphasizes the identity. See EBIONISM.

4. Monachism

There is another phenomenon, more extensive and important than those we have considered above - the presence of Monachism in the church. Notwithstanding that our Lord prayed “not that” the disciples be taken “out of the world,” but that they be kept “from the evil” (Joh_17:15), implying that they were not to retire into solitude, and that the apostle Paul regards it as demonstrating the falsity of our possible interpretation of an exhortation of his that it would imply that the disciples “must needs go out of the world” (1Co_5:10); yet the monks did retire from the world and regarded themselves as all the holier for so doing, and were regarded so by others. The apostle Paul declares the “forbidding to marry” one of “the doctrines of demons,” yet very soon asceticism set in and virginity was regarded as far holier than the married state. Retirement from the world and asceticism were the two cardinal characteristics of Monachism. Despite that these were in antagonism to the teachings of Christ and His apostles, within little more than a century after our Lord's ascension Monachism began to appear, and prevailed more and more and continues to this day. These characteristics, retirement from the world and asceticism, especially forbidding to marry, were marked features of Essenism. The wholesale entrance of the Essene sect into the church would explain this. On the other hand this wholesale passing over into Christianity of so intensely Jewish a sect implies a historic connection or affinity. It is true that the catechetic school of Alexandria praises the contemplative life, so admired by their contemporaries, the neo-Platonists, and that philosophy which had been looked at askance by the church was, so to say, taken under their protection by the Alexandrian school, and the retirement of solitaries into the deserts or the formation of monasteries served to promote this contemplation. This led to all the extravagances of the monks being regarded as heights of philosophy. Such views were a cause, but as certainly were they also effects. The cause of these effects as it seems to us was to some extent the admiration extended by Philo, the Alexandrian, to the Essenes and Therapeutae, and the influence of Philo on his Christian successors in Alexandria.


Literature

Sources

Philo, Josephus, Pliny, Hegesippus, Porphyry, Hippolytus, Epiphanius.

Secondary Literature

Besides works specially on the Essenes, the following are mentioned: Frankel, Die Essäer; Lucius, Der Essenismus; Ginsburg, Essenes; and portions of books, as Delaunay, Moines et Sibylles, 1-88; Thomson, Books Which Influenced our Lord, 74-122; Ritschl, Die Entstehung der alt-katholischen Kirche, 179-203; Lightfoot, Commentary on Col, 7-111, 347-417.

There are in histories of the Jews discussions of the questions in order. Of these may be noted: Ewald, Hist of Israel, V, 370-71; Grätz, Geschichte der Juden, III, 657-63; Schürer, The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, II, ii, 188-218, translation. This opens with a fairly full account of the literature up to the date of the 2nd German edition; Zeller, Geschichte der Philos. der Griechen, III, ii, 2, pp. 235-93. There are also articles in various Bible and theological dictionaries, as Smith and Wace, Dict. of Eccles Biography; Smith and Fuller, Dict. of the Bible; HDB; Jewish Encyclopedia; RE; Schenkel, Bibel-Lexikon; M'Clintock, Theological Dict.

At the same time, while submitting these as a sample, and only as a sample, of the vast literature of the subject, we agree in the advice given by F. C. Conybeare - in HDB, under the word: “The student may be advised to study for himself the very limited documentary sources relating to the Essenes and then to draw his own conclusions.” We feel the importance of this advice all the more that perusal has shown us that most of these secondary writers have considered exclusively the coenobite community at Engedi to the neglect of the wider society. After the student has formed opinions from a careful study of the sources he may benefit by these secondary works.


They did not believe in marriage, so they increased in size by proselytizing.


The did not even go to the Temple. They remained apart from institutional Judaism. This separation may have been some sort of a protest against the religion of the day. They were more of a monastical organization than a religious group.


They were quite clean; they followed cleansing rituals. They gave great reverence to the sun. They probably had a Persian influence.


Beliefs of the Essenes

1.       They were deterministic. The will of God determined each person’s decision; there was no free will. This is almost Islamic.

2.       Immortality consisted of a resurrection of the spirit, but not the body.

3.       Redemption was freedom from the body. They believed in dualism.

4.       They refused to take oaths and they refused to go to war.


Basically a monastic community. They are never mentioned in the New Testament at all.


They probably never came into contact with Jesus Christ as we know. However, it is important to note this sect, as it represented a real dissatisfaction with Judaism. They had a problem with Judaism. They represented the current problem with religion at this time. This might help to understand why so many people were interested when Jesus Christ castigated the religious types.


This is another reason why this was the fullness of time.


Lesson #0015                The Gospels December 12, 2010                         Sunday 1

Jesus face most of His opposition from the pharisees and from their cohorts, the scribes. The pharisees were the puritans of that day; they tried to maintain purity in Judaism, despite all of the cultural influences. They focused on a very strict adherence to the Mosaic Law. They saw this Law as the only real connection between God and man. Since Malachi, there had been no direct contact between God and man. So, all they had was the Old Testament. So the scribes and the pharisees saw the Law as the real contact between God and His people. Who better than the pharisees to be the primary agents by which God spoke to the people. They were the defacto representatives of God. They saw themselves as the arbiters of the Law and the representatives of God on earth.


The Law was one thing, but the pharisees expanded upon the Law, inserting their own interpretations. They based their interpretations not just upon the Pentateuch, but upon the oral tradition as well. They would study the Mosaic Law and then they would build a case law upon the Mosaic Law. To the pharisees, these interpretations became more important that the Old Testament law itself. When Jesus came upon the scene, he confronted these religious leaders about their interpretations of the Law.


Then there was another great powerful religious group in Palestine called the sadducees. They were an opposition group to the pharisees. They did not want to be associated with all of the Romans and all of the religious. The sadducees were more likely to concede many points. They had a stake in Roman law and culture; they were the aristocrats at this time. They were the families of the governing class. Herod was excellent at ingratiating himself to the Romans, so the sadducees were not too rebellious against Herod. They were a great political group.


The sadducees only held to the Pentateuch and they rejected the oral traditions. They maintained the Mosaic Law without all of the extra-Biblical extras. There were specific differences as well between these 2 groups. The material world was seen as the world. They denied the resurrection. That was beyond the materialistic world. The pharisees accepted the resurrection. The sadducees were more like humanists at that time. They had much more faith in man.


The 3rd major group was the essenes. They were complete separatists. They settled in isolated areas. Their communities allowed them not to associate with others. They lived much like communist monastics. Strict rites of initiation. Initiates were required to surrender all property to this group. They maintained a very tight discipline. They worked in agriculture. They had a very simple lifestyle. They felt that their approach was accurate. Most of them abstained from marriage. They maintained a strict adherence to the Law, and they considered the sadducees and pharisees as corrupt. They had been affected by Persian dualism; they had become syncretic. Redemption was freedom from the corrupted body to an eternal soul existence. Resurrection was not a bodily resurrection but a disembodied soul. Another strange aberration; they gave great reverence to the sun.


The essenes are not mentioned in the New Testament and they may have never come into contact with Jesus? They completely withdrew from that which they saw as corrupt. Much of Judaism agreed with the corruption. They did represent a popular viewpoint of Judaism at the time. They had a drop out lifestyle, which was a hippie-like protest. Many Jews had an attraction to Jesus when He blasted the sadducees, pharisees and the scribes. They listened to Him because of that. So many did recognize Jesus as the Messiah and the replacement for all of these corrupt religious groups.


A fourth faction, the zealots. This was a religious political group. These are the militants; the activists. They had no interest in what these other groups did. They were the party of action. They were seeking to impose Judaism upon all of Palestine; to get rid of the Romans.


 

ISBE on the Zealots

Zealot; Zealots

zel´ut, zel´uts: Simon, one of the apostles, was called “the Zealot” Ζηλωτής, Zēlōtḗs from ζηλόω, zēlóō “to rival,” “emulate,” “be jealous,” “admire,” “desire greatly,” Luk_6:15; Act_1:13, the King James Version “Zelotes”). In Mat_10:4 and Mar_3:18 he is called “the Cananean” (so the Revised Version (British and American) correctly; not “the Canaanite,” as the King James Version says, following inferior manuscripts), οʽ Καναναι?ος, ho Kananaíos. From the time of the Maccabees there existed among the Jews a party who professed great zeal for the observance of the “law.” According to Josephus (BJ, IV, iii, 9; v, 1; VII, viii, 1) they resorted to violence and assassination in their hatred of the foreigner, being at many points similar to the Chinese Boxers. It is not improbable that the “Assassins” (see ASSASSINS) of Act_21:38 were identical, or at least closely associated, with this body of “Zealots,” to which we must conclude that Simon had belonged before he became one of the Twelve.

 


While Jesus taught Rome was to be paid taxes to, the zealots were concerned about the Romans. The 2nd advent will be Jesus returning as the great conqueror. Jesus did not do anything political; He did not berate Rome. We need some sanity in our own nation, so it is easy to see how people could see that politics was the answer. We have serious spiritual problems in this nation, so that there are those who think that political activism is the way to go. Political problems do not provide true solutions; spiritual growth is what changes a nation and that begins with individuals. Blessing and divine establishment then follows.


Bobby will talk more about the election and how it involves us. But we are not zealots and we are not essenes. Do not think that politics is the solution to American problems. If you got all that you wanted, it would not change the thinking of Americans. It goes right back to essential problems; the sin nature.


So many times, believers say, “There must be more than listening to doctrine.” We all have a service for the Lord and an impact in our lives. We pray and witness and we exercise of spiritual life, even if we do not know what our gift is. This is a problem with the essenes, the pharisees and the zealots.


The zealots insisted on rebellion and war with the Romans, which they got from a.d. 66 to a.d. 70, where the hammer of God came down upon the Jews and the 5th cycle of discipline. These are the 4 main religious groups in Palestine at that time. They were all in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Then there was the Messianic hope in Judaism. What did the people expect? The Old Testament certainly predicted the Messiah. Every book in the Old Testament has something about the coming Messiah, and yet, all of these religious groups did not get it. Where was He? People knew that there were no more prophets, so what happened to God and His Messiah? They all wanted the restoration of an independent state; they wanted God’s covenant promises all fulfilled. 300–150 b.c. writings about the Messiah and what they expected. They saw Him as sitting on the throne of an independent Israel.


Even the disciples had this misconception. They had a hard time thinking beyond the kingdom. They were confused when Jesus said He would die and then be resurrected. They expected the Messiah to establish a great nation in Israel taking up a huge chunk of land.


Still, many Jews believed in Jesus Christ. They saw the Law fulfilled in Him; they saw Him do miracles. They heard His words. They recognized that He was the Messiah.


Lesson #0016                The Gospels December 12, 2010                         Sunday 2


This is the last leg of the introduction. The chronology of the life of Jesus Christ. The gospels are not really books of chronology. It is difficult to determine when an event took place at times.


One more little group to cover. The Samaritans, who play a role in the life of Jesus Christ. Back after the death of Solomon, Jeroboam split the kingdom into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judæa. 1Kings 12 he introduced calf worship and then along came Jezebel and Ahab and she brought in Baal worship. Israel went entirely apostate at that time, making them ripe for the fifth cycle of discipline. Assyrian came in and conquered the northern kingdom and took many Jews to Assyria and colonists from elsewhere. They brought in a lot of people who were friendly toward the Assyrians.


When the Jews returned under the Babylonian captivity, the Jews of Judæa and Jerusalem. Caesarea. The Jews in Jerusalem refused to allow the Samaritans any access to the Temple. They were an adulterated people insofar as the Jews were concerned. So the Samaritans established their own worship center on Mount Gerezim. They became religious rivals. The thing which galled the Jews was, the Samaritans were partly Jews.


The Samaritans continued with the Sabbath, circumcision, all of the sacred feasts. However, there were differences. The Messiah would convert all the nations, in their view, to Samaritism alone. They accepted the Mosaic Law alone but not the rest of the Old Testament. They saw the worship center in Mount Gerazim as the true localized place of God. Jewish religious leaders looked down upon the Samaritans as apostate and dangerous to Judaism. This was another problem in Palestine in the time of Christ. There is this half Judaism group which was not something that these other groups could approve of.


Jesus was from the Galilee area, and between Him and Jerusalem was Samaria, that He had to criss-cross on many occasions.


What happened from beginning to end of Jesus?


3 Categories of the Chronology of Jesus Christ:

1.       His eternal preexistence. From eternity past until the first Christmas.

2.       His incarnate life. God and man in One Person for 33 years.

3.       After the resurrection, His life as the God-man throughout all eternity. Seated at the right hand of the Father and then over all the world, and then in eternity.


There Are Historical Increments to His Life.

1.       His birth and 30 years of preparation for His ministry. The winter of 5–4 b.c. to a.d. 28

          1)       His first year

                     (1)      His birth

                     (2)      The shepherd’s visit.

                     (3)      His circumcision.

                     (4)      His presentation in the Temple and dedicated.

                     (5)      The visit of the wise men.

                     (6)      The flight to Egypt and Herod’s slaughter of the children 2 yeas and younger.

                     (7)      He returns to Nazareth after Herod dies. Both in the 2nd chapters of Matthew and Luke in the first year of His life.

          2)       The next 29 years

                     (1)      He was true humanity and He grew up.

                     (2)      Luke 2:40–50 His trip to the Temple when He was 12?

                     (3)      These are the only things known; all else is speculation. There is a lot of reasonable interest in His life during this time. It is really not important or the Bible would have revealed this to us.

2.       The 3 ½ years of His public ministry, which is most of the gospels.

          1)       The early Judæan ministry, where it began. This was inagaurated in a.d. 27 before Passover.

                     (1)      The baptism of Jesus Christ. Matt. 3:13–17

                     (2)      The temptation of Jesus. Matt. 4:1–11

                     (3)      The first disciples invited to follow Him

                     (4)      The very first miracle in Cana. This is turning water into wine.

                     (5)      After that first Passover, He cleansed the Temple. He cleaned house, which made them very aware of Him. John 2:13

                     (6)      He had the interview with Nicodemus in John 3

                     (7)      Our Lord departed Judæa.

                     (8)      He had a brief ministry in Samaria. This caused some Jews to Look askance at Him. John 4

                     (9)      His fame was beginning to spread at this point, and He was quite an attraction at this time and He had not run into a lot of opposition.

          2)       The great Galilean ministry, the longest stretch of time, early, middle and late This is the long ester period of His ministry.

                     (1)      Early Galilean ministry where He made great claims in His hometown, where Mary and Joseph lived. He introduced Himself here. Luke 3 late a.d. 27 John the Baptizer announced Jesus 6 months to a year preiovus and he was now in prison.

                     (2)      After this announcement, Jesus received an early rejection. Luke 4:16 his brothers and sisters had a hard time with this.

                     (3)      From Nazareth He goes north to Capernum, where hostility begins to grow.

                     (4)      Matt. 4:18–22 Jesus called James, John and Peter.

                     (5)      He casts out demons. He reveals His credentials.

                     (6)      Luke 5 the miraculous catch of fish.

                     (7)      The leper is healed Luke 5 which shows He has the power over sickness.

                     (8)      Mark 2:1–12 He heals the paralytic. He heals paralysis, which no one else can heal.

                     (9)      The greatest number of miracles are performed between the 2nd and 3rd years of His early Galilean ministry.

                     (10)    One of the great controversies was over the Sabbath. Luke 6:1–5 where He faces off the

                     (11)    a.d. 28–29 for the Middle Galilean period. 12 disciples then chosen. Mark 3:13–19

                     (12)    The sermon on the mount.

                     (13)    The disciples are taught.

                     (14)    The centurion’s servant is healed. This is because of Rome. Jesus is the Savior of all mankind.

                     (15)    The widow’s son was raised from the dead.

                     (16)    At this point in the middle Galilean period, the officials of the pharisees announced formally that they rejected Jesus. They attributed His work to Beezebulb.

                     (17)    Matt. 12 He withdraws His miraculous signs to the nation.

                     (18)    Matt. 12 emphasizes a new relation.

                     (19)    This is introduced by parables. The Parables are times where people go wild. There was a literal meaning for us in these parables.

                     (20)    The disciples are taught by a bunch of miracles, and this is done only for believers.

                     (21)    This is where He pacifies the storm on the sea of Galilee.

                     (22)    He heals the demoniac at Gehmarrah. Mark 5:1–20

                     (23)    Matt. 9 healing a blind man. The scales from his eyes drop and he sees Jesus for Who He is.

                     (24)    The Sabbath and healing of the invalid and the false interpretation of the Sabbath.

                     (25)    A second rejection at Nazareth. Mark 6:1–6

                     (26)    The disciples were instructed enough to evangelize and to heal. Matt. 10

                     (27)    John the Baptizer was executed. Matt. 14:1–12

                     (28)    A great crisis at Capernum in a.d. 29 Jesus feeds the 5000 Luke 9 and this was His 3rd Passover.

                     (29)    He refused the offer of King. John 6

                     (30)    Matt. 14 He walks on the sea.

                     (31)    Jesus is rejected and refused as the bread of Life. John 6

          3)       The ministry to outlying areas in the third year. a.d. 29–30

                     (1)      He makes a northern journey. Mark 7

                     (2)      Return to Galilee Sea. Mark 8

                     (3)      He feeds 4000 at Decapolis.

                     (4)      He briefly then returns to Jerusalem and attends 2 feasts there: Tabernacles where He gives 3 challenges and a discourse. John 7–8 and the Feast of Dedication John 9–10

          4)       The final period of Galilee to Jerusalem. The 3rd year.

                     (1)      A second northern journey and the first announcement of His death, which was a shocker and His 4th Passover.

                     (2)      The Transfiguration.

                     (3)      He gives instructions for the church, and He never did this before. Matt. 18:11–35

                     (4)      Then He begins His journey to Judæa farewell to Galilee.

                     (5)      He goes through Samaria and gives the parable of the Good Samaritan.

                     (6)      Matt. 11 rejection

                     (7)      On His way back to Judæa, He stops in Poria and He teaches there in Luke 11:1–17:10

                     (8)      The pharisees blast him and their doctrines are denounced in Luke 11

                     (9)      Instructions of forgiveness and humility, Luke 17:1–10

                     (10)    Samaria, to Poria, to Jerusalem. He describes the coming of the Kingdom.

                     (11)    he gives His famous instructions on marriage and divorce Matt. 19

                     (12)    He makes a brief return to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. John 11 right before His death.

                     (13)    Luke 18 final months spent in Ephraim?

          5)       The Passion week; His entrance into Jerusalem.

                     (1)      Triumphal ride into Jerusalem on Psalm Sunday.

          6)       The crucifixion.

          7)       40 Days after the resurrection.


All of these time periods allow us to understand what is going on from time to time. Bobby will only give one gospel reference for each one. There are about 150 principle events in the gospels. Bobby will only name some of the more famous ones.


Lesson #0017                The Gospels December 15, 2010                     Wednesday


We will begin with the preincarnate Christ. His life did not begin as others have, at the moment of birth. This is the beginning of our life, but that is not the case with Jesus Christ. He existed eternally. His life reaches back into eternity past. It is easier to understand the future, as we all have a future; it is more difficult to grasp the idea of an eternal past.


When He was born into this world, it is called a new life. His human life began at conception and at birth; but His eternal life was not created nor was it generated. This is whatg make Jesus Christ so amazing. This is the uniqueness of the person of Christ. He is the uniquely born One as well as being the Eternal One. He had to be born without a sin nature and He had to maintain sinlessness. However, this was not because He is God. Jesus is fully human facing every single temptation that we faced. He was able to resist all temptation in His humanity. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to sin and one’s temptation to sin. This is what makes Him unique. He was able not to sin. He is the only man born trichotomus; as Adam is the only man created trichotomos.


John could have said, Jesus Christ was in the beginning; instead, He uses the Word. This carries the idea of a disclosure or a revelation of God. Words are how we communicate. If we want to communicate, then we speak or write. He is a communication; He is a communication of God.


Why John Uses Ho Logos Here

1.       As a communication, it is the λογος Who is the communication of the revelation of God to us. He came into the world to be a communication.

2.       As God in the flesh, He reveals God to man. John 1:18 Jesus Christ knows God intimately and He has explain Him.

3.       When calls Christ ο λογος, he is defining the eternal relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

4.       You must know someone intimately in order to tell anything about them.

5.       It also means They are separate Persons. The revelation of God.


Gen. 1:1 is the beginning of creation; not the beginning of God. It is the same way here. God is in the beginning, the uncaused cause. God the Son was in a continuous state of existence before the birth of the humanity of Jesus Christ. As God was infinite and eternal, so Jesus Christ was eternal an infinite before His human birth.


What Does this Mean in the Beginning?

1.       This birth

2.       This is His eternal existence

3.       there was never a time when ho logos was not in existence.

4.       He became ho logos at birth in order to reveal God.


Here, we have the Greek preposition προς, which means face to face with. With the accusative case, this means towards, near, face to face with God. This speaks of fellowship and association and exchange between God the Father and God the Son.


This Indicates Something Else:

1.       ho logos is a distinctive personality from the Father.

2.       If He was with the Father, then He was not the same as the Father, but a distinct Person. He is the 2nd person of the Trinity. 3 persons and one in essence.

3.       So this is a Biblical reference to 2 Members of the Trinity in heaven prior to the incarnation.


V. 1 closes with the phrase, The logos was God. Jehovah Witnesses have distorted this phrase to say that Jesus is a god rather than the God. The verb is the imperfect active indicative of ειμι. ην is the actual word found here. This verb cannot be under-emphasized in this phrase.


The Syntax and Grammar

1.       The imperfect tense in the Greek is similar to our past tense.

2.       The Greek imperfect tense dwells upon the course of an event. It is a process or an ongoing event or occurrence in past time.

3.       In John 1:1–2 this is a customary or habitual imperfect.

4.       That means the verb can be understood as an habitual or continuous event.

5.       But imperfect and habitual together, this describes a continuous past tense, a continuous past action; a continuous action in past time.

6.       In the beginning was [continually] the Word.

7.       This indicates that there was never a time when ho logos did not exist.

8.       The Word was with God; a continuous, ongoing state. A perpetual association without limits. There is no time limit here. Both Persons of the Trinity are always associating.

9.       In this verb is the definitative statement of divinity.


The Emphasis of this Phrase

1.       He Who is the Word is God by nature. He has always had this nature. He was eternally and continually God. By this, we know that Jesus Christ preexisted His birth.

2.       The imperfect tells us that this status of God was continuous and ongoing in the past.

3.       While He was with God, which distinguishes the 2 Persons and defines their association.

4.       He also was God. This states unequivocally that He always was Deity.


This begins the mystery of the Universe; how God can become man. How God can be man, which life in a physical world; and a death. His Deity and Humanity are inseparably united.


This is stated in such a way as to avoid any confusion of Person. Separate but in an intimate association.


Paul states the same thing in Col. 2:9 For in Him, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.


4 Conclusions

1.       The verse declares the Oneness of the Word with God. He was God before He was born as true humanity. In that status, He is One with God, in that He is the same essence.

2.       This verse declares His distinction from God the Father. If He is with God, then He is distinct from God.

3.       It declares His specific place in the Godhead. As λογος, He is the manifestation of God; the communication of God; the communication of God. Heb. 1 tells us He is the revelation of God.

4.       As the λογος, He is the exegesis of God. Without the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot know God, we cannot be face to face with God, we cannot reach God, we cannot get to God, we cannot have fellowship with God.


We ought to know something about the word order here. Word and God are not interchangeable. This means The Word = God. We cannot reverse this. This will take more time to explain this.


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Lesson #0018     John 1:1–3 The Gospels December 16, 2010               Thursday


There was never a time when the Lord Jesus Christ did not exist. His humanity had a generated beginning, called the 1st advent. This is the beginning of the God-man in hypostatic union. The mechanics of the human pregnancy is in the Origin of Human Life. There was nothing mystical of Jesus Christ on this earth; His humanity was just like we are in every respect. He had to be absolute and complete humanity in order to be the mediator between man and God.


The ὁ loγος; and John used this terminology, because this is God’s communication to man. This is apart from His substitutionary death.


Why God the Holy Spirit Used Ho Logos in Order to Refer to Jesus Christ

1.       Christ is called the Word; this is a title for Him. This refers to communication.

2.       As logos, He is the disclosure or the revelation of God Himself.

3.       We can only know God through the logos. We can certainly know God through the Scripture. But He was the Living Person Who demonstrated God as a living being.

4.       As God in the flesh, the Logos reveals God to man in a form that man can understand. We understand ourselves, and so this allows us to understand God. If the Logos reveals God to man, then we can conclude that they are separate Persons. If we see God through the Logos, then He has to be a distinctive personality; distinct from God the Father. How can one reveal the other if they are not separate and distinct. The Father and the Son are 2 distinct Persons.


For the Logos as God and as the explanation of God, He must have an equality with God in essence (Philip. 2:6, 11).


How Do We Know the Logos Is Equal to God in Essence?

1.       No man has seen God at any time. John 1:14? No one has seen any God in His essence, in Spirit. So God is in a form that we cannot see.

2.       The eternal Logos takes a different form; He takes upon the form of man while still being the revelation of God as man. As God, He is the revelation of God.

3.       Therefore, revealing God as God and as man, the Logos must have an intimate knowledge of God. He must have an intimacy with Him.

4.       No one can reveal another without knowing the person. If you do not know a person, you can only reveal a few superficial things.

5.       Only God can fully know God. Therefore, the Logos is equal to God, as the revealer of God. He is One in essence with God. The Logos is a separate Person Who reveals God because He knows God.


This is some basic theology without any Biblical truth. All 3 phrases contain the same verb, the imperfect active indicative of ειμι. This reveals the pre-existence of Jesus. The Greek imperfect dwells on an event; it is a process having gone on in past time. Customary or habitual imperfect. This can be understood as an habitual or a continuous event in past time.


You begin in a point and everything goes back. There never was a time when the logos did not exist. In eternity past, time was irrelevant. One professor told Bobby he did not like eternity past, because there was no time. Time is irrelevant in eternity. There may be a concept of time passing in eternity, but there is no need or reason to measure it. God was never constrained by time in the past.


His past existence became revelation to man only after His birth. So, even though He always was the Logos, He became the revelation of God to man at the incarnation.


As a present, it would means that the Logos is with God and the Logos is God. The imperfect tense reaches back into eternity past and reveals the Logos as eternal God.


The incarnation is not the only time that He revealed God.


This is a beginning in reference to eternity past. There was a continuous, ongoing state. He has all of the attributes of God and He has always been by essence and by nature God Himself.


What We Learn

1.       The Logos is one with God; the same essence.

2.       It confirms His distinction as a separate Person of the Godhead, but a Person in association with the Father.

3.       This verse confirms the Logos’s specific place in the Godhead. He is the expression or manifestation of God. He explains God to mankind.


There is a grammatical construction that we need to look at, the 3rd phrase, the Word was God. Bobby loves grammar. This grammar tells us something about the Lord Jesus Christ which is critical. You cannot communicate without words.


The Grammar of the Word Was God

1.       The third phrase is a predicate nominative grammatical construction.

2.       Both Word and Logos are both in the nominative case. They are both in the subject case and they are joined by an equative or stative verb.

3.       God comes second in the equation, after the linking verb (in the English).

4.       And Word comes first. Again, in the English. This is very common syntax.

5.       A predicate nominative construction means that the subject and the predicate nominative are one of 2 things. They are exactly equivalent or they are approximately the same.

6.       As equatable, the predicate nominative can indicate an exact equation.

7.       The predicate nominative can be an approximation, not an exact equal.

8.       The predicate nominative does not have to imply complete correspondence with the subject.

9.       The predicate nominative construction has to be approximate and not exactly the same. This is a very potent statement. God is not exactly equal to God.

10.     So the grammatical equative verb is the equals sign. This does not bear the same force as the equals sign in a math equation.

11.     There is not total interchangeability between the subject and predicate nominative. These are approximately equal.

12.     The Word does not totally equal God, although there is certainly a close correspondence.


What Does it All Mean?

1.       There is a larger category or state to which it (the subject) belongs.

2.       The predicate nominative, which is God, describes the category of Persons to which the Logos belongs. The Logos belong to the category God.

3.       But He is a different person from the Godhead, although One in essence.

4.       So the Logos is the Person of Jesus Christ; and Theos is the overall concept of the Godhead. Theos is the larger category.

5.       God is a broader, larger category than the Word.

6.       The Logos is in the category of God. But the Logos also falls within a narrower, more limited scope.


What Is the Limited Scope of the Logos

1.       The Logos is God, but also, in the more limited sense of being the revealer of God.

2.       The Logos is a divine Person Who came into the world to reveal God. Jesus Christ voluntarily gave up the use of His divine attributes. The Kenosis passage is related to this Logos concept.

3.       John in the predicate nominative construction puts the emphasis upon the Logos, Who is God. But in a more narrow sense, He is the One Who came to reveal God.

4.       Further, the term logos does not focus on the revelation itself; or some impersonal revelation.

5.       Jesus Christ is not just an impersonal revelation of God. He is a real Person who is a revelation of God. He is flesh and blood and God. God Who is God and Who is man and Who reveals God.


This verse reveals the complete Deity of Jesus Christ and came to reveal God to man. He is qualified as true humanity to be our Savior.


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


John 1:2 He was with God in the beginning.


Every single thing came into being through the created activity of the pre-existent Logos. What else could be more clear about His Being.


Evolution is pantheism. For evolution, god is the rock, small g, small r. Given enough time, it call came together from an inanimate object, all that we see in front of us is created, supposedly from a rock.


From the smallest thing, we see orderliness. And science has never observed chaos assume order. But evolution says that is what happened. The universe and life is so intricate and so orderly, that it had to be designed. Heb. 1:2 Through Whom, He made the world. And by Him, all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth; visible and invisible, whether thrones, rulers or authorities. Jesus Christ has authority and dominion over all of it as Creator. All things were created by Him and for Him.


What was the division of creative work. God the Father is the designer, the architect. The Son is the intermediate agent. He has the plans and He is executing these plans. In creation, the Logos was still revealing God. In the beginning, before there was a beginning, He still reveals God.


Rom. 1:20 for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes and His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly manifested, being understood by what He has made.


Jesus Christ as Creator-revealer

1.       Creation was designed by the Creator to be a revelation of the existence and power of God. Evolution dismisses God as creator. Whatever caused the rock to become alive, is in exact opposition to this. Creation reveals God.

2.       The Logos is the revelation of God. He is the agent of creation.

3.       So the Logos, as God, reveals God through creation.

4.       Along with being the God-man, Who, in the flesh, reveals God to man, the Logos also reveals God as the agent of creation.

5.       Who better to be the revealer in the flesh than the One Who reveals Him in creation?

6.       Creation is a limited revelation of God to mankind. There are so many things that we cannot understand. But the Logos as humanity is a conclusive word from God about Himself.

7.       Therefore, the Word is the revealer both in creation but more definitively in the incarnation.


Every one of His attributes was necessary for creation.


John 1:3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.


Lesson #0019    The Gospels John 1:1–5 December 19, 2010              Sunday 1

There are 4 great Christological chapters in the New Testament. We never stop knowing and we never stop growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Philip. 2 elaborates on the attitude of humility in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was complete and absolute humility, because He is the God of the Universe and the only perfect man Who has lived. Col. 1 is another great chapter, which is concerned with His status as God and as the Head of the Church and the Reconciler of all mankind. Then there is Heb. 1 which is all about His great majesty. Then John 1, which is our study. This is perhaps the greatest of all passages concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in His Deity. This addresses His preexistence as God and then His appearance on this earth as God in the flesh.


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


The beginning refers to the beginning of creation; not His beginning. He refers back to the Word, which is not some abstract concept, but a Person. He is the preexistent One who kept on being God. He is a communication from God Who is God and He reveals God to mankind, as He is true humanity. The Lord Jesus Christ was in a perpetual state of Deity, from eternity past. There is no beginning of God. How anything could always be, and yet that is the case with God.


This also confirms His distinction as a separate Person of the Godhead. He is separate from the Father, and yet He is with God, face to face with God in eternity past. He has a specific place in the Godhead, the expression or the manifestation of God. He explains God in Word and in deed. He explains the plan of God for mankind, for the church, for eternity, and the each individual.


John 1:2 He was with God in the beginning.


John shows the relationship between the eternal Logos and the creation of the universe. The Logos was present at creation. He was present at creation and He is the Creator. All things come into being by Him. This refers to absolute existence. Every single thing, the entire cosmic eternal universe, came into existence by Him. What statement could be more definitive of His Deity. Only God can create the universe. Man can take existing material and create from that.


God breathes into a person as one emerges from the womb, uniting the soul and human body. Only in the Logos is that human life. He imputed our souls to that human body as we emerge from the womb. Only God has this ability. Heb. 1:2 Col. 1:16 also tell us that Jesus Christ is the Creator. God the Father is the absolute designer; Jesus Christ does the work of creation. This is how 2 persons of the Trinity interact. They are One in essence but 2 in person. This also reveals to us their interaction. Separate in interaction; a division of labor, if you will. Only God can create such a universe. Creation would be a revelation of the existence and unlimited power of God. God the Son reveals God the Father through His creation. If God can create us, do we doubt that God has a purpose for us? This is the same person who goes to the cross for us.


For those who look, creation is a revelation of God. People look at the universe and they get different things from it. Some see it as the power of God and others believe it to be evolving.


John 1:3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.


The Logos is the source of life in the material world. Again, an imperfect active indicative. This is not a simple creation of life; but in His Person, He continues to exist as life. He creates this life in mankind. He can do this because His very essence is life. Life must exist and it must exist absolutely and for eternity in Jesus Christ.


Pantheism and evolution contend that the world was created by nature. Inanimate objects somehow became life, through some force undefinable. Nature creates nature. Nature invented nature. Some Christians believe in theistic evolution, which means that God put everything into motion at creation, and then it evolved. Theistic evolution is an attempt to balance the theory of evolution with creation. It is an attempt to incorporate both of these theories and to make the creation of God more palatable to unbelievers.


But, the text of Genesis refers to literal and not figurative days. All existence depends upon His sustaining power. Heb. 1:3 He upholds all things by the Word of His power. The universe continues because God allows it to continue.


If you are a radical environmentalist and you think that man will destroy this earth because there is too much carbon in the air, you are wrong. God sustains this earth with the word of His power.


Jesus, if He is total existence and if He created the universe, then He can be seen as the light of men. He brings light upon a subject.


John 1:4 Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.


Light in John’s gospel is equated with knowledge of God. Jesus is the incarnate source of that knowledge. Darkness is the absence of knowledge and the absence of revelation.


Adam first brought upon this darkness. Adam was created in the light and he had complete fellowship with God and he lived in the light with God. However, now, thanks to Adam, the world is dark. Darkness is in our souls. Satan is the epitome of darkness; he obscures all light. John 9:5 as long as Jesus is in the world, He is the light of the world.


All forms of humanism is darkness, inspired by Satan. Man cannot comprehehdn God unless the Logos reveal Him.


Jesus Christ, in the manger, or on the cross, or in His resurrection body, He is the Light of the World. Mankind is pleased with himself and he elevates himself in his own eyes. However, with Jesus Christ, we are in darkness.


John 1:5 That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.


Lesson #0020  The Gospels John 1:5, 9–14 December 19, 2010            Sunday 2


We are going to John 1:9


In every way, He illuminates us.


John 1:5 That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome [comprehend] it.


The true light came into the world, enlightening every man. People seek truth and they want to find truth. They go to the ends of the earth and they travel all over. However, in most cases, truth is available to all. Absolute truth is contained in the 4 gospels. The truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The truth of our salvation. The truth which saves us. Men seek truth in everything. But they seek truth in darkness, and they cannot find truth in darkness. Christ came in the flesh so that men might see the revelation of God. Those who were enlightened would come to know God because of the truth light that came into the world. Unfortunately, so many people choose to remain in darkness.


Bobby does not want to put his eternal hope in politics or any hope in what goes on in Washington D.C. The light will dawn as men and women believe in what the Son has revealed. The light of salvation.


John 1:9 The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.


John gives an overview of Jesus Christ in John 1:10–12:


the world was made through Him and the world did not recognize Him. The world was blinded by the great deceiver. All of the schemes and all of the philosophies. Satan designs it so that the light cannot penetrate the soul of man.


Pharaoh of the Exodus is an illustration of negative volition. He saw \God’s great power and turned away from Him.


John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him.


This is why He came in the flesh and what happened. He came to His Own, and His Own people did not receive Him. He created the world and gave life to all mankind; and the very people that He called out and protected and took to their land, those people did not recognize Him. He offers Himself to them as His Messiah, Savior and King; and the light did not penetrate their souls. His Own rejected Him. They would not receive Him. Would you imagine walking into your family, the ones who know you the most, and yet they reject everything about you? They tried to extinguish Him. They ended up crucifying Him; the rjected Him totally. The light can never be extinguished. They could not match His illuminating Person with the light of the Old Testament Scriptures. They saw Him as blasphemous, as an imposter, as worthy of death. And the light, even after the crucifixion, still penetrated their souls. Some times it just takes certain incidents for the light to penetrate.


Most of us can tell how our own souls were illuminated to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you look back on it, there are incidents which bring you to this point.


What about the light of His Word? What about the light of Bible doctrine? What about after salvation? He is that as well. He still illuminates us with His Own mind. That is illumination in this life. Divine viewpoint is the only true illumination in this life.


We all understand what happens when the light goes on. So this analogy to the light is perfect. Personal faith in the Logos. But as many who received Him, He gave them the power to become the sons of God through faith in Him. Each one of these words has great meaning. This is a term used by the Jews. This indicates membership.


John 1:11 He came to His own, and His Own people did not receive Him.


There mere fact of their physical birth; they contended to make them acceptable to God. I am born a son of Abraham, so I am a member of this covenant. This guaranteed an entrance into the Messianic kingdom. God made a covenant with the founder of the Jewish race. They considered themselves to be God’s children through natural descent, through physical birth, through the line of Abraham, they were God’s children. But John teaches here that, it is Jesus Christ Who gives the right to be children of God.


Jesus Christ chose the phrase born again in order to teach faith in Christ. Children of God; John is the gospel of belief. It is not the belief in being a racial Jew; they were a covenant people if they follow Abraham in faith. Abraham believed and it was imputed to him for righteousness. It is his belief in Jesus Christ that saves him.


John is pointing out the human birth does not guarantee entry into the kingdom of God. The new birth requires what Abraham had done; faith in the Logos, in the Light, in Jesus Christ. There are Christians who believe in a generational covenant people, that children are saved because they are saved, and they take this from the Old Testament, seeing themselves as a covenant people. They do not see Jesus Christ for Who He is.


The Jews misunderstood their covenant promises.


John 1:12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,


It is not the desire to want to have children, to procreate, which saves.


John 1:13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.


There is a verb change and a tense change. From the imperfect to the aorist. Became rather than was.


We do not have, In the beginning, the Word became and the Word became with God and the Word became God. That does not work here. But, in v. 14, it works. The change of verb and tense is appropriate.


The aorist indicative of γινομαι.


Γινομαι and the Aotist Tense

1.       This is actually an ingressive aorist. This means, the action signified by the aorist is contemplated in its beginning.

2.       This is a real beginning, with a starting point. This is what all flesh have. Humanity has a starting point in life. His humanity had a starting point.

3.       The ingressive is found with verbs of being, like γινομαιν and ειμι.

4.       Ginomai is a linking verb; it defines a state or a condition.

5.       The ingressive of this verb denotes entrance into the state of existence.

6.       This signifies nothing as to the completion of the action.

7.       There is a timeless element in the aorist. It exists without reference to it existence in time. It has a beginning and it is ongoing. It begins at a point in time and continues for an indefinite period of time. No reference to an endpoint. There is not some point at which this is over. He does not disappear; this relationship or existence does not come to an end. He dwells in heaven right now as the God-man.


There is a point in time at which the Logos begins an existence. Christmas is the day that He becomes flesh. This is when the Light came into the world.


There was an additional to the Deity of Jesus Christ. Nothing was subtracted from Him when He entered the world. This is not mere resemblance to a man; Jesus became man in all respects; true and complete humanity without surrendering one ounce of Deity. He emptied Himself of the independent use of His divine attributes.


He is still omniscient; still omnipresent, and yet He is fully man. Nothing was surrendered or given up.


John 1:14 The Word became [in a point of time] flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Lesson #0021      John 1:14 Ex. 24:16–17 December 22, 2010            Wednesday


Jeaux Noel is a wonderful movie.


Those who were alive at that time walked with Him, talked with Him; for that period that He was on this earth. He was born as any human being was born. He emerged from the womb of His mother and the breath of lives was breathed into Him.


He is the Logos, the revelation of God to man. He became flesh in a point of time; Deity and humanity in One Person. When He was born, there was an addition, not a subtraction. He lost nothing in His deity; but what was added was true humanity; flesh and blood added to undiminished Deity.


Jesus was not just some resemblance of a man, but in fellowship and in relationship, in function, in everything that mankind engages in, facing every temptation that we have undergone, without sin and without making a mistake. He was also complete and absolute grace and truth. Prior to the incarnation; prior to Him becoming flesh, God had revealed the truth to men.


Theophanies are appearances of God in the Old Testament. In those days, men received dreams and visions which are revelations from God. John gave us a vision what will happen in the Church Age up until the eternal state. This was given by way of revelation.


In the appearance of the Logos, revelation is made through a Person, the Unique One, the uniquely-born One. Thousands saw Him in the flesh, and they testified as to Who this Person was.


John is an encapsulated summary of all the Jesus is on this earth. John defines that man as, We beheld His glory, the Glory as the Uniquely-born Son from the Father.


Shekinah glory, which comes from the verb shakan, which means to live among. They saw the glorious presence of God among His creation.


The Shekinah, in the Old Testament, was the visible presence of God. This was not just a metaphor of God’s presence. Shekinah is not a Biblical term, although shakan is. It aptly reflects Who Jesus Christ was at the very beginning to this moment and beyond. Shekinah was a literal Theophany to Israel and before Israel.


God is everywhere, but He also localizes Himself to particular areas to manifest His Word to them. A cloud covered His glory for 6 days. When God called to Moses, He is a personal being calling to Moses, a real person.


Ex. 24:16–17 The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. This is the same manifestation as God in the flesh.


1Kings 8:10–11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.


There was the cloud by day and the pillar by night. This same Person was revealed as the Lord Jesus Christ. His glory was shown forth at another time. Jesus came in the flesh.


Peter, James and John saw His Shekinah glory in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One to manifest Himself. Peter testifies in 2Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.


John said it as well. Manifested in this One Person.


We observed His glory, as the Uniquely-born Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Throughout Old Testament history, we have the manifestation of God. The same glory that dwelt in the Tabernacle in the cloud is the God, the Revealed Member of the Trinity.


Col. 1:27 Christ in you, the confidence of glory. As believers, we can reflect the glory of God. Jesus Christ pioneered the spiritual life by which we live. This concept got Bobby into the PhD program at Trinity.


The center of it all is Jesus Christ in the flesh, here on earth, for 33 years. Jesus Christ could not be ungracious in any of His thoughts and actions. Grace and veracity are reflected in His every action.


If He was not full of grace and truth, then He could not be God. This knowledge of God means that we can have salvation. If we know Who He is, we can be saved. Salvation resided in Him.


John closes His prologue with the uniqueness of the Son.


John 1:14 The Word became [in a point of time] flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


We close this out with John 1:18, which is still true today. He has made Him known [to us]. He is able to accomplish His work because of Who He is. Grace and truth, the glory of God, manifested in One Person.


He came to seek and save that which is lost. Man is lost without the revelation of truth. Christ is the truth because He is the revelation of God. Jesus is the eternal son of the eternal God. He is One with the Father and a distinct Person from the Father. He has created all things. Jesus had a family and He has family problems; lots of them. His family reject Who He was. For 30 years, they mocked Him; they did not accept Him as Messiah until after He was raised from the death.


Because of His relationship with the Father, He can reveal God to man, God Who has never been seen by man. Those who trust Him become the children of God.


There Are 8 Ways to Demonstrate His Deity

1.       The names attributed to Him. The Eternal Logos, the Son of God, Immanuel [God with us], my Lord and my God, Kurios (applied specifically to Him as Lord over all).

2.       What did He say about Himself?

          a.       “Before Abraham was, I am.” Ex. 3:14 God spoke from the bush, saying to Moses, “I am Who I am.” Many believe that Yaweh came from the repetition of I am. This is His eternal exitence. Only the Creator can call Himself I am.

3.       He had the power to forgive sins. This opened up the way to salvation. Sin is no longer an issue. He claimed to be the Savior, the Messiah, John 14:6, which caused them to gnash their teeth. The pharisees were better able to get around the Law than our own Congress. Luke 4:12 there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

4.       His Deity was evidence by His miracles. The centrality of His mission. All things have been created for Him, for His purposes. Luke was a physician, and he could heal various people with various mediccines, but Jesus could heal many. He also raised Lazarus from the dead. What more evidence do we need?


John 1:18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son--the One who is at the Father's side--He has revealed Him.


Lesson #22  Proofs of Deity/Hypostatic Union Philip. 2:5–6 12/23/10        Thursday


We have studied one of the great Christological passages in the entire Bible, John 1:1–18.


We have seen the visible manifestation of God as well as the localized version of Him. He has manifested Himself in various theophanies, and these are God the Son Himself.


We are going to look at Philip 2 and Heb. 1 and Col. 1, which are the 3 other great passages of the theology of the Lord Jesus Christ.


There will be pageants all over the world in the next 2 nights. And sometimes, this is an opening by which to present the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of this is somewhat beside the point. We need to understand Who He is, otherwise seeing a baby in a manger is pretty meaningless. That baby in the manger was Eternal God.


All over the world, there are skeptics of the Christ story, and they hear that the Christ child is supposedly God as well, and that is where they are most skeptical. They reject Him as the God-man. It is easy for a skeptic to admit that Jesus was a very good man and a very unique man and someone Who certainly had an impact on this world and on one of the world’s greatest religions, but God and man in one Person? No way.


It is true of most cults and every false religion in the world reject Jesus as God. The eastern religions do not teach a personal God; He is just a concept and He just becomes what people want Him to be. Islam sees Him as a prophet and they think to coming of the Holy Spirit is all about the coming of the greater prophet, Mohammed. Cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses see Jesus as a facsimile of God, but not the God. What most cults deny is that Jesus is the God of the universe, God Who is omnipresent, and yet localized. A child who must develop into an adult, a child who is helpless, and yet, He is eternal God. There is a good explanation of this in Philip. 2. When His Deity is denied, He is no longer the mediator between God and man. He would have no power to remove the barrier between God and man. He cannot propitiate God concerning man.


There Are Claims and Proofs of Deity

1.       The names applied to Jesus:

          a.       The Logos, Who was with God and Who was God. JW’s torture this verse.

          b.       The Son of God, which denotes His Deity. Skeptics claim that He is only claiming to be a son of God, but not the God. The family illustration is used to explain the difference between God the Father and God the Son.

          c.        Immanuel means God with us.

          d.       Doubting Thomas called him, “My Lord and my God.”

          e.       The title Κύριος.

2.       Jesus claims to be Deity

          a.       John 8:58 “Before Abraham was, I am.” No one has named their child I am. Hayah is I am, in the Hebrew. No beginning and no end; He just is.

          b.       He claimed the power to forgive sins, and only God can do that.

          c.        He claimed power over death.

          d.       He claimed to be the only Savior.

3.       He demonstrated His Deity through His words and services. Certainly the miracles were amazing in themselves. These showed His credentials as the Messiah. There was a reason why He stopped performing miracles to the crowds and only did them before those who believed. He healed the sick and He raised the dead.

4.       Satanic forces recognized Him; they knew Who He was and they recognized His authority over them. He cast out demons and they obeyed him. “Get out” and they did. “I know Who You are; the Holy One of God.” Matt. 8:29 “What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before our time?” The demons know where they are destined to spend eternity. They understood Matt. 25:41, because they were there for this sentencing.

5.       God Himself gave testimony when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptizer. He also gave this testimony at the Mount of Transfiguration.

6.       He possessed divine righteousness; He never did anything wrong. He revealed His omniscience. In John 8:35, He told the pharisees that the Son remains forever. Matt. 28:18. All authority has been given to Me. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, Who is, Who was and Who is to come.” Matt. 18:20 28:20 claiming immutability?

7.       The disciples spent the most time with Jesus. They saw what He did and saw His miracles. Matt. 14:33 those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son.” Peter answered him when Jesus asked him Who He was.

8.       The testimony of the inspired writers of Scripture. Paul calls Him the Lord of Glory, which is the Shekinah Glory. 1Tim. 3:16 Great is the mystery of Godliness, He Who is revealed in the flesh, proclaimed among the nations and taken up in glory.

9.       Jesus was without sin; and yet, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


This barely touches the surface of this.


Jesus is also true humanity. A great theological question argued through the centuries. How did His humanity and Deity both exist in One Person, and not attribute override another or bleed into another. How does it all work together? How can both be present. Great is the mystery Christ in the Hypostatic Union.


The Hypostatic Union

1.       In the Person of Christ are 2 natures, inseparably united, without mixture or loss of separate identity. They do not lose or transfer the properties of either nature. That union is personal and eternal. This took place at the birth of Jesus Christ. Separate identities, but One Person.

2.       The 2 natures of Christ maintain their complete identity.

3.       The attributes of His human and divine nature belong to the corresponding nature, thought the attributes of both natures belong to the One Person of Jesus Christ. These attributes are self contained in each nature. There is no mixture of these attributes to form a 3rd substance. It was God-man, together in One entity and yet separate in One Person. The human nature of Jesus always remained His human nature. During the incarnation, the Lord Jesus Christ veiled the preincarnate glory of His Deity. His humanity veiled this; hidden by His human body. The glory of Christ was veiled but never surrendered. God is infinity; and it cannot be transferred into the finite without a destruction of the infinite. The attributes of humanity cannot bleed into Deity or vice versa. This is what happened to the Nephaliim in Gen. 6. They were demigods, half-man and half-god. This is the story of Victorious Proclamation. They existed in the early time of man. They corrupted the human race. To rob God of a single attribute of His Deity and to replace it with a human attribute destroys Deity; and vice versa. Niether nature would be complete or real without maintaining all of their separate and complete properties in One Person.

4.       Even though His humanity was perfect; the Deity of Jesus Christ was united with humanity. This was God becoming unglorified man. Have you ever been humiliated. He voluntarily took upon the form of the essence of man without abandoning His Deity.


How can God the Son be co-equal and yet subordinate Himself to God? Christ was more than perfect humanity when He arrived on this earth.


Philip. 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,


Morphe means form, which is God and His essence. Jesus never gave up His Deity in that manger? Where did God go in the manger? Nowhere. He never lost His deity. There was an effect; Jesus was subordinate. By the very fact that He was man, He was subordinate to His mission. The humility is obvious; He is a baby, helpless and dependent.


He had to subordinate Himself to the plan of God. He had to submit to the cross, and taking upon Himself the sins of the world. Also, what happened to the Deity of Christ, when He took upon Himself the sins of the world.


God’s plan required Jesus to take upon Himself the form of a slave. This is known as the Doctrine of Kenosis. This was fulfilled on the night He was born.


Jesus did not have to hang onto Deity; He did not grab onto it like a man grabbing for a rope while drowning. He was equal with God, but He came of His Own free will. He took on humanity for us, the greatest of humiliations. He did not grasp His Deity.


Philip. 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,


Lesson #0023   Philip. 2:6–11 The Gospels December 26, 2010             Sunday 1

The problem with Christmas is often one of emphasis. It is the One Who came uniquely for our benefit. It is not about trees, lights or even family gettogethers. Its Immanuel, God with us.


All those things which make us a human being is what Jesus is. There cannot be a single bleed over from one attribute into another. There can be no humanity mixed into the Deity or vice versa. Both natures are present and yet distinct in the One Person Jesus Christ. The amazing and unique fact of our Lord Jesus Christ. God Himself took on humanity in order to fulfill God’s plan for the human race.


Jesus came to mediate between God and man. He came to redeem fallen man from the slave market of sin. Because of His sinless and impeccable humanity, without sin or a sin nature, He could propitiate the wrath of God that we so richly deserve.


The central event of all history. What did it take for all that to happen? How could the 2nd Person of the Trinity condescend to become a man. What happened to the Deity of Jesus Christ in the incarnation?


Philip. 2 tells us about Jesus Christ, the God-man. Authority and subordination are 2 parts of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Jesus humbled Himself; He became a slave, so to speak. He was born a bond-servant for a specific purpose. This is known as the doctrine of Kenosis.


The Greek word μορφη, which refers to the whole set of characteristics that makes something into what it is. Jesus Christ preexisted in the form of the complete essence of God.


Jesus did not have to grasp or hold onto His deity; He would not hinder the plan of God for the 1st advent; He was totally committed to God’s plan. Jesus did this on our behalf. He condescended for us. That is the most amazing love that can be expressed.


The moment in the manger is the absolute grace of God, and He condescended to be man. Swaddling clothes were death clothes, which is the purpose of His coming.


Philip. 2:6 who, though he was [preexisted] in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,


Jesus emptied Himself. The verb is kenoô (κενόω) [pronounced kehn-OH-oh], which means, 1) to empty, make empt only. 1a) of Christ, he laid aside equality with or the form of God; 2) to make void; 2a) deprive of force, render vain, useless, of no effect; 3) to make void; 3b) cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false. Thayer Definition only. Strong’s #2758.


He gave up the independent use of the attributes of Deity. That is the humbling of Jesus Christ in His humanity, and He did so of His Own free will. He did this on the basis of love for us.


Likeness is true humanity. He was not simply like man; Jesus is man.


Philip. 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.


The humiliation that Jesus faced has much greater than anything that we can imagine; and then it was even greater to the nth degree on the cross. Jesus deserved none of it.


Philip. 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Jesus provides unlimited atonement; so that we can all be saved.


Philip. 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,


Angels will bow to Jesus Christ. Those under the earth will bow as well. In a future time, all creatures will bow in acknowledgment of Who Jesus is.


Philip. 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,


Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. This is the relationship between eternal God the Father and God the Son. God the Son took on true humanity combined with Deity, inseparably united, but without mixture of the elements of either nature. This is what Christmas is all about, the coming of Jesus Christ, the God-man; and He came destined to die for us. None of us were born with the mission to die. However, that was the mission of Jesus Christ.


Philip. 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Lesson #0024      Gen. 3:15 The Gospels December 26, 2010                Sunday 2


Who was this Paul, who wrote these things 30 or so years later? How do we know that the Messiah is all of these things that Paul said? The Old Testament forecasts and tells us everything. It was almost all there, although not in the detail that we find in Paul’s writings. Jesus was well-known in the Old Testament and there is a great continuity between both Old and New Testaments. The central element is Jesus Christ, the Messiah of God.


Χριστος is the title for Jesus Christ, which means Messiah. It means the Anointed One. After His appearance, we used this name. However, from the very beginning, Christianity existed. We knew the Messiah would come, we knew where He would be born, and we knew what He would do. We only needed His name, Jesus.


The atonement, the theology of the cross, that He was a bond-servant was there; the continuity was all there. 700 years before He came, they wrote of Him. There are many groupings of these prophecies of the Savior. Words about Him are throughout the Old Testament. Every book in the Old Testament prophesied Jesus Christ, whether a clear delineation, or by analogy or by type. Everything that would happen to Jesus from birth to death would be found in the New Testament.


The pharisees and the sadducees in the time of Jesus were experts in the Old Testament; so they are without excuse. Everyone could look to the Messiah and believe in Him. They looked forward to Him; and we look back.


God pronounces the curse, a curse on the earth, upon Adam, upon Satan, and upon the woman. Everything and everyone involved in the curse was judged.


Gen. 3:15 [God is speaking to the serpent]: “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."


One act of disobedience and the man and the woman fell. The man and the woman acquired at the time spiritual death. They acquired a sin nature at that moment; total depravity and incapable of reaching God with any personal merit.


God did not leave Adam and the woman (or us) without a promise. God provided us hope of salvation. This verse is the first announcement and it regains what mankind had lost in the fall. From the very beginning, there was a Savior. Jesus is the Seed of the Woman. There would be enmity between the 2 seeds, between the Seed of the Woman and the seed of Satan. The enmity between these 2 seeds, which means this is the Angelic Conflict. The enmity between God and Satan is extended into the human race and the Angelic Conflict.


Man and the woman recreated the fall of Satan in their fall.


Bobby is currently working on the Angelic Conflict book. This was all a part of the resolution of the Angelic Conflict. Satan made an argument to God, “I know you are a God of justice and love; but how can You place your own creation into a Lake of Fire? How is that love?”


The greatest love of all is the Seed of the Woman. We are the spawn of Adam and the woman who fell; and they made one decision which took us to the fall. Satan develops human good and evil, masquerading as an angel of light.


The antagonism is so deep, that it can only end in eternal judgment. What does all of this mean?


What Is the Seed of the Woman? What Was God Promising?

1.       The woman’s seed refers to her offspring, her spawn, her lineage; that which issues from her.

2.       Her seed is the conception and birth of a child.

3.       This is the promise of a human seed that is diametrically and absolutely opposed to Satan’s seed.

4.       This promise is echoed in Gal. 4:4 but when the fullness of time came when our Lord was born in this world, God sent forth His Son born of a woman.

5.       So in Gen. 3:15, the offspring of the woman presents God’s gracious plan of salvation centered in a child. Women are not saved through bearing children.

6.       The virgin-born One, the uniquely born one, the child of promise is the seed of the woman. This is the Messiah.

7.       This promise of a divine Savior as the seed of the woman, who is God and man as we know, is revealed in Isa. 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Written 700 years before Messiah came. Immanuel = God with us. He became flesh and lived among us. Isaiah is an elaboration of the Seed of the Woman. Children have not yet developed antagonisms at birth. No one has enmity with a newly-born child. We are all born with enmity between us and God. A little infant is not innocent before God. Jesus Christ was born into the world with enmity between Himself and the seed of Satan. This is a complicated baby. The Seed of the Woman; what happened to the seed of a man? Jesus is born of a virgin, born without sin. 1Cor. 15:22a as in Adam, all die.


All mankind has been the seed of Adam. There has never been a person born into the world without a father, except for one. The man passes along the sin nature. Adam cannot be involved in the procreation.


In Adam, All Die

1.        In Adam, all die. We are all born with a sin nature, because we all have fathers, and we are born dead.

2.       Adam, as the representative head of the human race, the one designated from the very beginning is the one who passed through the sin nature to his offspring.

3.       Therefore, every person entering the world by natural generation, man and woman, all possess a sin nature and falls under condemnation because we are all seeds of the man and hee woman.

4.       Therefore, the need of a virgin pregnancy; a virgin-born Savior to circumvent the seed of man.

5.       Without the virgin pregnancy, the Lord Jesus Christ would have been tainted by the old sin nature.

6.       He would not have been sinless or without a sin nature or acceptable to God as our substitute had it not just been the seed of the woman. It was not a sexual insemination but a supernatural one.


Gen. 3:15 [God is speaking to the serpent]: “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."


Gen. 3:15 does not simply stop here. This covers the inception of the Messiah and the events surrounding the cross, the first advent. Messiah his here and Satan’s doom is sealed.


Lesson #25    Gen. 3:15 Isa. 4:2 Zech. 6:12 The Gospels 12/29/10      Wednesday


Christianity has been used for a short time in human history. However, Christianity did not begin with the birth of Christ. That is where the name came from.


The Old Testament reveals His birth, life, death and resurrection; and His 2nd advent as well. Those who were alive at the time of Christ, should have recognized Him. Our religion did not just start 2000 years ago. He is from the beginning of human history. There is no other God, there is no other Savior.


The Old Testament wastes no time in revealing Jesus Christ. We do not know how long the man and the woman were in the garden before the woman was enticed to take a bite of the fruit. God pronounced a curse on the man and the woman and the serpent; and in v. 15, God declared an eternal hostility between the seed of the serpent and the Seed of the Woman. This is the proto-evangel, the first time Jesus is spoken of. The curses all make sense, and then you come across the Seed of the Woman and the bruising of the heel and the head, and that would seem obscure. God’s grace came shining through, even though He had to condemn.


The Seed of the Woman is the hope of mankind. The Seed is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Seed is then referred to as He, and this short verse has the curse of the man and the woman, and on Satan, and then the Savior and the solution, and what would happen. Satan’s sin is unbelief and rebellion. His seed is the proliferation of the cosmic system. The lineage is the cosmic system. Satan’s seed is absolute antagonism toward the Seed of the Woman. The Seed of the Woman is her lineage, her reproduction. This is an agrarian reference. This is specifically a male offspring, as being diametrically opposed to the seed of the serpent. This Seed is the One born just at the right time in human history. God’s plan of salvation which will defeat Satan’s seed of sin and death.


This passage does not simply stop here. It continues. The Seed of the Woman would bruise Satan’s head (the head of the serpent in this case); and this is the way you deal with a snake. This is the only way you kill a snake. Just as a man might strike a serpent’s head, so our Lord will strike the blow that will defeat Satan. Satan understands this.


Where does the crushing of the head begin? At the cross, which is the strategic victory over Satan. Jesus will return at the 2nd Advent and incarcerate Satan. At the end of the Millennium, Jesus will throw Satan into the Lake of Fire. This is a picture of the 1st and 2nd advents. The 1st advent is the biting of the heel.


Normally, the bite of a snake is painful, but not necessarily deadly. That is the picture here. It is a wound to Christ, but not a fatal wound.


What Does it Mean to Bruise Him on the Heel?

1.       This represents Christ who is bitten on the heel.

2.       The serpent originally struck at God through the man and the woman in the garden. That was the first strike.

3.       Now, he strikes again, and this time, at the God-man on the cross.

4.       This bruising is the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. This is not fatal to the plan of God.

5.       This bruising is where Christ redeems man from sin and death. He was bruised for our iniquities.

6.       This bruising becomes the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict.

7.       The crushing of Satan’s head is the total victory of the Angelic Conflict.


This is the opening prophecy at the very beginning of our great great great grandparents.


Gen. 3:15 [God is speaking to the serpent]: “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."


A lot of these prophecies are about seeds. The Messiah is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3). He will be the universal blessing to the nations. Abraham was the beginning of the line of Israel. A point that Christ is the fulfillment of this covenant. This will be fulfilled in His death and resurrection and secondly through His Millennial reign.


The Seed of David

1.       The Messiah will establish the throne of the house of David forever. King of Kings and

2.       Solomon was in the line of David and in the line of Christ. Wealthy and wise and he becomes a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.       The Seed of David is the God-man ruling as the king forever.


These titles indicate such. Deut. 18:15 He would be a prophet like Moses.


Moses as a Type of Christ.

1.       Moses was the authority over the generation of Israel and when he spoke, he spoke for God. Moses spoke to the people for God. Messiah would speak with demonstrated authority.

2.       As a prophet, Moses was a revealer. This is why John picked up the title, ho logos as the revealer of God.

3.       The Messiah was also a priest.


Messiah as a Priest

1.       The priests were descended from Aaron and they tended the tabernacle and they taught doctrine. They made intercession for the people. Jesus Christ made intercession for all of us.

2.       Jesus was not of Aaronic descent.

3.       Jesus was of the priesthood of Melkizedek.

4.       His priesthood was unique. Melchizedek. In Gen. 14 Melchizedek

5.       He was a priest forever, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days or end of life, but abides as a priest perpetually. Melchizedek is a manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was appointed a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek.

6.       Jesus is also symbolized by animal types, the first being a lion, as a lion in the tribe of Judah. From this line came the kings. As the Lion-King, He would crush the enemies of Israel.

7.       Jesus was also a lamb led to the slaughter. Isa. 53:7 He portrays substitution and sacrifice. There was a herd of lambs kept just to be slaughtered. It is possible that the shepherds who showed up were shepherds over that specific flock. They went to see the True Lamb of God.


Jesus is also called a Branch, because a branch speaks of an offshoot of something. Branch of the Lord in Isa. 4:2. This is the future revelation of the Lord on earth, as the King of Kings. The reign of Christ as King of Creation. Perfect environment as well. All sorts of fruit and food provided without any work. This will be like in the Garden.


Isa 4:2 In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.


He is called the Branch of David in Isa. 11:1. He would be an offshoot of the royal stock of David. He is also called the root of the stock of Jesse. He would reign as king in perfect righteousness forever.


Zech. 3:8 He is a branch and a servant. He is the man whose name is the Branch. Zech. 6:12


Zec 6:12 And say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.


There were 3 temples, Solomon’s, Ezra’s and Herod’s. A 4th Temple will be built by the Branch. This will be the future Temple of the Messianic worship. This will revive Israel’s worship. There was this great spiritual awakening under Ezra.


As the Branch, He will sit and rule as a priest. Zech. 6:13 Heb. 3:1 these are the same two offices attributed the Melchizedek. Melchizedek is a king and priest as well.


Finally there are specific Old Testament predictions of the Messiah. Isa. 7:14 born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and Mighty God Himself.


He is empowered by God the Holy Spirit and works miracles in Isa. 11:2. He was cut off and rejected by men. Isa. 53 dan. 9:27 He will come in glory and destroy his enemies. Isa. 4 11 32 63 He will occupy the throne of David forever.


Types of Christ, which illustrate Jesus Christ, and some of the great characters of the Old Testament are completely and totally related to Jesus Christ.


Lesson #0001                  Exodus 14 December 31, 2010                                Friday


Communion New Year’s Eve 2010

 

Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord continually before me; for, if He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. This is quoted in Acts 2. David saw the Messiah in this statement of confidence in one of the darkest hours of his life.

 

Having the Father in His sight, Jesus was able to face Cavalry.

 

David is presented in 3 ways in the New Testament. (1) David is related the Messiah, called the Son of David. Rev. 22:16 (2) David is know for the covenant which is quoted in part in the New Testament. (3) David as a prophet, the Scripture must be fulfilled according to the mouth of David. Although living 1000 years before Messiah, David had a clear picture of the Messiah to come.

 

Often these things came about during David’s dark moments. David revealed something about the early life of his Descendant. Psalm 69 revealed the home life of the Lord. We have Jesus as an infant, then as a 12 year old, and then 30 years old waiting to be baptized.

 

What about those 18 years? What was He like as a boy of 7 or 16 or 18? We are not totally left in the dark. He would be seen as being berated by his younger brothers. What David had to say about his brothers also occurred with Jesus.

 

Psalm 69:1 To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David. Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.

Psalm 69:2–4 I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore?

 

Psalm 69:5–9 O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons. For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

 

David was mocked by his brothers and rejected by them; and it was likely the same was true of Jesus Christ. His homelife would have been a lonely one. They ridiculed Him as odd, strange and weird. Those of His Own town responded with indifference.

 

Psalm 69:10–12 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.

 

He still lived in unbroken fellowship with the Father.

 

Psalm 69:13–15 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.

 

Psalm 69:16–20 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you. Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.

 

This moves to the cross, where the Messiah is given vinegar to drink when on the cross.

 

Psalm 69:21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

 

Psalm 69:22–36 Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them. May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded. Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous. But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high! I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah, and people shall dwell there and possess it; the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

 

Psalm 27:1–14 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek." Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

 

Psalm 22 gives us the most intimate psalm of His death.

 

Psalm 22:1 To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

 

Psalm 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!

 

Psa 22:14–19 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet-- I can count all my bones-- they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

 

David spoke of Jesus having his hands and feet pierced, 1000 years in advance. And then, the Jews stoned those they considered criminals. But David did not speak of that.

 

Resurrection from the grave belongs just as much to the Old Testament as to the New. You will not leave my soul in Sheol.

 

Psalm 110:1–7 A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth. He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

 

May God grant that we continue to have a vision of Jesus Christ and not lose sight of that vision over the next year.

 

Not sure if this is a continuation of Bobby’s study....


Ex. 14:13–14 And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."


The commands in vv. 15–16 seem paradoxical; stand fast, move out. The Egyptians were an instrument of that intention. The first command is for them to stand by; Moses spoke for God, and told them not to do anything. It is a simple command, and it is a very difficult command to obey. People do not tend to want to sit around. They are not used to doing nothing. That goes against our deepest impulses. Against all of their instincts, Moses tells them to stand by in order to watch the deliverance of the Lord. Moses is asking them to stand by and to wonder, what will God do to deliver us? This requires knowledge of doctrine. In effect, Moses is saying to those people, God’s promise to Abraham is real, and you as heirs, have the same promises made to you. What God promised to Abraham is God’s Word. Does God have a future for these people? Will this nation end in annihilation, which is what Egypt wanted. If that was God’s plan, then they should beg for mercy from Egypt and ask for slavery.


Are we making the same sort of deal? Better to depend upon a government than to depend upon God?


Ex. 14:15–16 The LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.


These Jews could only see the immediately problem, and most of them would have settled for a vague deliverance, which would have been death for most of them, and great suffering for those who were allowed to live.


We need to wait upon the Lord to deal with our problems and our antagonists.


Several times, these Jews will look back romantically to this life they once lived, as slaves, which they saw as okay.


We get in a jam and we often look for someone to blame. What is worse is, Israel is actually blaming God, for Whom Moses is speaking. There is concern by the Jews, because they do not see God and Moses doing what they expect them to do.


Ex. 14:11 They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."


Jeremiah “Cursed is the man who trusts in man.”


How many times do you need to fail before you realize that you are just banging your head against a wall? Believers are standing by for national rescue from politicians or they are going forward desiring revolution.


Moses tells Israel, stand by, and watch the deliverance of the Lord. We have peace in our souls with Bible doctrine.


We tend to rationalize our own idiocy. “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert-wilderness.” These Jews fell apart and they came to exactly the wrong conclusions. They had no doctrine. They did not have the wherewithal to make good decisions. They have no faith in the Abrahamic covenant. They want to return to Egypt to the good old days when they were secure and enslaved. They were willing to trade out for a tenuous sort of security in Egypt.


Our country is declining economically, morally, militarily, and our leaders are not like Moses. They have nothing to offer us but human solutions, lies and the misuse of power.


It is tempting to become cynical about our destiny. Chalk it all up to the fifth cycle of discipline. This would be failing to see the rescue of a client nation. This is a test which we need to pass. That is the focus of stand by.


Moses does not share his own woes. He does not complain. There are no human solutions that Moses suggests. God’s Word is the only thing which matters. If we are not interested in the Word of God, we will continue to make the same mistakes year after year. You do not change because you do not know the Word of God.


The faith must have a better basis than human imagination. It has to be greater than religious activity.


King Saul, David’s predecessor, showed us this weird hope when he called upon the witch of Endor. He should have depended upon the Lord and not go to this necromancer. The seance turned out to be real, and this incident cost Saul his life.


At the crisis of the Red Sea, the Jews did not need to worry about how they would cross over this sea. Faith becomes confidence in the Word of God; not just some nebulous hope that we hang our hats upon.


Heb. 11:29 they did pass through the Red Sea as if passing through dry ground. The Egyptians were drowned.


As a believer, we have a destiny, and we know this through God’s Word.


The other command is to advance. They were told to go forward, even though there as nothing indicating what God would do. We walk by faith and not by sight. Heb. 11:1 Faith is the assurance of God’s promise.


This was a test of faith and destiny for these people. The problem of too much sea and too many enemies was designed for them to use faith. God commanded this people to do the impossible. Waiting and then acting were bound up in the grace and benevolence of God.


Both of these commands, to stand still and to move forward merge in the life of the believer.


Matt. 19:26 with God, all things are possible. Moses could say to them, “The Egyptians you see today, you will never see again forever.” Moses told them to be quiet and to watch what would happen.


In the historical crossing of Israel through the Red Sea, what does it mean for us to go froward and how do we go forward. It is a daily endeavor to continue the momentum. This is all God’s doing; not ours. We stand by utilzing the faith rest drill. Israel had a destiny and it still does. It was a client nation dedicated to evangelism and the preservation of God’s Word. That was the promise and the commanded of the Abrahamic covenant.


So many Christians lack a personal sense of destiny. They refuse to go forward by being consistent by taking in Bible doctrine and using our spiritual gifts.


These 2 commands meld into one command in the spiritual life.


Heb. 11:33–34 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.


Bobby’s prediction applying this passage to the situation around us. We are replacing self-reliance with reliance upon the government; the Americand ream is dying. Security has become much more important to people than freedom. Our culture is udner attack by multi-culturalism. Many believers are putting their faith in a whole new batch of politicians.


God does work through people, even though politicians. But we do not place our faith in them. Sometimes leadership restores a nation. Reliance on God’s Word and faith rest and a personal sense of destiny and executing the spiritual life and serving Him.


We are Israel at the Red Sea. The Egyptians are to our front and our backs are to the Sea. This nation will see better days, but it will require following these 2 commands. God always honors that.


Lesson #0026     Typology The Life of Christ January 2, 2011               Sunday 1

Few people are known prior to their birth; and Jesus was well-known prior to His birth; the Lion of the Tribe of David, the Root of Jesse, the Branch, the Messiah, etc. He was never known by His given name, which is Jesus.


There was the Hebrew name Joshua, which is equivalent to Jesus in the Greek. His Person and His work were revealed in the Old Testament. He is the confidence of our future.


The Old Testament is filled with types of Jesus Christ. This is the science of typology. A type is an Old Testament illustration or an analogy which has a place in Biblical history or also is divinely appointed to foreshadow some New Testament truth about Jesus Christ. A type is an illustration of something in the future.


Melchizedek is a type of Christ. He came out of nowhere, the King of Salem, and he approached Abraham, and Abraham went to his knees in front of Melchizedek. Abraham recognized that he was a type of Christ.


The types in the Old Testament are real historical figures. The Old Testament illustrates that which is found in the New.


We have to be careful not to strain the analogy or to pull a type of Christ out of a hat. This can lead to great distortions. Finding types of Christ under every rock just glorifies human imagination. All sorts of figurative meanings can be suggested from questionable analogies. We need to know what the Word of God means literally, because the Word of God has one literal meaning. A type may only have a few salient points in common with our Lord.


What types are contain in the Old Testament?


Adam is a type of Christ. He is a reall, historical figure, and he foreshadows a New Testament truth about Christ. The New Testament connects Christ with the type. The New Testament connects them, which is necessary. Christ was born.


Adam as a Type of Christ

1.       In Adam, all die; in Christ, all will be made alive.

2.       Adam and Christ are both heads of a race. They are our common ancestor.

3.       Adam brought the fall upon us; and Christ is the head of a new species; a regenerate race.


There is a strong suggestion of a type in Eve’s relationship to Adam. Christ is prophesied as the Savior, as the Seed of the Woman. A type of the church can be found in Eve and Adam. Eph. 5:31–32 what Adam lost in the rib was replaced by the woman. Eve was out of Adam, and so the church is out of Christ, as we are members of His body. Even was Adam’s bride. God instituted the institution of marriage and therefore, it is a divine institution. So, even before they fell, Adam and the woman are a type.


Gen. 4 Heb. 12:24 Abel was a type of Christ; he was a shepherd. The Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep. Abel dying was a foreshadowing of Christ to come. The blood of Abel is named in the New Testament. The area of analogy is the blood offering. His blood cried out for revenge; and the blood of Christ speaks of redemption. Abel, before his death, presented an acceptable offering to God. Gen. 4:4 Heb. 11:4 Christ is an acceptable offering, representing propitiation for us.


The Old Testament believers could understand this stuff; they knew that Jesus was coming to them.


Enoch is another type of Christ. Or, he is being brought up to teach us about us. Enoch and he was not, for God took him. Enoch did not die like other man. We will all taste death, unless the rapture comes. All of us will understand what every other human being has faced. We often fear it. Enoch was taken directly to heaven by God.


We might as well get with the plan of God, because if we do not, God is going to kick our butts until we do. When it is all over, we will reside in heaven. We don’t need to know all of this stuff in advance. We just have to enjoy the ride and God will shake these things out for us. That is our future without equivocation.


Abraham is a type of God the Father in offering his son Isaac Gen. 22 Rom. 8:32. God told Abraham to take his son to a place he would be shown, and kill him. He was to be tied to an altar and cut his throat. He was told to sacrifice his son, and he did not complain, he did not refuse. He did not say, “This is the son your promised me.” He went ahead and did exactly what God told him to do. It was infinitely worse for God to offer up His Son. This is great love that we cannot comprehend.


Isaac, who is a type of Christ, willingly submitted to this. He was a strong young man and Abraham was a weak older man. Christ similarly submitted to the will of the Father and went to the cross. He carried the cross to be sacrificed upon; and Isaac carried the wood upon which he would be sacrificed. However, God did not let Abraham sacrifice his son. God stops the sacrifice. Then Abraham finds a bride for his son, but as Jesus will be given the church as a bride. The woman was brought and she heard about who he was, and she willingly consented to marry Isaac. After Christ’s sacrifice and His resurrection, Abraham’s servant was a type of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would accompany the church until she arrives at the house of the Father. Jesus Christ would receive His bride at the rapture.


1Cor. 15:45 So also it stands written, the first man, Adam, became a living soul; and the Last Adam became a life-giving spirit.


Lesson #0027     Typology The Life of Christ January 2, 2011               Sunday 2


We began with the first and last Adam. Adam fell and Christ redeemed us from this fall. Then there was Abel who was killed, a blood sacrifice, a blood offering for us. Then there was Enoch who represents all of us, who will be raised up in the last days, particularly those who will be raptured. Abraham is a wonderful type of Christ in several ways. He was to sacrifice his own child. He was stopped by God, but this illustrated what God the Father had to do to sacrifice His Son for us.


Isaac is also a type of Christ, and there are several areas of resemblance, his birth, his offering and his bride.


Remember that Isaac was the subject of repeated promises to Abraham, and at the age of 75 years, God promised Abraham that he would become a father. For the next quarter of a century, this became even a running joke. Then, when Abraham was 99, he sired Isaac, which was miraculous. Isaac was the subject of that promise, as was the Messiah to Israel. Through the centuries, over and over, following all the way through to Malachi, to 400 b.c. Isaac would be the 2nd patriarch, beginning the proliferation of the Jewish race.


Abraham’s son through his wife’s slave woman would sire a group antagonistic to the Jews. Isaac was miraculous; his birth was miraculous; it should never have happened. Our Lord was born contrary to nature as well, the virgin pregnancy. We can almost conjure a 99 year old fathering a child; but with no father, that is really contrary to nature.


Christ is the uniquely-born Son. If Israel could not get it from their own patriarch, how could they get it?


Joseph was another type of Jesus, who is one of the greatest types of Jesus. He was the most beloved of his father, Jacob, just as God the Son is the most beloved of His Father. No sins are recorded for Joseph, except for Daniel. Sampson, David, Moses all have sins named. No sins of Joseph are revealed. Joseph suffered greatly during his lifetime, hated by his brothers, John 15:24–26 there was obvious favoritism. Joseph was the youngest and his brothers sold him as a slave. He was rejected of men. Jesus was hated and misunderstood by his own family. Jesus’ Own family hated and made fun of Him. Matt. 13:55–56 Luke or John passage? Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver. He was taken off to Egypt. Jesus was also taken off to Israel. Jesus was sold by Judas, a disciple, for 30 pieces of silver. Joseph was false accused and unjustly condemned to prison; and Jesus was falsely accused and destined for the cross.


Joseph was put into the hands of Potipher, and his wife tried to seduce him; he refused, so she got made, screamed rape, and Joseph ended up in jail. Christ was innocent and unjustly condemned (Isaiah and Matthew).


Joseph decided that he had enough of prison, and Joseph told someone to put in a good word for him, and it did not work, and Joseph spent more time in jail. He was let out in God’s Own time. All of these are parallels. In the end, Joseph was freed from prison and glorified by God. Eph. 1:21–22 Philip. 2:9


Then we come to Moses, one of the great heroes of the Old Testament. 40 years of dealing with the worst bunch of people that you could imagine.


Moses as a Type of Christ

1.       Moses was born of lowly parents during Israel’s bondage to Egypt; and he was delivered from danger in a remarkable way in Egypt. Moses was put into a reed basket and put into the river. Ex. 1

2.       Jesus Christ was born a carpenter’s son, when Israel was under bondage to Rome, and He was delivered from Herod the Great and taken to Egypt. His parents took Him to Egypt.

3.       Moses gave up his royal privilege in the court of pharaoh to deliver Israel. Moses chose not to go with pharaoh.

4.       Jesus gave up His royal privilege as King of Kings to deliver man from sin. Heb. 11:24–26

5.       Moses was rejected by his brothers the Jews, the first time he tried to deliver them. Ex. 2:15 and he ended up in the wilderness for 40 years.

6.       Jesus was rejected by Israel in the 1st advent. John 1:10–11

7.       Moses took a gentile bride when in the desert. She disappears in the exodus.

8.       Christ returns to heaven at the ascension and He takes a bride, the church. The church is made up of gentiles and Jews. This is taking a brdie outside of Israel.

9.       Moses was welcomed by Israel upon his return to Egypt. Ex. 4:19–21

10.     Christ will be welcomed at His return in the 2nd advent.

11.     Moses position in Israel will be analogous to Christ. They are both priests and both prophets.


Moses’ brother Aaron was also a type. His line was the priestly line, the tribe of Levi. He made sacrifices before God. Num. 15:46–47 he made sacrifice on behalf of Israel. Jesus is our High Priest.


Joshua is also a type of Christ. The Jews had a wonderful look upon the Messiah from very early on. It was all found in the Old Testament. This is their gospel; it is all found in these types.


Joshua’s name is Jesus in the Old Testament. He was the successor to Moses and the leader of the Jews. He led the 2nd generation after the first all dired out. He conquered the peoples who were in the Land of Promise. He settled the tribes of Israel in their various places. This foreshadows what our Lord will do. Heb. 4:8ff


Maybe someday we will do a study of Joshua.


Matt. 12:42 2Sam. 12;14 Solomon was a type of Christ. He was a man of great wisdom. Christ also presented great wisdom in his ministry. Solomon had great wealth, as did the Lord. Jesus is the heir to all things. Solomon ruled over the greatest piece of land that Israel ever had. Psalm 72. Solomon’s reign was peaceful, which is one of the few times. All of the rest of the time, there was war and turmoil going on. David was the warrior king; Solomon was the king of peace. This refers to Jesus and His Millennial kingdom. Solomon’s reign was the most glorious of history. Solomon had the money and the ideas of what to do with it. The reign of Jesus Christ will be the greatest reign in history. Jesus will build the Temple in the Millennium.


Solomon is the reign, foreshadowing the greatest King of Israel.


Jonah is another type of Christ. God send Jonah to Nineveh, and Jonah went in the opposite direction. God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah to keep him underwater for 3 days and 3 nights. There was absolute darkness. Jesus was 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb. Jonah was brought back to the living and then he went to the Gentiles.


The Tabernacle and the Temple, are both types of Christ. All that they could see in these 2, that the only approach to God is via a blood sacrifice. That is what the sacrifices were all about. Levitical offerings ties the sacrifices to Jesus and His sacrifice.


The building itself and its precise construction is all about Jesus, as is the Ark of the Covenant.


Everyone of these Old Testament types were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. These religious types knew this stuff backwards and forwards, and they rejected Jesus Christ.


Israel as a whole rejected Him. The cross must come before the crown. The very ones who should have recognized Jesus were the ones who crucified Him.


All of the Old Testament points to the center of human history, and to the greatest event of man’s history, the 1st advent and the crucifixion. Then the 2nd advent is also found in the Old Testament as well. Armageddon and all of it is found in the Old Testament. How many passages does it take to convince you? There are hundreds and hundreds of Old Testament which say Jesus Christ.


Lesson #28       Matt 1:1 Luke 1:1–4 3 The Life of Christ 1/5/11         Wednesday


Matt. 1 and Luke 3 contain the genealogies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why would anyone want to trace out a genealogy in the Word of God? The gospel is about a person, and everyone has a genealogy. This genealogies are all about the Lord’s roots. Matthew and Luke contain human genealogies to show the human origins and the kingly line of Jesus Christ.


Most churches teach very little about Jesus Christ; it is sketchy. Some miracles perhaps and rarely parables because they are too hard. Some have never heard about the life of Christ in depth.


It is time for us to fill in this gap, including these well-researched genealogies. These genealogies set up these gospels.


Matt. 1:1 begins with a very human lineage.


Luke 1:1–4 Since many took in hand to draw up an account concerning the matters which have been borne out among us, even as those who from the beginning delivered to us, becoming eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, it seemed good to me also, following all things accurately from the very first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus, so that you might know the certainty of those things in which you have been instructed.


Luke’s gospel is a consecutive order gospel, written a.d. 62–69. Matthew and Mark were written before Luke and those gospels had been circulated about. There may have been some teaching which simply went astray, so Luke wrote a more precise history (not Matthew and Mark; but others).


Matt 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.


We enter the world separated from God. We come out crying and we ought to, being spiritually dead. Jesus is the last Adam.


Matthew’s lineage is the Jewish line or Jewish family record.


Matthew begins to establish that Jesus is clearly a Jew, so Matthew presents Jesus as the son of David and the son of Abraham. He teaches the royal Hebrew origins of Jesus Christ, Who is a royal king by birth.


Matt 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.


The baby Jesus in the manger came into very humble circumstances, but Jesus is Jewish royalty. He is heir to the throne of Israel. The 2 men in his line are David and Abraham. God made eternal, unconditional covenants with Abraham and David.


Covenants with God Made with Abraham and David

1.       Suzerain-vassal treaties made between God and Abraham.

2.       The covenant determined the course of Israel.

3.       God promised Abraham a land that would be possessed by his physical descendants. That is still an irritant in the Middle East today. This is the problem even to this day. This controversy will never be solved. This is a problem of divine proportions.

4.       God would send One to bless the nation Israel, which is the promised Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Seed of Abraham. He is the heir to the covenant promises as the descendant promises. Every regenerate Jew is an heir to these promises.

5.       2Sam. 7 is where God gave a covenant to David as well. David’s house, kingdom and throne would be established forever. One of David’s sons would sit on the throne and rule forever.


Jesus in a long line of descent is heir to the throne of David and a possible candidate for the Eternal King of Israel.


Matthew’s Genealogy

1.       Jesus arrives on this earth under a covenant, just as all Jews were. So He is a Hebrew.

2.       Matthew called attention to the fact the Jesus Christ would fulfill a covenant that God has made with Jesus’ forefathers and to bless Israel.

3.       Matthew called attention to the fact that Jesus Christ would inherit the throne of David.

4.       Matthew traces the genealogy all the way to Joseph, even though he is not the biological father of Jesus.


Why Is this Significant?

1.       The carpenter’s son was the heir to the throne of Israel. They were certainly not of royal linage.

2.       Jesus was King of the Jews, as they would mockingly place over the cross.

3.       From a lowly beginning is born the fulfillment of David’s promise.

4.       Why a lowly beginning? Jesus is a common man in touch with royalty. A complaint about Prince Charles is, he is just not in touch; he is aloof.

5.       Jesus was unique, without a physical human father. Therefore, he is without a sin nature.

6.       There is another reason why Joseph is named here. He was Joseph’s adopted firstborn. This is quite important in Jewish culture and it made Him the heir in His father’s house. Joseph was in the royal line of David. That is why He is in the genealogy.


Matthew traces this genealogy through 3 sets of 14 verses, so he is getting symetricity but not completeness.


Matthew’s Genalogy

1.       Abraham to David 14 generations noted. Solomon to the Babylonian captivity in 14 generations. From the Babylonian captivity down to Jesus. There are obvious gaps in these genealogies. The 4 descendants and no one was more corrupt than Ahab and Jezebel, who brought in Baal worship. So there are miossing descendants of Ahab. These are descendants, and not direct sons in every case. So this is not a full rendering of every person in the line of Jesus Christ. There are enough named here in order to make it clear that Jesus is in the line of Abraham and David. So he is the legal son of Joseph. There is a reason for this.

2.       If Joseph is only the legal father, then Jesus is not the physical genetic son of Joseph. That is the point here. The virgin birth was necessary in order to fulfill the prophecies. Matthew knows this and Matthew makes a point.

3.       In the eyes of Jewish law, Jesus is the firstborn of his mother and his father by adoption. As the firstborn, Jesus is Joseph’s legal heir.

4.       The eldest was in the proper line of succession.

5.       So Jesus legally, not biologically, was descended from Joseph and in the royal line of succession as the genealogy shows.

6.       As the legal son of Joseph only, Jesus is protecting the Isaiah prophecy. He is the adopted firstborn.


Matthew presented Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Adam, the Son of Man and later the Son of God.


Mark’s gospel is abbreviated, the shortest of the gospels and he skips the entire line. Mark’s first verse covers all of it, going right to the divinity of Jesus Christ.


What Does Luke’s Genealogy Do?

Some of you actually like history. Some people are encouraging Bobby.

1.       Luke traces the same human genealogy as Matthew, but he reverses the order and carries it all the way back to Adam.

2.       So Luke’s genealogy does not emphasize the Jewish line. It represents Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind.

3.       Recall, this is in keeping with Luke’s audience, who are gentiles. Being descended from Abraham is not as important to gentiles.

4.       Luke wants all to understand the Jesus is full humanity.

5.       Luke identifies Jesus with the whole of humanity, without regard to race, nationality, gender, social division, going all the way back to Adam.

6.       Jesus is not just the Jewish Savior but that of the gentiles as well. “Here is your Savior, the Son of Man.”

7.       Clearly, Luke is tracing the physical descent of Jesus.

8.       This would support the fact that Luke is tracing Mary’‘s genealogy. This is the physical, genetic descent.

9.       She is mentioned in Luke’s line; not in Matthew’s line. Mary is the human mother; she is the mother of His humanity. She is not the mother of God.

10.     As a descendant of Mary, Jesus is genetically connected to the royal line, which is a criterion for succession to the throne.

11.     Further, the royal line could actually pass from the mother Mary according to Num. 27:8.

12.     This is what is fascinating about these genealogies and how they fit together. The royal line of David converges in Jesus Christ.

13.     This makes Jesus the unequivocal heir to the throne through both lines.


Jesus is the fulfillment of the royal family covenant promises made to David.


How do we know that Luke and Matthew just didn’t make up these records? The Jews kept meticulous records. They were must about this sort of thing. These records were preserved at the Temple until the Temple was destroyed in a.d. 70. All the gospel writers had access to these records before that time. There were also genealogical records kept in the Old Testament as well.


Jesus offered Himself to Israel as the Messiah. His claim to David’s throne was never disputed. Undoubtedly, the Jews checked these records. Many claimed this messiahship. Had they found a discrepancy, they would have screamed to high heaven.


The genealogies present certain problems. The unequivocally prove that Jesus is true Humanity and also descended from Abraham and David. Jesus has the right to save mankind.


41 names occur in Matthew. Matthew omits several names in the line. Also, the names of 4 women are given by Matthew and not Luke, which is contrary to Jewish custom.


Why Women?

1.       Jesus was identified with the female gender;

2.       He is their Savior too. He is the Savior of all.

3.       He is identified with sinful humanity.

4.       This was also a little dig by Matthew against the low-life religious types.


Lesson #29       Luke 1:5– Matt. 3:1 The Life of Christ 1/6/2011             Thursday


The genealogies trace our Lord’s lineage from Adam, as Jesus is the Seed of the Woman. It traces His lineage through Abraham, showing Jesus to be a Jew, and through David, showing Jesus to be royalty.


The gospel presents another identification. He was announced and the birth of royalty is always announced. Before the child is born, his birth is announced; and after he is born, the child is announced (for royalty).


Announcements

1.       Messiah is announced as gracious to mankind.

2.       Announcements are about Abraham’s covenants. So this is a very Jewish announcement.

3.       Announcement of the redemptive mission of the Messiah. He was the Redeemer, the Savior.


Each announcement was miraculous. These were not simply rumors.


An announcement to a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem. This was an announcement of John the Baptizer. Malachi promised that the Messiah would be preceded by a herald. He would introduce Messiah to Israel. John was charged with this. Mal. 4:5–6


The Days of Herod mean this occurs before 6 b.c. when Herod died. Elizabeth means God’s oath or covenant. Zacharias means God remembers; so this is all about God remembers His covenant. Zak was a priest and his wife was a descendant of Aaron. She was descended from the line of priests. So both of these people were very aware of the Scripture and the prophesies of the Old Testament and the rituals of the Temple.


Luke 1:5 In the days of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.


Religion have obscured the meaning of the Old Testament, and the Jews leaned more toward the oral tradition than they did toward the Scriptures. Yet God retained a remnant of those who held to the Old Testament and they never lost sight of the promises to God to Israel. They were looking for the Messiah, but they did not get caught up in all of the traditions. Today, most think that the Messiah was just a myth or an indication that Israel was blessed.


At this time, there was a remnant. Zak and Liz were among this group who waited for the Messiah, and they were therefore called righteous before the Lord. They were the doctrinal priests as opposed to those who were all tied up in oral tradition.


Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.


Liz was unable to conceive and they were both too old to have a child.


Luke 1:7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren. And both were advanced in their days.


There were 20,000 priests at this time?


Luke 1:8 And it happened in his serving in the order of his course, before God,


50 priests were involved in each worship service and being called upon to burn incense was not given to just anyone. It was awarded by chance.


Luke 1:9 according to the custom of the priests, it was his lot to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.


Zak has a golden censor and he walks into the holy place and there is a 7 candled menorah there.


He also see the Table of Showbread, which reminded them that Israel was supported by God in the desert. He is seeing all of this for the first time. He was taking all of this in.


In seeing this Table of Showbread, it is understandable why Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life.


Behind this altar was the high thick curtain separating off the Holy of Holies from the rest. Zak could not go in there.


When the priest goes in with the incense, the people all begin to pray. This is Zak’s one big moment when he enters into the Temple and he marvels at the whole thing. He would bow and ...


Luke 1:10 And all the multitude of the people were praying outside at the time of incense.


The Angel of the Lord appears to him.


Luke 1:11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him as he was standing on the right of the altar of incense.


Zak is troubled when he sees this.


Luke 1:12 And seeing this, Zacharias was troubled, and fear fell on him.


The angel tells Zak that he has been heard and that his wife will bear him a son. This angel would be Gabriel, and he is standing on the right side of the altar. In Jewish tradition, the right side of the altar was reserved for God only. So Zak thinks he is seeing God and that he would die.


The angel reassures Zak. There is this parallel to Abraham and Sarah. They have wanted children for years and now they are too old.


Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, Do not fear, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.


John means the Lord is gracious. John would announce the appearance of Messiah. Rejoicing at his birth refers to John.


Luke 1:14 And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.


There would be great happiness brought to the parents by their son John. There are often great moments with a child and often some terrible ones. But John would do them proud. These are parents of doctrine and this would greatly add to their family life.


This son would have the greatest privilege of any prophet of the past. He would introduce the flesh and blood Messiah to his people. Other prophets told that Jesus was coming, but John would introduce Messiah to Israel.


These parents understood who their son would be. This couple will get the son they desired, and they will know what he will do, but all Israel would be blessed by Messiah, Whom John would announce.


The character of John would be described. He would be a Nazarite. There were only 2 mentioned in the Old Testament: Samuel and Samson. They were set apart for a specific period of time for a special service to the Lord. They were not to drink alcohol. In the ancient world, water was not fit to drink. Water was one of the great killers and this is why the life expectancy was so low. All sorts of bacteria and parasites from water. So everyone drank wine with meals. The Nazarite could not do this.


As a sign of separation, they could not cut their hair. When Samson’s hair was cut, he lost his power. The Holy Spirit was his strength.


He would be divinely empowered by God the Holy Spirit filled in his mother’s womb, which is a bad translation. The Greek preposition here is εκ, which means out from. This is the ablative case, which denotes separation.


As soon as he receives the breath of God, he is filled with the Holy Spirit. So John was indued with the Holy Spirit. Believers in general did not have the power of the Holy Spirit. This was usually for special people for specific tasks. All of those who heard that he would be filled with the Spirit knew that he had been designated for a very important task.


Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall neither drink wine nor strong drink. And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even out from his mother's womb.


Then his task is given beginning with v. 16. Now, how does John turn back many of the sons of Israel? John’s call to Israel was a call to repentance. This was a very integral part to his message. He explained this call to repentance.


Luke 1:16 And he shall turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.


Matt. 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,


Today, most evangelists will teach that this is turning away from your evil ways or that you have to feel something along the lines of bad because of your sins. So many people think that this is seen as the psychological hoop through which they must jump.


If you just really have some emotion welling up when you say you are sorry makes people think that you are more sincere. But God does not forgive us any more or less because of how we feel about our sins. Salvation is a gift of God and there is no outward or confirmed change. Any change that comes in us is growth in the spiritual life. We begin by changing our thinking. People think that salvation is a change in you right then and there and the way that you show this is through feeling sorry for your sins.


Repentance is changing your mind about Jesus Christ. “Change your mind, Israel; Messiah is here; change your mind about Who He is. The Kingdom of Heaven is open to you for faith in Jesus Christ.”


Matt. 3:2 and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.


Matt. 3:3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."


Lesson #0030     Luke 1:5– The Life of Christ January 9, 2011               Sunday 1

The first announcement was to the parents of John the Baptizer. The second announcement is to Mary.


The 3rd announcement would be to Joseph, which was to reassure him that Mary was not an adulterous. Joseph needed to be informed that he had a great part to play in the life of the Messiah. The supernatural mode of the announcement itself was an indication the Person of Jesus Christ.


Also, without these announcements, the people involved would have been quite confused.


Luke 1:5 In the days of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.


Zacharias and Elizabeth both were students of the Word of God and they understood the theme of the Old Testament. They were both related to the Levitical tribe. They were waiting patiently and waiting in prayer for the advent of the Messiah.


Zacharias means God remembers and Elizabeth means God’s oath or covenant. As a couple, God is remembering His oath. This is in their names and in their souls. God remembers His covenant and He remembers His people.


Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.


For many years, these 2 had wanted a son. They prayed and they prayed for the coming of the Messiah. Their names reveal the content of their prayers. And they are about to get an answer to both prayers within a few minutes, together.


They were ready. They were standing by and they were moving forward, spiritually. God always answers. If God does not answer a prayer in the way that we want answered, the answer to these prayers are always to our own best interest.


What kind of prayers do you offer up? Is it all, “God help me” or “Lord, give me this.” Many times, we forget that others are in need of prayer.


Luke 1:7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren. And both were advanced in their days.


Zacharias was one of 20,000 other priests and he might have a rare case to have this or that duty. Here, he is going to go into the Temple and light the incense. Of all the priests in all of Israel, on this day, the lot fell on Zacharias. He was an old man and he finally was entering into the holy place to engage in the holiest of duties.


Luke 1:8 And it happened in his serving in the order of his course, before God,


Luke 1:9 according to the custom of the priests, it was his lot to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.


These people knew what the burning of the incense meant, and they were outside the Temple all praying. This was the place of God. It was a very reverent and holy place. The first thing that he saw was the 7 branch candlestick. He was aware of all of this furniture, but now he is seeing it with his own eyes.


In his hand was the golden censer, and this was the golden pan in which the incense was carried (or the flame?). Outside is this multitude of people worshiping and he is inside.


Luke 1:10 And all the multitude of the people were praying outside at the time of incense.


Luke 1:11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him as he was standing on the right of the altar of incense.


Luke 1:12 And seeing this, Zacharias was troubled, and fear fell on him.


Then there was the reality of seeing an angel, and this is Gabriel standing to the right of the altar, which is geneeally reserved for God. Zacharias assumed that he was looking at God. He was still alive after a minute. Zach and Liz had been praying and they had ben unable to have a child.


There is the conception and birth of their son is announced, who will be John, whose name means gracious. Malachi 3:1 4:6


Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, Do not fear, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.


Luke 1:14 And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.


In the overall sense of the word, a child brings great happiness to a family.


This is a parallel to Abraham and Sarah. Zak and Liz are both unable to have children, and yet, they will have a son together.


Many would rejoice at his birth (or the Messiah). All of the prophets of the Old Testament looked forward to the Messiah, but John would have the privilege of introducing his own.


John was a Nazarite, who was set aside for a specific service for the Lord. They were not allowed to drink alcohol. The hair of a Nazarite was not to be cut. Further, John was filled with the Holy Spirit from out of his mother’s womb. The phrase refers to separation away from the womb. Now this makes sense; once he is separated from his mother’s womb, he is a full-fledged person. Human life begins when the baby takes his own first breath.


John would have a specific purpose, a specific mission. From birth, John was ready to go. He was empowerred to deliver a message for a specific purpose, which message is found in vv


Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall neither drink wine nor strong drink. And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even out from his mother's womb.


Lesson #0031  Luke 1:16–21 The Life of Christ January 9, 2011            Sunday 2


Zak and Liz want a son and they want the Messiah to come. The lot falls upon Zak and he lights the incense in the Temple (Herod’s Temple).


Luke 1:16 And he shall turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.


Matt. 3:1–2 will tell us what John’s message will be.


The verb is μετανοεω is a thought process, not an emotional guilt purging. We do not need tears of repentance nor do with have to feel guilty about all that we did. We no longer have to be concerned about our sins because they are paid for.


This is a call for a disobedient nation to turn itself around and to change their thinking about the Messiah. Israel needed to realize that the King of Kings had arrived and they must accept Him as the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom is at hand because the King is here. The Son of Man is here to seek and save that which has been lost.


Matt. 3:1–2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Change your thinking, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand [The Kingdom of God is here and available to Israel].


The religious leaders heard this and they did not follow John. The cross had to come before the crown. Even today, many have not changed their minds.


If someone wants to know the gospel, God will get it there. In Iran, it is against the law to speak the name of Christ there; they are under Sharia law. One person from our church was a missionary to Iran until he was thrown out. And there are believers there who teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.


God many promises and the John proclaimed that the kingdom was at hand. Many Jews simply believed that, as Jews, they were under the covenant. It is not our lineage which saves. The covenant people. Who was Abraham? He was a regenerate person. And Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. Have you changed your mind? Have you believed? That was the stumbling block for these people. They understood the kingdom being at hand, but they did not understand the repentance part of it.


Matt. 3:1–2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Change your thinking, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand [The Kingdom of God is here and available to Israel].


Elijah was a prophet during the time of Ahab and Jezebel, the worst people in power in Israel. Jezebel chased him all over the countryside. Elijah ran all over the country trying to hide from her.


Gabriel tells Zak that his son would have a ministry like Elijah’s, in his Spirit and power. He would have the same message as Elijah. John the Baptizer would have the same message as Elijah.


Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send My messenger, and He will clear the way before Me. And Jehovah, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the Covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He comes, says Jehovah of Hosts.


Malachi 4:5–6 Behold, I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, that I not come and strike the earth with utter destruction.


John would be making this call for repentance even before Jesus came, heralding His coming. Then the Kingdom of Heaven walked right into the river and John the Baptizer baptized Him.


Elijah called out a remnant from Israel. Elijah prophesies to an apostate nation about repenting; John prophesies to an apostate nation about repentance; and one like Elijah would prophesy to an apostate nation about repentance during the Tribulation.


People were brought into the Kingdom through faith. The religious types thought they were good enough to impress Jesus Christ. These were Jews; they did not need the Messiah, in their own thinking.


If the people accepted John’s message, the Kingdom would have come. Matt. 11:14


Israel had received no prophecy at all since Malachi’s last prophecy, which is the longest period of time where there was no word from God. The last words they heard from God were:


Malachi 4:5–6 Behold, I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, that I not come and strike the earth with utter destruction.


Now John comes and announces the coming of the King.


Luke 1:17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.


Zak asks the angel, how can I know this for certain? He is looking into the face of an angel and he has been praying for a child and for the Messiah, and he asks, “How can I be certain?” This man of the Lord who knew the Word of God at the height of his career, and he busts out the human viewpoint. “Listen, I am old and my wife is advanced in her days as well.” That must have been a euphemism.


Abraham and Sarah heard these promises for 25 years and suddenly, God comes and fulfills His promises to them.


No matter how many great negotiators go to the Middle East, there will be no peace between the Arabs and the Jews. The Arabs came from Abram and Keturah.


Right at the point when your faith is at its weakest, your prayers are answered.


Zak is saying, “Well, I don’t know about any of this” and this is all related to the coming of the Messiah. He is standing there in the holy place speaking to the angel Gabriel. The tone of what Gabriel says is lost.


Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “By what shall I know this? For I am old, and my wife is advanced in her days.”


Gabriel announces who he is. “How dare you doubt me; I am sent directly from God.”


Luke 1:19 And answering, the angel said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands before God. And I am sent to speak to you and to show you these glad tidings.


Zak said a bunch of stupid things, so the angel tells him, “You will be unable to speak. You are uncertain about this? Okay, here is your proof...you will not be able to speak until your child is born.” Zak loses his speech over his disbelief. At the moment when faith was needed, Zak failed. He is not unlike many of us. We fail as well, often when we should not.


Here is this guy excited about entering into the Temple; it is his big moment. And he walks out of the Temple and he cannot speak. So he starts making all kinds of hand gestures, trying to explain what happened. This reminded him every day that God’s promises always come to fruition.


Luke 1:20 And behold, you shall be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed, because you did not believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their time.”


The people were waiting out there and wondering what took him so long. They realized that he had seen a vision in the Temple.


Luke 1:21 And the people waited for Zacharias and marveled that he stayed so long in the temple.


Lesson #32     Luke 1:11–24 The Life of Christ January 12, 2011       Wednesday


Email from Rick Hughes. A woman was called upon for a prayer; chaplain told her to remove every reference to Jesus Christ. She writes the chaplain, “It is a sad day when Christians cannot even share their faith with a dying world.”


Every part of the Temple and the sacrifices were all related to the salvation of Jesus Christ. This was all done symbolically.


Ex. 30:6–8 And you shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy-seat that is beside the testimony, where I will meet with you. And Aaron shall burn sweet incense on it every morning; when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Jehovah throughout your generations.


The incense would arise at the same time that the sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the altar.


In Luke 1:10, the people are outside.


Luke 1:8 And it happened in his serving in the order of his course, before God,


Luke 1:11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him as he was standing on the right of the altar of incense.


Luke 1:12 And seeing this, Zacharias was troubled, and fear fell on him.


Zack thought that he was going to die, because he was speaking to God. However, he was not speaking to God, but the angel Gabriel.


Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, Do not fear, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.


Luke 1:14 And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.


Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall neither drink wine nor strong drink. And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even out from his mother's womb.


Luke 1:16 And he shall turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.


Turning back is the change of mind that Israel will go through. Israel has moved far away from anticipating the Messiah. John was telling them to turn back from the negative volition. Israel was to change its mind about the Messiah.


When you present the gospel, then you desire that those who hear it change their minds. The message is essentially the same.


The kingdom promise to Israel could not be entered in any other way than via repentance; a change of mind. Many of the Jews at the time believed that they were the covenant people simply because of their genes. Salvation is faith alone in Christ alone.


Luke 1:17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.


Some apparently had questions about the idea of repentance.


Matt. 3:6 And they were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.


Many have taken this to mean that they were confessing their sins as their salvation. These people were believers to begin with and they had already changed their minds. Baptism is a profession of those who believe in Jesus Christ. Baptismal regeneration is a heresy. These people came to be baptized because they followed the message of John the Baptizer.


John lived in the Age of Israel, under the Old Testament. The water represented the kingdom of Israel. They are identified with the kingdom of Israel in this baptism. The king was present and the baptized were being identified with the king.


The second post-salvation experience was the confession of sins, which is rebound. This is not said to be a public confession. This does not gain God’s favor when you name all of your sins aloud before everyone else. There is no indication that this is a public confession. This is naming one’s sins to God. Perhaps it was naming these sins to John, who stood in taking on the job of a priest.


David was a believer, and this was not a confession of sin to others, but to God. He had to confess murder and rape, to God.


Psalm 32:5 I confessed my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgression to Jehovah; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.


The story was that this was pharisees and scribes, so they came down to be baptized. But John refused to baptize them, because they were not believers. Since they were not believers, they could not confess their sins. They were legalists and they were trying to please God with all of their religiosity.


He tells them to live the spiritual life utilizing rebound, which they could not do because they were incapable of doing it.


Matt. 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance;


Luke 1:17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.


Now Zack makes a lunatic statement.


Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “By what shall I know this? For I am old, and my wife is advanced in her days.”


Gabriel rebukes Zack for this stupid thing. He fails right at this moment, at a key period of time in his life.


Luke 1:19 And answering, the angel said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands before God. And I am sent to speak to you and to show you these glad tidings.


God will discipline Zach for his lack of faith, and God is going to keep his mouth shut. The angel Gabriel brought him great news about his son, and he did not believe it.


Luke 1:20 And behold, you shall be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed, because you did not believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their time.”


the people are outside waiting for Zach, and he took too long and they were wondering what was going on.


Luke 1:21 And the people waited for Zacharias and marveled that he stayed so long in the temple.


Zach had a lot to say but has no ability to say it. He is probably using hand signs, and looks like a nut. Nothing comes out of his mouth. He cannot pray; he cannot speak. He wants to relate this conversation and he wants to talk about this in the worst way. He has this son on the way, the son who would announce the Messiah; and the advent of the Messiah was near, and he could not say a thing.


When Zacharias entered the temple, he was talking like a magpie, and he exited unable to talk. The people figured out that he had a vision. The fact that he was in the Temple and that his change was so dramatic, that they assumed that he saw a vision. He was a mute, unable to speak. Since it happened in the Temple, it must have had something to do with God. Something so spectacular occurred that it could not be ignored. However, they divine discipline not know what it was.


However, Zacharias was not to announce the Messiah, and he might have done that. He might have usurped John’s duties in life.


All prophecy of the Messiah must be exactly fulfilled. There cannot be any deviation. Jesus had to fulfill prophecy to the letter.


Zacharias failed here; he made a really bad choice. God still used this for His Own purpose. The sovereignty of God and the free will of man work together, with the end result being exactly what God intended it to be. God can take the decisions of billions of people and God’s plan still marches on. We are either in it or not.


Even when believers know better or they have been praying for something for so long, but they cannot act on it. You may get an answer that you do not expect, but it still works out. If you have been asking for something in prayer for awhile, then expect that God will anser your prayer.


Luke 1:22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them. And they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he was making signs to them, and remained speechless.


When you fail, you get back with Bible doctrine after confessing your sins, and then you then take the next step.


Luke 1:23 And as soon as the days of his service were accomplished, he departed to his own house.


Zacharias is a priest and she is in the line of Aaron, so they know all about these things. They know all about this. They have, in God’s Own time, Isaac. The angel tells Zacharias to go work on pregnancy.


Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived and hid herself five months, saying,


Lesson #0033   Luke 1:24– The Life of Christ January 13, 2011             Thursday


No coffee, soft drinks, water, etc. in Berachah Church.


The most important part of our life is in Berachah.


Gabriel made the first announcement of the coming Messiah to Zacharias. His wife becomes pregnant.


Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived and hid herself [she went into seclusion] five months, saying,


She keeps herself in seclusion for 5 months. She recognizes that this is an amazing and miraculous event. They were way out of the parameters of parenting.


Zacharias did not remember that, with God, nothing is impossible. We have dead end situations in our own lives and some go all the way to suicide because they are so despondent. Nothing is impossible, is our last line of defense, in many cases.


Elizabeth makes a statement. “This is what the Lord has done for me.” She is saying that this is grace. She did not earn it or deserve it.


Embarrassment is a stigma for some; and there may have been too much going on that she did not want to deal with; so she chooses to go into seclusion.


Luke 1:25 So the Lord has dealt with me in the days in which He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.


Then there is a second announcement which is made to Mary.


Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,


these 2 verses are packed with information and fulfilled prophecy. Gabriel goes straight from God to a woman in Nazareth. This is in the northern part of the land of Israel. The Galileans were entirely inferior people. The Judæans saw the Galileans as backwater people.


The Samaritans were never allowed to worship in the Temple. The Galileans were allowed to, so that makes them a step above.


There was a saying, “Go to Galilee to become rich and Jerusalem to become wise.” Galilee was a province that was a breadbasket of Israel and Judæa. Therefore, someone could move to Galilee and make their fortune.


Nazareth was an important city in Galilee. It was known for its immorality and corruption. It was also a military outpost for the Romans. They saw it as a den of vice as well as a place of Roman soldiers.


It was this rotten, corrupt, vice-filled town where Gabriel went to make an announcement about the 2nd advent.


Mary was, at this time, engaged to Joseph. She was an unmarried virgin. Once you were engaged, you were considered married, but you were not cohabiting. They would go to the gate of the city, where the judge was, and sign a contract, and the judge would put a stamp on it. Engagement was a legal contract, which was the same as marriage. This waiting period had to ellapse, like a cooling off period. A year perhaps. It was the purity of the woman during that time that was meaningful.


You drew a contract, you waited 12 months, the bride was considered to be pure, and you then consummated the marriage.


Ironic that the pregnancy of an unwed mother would be the greatest prelude to the greatest event of history.


Luke 1:27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.


Under these circumstances, Mary is given a heads up, so that she understands what is going on. This is something that she has never seen before. Angels are creatures of light and perhaps she was somewhat blinded.


Luke 1:28 And the angel came in to her and said, “Hail, one receiving grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”


She was greatly troubled about this.


Luke 1:29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what kind of greeting this might be.


Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not fear, Mary, for you have found grace with God.


There have been terrible misinterpretations of this verse. Mary has been made a fountain of grace ot be dispensed to others around her. A false theology has been build around Mary as a favored one of God. She did not dispense grace; she receives grace. She is permitted to be the mother of the Lord and Savior, and this is a blessing; but it does not call for her to be worshiped.


We can honor Mary for her place in the plan of God, but we do not worship her nor do we pray to her. To Mary is due honor and to the Son, worship.


She is going to be wondering about all of this. However, her questions are much different than those of Zacharias. He disbelieves; and she is asking for some clarification.


She makes an application. She wants to understand what is being said; then she wants to make application. Mary has doctrine in her soul, and she hears what the angel says, and she is able to figure out what is going on. All of this begins to make sense.


You run into a problem that you are facing, and you heard some doctrine the night before and it is exactly what you need. Suddenly, the doctrine makes sense. In fellowship, God the Holy Spirit brings this to your mind, and you pass the test. The Holy Spirit always utilizes the doctrine which is in your soul.


How can you know the plan of God if you do not know anything about it? You simply cannot. This is the state that most believers are in.


She knows about the covenant and about the Messiah to come. So when Gabriel tells her about these things, she knows the Old Testament Scripture that goes with this. “Oh, goodness, I am that virgin.”


What Was this All About?

1.       She did not earn this honor by her goodness or her deservedness. So many think that she was a great saint o begin with.

2.       She was a good and mature believer. Yet others could have been chosen.

3.       Not every other woman and her fiancee were descended from David. That was a unique aspect. A ruler on the throne of David means that He has to be descended from David.

4.       Gabriel says that this honor was bestowed upon her by God’s meri, and not a

5.       Mary is not the emphasis here. The emphasis is upon the Christ-child.

6.       It is the grace of God which is paramount in this. This is the grace of God all the way.

7.       The Lord Jesus Christ is the epitome of the grace of God to mankind. The favor or the grace bestowed upon Mary is to participate in that grace gift. That is the favor.

8.       She has God’s grace, not personal merit.


Mary was certain with knowledge about the plan of God. She was a mature believer. She undoubtedly had an unswearving faith in the messiah. She also had humility. She did not get all puffed up with pride over this. She did not get fatheaded about this.


Jesus at 12 could answer questions from the pharisees, but they could not answer His questions. She was teachable and positive. Grace oriented is the key here. She clearly had a like mind with doctrine.


All 4 of these people were prepared for what would happen. That is the people around Jesus. The plan unfolds and it is the best life that we can possibly have. It begins with doctrine in the soul. All 4 were ready to carry out the plan of God in the most critical period of history.


V. 31 is the first time Jesus’ name is revealed.


God chooses the name. The parents do not make this choice. Everything about this Messiah is about God’s grace and our salvation and God’s plan.


Luke 1:31 And behold! You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS.


Lesson #0034  Luke 1:28–30 The Life of Christ January 16, 2011            Sunday 1

Communion Sunday:

 

Jesus was not born with a genetically form sin nature, as we have; apart from that, we are exactly the same. He never committed one act that was not absolute good.

 

Many could have testified as to His power. “I was blind, but now I see; I was lame and now I can walk.”

 

he was tried 6 times under 2 of the greatest systems of law in human history, and yet was still convicted.

 

All things work together for good to those who love God. Out of this travesty of justice came our own justification and our good. Every person who accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, at the moment of the new birth, has righteousness imputed to him or her. We receive this +R as our gain.

 

He was an innocent man. He never sinned and He never made a mistake. Because of Who He claimed to be, He could not simply be just a good man; He said that He could forgive sins; He claimed to be none other than the Son of God. If these are not true, then He is a consummate liar, and, in that situation, He would not have been a good man. A good man would never impersonate and therefore blaspheme the Savior of the world. Millions of people would have been misled if His claims are false. He is the Savior and only God can provide salvation and a way to God the Father. Only God can say, “I and the Father are One.” Or, “Before Abraham existed, I existed eternally.”

 

If ever a man deserved to be acquitted, Jesus was the One. Pilate began to grasp the falsity of the tribal he presided over. He knew that Jesus was innocent of all charges. He did not act to exonerate our Lord, but he succumbed to the demands of the mob. Only strong conviction and moral courage would have extricated him. He looked the other way; he washed his hands of the Lord—to his own detriment.

 

During 3 hours, the sins of the world were poured out upon Jesus Christ, and God the Father hid His face from Him. It was not the pain of the brutal conditions of the cross, but the separation from God that Jesus faced. He paid the penalty for every sin. He screamed out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” He was forsaken because God made Him sin, Who knew no sin, on our behalf.

 

The perfect Father could have nothing to do with sin, while the sins of the world were poured out upon Him and judged. This was the most excruciated pain that could ever be endured. The millions of animal sacrifices represent the horrible death of Jesus on the cross.

 

This removed the enmity between us and God. Our Lord’s salvation was completed once forever; although there are those who continually crucify Him because of their theology.

 

He called out, “Tετελεσται,” which means, “Finished in the past, with the result that it remains finished forever.”

 

Only a free man can free a slave. The only man to be born free of sin is Jesus Christ. He went to the cross as a free man, and He bore the sins of all mankind because He chose to do so. He paid in full for every sin that we committed.

 

We are in a new kingdom today, because we are in union with the King of Kings.


Mary was chosen because of who she was. Her genealogy is necessary. She has to be a part of the line of David. Elizabeth was a Levite, so she could not be chosen. Mary was also a virgin; Elizabeth was married, so she was not a virgin.


So the angel appears; someone that Mary has never seen before. He has magnificent radiance and distinctive features. Suddenly, he is there in her living room, bringing an announcement from Jesus Christ.


Luke 1:28 And the angel came in to her and said, “Hail, one receiving grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”


Mary was greatly troubled, wondering about what sort of salutation this was. She understood the words, but she was unable to apply these things to her. What did it mean? What was this person and why was he addressing her?


Luke 1:29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what kind of greeting this might be.


Zacharias thought he was too old, and God disciplined him for this. He was now mute. Mary, on the other hand, was not filled with disbelief, but she just needed clarification and some additional explanation. So the angel gives her more information.


“You have discovered grace with God.” Mary is the recipient of God’s grace. She does not dispense grace; she receives it.


Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not fear, Mary, for you have found grace with God.


Lesson #0035  Luke 1:30–35 The Life of Christ January 16, 2011            Sunday 2


Some of us were brought up in churches where Mary was deified, even worshiped.


Mary was good, but she is not the emphasis here. Χαρις is the emphasis in this verse. Mary plays an intimate part in this narrative. We are all recipients of grace, although, quite obviously, we have not all received an announcement like Mary received. However, she receives the same grace that we receive. The Savior that she bore is her Savior as well. She is not the recipient of more grace than anyone else.


Mary should never be deified; she should never be worshiped or prayed to. She is not a dispenser of God’s grace. She had some great qualities and she certainly had knowledge of the Word of God and the plan of God. She undoubtedly had an unswerving faith in the Lord. This is part of why God chose her. The great factor here is not Mary’s worthiness, but her grace orientation. She understood that this came from God and she is not the center of this event. She participated by God’s choice.


Mary quickly makes an application from the grace in her soul. When this was clarified for her, she had studied God’s Word.


She is able to relax and able to take this all in. She is able to form a rationale and function in her spiritual life. She was prepared. That is why this went so well.


Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not fear, Mary, for you have found grace with God.


The angel give His name for the first time in human history. Gabriel makes this announcement, giving His human name.


Luke 1:31 And behold! You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS.


Mary understood that she would be the mother of the humanity of Jesus Christ. She is not the mother of God. She does not give birth to God. At the moment of birth, God took upon the nature of humanity. Mary did not form God in her womb. That is a heresy. However, this continues to be taught.


Luke 1:32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David.


This child will reign forever over the house of Jacob forever and there will be no end to His kingdom.


So, Gabriel tells this young virgin that she is about to become pregnant. She is told that she will conceive and have a child.


At first blush, it sounds as if there is some sort of fornication involved. The angel says nothing about her getting with Joseph and procreating a child.


As a parent, it is a great privilege to name your child. You name him after someone you admire or after your parents or a previous relative. Mary was unable to do that. God gave Jesus His Name. His Name carries with it great importance.


Bobby’s most hated word is to hear the epithet Jesus. When someone says the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as an epithet, used to punctuate their anger, is blasphemy. Never use the name of our Lord to punctuated your stupid mental attitude sins. Vulgarisms are not nearly as bad as that.


Jesus means the Lord saves. Every aspect of this announcement tells us that this is the Messiah. Joshua is the Hebrew equivalent of Jesus. Mary knew this name; she knew Joshua from the Old Testament, who brought the people into the Land of Promise and gave the land to them.


This name was not random. It had immediate meaning, not just to Mary, but the Jews understood as well.


God has the privilege of name His Own Son.


Our Lord’s miracles healed people incidentally. His miracles were selective. He did not heal everyone. Each miracle had a special meaning.


What Is Prophesied Here about Jesus:

1.       He will be great.

2.       Secondly, He is the Son of the Most High. This child has the qualities of his Father. The same attributes; co-equal with the Father.

3.       Thirdly, he will be given the throne of His father David. He is here identified as David’s Greater Son. This is the One promised through David. As such, He will reign on the throne of Israel.


He was rejected at the first advent as Savior, but He will return.


Luke 1:32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David.

 

4.       He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. He is a Jewish king, to reign forever.

5.       His kingdom would have no end.


With Him are all the qualities of the God of Israel. She would be united with the God of Israel.


Luke 1:33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.


Mary responds in quite a standard way. “I am going to get pregnant? I do not have a husband.” She says, “I am not clear on this; how can this be if I am a virgin?” Mary realizes that this child would not be a natural consequence of her pending marriage.


This passage does not indicate a perpetual virginity for Mary, another fallacy of a certain denomination. She was not a perpetual virgin. She married and she had other children by Joseph.


Later, some would ask, “Is this not Jesus? Are these not his brothers?”


Gabriel did not shut her mouth as He had done to Zacharias. Mary was limited insofar as what she could announce. Mary did not doubt the announcement of what she heard. Mary was looking for what Luke 2:25 called the consolation of Israel. The Messiah would bring comfort and redemption to Israel. She simply wanted to know just how the whole thing would happen. She was in a society would have frowned on this situation. The Mosaic Law said that an unmarried woman having a child is to be stoned to death.


Luke 1:34 Then Mary said to the angel, How shall this be, since I do not know a man?


Her pregnancy question is then answered in v. 35. The child born to you is the Holy One Who will be called the Son of God.


What in Israel’s history was overshadowed? The Shekinah glory. All that was associated with the Temple of God. Everything about this announcement tells us about Who Jesus is. The angel says He would be a holy offspring.


Αγιος means one set apart; one that is dedicated for a special mission. Her child would be the Son of the Most High. You will bear the Messiah and He will come dedicated to one thing. When she bears this child, His purpose will become necessary.


He was enshrouded in grave clothes. The cross was a part of his life from His very birth.


There would be a 3rd announcement which will be made to Joseph, to warn him that his fiancee is not an adulteress.


Can you doubt the 2nd advent of Jesus Christ? God fulfilled everything from the Old Testament in Jesus Christ.


Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God.


Lesson #0036   Luke 1:(31–35), 36–46 The Life of Chris 1/19/11         Wednesday


Luke 1:31 And behold! You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS.


Bobby was asked whether there were named Jesus besides our Lord; it was probably a common name.


This is a Greek name, which establishes the language in which He would operate?


Luke 1:32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David.


Mary learns just who this Son would be.


Luke 1:33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.


Luke 1:34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I do not know a man?”


Mary was confused here, and it was not that she did not believe; but she had some questions. She knows that a sexual relationship was necessary to have a child. She was in this year waiting period. This angel was not suggesting that she move up the wedding or sleep with Joseph. Neither was a plan for her. Therefore, this is a legitimate question to ask.


There is also the penalty of stoning to death for a women bearing a child out of wedlock.


Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God.”


This is a clear statement of a supernatural birth. This child would be called the Son of God, which means, He would have every attribute of God. No man would be involved here; it was the Holy Spirit Who would impregnate.


The fact that Jesus is conceived by the Spirit in the womb. There was a genetic uniting of human and divine. The result will be fully human and divine. However, there is no sexual act here. It is an act of God, a supernatural impregnating, but it was not a result of a sexual union.


Why didn’t the Messiah simply appear miraculously on earth? He could have appeared as a man and marched toward the cross?


The prophecy of Isa. 7:14 had to be fulfilled to the letter. That prophecy had to be fulfilled; so, a virgin pregnancy. His birth was unequivocal proof that He is true humanity. If Jesus Christ had just appeared, many would have reasonably questioned His true humanity. He had to be human in every sense of the word. He had to experience humanity in every sense of the word, including birth as per the intricate biological beginnings of us all.


The supernatural conception was also necessary because of His being a true unity of man and God. Mary did not produce God; His humanity came from Mary. At the same time, Jesus was undiminished deity.


The true humanity aspect had to come out. He took on the form of God in order to be our Savior. This is the beginning of this union. The biological formation of the humanity of Jesus Christ. So the incarnation was necessary.


Thirdly, the seed of the man had to be left out. The Coniah curse and the natural father transmits the sin nature. We all receive our sin nature from our original parents, from our fathers specifically. Christ would be born as the Seed of the Woman only. This meant, Jesus would have no sin nature.


The virgin birth is critical; there would be no God-man; there would be no incarnation, apart from the virgin birth. Without the seed of the man, the only way He could be born sinless. In Adam, we all die. Being born without a father means no sin nature.


Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God.”


First image. And the earth was formless and void and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. This is a creative image.


Second image. When God was in residence in the Tabernacle, there was the Shekinah Glory. The very presence of God would overshadow her and create the very image of God within her. When the angel tells Mary, she believes it.


The holy Offspring wil be called the Son of God.


At this point, we find out that Elizabeth is a relative of Mary’s. She who is barren is now in her 6th month, about ready to finish it up. Here are 2 women who will have impossible births. Every day that you face a problem, you understand that nothing is impossible with God. God delivers; stand by and watch Him solve your problems. Neither of them should have children, and God gave them both children. Zacharias and Elizabeth will have children in their old age. And with Mary, this will be without a man that she will bear a child.


Mary understands that her pregnancy will be an absolutely unique conception.


Luke 1:36 And behold, your cousin Elizabeth also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.


Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.


Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.


This trip the Mary would make would be a 5 day trip. It would be comforting for her to speak to Elizabeth. Mary had no idea how her future husband or how society would treat her.


Pregnant women like to talk to other women about these things. Men are no help in this situation. Here, they had a unique situation. There was a lot to talk about. This was not just a personal thing; this was the fulfillment of the covenant promise which God made to Israel, and God would fulfill God’s Word in these women. They certainly talked about their pregnancies and about Bible doctrine as well. They probably studied the Word of God. They knew what the covenant said and that it was about to be fulfilled.


Mary may also have been concerned for Elizabeth; she was an older woman who was pregnant. This also was a place of seclusion for Mary. As an unwed mother, she needs a place.


Luke 1:39 And Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah.




Luke 1:40 And she entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.


When Mary’s voice rang out, Elizabeth recognized this voice immediately; and a unique moment followed. Elizabeth was filling of the Holy Spirit for a specific reason; a specific purpose. Not every believer in the Old Testament was given the Holy Spirit.




Luke 1:41 And it happened as Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,


Luke 1:42 and cried out with a loud voice and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.


Elizabeth refers to Mary’s child as my Lord. This is another confirmation of Mary as the mother of the Messiah.


Luke 1:43 And from where is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?


Luke 1:44 For lo, as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.


Luke 1:45 And blessed is she who believes, for there shall be a perfecting of those things which were told her from the Lord.


What follows is sometimes called the magnificant; Mary’s praise, to the one she would bear. They hymn does not magnify Mary; it does not glorify her; it glorifies God, Who is the object of this hymn.


Mary had no intention of drawing attention to her. She was glorifying God, Jesus in her womb. Mary is not sinless, she is not a savior; she should not be put upon a pedestal and worshiped. She was related to God just as we are.


Mary was a believer as all Old Testament believers were. She understood the sacrifices in the Temple. She believed in the coming Messiah. She understands that she will be the one the bear the One Who saved her.


Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,


Lesson #0037 Luke 1:46–51 The Life of Christ January 20, 2011           Thursday


Mary has received a visit from Gabriel. She realizes that she is going to conceive a child apart from a man. Having a child is not what she expected in this 12 month purifying period. Unwed pregnancy indicates that she is not ready for marriage, so this poses a problem for her. Therefore, she has a few questions for the angel.


She asks, how can I be pregnant without a man and what will happen to me during the time of this engagement? She would expect her fiancee to divorce her. There is another problem for her—adultery was punishable by stoning to death. So, these are legitimate questions which occur to her. There is no suggestion that there will be any man involved.


Gabriel gives her the answer that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Who will supernaturally fertilize her egg. The Holy Spirit will use the biological processes of the woman for the Messiah.


Because this is from God, then there will be no reason to be concerned for punishment.


With this explanation, her fears are calmed. Bobby suspects that it happened at that moment (or before). Once it happened, her next move is to pack a bag and go off to a city in Judæa, a 5 day journey from Nazareth. Her cousin was also going to bear a child with a spiritual dimension.


As soon as she walks in the door and says hello to Elizabeth, she is filled with the Holy Spirit. Only a few had this indument of the Holy Spirit.


Mary begins to speak of blessing and this confirms something else. Elizabeth says, “Bless you, the mother of my Savior.” Their son of Zacharias and Elizabeth would be the herald. Joseph has no clue yet. He will get hit between the eyes about the pregnancy.


Mary responds to all of this in a magnificent way. Most are happy when they become pregnant, when they want a child. This is great happiness, and she breaks out. She is happy and she is humbled. This is one of the most beautiful hymns. It is an anthem which glorifies God and God alone. She will be the entry of the Messiah into this world.


Her soul magnifies the Lord.


Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,


Her spirit rejoices in God, her Savior. She recognizes the doctrine involved here. There will be allusions throughout this song to the Old Testament.


Right from the beginning, she says who is to be praised. She understood that what was happening for her and for all Israel. She may not have realized that this happened was for all mankind. She was a remnant of believers in apostate Israel who continued to look for the Messiah of Israel. Elizabeth and Zacharias were all a part of the pivot, all awaiting the Messiah of Israel. It will turn out that Joseph is waiting as well.


She calls Him God my Savior. She has received salvation just like every other person in the human race. She was born of a father and a mother and she has a sin nature. She was born separated from God. She needed redemption; she need propitiation. She knew when the priest laid the hand on the lamb and cut its throat, that her sins were transferred. She understood that. She had trusted that by faith alone in the coming Messiah. They looked ahead to the Messiah and we look back. The object of her faith was the baby growing inside of her. She believed in Jehovah Elohim and suddenly the Messiah is growing within her. She was not an exception to the human race. She had a sin nature and required salvation. There is no one born without a sin nature. The object of her faith was her own son. For her recognition of this, she continues her son of praise.


Luke 1:47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.


She refers to herself as a slave woman. All generations will consider her blessed because Jesus is growing inside of her.


Mary and How She Sees Herself

1.       She recognizes her unique privilege as the mother of the Messiah.

2.       She says that all generations will honor her because of God’s grace toward her. No one merits God’s grace. She did not have some special endowment of righteousness. There are lots of nice people in this world; but she was still a sinner. She would be honored because of the grace of God that she did not merit in any way. The glory belongs to God; not to marry.

3.       She is not blessed because of her own righteousness. She is blessed because of the privilege given to her as a bondslave. She sees herself as a slave, the lowest of the low in Jewish society. Paul himself calls himself a slave of God. She is being used for a specific task. She knows that she is the bondslave.

4.       The bondslave is someone unworthy of honor. This is the lowest of the low. There is nothing to recommend him or her. She is to serve the Messiah, as Gabriel instructed her.

5.       She is addressing her own unworthiness.

6.       This was entirely a work of God. She recognizes that she is only the instrument of God’s work and will.


Luke 1:48 For He looked on the humiliation of His slave woman. For, behold, from now on all generations shall count me blessed.


Mary praises His name (and His power and faithfulness to Israel). There is not a hint of self-righteousness or arrogance in her words. How easy it would be to say, God chose me. “I am better than you Elizabeth; because I am having the Savior and you are only having John the Baptizer.”


Mary’s name is not holy nor should it be declared holy by any church. Only the Lord’s name is holy because He is perfect. She is repeating what the Old Testament Jews always did.


Israel is unworthy, but God is fulfilling His promise through Mary. She is unworthy and so is Israel. Mary should never be given some sort of holy title like, “The mother of God.” She is the mother of Jesus; she is the mother of His humanity. His biological life was formed in her womb; not God. She is not being elevated to a status beyond a human entity. Some pray to Mary for things like getting them out of purgatory.


Luke 1:49 For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.


She praises God for His promise to the Jews. His mercy is toward those who have respect for Him. Israel does not deserve this grace from God. Israel has continually forsaken God. They wandered in the desert for 40 years because it never got into their heads that God was taking care of them. They saw the greatest miracles for many years, and, when Moses went up on the mountain, they put together a golden calf and worshiped it. They did this generation after generation after generation.


Deut.  28 God warned Israel of the results of their apostasy. They would be subject to gentile dominance. They saw the goy as way beneath them. They realize that they were God’s special people, which became a reason for arrogance. They forgot what God had instructed them to do.


They were warned not to take gentile wives, because all of the people around them were heathenistic and involved with idols. God said, “You want to be involved with them? Well, you will be; they will dominate you.


The northen kingdom taken out by Assyria and the southern kingdom by Babylon. Later conquered by Alexander and then by his generals; then Egypt and the Selucids; and then the Romans. How many times had the prophets warned these people? “Turn back to the Lord. Forget about these heathen gods.” Hosea 4 is a magnificent tirade by Hosea against Israel. God keeps His promise in cursing. He keeps His promise, and Deut. 30, and if the people turn back to Him, then He would return them to blessing instead of divine blessing and cursing.


Israel deserved nothing and they received everything. There is a lot of blessing and cursing in Israel’s history. God made promises to Abraham, and He will fulfill that promise. God’s promise, immutable. If God can keep His promise for many generations, can He not keep His promise of eternal life for all who believe in Him?


That people question eternal security, that they can do something so bad to lose what God has given us.


Mary recognized all of this. She recognized all that was happening. She was a woman of God’s Word and she knew what Israel was like and the direction they were heading.


She, in this pregnancy, and she recognized what all this was. We can find ourselves in some of the most dramatic historical situations, and many times, we do not even recognize them.


Luke 1:50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.


She continues her magnificent song about God.


Mary is now dwelling on the work that her Son would do. All of the verbs here are in the past tense. Her Son has not yet been born, and yet she uses the past tense. Her song followed the pattern of the Old Testament prophets. They always used the past tense to describe future events. They were declaring that which they predicted as being already fulfilled. This indicates absolute certainly that God would bring it to pass.


Luke 1:51 He has worked power with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.


What Mary Sings about

1.       In the future, He would remove all enemies. She is talking about the King of Kings in the kingdom, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. She was speaking of the 2nd advent of the Messiah.

2.       This will be Israel’s kingdom after Armageddon. The gentiles dethroned and the Jews exalted.

3.       In this new kingdom, the humble would be elevated.

4.       In this new kingdom, the hungry will no longer be hungry. No more foodstamps.

5.       All physical needs will be met.

6.       Poverty will once and for all be eradicated from the earth.

7.       Personal wealth will mean nothing for quality of life.

8.       In the kingdom, the future kingdom of the Millennium, there will be a perfect environment and in harmony with man. Climate change and conservation will no longer be issues. No endangered species list.


Only God can be egalitarian. Only God can bring equality and freedom. All of the idealistic longings of man will be accomplished by God in the Millennium and not before. Mary looked forward to the day of the Messiah’s kingdom.


Luke 1:52 He has put down rulers from their seats and exalted the lowly,


Luke 1:53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and He has sent away the rich empty.


Luke 1:54 He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,


Luke 1:55 as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.


Lesson #38     Matt. 1:19–21 The Life of Christ January 23, 2011           Sunday 1

There was some obvious disrespect last week during the Communion last week.


The Christian life is the best, most peaceful life that we can enjoy.


Zacharias and Elizabeth have found that they will become parents of a son. Mary will learn that she will have a son as a virgin, who will be the Messiah. Mary understands that Joseph will not be involved in the conception of this child. This will be a fulfillment of Gen. 3:15. God will fertilize her egg in a miraculous way and this will exclude the man. Mary had a sin nature, but she does not pass that sin nature down.


All these 3 have the picture of what is going to occur. All 3 are delighted to be involved in this entire event. So, there are a series of events which unfold from this point on. Mary picks up from Nazareth, already pregnant, and she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Both women are euphoric about this sons. They also realize that their sons are a part of the plan of God. When Mary walks in the door, there is some prophecy which comes from Zacharias and Elizabeth. Mary hears this incredible prophecy and she reciprocates and breaks out with a beautiful and amazing hymn. She sings (we assume). She sings of God, the One Who is faithful in fulfilling the covenant first made to Abraham and later reiterated in a covenant made with David.


Whether Mary knew this or not, her song is about the 2nd advent, but what is coming is the 1st advent. The hungry will no longer be hungry; poverty, for the first time since the garden of Eden, will be eradicated from the earth. Personal wealth will no longer mean anything for quality of life in the Millennium. The environment will be perfect on planet earth.


We can do things to preserve our environment, but we cannot destroy the earth. That is a false contention. Mary praises the fact that she will be the human instrument involved in bringing the Lord into the world. Mary did not form God; she is not the mother of God. Generations would honor her, but this is not to include worship.


She calls herself a bond-slave, unworthy of extensive honor. Mary is not the focus of the gospels. She is not and should not be deified; she should not be pictured as a virgin. She should not be put on a pedestal or on a dashboard.


Elizabeth and Zacharias share her excitement. However, there is one more person in this equation: Joseph, and he has no clue about Mary’s circumstance. When he finds out his betrothed, with whom he has had no relations, his world will be turned upside down. His reaction is the last bit of drama before the Lord Jesus Christ is born. Clearly, another announcement needed to be made to Joseph before our Lord comes into the world.


Mary returns and it is clear that she is pregnant; and what is his thought? He is certain that she has been cheating on him. Should he nullify and void the marriage contract? 2 other choices to be made. Should he bring her before the Jewish justice bench to be condemned, which would result in a severe punishment. No doubt, that would be going through Joseph’s mind, and his heart is broken, which could bring about a myriad of feelings, including anger and revenge motivation. She could be stoned to death. That is the punishment for adultery. Or, he could take he to the judges and get a quiet divorce.


According to Jewish tradition, Joseph was much older than Mary and very much in love with her. This is not testified to in the Bible. However, this is reasonably borne out by Joseph’s actions which would follow.


Joseph has rights, but he choose to protect her. Despite being deeply hurt, Joseph did not want her to be stoned to death. Joseph was not consumed with anger.


One of the hardest things about betrayal is to come to terms with it and then to move on.


Matt. 1:19 But Joseph, her husband to be, being just, and not willing to make her a public example, he purposed to put her away secretly.


God’s Word involved Joseph in this entire situation. An angel needed to appear in order to reveal that Mary had not been unfaithful.


After a lot of agonizing about what he ought to do, Joseph falls asleep. Sometimes, people cannot sleep after something like this; particularly when revenge is desired.


People take dreams seriously; and some just think, that’s just a dream. They are interpreted in many different ways. However, it is uncertain as to what it really means.


Joseph is no doubt glad that he was going to do the right thing by Mary. He is happy and he is relieved.


The angel addresses him as, Joseph, son of David. This is a meaningful title. Joseph is chosen as the step father because he is in the kingly line of David. Joseph is assured that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.


Matt. 1:20 And as he thought upon these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take to you Mary as your wife. For that in her is fathered of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus means Savior. Both Mary and Joseph are told to name this child Jesus. Even in the midst of an apostate Israel, Joseph and Mary both adhere to the teachings of the Bible. This was a group which stuck with the literal meaning of the Old Testament. They were doctrinal believers who followed the Scriptures.


Joseph’s fiancee is carrying the Savior of the world.


Matt. 1:21 And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”


Lesson #39       Luke 1:22– The Life of Christ January 23, 2011             Sunday 2


3 of the 4 already know what is going to occur. Joseph is just now getting the memo. He had the choice to put her away publically, so that she is stoned to death; or he can quietly and legally sever their marriage. He has decided on the latter course of action. However, he receives word in a dream that he need not take either action. The dream will tell him why Mary is pregnant and there is no reason to disgrace her or to feel disgraced.


Matt. 1:22 Now all this happened so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken of the LORD by the prophet, saying,


Now we begin to get the reason for this. The passage is well-known; Isa. 7:14. The meaning becomes clear to Joseph immediately. Joseph becomes an integral part of this. Jesus is not a bastard stepchild of a dubious background. Joseph is needed to raise this child as his own. Legal adoption meant that Jesus would be his own.


Matt. 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall conceive in her womb, and will bear a son. And they will call His name Emmanuel," which being interpreted is, God with us. (Isa. 7:14)


Joseph wakes up and he does exactly as the angel commands him. He took Mary as his wife.


Matt. 1:24 And Joseph, being roused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife,


Joseph and Mary did not have a sexual relationship until this child is born. They did not get to choose the name of this child. Joseph did exactly what he was commanded to do. He was commissioned by God to be a father when he was not a father. He followed these instructions to the letter.


Mary was not a perpetual virgin. Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters.


The faith of Joseph is truly amazing. Joseph has the greatest faith of them all here, because everything in human understanding told him one thing, he went with what God said.


Joseph was how Jesus was legally related to David; Mary was how Jesus was genetically related to David.


It was the words of the Old Testament and the doctrine resident in his soul. When the angel quoted Isa. 7:14, he understood and believed. He applied the doctrine resident in his soul. Bible doctrine prepared Joseph to catch on immediately. With doctrine in the soul, with God’s Word implanted in our souls, His direction will come through loud and clear for us.


This is not just a story of Joseph’s faith, but it indicates what God’s Word imbedded in our souls can do for any one of us.


Matt. 1:25 and did not know her until she bore her son, the First-born. And he called His name JESUS.


The next event would be the birth of John the Baptizer. Mary stays with Elizabeth for 3 months and then comes back home to Joseph, who is ready to accept her as his wife.


Luke 1:56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and returned to her own house.


Once John the Baptizer was born, the tongue of Zacharias was let lose. He has 6 months of silence and now he could speak.


Luke 1:57 And the time was fulfilled to Elizabeth for her to bear. And she bore a son.


Luke 1:58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard how the Lord had magnified His mercy with her, and they rejoiced with her.


Luke 1:59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and were calling it Zacharias, after his father's name.


Luke 1:60 And his mother answered and said, No, but he shall be called John.


Luke 1:61 And they said to her, There is none of your kindred that is called by this name.


Luke 1:62 And they made signs to his father as to how he would have him called.


Luke 1:63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they all marveled.


Luke 1:64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosened. And he spoke and praised God.


Luke 1:65 And fear came on all who lived all around them. And all these things were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea.


Luke 1:66 And all those who heard laid them up in their hearts, saying, What kind of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.


Luke 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,


Zacharias speaks about the special child who is born to him. For 30 years, John lived in the hill country of Judæa. So, now it is Zacharias’s turn to sing a hymn in Luke 1:68–79



Zacharias has been thinking about this for a long time and he speaks of Who Jesus would be and about the history of the Jews.


Luke 1:68 Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people


Luke 1:69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,


Luke 1:70 as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from eternity;


There would be deliverance from all who hated the Jews.


Luke 1:71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,


there would be a blessing to all Israel. The fulfillment of the holy covenant.


Luke 1:72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant,


Luke 1:73 the oath which He swore to our father Abraham,


Luke 1:74 that He would grant to us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear


Luke 1:75 in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.


Now he gets to say what his own son would be doing. He will be called a prophet; like those who held some of the greatest offices and were held in the highest esteem. This is a great privilege of this time.


Luke 1:76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest, for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,


John would not be giving salvation, but the knowledge of salvation. This would come through the purchase of their sins.


Luke 1:77 to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,


The sunrise is the image of light. Jesus Christ is seen as the light that shines darkness upon the human soul.


Luke 1:78 through the tender mercy of our God; by which the Dayspring from on high has visited us,


Light will be given to those who sit in darkness. Salvation metaphors here. Light and dark and contrasted many times in Scripture.


This world is of the devil and we are lost. Our feet are to be guided to peace with God; reconciliation with God. Zacharias gets it. He reflects everything that he knows. He praises God concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and then for his son. Notice that he puts Jesus Christ first, even though he had just had a son who would be the Lord’s herald. We follow the Lord Jesus Christ before we follow our family. This is a priority; it does not mean that you place your family in nowhere land. Zacharias knew that John was the forerunner of the Lord.


Luke 1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.


We will leave John for awhile to grow up on his own.


Luke 1:80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit and was in the deserts


There are no more events to cover until the greatest event of human history.


Today we will begin the day of Christmas.


John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us.


How did this happen? How did Jesus become flesh?


Matthew and Luke have this information, but the narratives are brief and concise, with very little detail.


Luke gives the most complete account of the life of Christ and the most complete account of His birth.


We have to be careful about reading in between the lines. We cannot simply come up with stories which we find in our own imaginations. However, there is some clarification that we can get from this. However, we should never subtract from this or change it.


Matthew sought to link the prophecy of Jesus in the Old Testament with these events, so there are some things which he records that no one else does. The visit of the Magia, who are Gentiles who come from a distant land somewhere in the Middle East. He also records the flight of Jesus Christ into Egypt and the return into Nazareth.


Both the accounts in Matthew and Luke are in perfect harmony. There are some apparent discrepancies which can be solved. They agree as to the descent of Jesus Christ; and they both agree as to the Jews and Gentiles to be impacted by the coming Lord.


There are many types of people who come to see our Lord Jesus Christ. This is quite important. These people of all sorts of interested. There was Herod who took some interest in this. He wanted to kill anyone who threatened his reign. The peasants were interested, the unsophisticated shepherds who were Jews are interested. The Magia are interested. This was a day of good tidings and joy and peace on earth to all men. This gives a distinctly global approach to the birth of our Lord.


The mission of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be understood as being only for the Jews. The scope of his ministry went far beyond Judæa. The homage of the shepherds indicates the receptivity of the common people for the Lord Jesus Christ, which is very characteristic of the entire ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Must of His ministry was direct toward the peasant class. There was often friction with the upper classes, who were seen as the enlightened ones; the arrogance self righteous ones. They were impressed with their own wealth and status and fame. This is a lesson for us. This is a problem for those who reject Christianity.


This way, we do not think, “How could God exclude me? Look at who I am? I have accumulated so much wealth. I have been a high governmental official.” Etc. That is who the pharisees and the sadducees were. Where is the human culpability?


The Magi were wealthy men, and learned.


Lesson #0040  Luke 2:1–7 Matt. 2:1 Life of Christ Jan. 26, 2011        Wednesday


Everything that we have covered before has led to this moment, which is the beginning of the actual life of Jesus Christ, which is the birth narrative. Many will read Luke 2 on Christmas, but it is unclear how much people get out of this.


In those days is an interesting phrase, and it is something that we need to determine. A decree means that there is absolutely no discussion about this. This becomes law.


Luke 2:1 And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.


This was the first census taken when Cyrenius was governor. These opening lines are an indication that the hand of God controls history for His Own purposes. He controls His plan for us and all that is around His plan for us.


We have truly free volition, but God still has His plan.


God sets a series of events in order to bring about His plan. All of these events take into account


27 b.c. and a.d. 14 is the time for Cæsar Augustus.


a.d. 14–37 Tiberius.


Herod died in 4 b.c. and Jesus died in the days of Herod.


Matt. 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem,


V. 2 presents a problem with dating. It is a problem passage. It is a problem of reconciling Matt. 2:1 with this. He was governor of Syria in a.d. 6–7.


This gives us a time lag. These passages do not seem to be reconcilable. Herod was long dead at a.d. 6. The dates of these 2 men does not match. Many have contended that this means the Bible cannot be inspired.


The adjective προτη = before (not first). This means this took place before a.d. 6. The problem is, how much before. There is uncertainty about the word before here.


Since Herod died in 4 b.c., Jesus had to die before this time.


A census was taken in the Roman empire in order to tax the people. They were not interested in how many people were in this or that house. This was done for taxation purposes. This prepared a list of taxable persons and taxable property.


The 2nd stage was a determination of the tax. The stage between the enrollment and the tax itself. There might be a long interval in between these time frames. You needed to be registered in the house in which you were born, so you had to return to the city where you were born—maybe your family is from there. So there is a travel time involved here. Cæsar ordered this.


This would likely be the winter of 5–4 b.c. the first known observance of Dec. 25 was maybe as early as the 2nd century a.d. but definitely by the 4th century a.d. Jan. 6 celebrated by the eastern church.


In determining this date. Cyrenius as governor and what does it mean to be governor? He was a well-known person who was governor in a.d. 6–7. Was he a procurator prior to this? That could be what is going on here.


The word governor is the present participle of hegemoeuô. This is not a term for a formal governor of a province. This is a man who is in command or control. We get the word hegemony from this word.


Augustus would have trusted him and Cyrenius could have been put in charge of census enrollment before he was governor. This may have been a task which set him up for the concept of a state position.


The Roman empire needed money; it always needed money. The government always needs money and the only way to get it is to tax people. Caesar needed money, and he wanted this done and he wanted it done right. He appoints Cyrenius in order to do this (I believe it is conjecture that Cyrenius was in charge of this project, but not the governor at this time). Cyrenius would have been in this area between 12–2 b.c.


The Time Frame

1.       The date of the census is said to be at the time of the Roman enrollment of the empire’s population for the purposes of taxation.

2.       The best evidence points to the time frame of the registration to be around the winter of 5–4 b.c., which falls within the time frame for these 3 men.

3.       This date coincides with all of these passages. Cyrenius would have been curator of Syria, but not the former governor.

4.       Therefore, it is safe to say that 5–4 b.c. would have been the date of Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem because they are both of the house and family of David.


Luke 2:2 (This taxing was first made when [before] Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)


This is a very matter-of-fact narrative. Luke lists a series of the facts without any information about the trip of Mary and Joseph. This was an 80 mile trip with a very pregnant Mary, but they had to comply with the Roman edict.


Furthermore, the child needed to be born in Bethlehem. This was certainly not what Mary and Joseph wanted to do, but Rome determined that they would have to do this.


Luke 2:3 And all went to be registered, each to his own city.


At this time, Mary and Joseph were married. The marriage contract had them being married but they were not living together.


Bethlehem was the early residence of David; Jesse raised David there. David kept the sheep in the fields nearby where the shepherds kept their sheep.


Why did Mary have to go? They had only been married for 6 months. The practical reason was, they were very much in love that Joseph had already protected her and married her. Now, he is commanded by Rome to go to Bethlehem. Nazareth was a tough town; a gentile town; not a friendly place. Joseph was not about to leave his very pregnant wife there.


And, of course, the Bible tells us Jesus must be born there.


How could the Jews miss all of this. The Bible is so accurate.


His origin is from antiquity from eternity.


Micah 5:2 Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.


This again is God’s control of history. This ought to be quite reassuring to us. Just as all the Old Testament prophecies said, He was born in Bethlehem. Who else could have directed all of these circumstances in order to end up with these 2 going to Bethlehem at just the time Mary would give birth.


Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee to be taxed (out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David).


Luke 2:5 And he took Mary his betrothed wife, being with child.



You would think with all of this movement in the trip, Mary would have given birth; but it had to occur in Bethlehem.


Luke 2:6 And while they were there, the days for her deliverance were fulfilled.


Luke again, gives us basic information, that she gives birth to her firstborn. Royalty in another country would have recorded all kinds of a additional information.


When they arrived in Bethlehem, they looked for a place to stay. They had no in to stay in, but her contractions began to come more quickly.


Caravan sarai were the inns all over. Low rooms with no furniture and no privacy, and everyone could see what was going on in the room. Your only luxury would be a rug you might bring yourself.


For Mary and Joseph, they could not even get one of those places. There were a lot of other people registering in Bethlehem. All these little rooms were filled. There was no choice. The baby was not going to wait for them to find another place.


Where did the God of the Universe become flesh and live among us? The only place they could go was the courtyard of this inn, which was a common area. There were many others in the common area, all out in the open. There were horses, mules, camels and a tremendous amount of filth, as one would expect as well. Pariah dogs would have also been there. There was no sterile hospital, no midwives and no privacy. In the middle of all this, Mary delivered the Lord Jesus Christ. The nativity scenes we see in no way describe what we see here. Humbler circumstances of birth could not be imagined.


There were a number of people in the midst of group of people. Tradition has this occurring in a cave, and it is possible that this took place in a cave nearby the inn, which would have provided a little more protection from the elements.


If this is a cave; it is encasing rock in which there is a hollowed out area. This is not unlike a tomb, a symbolic place of death. No happenstance in this. All of this has a meaning.


There were nothing but death cloths available. When Jesus was dead, His body was wrapped in these same cloths. You cannot separate His birth from His death. His purpose in life was dying. Our salvation began here, where He is bon, in the middle of filth with no privacy.


Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her son, the First-born, and wrapped Him, and laid Him in a manger-- because there was no room for them in the inn.


Lesson #0041  Luke 2:7–10 The Life of Christ January 27, 2011            Thursday


Mary has just given birth and she is the one to take care of her son; she is the one to wrap him in clothing.


Despite the fact that He was born in filth; there were no midwives, no privacy, no one to coach Joseph; no gold leaf crib for the child to spend his first life. He is in a troth used to feed animals; filth and squalor was what this was all about.


He was the One for Whom the world had been waiting. He may have been born out in the open in the courtyard and He may have been born in a limestone cave nearby.


There were little cubicles where people stayed, with no privacy and a rug on the dirt only if the renter brought it. But they couldn’t even get that.


A cave would have been an encasement of rock. That cave could not hold Him; He would emerge. Mary wrapped Him in cloth. As a newborn in this winter of 5–4 b.c. they covered Him in the simplest of cloth. They took narrow strips of cloth and wrapped Him in this. This was not unusual to straighten out the body. However, this was the same type of cloth used for bodies prepared for burial. The same cloth would be used for our Lord after the cross. This pointed to His death, which is why Jesus came.


He is lying in the feed troth wrapped in death clothes. That would have been an extraordinarily degrading birth for our Savior. However, apropos to explain Him coming into this earth from heaven; from Deity to man. Very apropos.


Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her son, the First-born, and wrapped Him, and laid Him in a manger-- because there was no room for them in the inn.


There was just a normal day which began, even though the Savior had been born. Others were born and others were dying. Not even the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus could change this. It was his decree which took Mary and Joseph to this inn.


Augustus Cæsar thought himself to be the greatest ruler of that time, and yet, the True Ruler of the World was herein born. This is the center of all human history and something that we ought to be thankful for every single day.


You never know who is being born in your vicinity. Maybe the next president; maybe the next captain of industry or a great pastor.


Bobby recalls first invasion of Afghanistan and a guy Bobby knew, and there he was in charge of the forces in Afghanistan.


On dawn, on the next day, only Mary and Joseph were the only ones there who knew Who this Child was. However, this would not escape the notice of some. So this did not remain a secret for very long.


Another announcement is made. 3 announcements made: to Zacharias, to Mary and then to Joseph. And now, another announcement.


Luke 2:8 And in the same region there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.


Luke 2:9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid.


Bobby’s mother sole Christmas decoration: “Unto you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This next announcement was made to shepherds in a field. Ironically, shepherds to held in very low esteem at that time. They were unable to observe the laws of ceremonial purification. They were constantly unclean because of their profession. There was such legalism in this time period. Ritual had become unreality and it drove Judaism. Many legalisms have found their way into various Christian groups.


All of the outward trappings are nothing; it is what Christ has done in your soul. Bobby heard easy-believism in seminary even.


The shepherds did not fit into a nice slot of legalism. They could not fit into these superficial niceties of religion. They were not even taught legalism and Judaism. However, many of them still knew the Bible and the prophecies. The shepherds simply would not have been very clean people, and yet, the angel chose to make the announcement to these shepherds.


Luke 2:9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid.


The Angel of the Lord is often used as a Theophanies. God cannot appear in His true form; we would be struck dead instantly. So God must appear in a form that we can see without being destroyed.


This was a Theophany here. The Theophanies of the Old Testament were Jesus Christ appearing on many occasions. The shepherds are enveloped with the glory of the Lord, which indicates the presence of the Lord.


The same glory that appeared to Abraham in Acts 7:2; the glory in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple; Ezek. 10:4, 18, 19 the loss of the glory.


For 400 years, our Lord did not show Himself in His glory at any time.


The localized manifested presence of God.


How Does Jesus Appear as the Angel of the Lord?

1.       His Deity was being manifested to the shepherds even as He lay in hypostatic union in that filthy troth in Bethlehem.

2.       This is a perfect picture of the first use of Christ’s undiminished Deity in hypostatic union. In this union, in the doctrine of kenosis, He voluntarily emptied Himself of the independent use of His divine attributes. These properties existed together in One Person.

3.       Utilizing His Deity to accomplish the will of the Father in this announcement while, at the same time, being united with humanity.

4.       What a mystery of God this is. One Person in 2 places at once. This illustrates His divine attribute of omniscience.

5.       He did not surrender His Deity. He did not reduce His attributes; they were localized united in the Person. He did not surrender His omnipresence.

6.       God was everywhere. Everywhere present and yet localized, first as Jesus Christ and again here as the Angel of God.

7.       He is the manifested presence of God to Israel. This helps us to understand Who this child is.


This is the sign that the shepherds saw. Yet, they were aware of it. Not in 400 years had anyone seen the Shekinah glory, the coming in the flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself.


Understandably, facing something like this, we might also become quite frightened. Moses, “No man can see God and live.” This time they are in the very presence of God. Jesus reveals this same Shekinah glory to John and Peter and James. However, they did not die, even though Moses warned us.


Here Jesus was, once again, with His people. Immanuel had come; God with us. The Angel tells them, “Do not be afraid.”


The Announcement to the Shepherds

1.       This announcement was not just for the shepherds or even all Israel.

2.       He was a universal Savior; He would provide unlimited atonement.

3.       All have the opportunity to be saved. He is the propitiation for our sins; and not our sins only, but for those of the eniter world.

4.       God had said to Abraham in Gen. 12:3 In you, all the family would be blessed. This is why He came.

5.       The Lord Jesus Christ would fulfill a part of the Abrahamic covenant.

6.       These shepherds are the very first ones to hear these words. The Angel of the Lord is identifying the place of the Savior’s birth. He was in the line of David and would sit on the throne forever and ever.


Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.


He arrives as a Savior and He arrives as a Sovereign.



Lesson #0042  Luke 2:8–12 The Life of Christ January 30, 2011            Sunday 1

The great joy is His appearance.


Luke 2:8 And in the same region there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.


Luke 2:9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid.


Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.


This is something that we probably know; but everything that God has given us is provided for us here. This is there real meaning of Christmas. This is the mission of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Here is His authority, His title, the Lord. This is the Christmas message. This is always appropriate. These words represent more than anything else, the Christmas celebration. Here is the pastoral scene of the shepherds.


There is the omnipresence of the 2nd member of the Trinity. Here is the Angel of the Lord, Who is Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ is lying simultaneously in the manger. This is the same Shekinah glory which was present with Israel throughout her history. All of the appearances in the Old Testament; one and the same; omnipresent God. Twice localized in these passages.


This is the greatest drama of all, and there are only a few in their seats. And here Bobby is, 2000 years later, in Houston, Texas, spreading the same message.


Now, this ought to strike us as unusual. This Angel does not appear in the middle of Jerusalem, speaking to hundreds or thousands of men at once. He makes this announcement to shepherds—perhaps, 2 or 3; maybe 20 or 30. But this is a small crowd to whom the Lord has appeared.


Universal Savior does not mean that all people will be saved. There is the work of God in Christ on the cross, and, secondly, our acceptance.


Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared. This is the same announcement made in Luke 2:11.


Our Christian life is separate from salvation. One moment of faith alone in Christ alone saves us; after that is our life. Which one of us gains eternal life because of how good we are?


And in you will all the nations of the world be blessed. This is the promise to Abraham. The Messiah of Israel would come. This is the blessing of unlimited atonement.


Why didn’t the Angel of the Lord appear in the Temple and tell those in the Temple that Jesus Christ has been born. Why not go to someone on a higher scale than these shepherds. These shepherds were not tainted by apostates Judaism. They were not corrupted with human viewpoint. These were men like David. When the time came, David was pulled out of those fields. He had doctrine in his soul and God pulled him out when the time was right. These shepherds knew that their time had come. They are not just informed here; they are in the middle of it.


The nature and circumstances of the birth of the Messiah. Shepherd would understand this better than anyone else. They had seen hundreds of births. They were breeding sheep to be sacrificed; bred just for that reason. These were the lambs whose shed blood was to ge pictured.


When they stood before the priest, the lamb was sacrificed and the lamb took the penalty for their sins. What a picture of what redemption cost. In taking care of these sheep, these shepherds no doubt became somewhat attached to these lambs, and yet, they would be slaughtered for sin.


They knew the ritual sacrifices so well; and here, they would be able to see the Lamb of God, without spot, Who would be sacrificed for their sins.


Now, these men would go out and tell many others.


Luke 2:11 For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.


Here is the sign. The Old Testament is loaded with signs which would tell about a future event. One of the promises made to Noah; about a rainbow. Bobby lived in Hawaii, and each time we see it, it is a sign that God would not destroy the world with another flood.


The shepherds understood signs; they understood them personally and nationally. The baby wrapped in death clothes lying in a manger would be the sign to these shepherds. No royal cradle, no royal crowns. This baby had the appearance of being prepared for burial.


The lowly shepherds, the dregs of society, knew their need of this redemption. They were not confused about their own unworthiness. There was no legalism here. For the King of Kings, death loomed.


These are the same fields where David had kept his sheep, a millennia ago.


Luke 2:12 And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger.


Les #43 Luke 2:13–14 14:26–27 Matt. 10:34–36 Life of Christ 1/30/11         Sun 2


There bursts on the scene, a πληθος (from which, we get plethora). So, just in case, the importance of this moment is not quite understood, a multitude of angels suddenly appear, praising God. This is a heavenly choir of angels.


Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,


ειρηνη is one of the most confused words in the Bible. Peace on earth is not world peace. This is not the peace brought by the Lord Jesus Christ. Enmity between men is not brought by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the peace between God and man. The enmity between God and man is removed; that is the glorious meaning of these angels.


So many times, this is misquoted and misinterpreted by humanists. They do not believe Jesus is the reconciler between God and man; they see Jesus as a symbol of peace between men.


Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


On earth, conflict and war will continue, no matter how many bumper stickers and how many signs and symbols for peace that are paraded about. No world peace will occur until the 2nd advent.


During the ministry of Jesus Christ, He addressed this.


Matt. 10:34 Don't assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.


There will be a division between family members, and this is brought about by a sword, which separates; which divides. Whether this is a family member or a close friend, it is like-mindedness which divides. The thought process is different. Those who are not believers, even in families, will develop antagonisms toward those who are in Christ. It never fails, because they do not understand. Sometimes it is because they do not like what they see. They are in constant turmoil. They do not understand.


Some believers in Jesus Christ will even become despised by those who are not. We bend over backwards to give certain religions freedom, but, in many cases, Christianity is stiffled. There is no peace on earth between Christians and Muslims. We are in the midst of a religious war. Divisions. People hate Christianity because it is the truth.


Matt. 10:35–36 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household.


Believers living the Christian life have priorities which is even before family. Mothers and fathers make up the primary institution.


Jesus uses hyperbole here, saying that if one does not hate his own father and mother—even his own life, he cannot be Jesus’ disciple.


Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, and even his own life--he cannot be My disciple.


Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.


If families are divided, then there will be divisions among other categories of humanity.


There are 3 great fears: death, public speaking and then war. This is why so few people willingly go to war. This is for the cause of freedom, and some cannot quite get behind that. Their own life is worth more to them than national freedom.


Even the hint of a war scares people. These things must take place, and that is not yet the end. Wars reflect divisions among families, people and nations.


Mark 13:7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don't be alarmed; these things must take place, but the end is not yet.


There is not greater illustration than World War I, which is an amazing illustration of this. The monarchs of Europe who went to war at this time were family. Before 1914, there were a bunch of monarchs. All of these ruling groups were family, and this was the most horrendous war in human history. The family of those nations went to war. Kaiser Wilhelm and Edward of England (Wm?) were cousins.


We will see the end of wars and rumors of wars until the end of the Tribulation.


We are in a war and there are many others as well. When Bobby edited Freedom through Military Victory, there were 50 wars going on at that time. Today, it is no different.


Only at the end of the Tribulation will world peace become a reality. When the Prince of Peace rules in the line of David. He is the only one capable of doing so. No one else will be able to do this.


Mark 13:8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.


We are surrounded by this. Conflict and war. It is unreality to think that there is perfect harmony among human relationships; even between Christians.


Where is the peace? It can only be found in our soul. This is the only place where real peace can exist; never in external circumstances.


Where is the peace? In your own soul. Even if your conflicts are never resolved. We cannot abolish conflicts between nations. Bobby can’t tell us that we will evolve into people who do not have conflicts. We cannot evolve out of our sin natures. We will always have this, and from our sin nature comes conflict. The nature of man is not inherently good and we are not outgrowing it.


The fact that we can communicate all over the world by technology does not change human nature.


Lack of preparedness does not abolish war, it abolishes freedom. Disarming; unilateral seeking of peace; getting rid of nuclear weapons as quickly as we can, will not bring us closer to peace. We are getting rid of nuclear weapons right now, and nuclear weapons have kept us out of nuclear war for the past 60 years. This is lunacy. The sin nature of man guarantees conflict between man.


Only God can remove the enmity between God and man through His Son.


Peace on earth to men with whom God is pleased.


What Is the Solution? How Do We Attain Peace on Earth Toward Men?

1.       First the believer is reconciled to God through faith alone in Christ alone. That is the appropriation of what Christ did on the cross.

2.       Then the believer fills his soul with Bible doctrine. He implants the cross of Christ in his soul.

3.       Through that, we gain the only true peace on earth; peace in our soul. The only thing that we have control over is our soul. You may even be a manipulator, but you never have complete control over someone else.

4.       We cannot implant peace in the souls of others. That is the best we can do for reconciliation between people.

5.       Even with that peace in your soul, you cannot control another person’s nature or antagonisms, especially toward us.


Jeremiah describes the lack of peace in man’s souls apart from Bible doctrine.


Jer. 6:14 They have treated My people's brokenness superficially, claiming: Peace, peace, when there is no peace.


How many times have we heard, “Just give peace a chance.” There wasn’t even peace on that campus. Bobby had tears in his eyes from tear canisters thrown into buildings at his college to remove those who had taken over these buildings, with signs saying, “Give peace a chance.”


no matter how many times the UN says, “Stop attacking Israel,” the wars in to the Middle East will continue. Some modicum of peace will be achieved only when enemy nations realize that war is too costly.


Peace is unavailable to those people who are unreconcilable.


Lesson #none      Luke 2: The Life of Christ February 2, 2011            Wednesday


Cold weather, rolling blackout canceled


Lesson #none      Luke 2: The Life of Christ February 3, 2011                Thursday


Cold weather, rolling blackout canceled


Lesson #0044    Luke 2:14 14:26–27 Life of Christ Feb 6, 2011              Sunday 1

We have misinterpreted this verse to mean that, man, by man’s efforts, will usher in world peace. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. This is the incorrect way to translate it.


God’s actions toward people is limited. This verse does not mean that God looks at those who are trying to bring about peace are those with whom God is well-pleased.


Reconciliation (peace) is between man and God; not between man and man. This is not some humanistic peace, whereby man brings in world peace by his own efforts. Man cannot even bring peace to his own life between himself and others. Do not think that man will abolish personal conflicts somehow. It won’t happen. There is no internationalism which will fix things and bring peace. Disarming is a figment of the imagination of humanism. What do you think would happen to certain nations if they disarmed and decided, “Let’s be peaceful and get along with everyone.”


Egypt today is in complete and total anarchy; there is a power vacuum; and wherever there is the power vacuum, iraq and Israel are the only stable countries in the Middle East. Egypt could fall and become the Islamic Republic of Egypt tomorrow. Shouldn’t Israel disarm and say, “Peace, brother.” They would be annihilated. The same is true of South Korea or the United States.


As a client nation, the United States is the greatest perpetrator of peace in this world. There is nothing to be expected by chanting, “Give peace a chance.” They think that the essential nature of man is changing; but our sin natures cannot be removed. The possession of a sin nature does not change in man.


Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace toward [or, with reference to] men with whom He is will pleased.


Let’s talk about peace. Matt. 10:34–36 “Don't assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword [which indicates division]. For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household.” Jesus Christ came to bring division among family members. Isn’t the family a divine institution? It is the basic unit which holds society together. As a result of the first advent, those who believe in Christ and continue to grow, they will be separated from some members of their family. This does not mean that we must run the other direction to avoid your family. This is a spiritual separation; this is about like-mindedness. Those who are not believers in Jesus Christ or reversionists, those, even in families, will develop antagonisms against those in Christ or who are growing spiritually. This is true in every aspect of life. It is true between individuals; it is true in individuals. Antagonisms develop. This is the devil’s world and he is opposed to us in every possible way. They will hate us. Some will hate you. Islam does not love you.


Through all of this, the believer’s priority is Jesus Christ. This does not mean that we abandon family. It simply means that there is a priority.


In Luke 14:26, our Lord speaks in hyperbole. Some of our family members think that we are weird for going to church, and sometimes, this is the person who loves us more than anyone else on this earth. The key is priority.


Luke 14:26–27 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, and even his own life--he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”


If families can be divided; then so also the family of nations.


We ought to protect Israel, otherwise, we are in for serious discipline.


Mark 13:7–8 “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don't be alarmed; these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”


Wars reflect divisions among peoples. We can all name a variety of conflicts. There is someone out there with whom we ae in conflict with. We usually have all sorts of conflicts going on. It is unreality to expect perfect harmony in any relationship. A relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the only way that we can gain peace in our own souls.


Peace means adversity does not get into our souls, despite the fact that we are mired in conflict. This peace cannot control the other person’s nature of antagonism.


There is no peace because these people have rejected the truth. There is no peace in their souls and there is no peace around them. They do not understand why we cannot just get along. They do not understand the fundamental nature of man. The main principle of anthropology is the depravity of man. That is the truth, which is the opposite of what many might believe.


Jer. 8:11 They have treated superficially the brokenness of My dear people, claiming: Peace, peace, when there is no peace.


They went behind their walled cities, and they were still subjected to death and slavery. We have a nature that cannot be changed, but it can be controlled by God the Holy Spirit and by spiritual growth. The results are not perfect, but better than anything else on earth.


There is no utopia on this earth and never will be until the 2nd advent. Only the confidence in the souls of believers. Attempts to get peace are usually destructive acts. Trying to abolish national boundaries brings about more conflicts than it solved. God can solve these problems, but we cannot. The superimposition of human utopian ideas will never fix anything.


Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace toward [or, with reference to] men with whom He is will pleased.


Lesson #0045    Luke 2:14 The Life of Christ February 6, 2011              Sunday 2


Bobby wants us to make certain that we understand peace is not be achieved in this world. The superimposition of collectivism is one great way that some believe will give us peace. Collectivism over individualism. This is what Marxism is. This is what the creeping socialism in our own country is. The state is more important than the individual and the idea that the state can solve the problems of mankind. Our government cannot solve our problems. They never could and never will. Soviet Russia was the greatest collectivist attempt in world history. We just need more government and we will all be better off.


People think that the redistribution of wealth is the solution. We are not equal because we have the same amount of money. Someone is going to get wealthy and someone is going to be poor. A welfare program that destroys people rather than helping them out. For whatever reason, being poor will never change.


All we need to do is abolish capitalism and the greed of man will disappear. Capitalism is the one thing which brings prosperity. We have been told over and over again that it is an evil.


All of these things are alleged in order to create a power vacuum. How do you think that collectivism is imposed? How do you think redistribution is imposed. This is done by force and violence.


Man has never had a good nature and never will have a good nature. Revolution does not result in peace. God illustrates how, whenever man declares peace, there is no peace.


If Bobby taught an anthropology course, this is where he would start, with Jer. 17:9.


Jer. 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick--who can understand it?


People are shocked by crime and violence. The heart is desperately wicked. Jeremiah tells us like it is. There will never be permanent peace on earth. This only occurs when the Lord returns.


Bobby lines up the kings of the east, the kings of the south; etc. But who knows? There will be war. That is guaranteed. However, we are not to become disquieted. The valley is Esdraelon and Napoleon once said, “The armies of the world could fight here” and they will. The blood of the enemy will rise as high as the horse’s bridle. That will result in peace. However, then there will be a time when man lives without a sin nature. When Jesus Christ rules over the entire earth, and only then will the environment be in harmony with us. In the meantime, Al Gore can scream as much as he wants. Bobby loves animals and he is a hunter from time to time. Hunting is often a process of keeping animals alive. Not over-killing, but conservation killing. The point is, the environment will not be destroyed by man. There will be none of this global warming, ice storms, cancellation of Bible class, etc.


In the meantime, individual peace comes in the souls of believers who are spiritually mature.


The United States has preserved the peace through strength.


Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace toward [or, with reference to] men with whom He is will pleased.


The Peace of Luke 2:14

1.       Peace with men with whom He is well-pleased is reconciliation between man and God.

2.       This is a peace within those who accept the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Savior, and then grow to maturity. That is peace in your own heart and peace toward others.

3.       Those who grow spiritually. The maximum peace that we can have with others in our periphery is peace in our own souls first. All of the problems in this world, including war, do not frighten us. We have the doctrine to understand all that is going on all around us. We have no illusions about that.

4.       This is a living peace, a peace for our life, for those who advance in the spiritual life. Isa. 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You [occupied with the Lord], because he trusts in You. There can be no peace of mind without truth and trust. We have faith in His Word and we focus on the mind of Christ. That is divine viewpoint. That is peace in your soul.


This is one reason for our current study, to learn His thinking, as well as His person and history. We can face life with a mental attitude which is unassailable. A relaxed mental attitude. This is your peace which springs from reliance upon God’s graceless, matchless provision for us. We show courage and poise and optimism in great difficulties. We are able to relax and we are able to concentrate and we can believe the promises of God’s Word. Faith in His Word is the only way to develop a relaxed mental attitude.


Now, for most of us, there is something which gets to us. There is something that we hear and it gets to us. Do we have a relaxed mental attitude through it all? As we grow spiritually and as we plant doctrine in our soul, we grow and deal with adversity. Jesus Christ, on the cross, had a relaxed mental attitude. He was not overjoyed and thrilled; but He had an attitude in adversity, an attitude which understands what is happened, an attitude which allows us to relax. This is not the power of positive thinking. This is not some meditation. This is a constant peace of mind that is developed.


Mental attitude sins, like fear, anger and worry. These are actual sins. Lucid, clear doctrinal application cannot coexist with these mental attitude sins. As you grow, these will become less of an issue for us. When you can apply His Word to the circumstances of life, when it is implanted in your soul, then life will bring nothing to you that you cannot handle. Bobby says that we ought to read about the martyrs of the faith, how some are burned or shot or killed in some horrible way because we believe in Jesus Christ. People died with a smile on their face because they died with faith in Christ. And they knew, in seconds, they would spend eternity with Jesus Christ. That is a relaxed mental attitude. The narratives of some of these martyrs is amazing.


Stephen, the first martyr, was a good first example. The Apostle Paul, then Saul, watched this, and he hated Christians at that time. With a relaxed mental attitude, the believer will not wear his feelings on his sleeve; hypersensitivity, taking offense at every slight, and developed a soul filled with mental attitude sins because of every slight. These result in problems of your own making.


What we ought to do is respond with the doctrine in our soul. Have a peace of mind. Your greatest nemesis, to whom you would normally react, use doctrine, and see how it works. Think of a doctrinal rationale instead of facing it with more mental attitude sins.


The believer with the relaxed mental attitude is the person with whom God is well pleased.


God Is Pleased with Those

1.       God is pleased with the believer who have a peace of mind, regardless of what the circumstances are.

2.       Those are the ones who put problems in the perspective of the Word of God. This is the perspective of the mind of Christ Himself. What can assail you then?

3.       These are the ones who relax in the promises of God. Right there, you know how God delivers you inside great difficulties.

4.       These are believers who produce a stead, mature tranquility which is reassuring to himself and to those around him.

5.       Those with whom He is well-pleased are those who live in the light of eternity. They are secure in time and in eternity. It is never doubting what our eternal future is. Death is in the hands of the Lord. It is in his hands. The greatest fear is in the hands of God—death.

6.       The adversities of life. Your life does not go without adversity as a believer. Philip. 4:7 the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension and it will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


Lesson #none      Luke 2: The Life of Christ February 9, 2011            Wednesday


no class; inclement weather


Lesson #0046  Luke 2:15–19, 52 The Life of Christ Feb. 10, 2011            Thursday


These shepherds knew how close they were to the marvelous events that were unfolding. They decided to go see the God-man, God with us, Immanuel.


Luke 2:15 And it happened as the angels departed from them into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Indeed, let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing which has happened, which the Lord made known to us.


The religious leaders knew all about these various things from the Bible, and if there were rumors about a Messiah, they could have gone to Bethlehem to check things out. They did not. Their focus was only upon themselves.


This is what happens to denominations; they do not seek to know the Lord Jesus Christ; they do not seek to know the Word of God. The Roman Catholic church, at one time, was the church, but it morphed into something else because they became more interested in power politics.


Every time a denomination or a Bible church moves away from the Word of God, there is nowhere to go except to focus on themselves.


“The church should be meeting my needs,” was something that Bobby heard in seminary all the time. You do not get to define your own needs and let God fix all of those needs (or your church). It is not the bowling ally that meets your needs. That is not what the church is all about.


Luke 2:16 And hurrying they came and sought out both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.


After the shepherds saw the baby, they spread the word of His birth.


They told the things which they understood; they told about what the angels had told them; they were excited. They were totally jazzed about what just happened.


Luke 2:17 And seeing, they publicly told about the word spoken to them concerning this Child.


It sounded like, those who heard, had a big question mark over their heads. They were simply amazed or astonished about what they heard. These guys were confirming that the prophecies that were made that they were now being fulfilled. All that the Old Testament spoke of was being fulfilled. This would amaze any person who knows Scripture.


All of this would be quite amazing. Here is the grace of God in the flesh. They were certainly amazed and astonished. All the sacrifices pointed to this one moment. Thalmazô points to the full scope of Who this baby was. After 2000 years of waiting. 2000 years since the first covenant made with Abraham, and now it had come to pass.


Either these people were overwhelmed with gratitude; they wait and wait, and it finally happens. If you really believed that it would happen, then it should not surprise you that it happens.


Gideon was a great man of the Old Testament, that all know. And Gideon just could not believe it. He got all of these signs to know that God was with him, and he just could not believe it.


Luke 2:18 And all those who heard marveled about the things spoken to them by the shepherds.


Mary did not fully grasp everything. She had promises from the angels; she knew all about Elizabeth; and all of these shepherds are showing up to worship this child, and Mary just thinks about this, and keeps this to herself, thinking about these things.


These things were being confirmed by the shepherds. Suddenly, it began to dawn on Mary about what was going on.


The verb συμβαλλω which is a strange verb. It can mean to ponder, to revolve in one’s mind; to think about. Mary was deep in rumination; she was trying to make sense of it all. Mary probably had the 1000 yard stare thinking about it all.


Mary had stuff she knew from the angels; and she knew this child was set apart as the King of Israel. But these shepherds suddenly showing up, that was not something that she expected to happen.


Parents often think about their children and wonder what their children are going to be like. And Mary is thinking about this, as her Son was far more than any chld.


Mary was confused, and the later growth of Jesus will confirm that Mary continued to ponder about Who this child is. We find this out when Jesus is 12 and He is in the Temple discussing theology. Mary did not fully realize what Jesus would be doing and Who He was in this regard.


There is His first miracle turning water into wine in Caana and she did not expect this to occur. She was not read in to Who He was. Even here, she did not fully comprehend that Jesus is fully equal to God. So Jesus must tell her that He must be doing His Father’s will. However, to her credit, she trusted Him. She would understand as things progressed.


Mary is just like us. She had to learn; she had to put it all together.


Our Lord Jesus Christ’s early life; and what about that with His parents? How did He related to His parents, being Who He was. Deut. 5:16a Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you. This is authority-orientation. This is recognizing who is the authority. Rebelling is not a part of the child’s repertoire. Jesus must honor His father and mother in order not to sin. Jesus has to be authority oriented.


How would His parents act, know that He is undiminished Deity. They would have honored Him as God. They were focused on His humanity, even though He is the God of the Universe.


How could these parents demand that their Son honor them? His humanity had to submit to the authority of His parents. Jesus had to fulfill the Law. The Law was designed to guide Israel. The Law also demonstrated to everyone that they could not keep it. This testified to their sinfulness; to their inability to meet its requirements. Jesus Christ knew every part of the Law, and He kept it perfectly.


He had to be fully associated with children; and He was a child, developing like any other child.


Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these sayings, meditating [ruminating, pondering] in her heart [right lobe].


Jesus grew in spiritual maturity. His humanity was exactly like ours and His humanity had the exact same assets that ours has. Jesus was a model child; people admired Him. He led His life in perfection and humility and authority orientation. He had to have food and water to grow. He did not have unlimited physical strength. He had to limit the independent use of His Deity.


He was strong, because He hurled the money changer tables in John 2. His physic would have had a certain perfection to it. He probably had great health because He did not sin. We can reasonably surmise these things about Jesus in His humanity.


In spite of His lofty personage, He had to be under the authority of Mary and Joseph. He had to fulfill the Law. If the God man submitted to the authority of his parents, what about the children hearing this message?


If you are not authority oriented with your parents, then you will be unable to adapt to anything. Be patient, you will get out from under the thumb of your parents, but, you will find yourself under so many other authorities after that.


Throughout His ministry, there was a vague understanding of Who He was. Had the followers of Jesus been focused on His Deity from the beginning, their relationship with Him would have been vastly different. Jesus focused on His humanity. The human bond which bound the Lord to His disciples would have been dissolved, if their focus was upon His Deity.


We grow in our relationship as we become occupied with Him. We build a relationship with Jesus in a certain way.


Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.


Every event in His life was something that Mary would take note of and she developed a relationship with Jesus Christ as a Person as we do. She did not fully understand it all at the very beginning. It is just as we know some things about Jesus, but we do not know everything about Him. We grow and we learn those things.


It takes time to grow spiritually. That is why we are here.


Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these sayings, meditating [ruminating, pondering] in her heart [right lobe].


Lesson #0047    Luke 2:20–21 Life of Christ February 13, 2011              Sunday 1

Communion Sunday:

 

1John 4–8 God is our valentine; God is love.

 

God made us alive in Christ. Central to our salvation and to our spiritual life is the divine attribute of love.

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His uniquely-born Son. Rom. 5:12 God demonstrates His loved for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Nonmeritorious faith; Christ did it all. God is eternal. He has always existed. His love, as an attribute, has always existed. There was never a starting point for God’s love. Therefore, love has always existed toward us. His love has never changed toward us. Our love must be generated and developed over time. Human love will not blossom by learning the worst things about a person. All-knowing God, knowing even the worst about us from the very beginning, still loves us.

 

Adam rebelled and all mankind fell with him. In Adam, all die. 1Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

 

God’s love does not increase because of our good deeds or spiritual advance. It is not affected by what we do or what we fail to do. God’s love cannot be altered because God cannot alter His essence and still be God. His love can never be complicated by silliness; His love is not hot and cold; it does not have its ups and downs. God does not make exceptions for His favorites. God’s love always functions in a rational manner.

 

Unconditional and unchanging love does not sound very romantic. Human love can also degenerate to anger and hatred. God’s love will never do this. There is nothing that we can experience like the love of God. God’s love compels Him to take actions so that mankind might have a personal relationship with Him. God could have left us to our fallen condition and to the punishment that we deserve.

 

However, no matter how much God loves His creatures, He cannot be associated with our sin. Love cannot overlook the sin problem. Sin was not the total answer. God could not simply dismiss or simply absolve man and sin. Love motivated God, but it could not, in itself, overcome the enmity of sin between God and man. God’s righteousness and justice do not allow God’s love to remove the barrier between man and God.

 

Our sins are not sins which belong to Jesus. Our sins are as abhorrent to God the Son as they are to God the Father. What kind of love is a love like that, that a perfect God could direct toward sinners who are anathema to Him. It was the most powerful love that ever existed. It was a completely unconditional love. This is a love which focuses on the work of Jesus Christ, but not upon us. God’s love does not depend upon our merit. It depends upon His integrity. It depends upon the grace of the subject. We begin life as God’s enemy. Rom. 5:10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more will we be reconciled to His life. This is the grace of God in action for us. Grace works in coordination with His righteousness and justice. No sin can stand before the righteousness and justice of God. His love and grace provide the reality of the incarnation of Christ. Because Jesus Christ was judged on the cross, all of our sins were forgiven. Christ became sin for us. God does not see our sin; only His perfect righteousness in us. We have the righteousness of God imputed to us and we are therefore righteous in His sight. Because of Jesus Christ, we know that God is our Father; he is our benefactor and He is our friend. We can, at any time, come into His presence in prayer. Without Christ, none of us can say that. God is no longer our enemy. There is no longer this unbridgeable gap between God and us. This is all true because of the love and grace of God which is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

That is worth remembering on Valentine’s Day.


Luke 2:8–20 is about the critical role of the shepherds on this first Christmas. The announcement of the angel is in Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace with whom men He is well-pleased. This is the most famous of Christmas sayings. The shepherds were overwhelmed but not confused. The departed immediately to Bethlehem to view this great event. Luke 2:17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. Then the shepherds returned to the fields. They were not far away. They were in the fields where David was as a shepherd boy.


Luke 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as was spoken to them.


These men became the first witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ. They testified for the Savior and all that He is and all that He has done. From this point, His life began to unfold to the world.


Then 8 days go by, and the custom was to circumcise the child and to name the child. This was done to every male Jewish child.


Luke 2:21 And when eight days were fulfilled to circumcise the child, His name was called JESUS, the name called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.


Jesus means salvation. This event had great significance.


Lesson #48   Luke 2:21 Gen. 17:1–17 Life of Christ Feb 13, 2011         Sunday 2


Luke 2:21 And when eight days were fulfilled to circumcise the child, His name was called JESUS, the name called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.


Jesus was His name, just as the angel told Mary and Joseph. His name means God is salvation.


8 days later, Jesus is presented and named. This was the custom for all Jewish infant males on the 8th day of their life. However, it has great significance.


Circumcision was not exclusive to Israel. Other cultures practiced it. In Israel, it took on a very special, symbolic meaning. It was mandated by God to represent a doctrine that Israel needed to know and needed to remember every day.


Circumcision was connected to the covenant of God to Abraham.


Gen. 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,


God made a promise to Abraham about his descendants, despite the fact that Abram had no children and was too old to father a child. Abram had to realize that this would happen. God would make this happen. This way, Abraham could recount these promises.


Gen. 17:2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly."


Gen. 17:3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him,


Gen. 17:4 "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.


Gen. 17:5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.


Gen. 17:6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.


Gen. 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.


Gen. 17:8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."


Gen. 17:9 And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.


Gen. 17:10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.


So that Abram would remember this, God mandated circumcision.


Gen. 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.


The time frame is given, which would be observed by our Lord’s parents.


Gen. 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,


Even Gentiles living with them.


This was related to the virility of Abram, even though he was 99 and long past having children.


Circumcision represents the revival of Abraham’s ability to procreate. This is the ritual to commemorate the establishment of the Jewish race. This also established a regenerate race. They were from death, and yet they live. All circumcised Jews can depend upon God for their race and their regeneration. God’s symbols are certainly appropos.


Gen. 17:13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.


Gen. 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."


Gen. 17:15 And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.


This was accomplished the same time that the promise of Isaac was made, as well as the promises of kings of people would come from Sarah. From Abraham and Sarah would come the kings of Israel. Sarah will be the mother of kings and she is long past the age of child-bearing.


Circumcision

1.       Circumcision was continued as a ritual reminder of God’s promise for all generations of Jews. All male Jewish boys were circumcised as a ritual reminder to all Jews.

2.       God instituted circumcision with Abraham as the sign of His everlasting covenant.

3.       It was also a symbol of Abraham’s faith in the promise of that covenant. Abraham had to perform this ritual himself. This was a sign of his faith in God’s covenant.

4.       Abraham was a mature believer when God made the covenant. This is when Abraham became a Jew.

5.       When this covenant was made, this spoke of greater blessings conveyed at spiritual maturity. This covenant was made a long time after his salvation. Greater blessings conveyed to a spiritually mature man.

6.       The covenant sign of circumcision glorifies God in the fulfillment of the covenant.

7.       This is about the coming Messiah as well.


Circumcision is the symbol of the promise and Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise. So every time Abraham or any Jew looked down, it was a reminder of the grace of God and a reminder of the importance of spiritual advance.


Then, after this child is born, God will tell Abraham to take this son out and kill him as a sacrifice. Abraham had the symbol of circumcision with him always, so this reminded him.


Gen. 17:16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her."


Why is the 8th day chosen for the circumcision of a male child? Why not do this when the child understands it? Baptism is a recognition of your faith in Christ. Here, we have circumcision mandated when the child is only 8 days old.


This is to remind the parents of God’s faithfulness in His promise to Abraham and to all of the Jews. It was not necessary for the child to understand that point.


The parents could later teach this to the child. Through circumcision, the child would recall that he had accepted all the conditions and all of the obligations and privileges of the covenant. This included the obligation to live under and to obey the Mosaic Law. This is what is required of the Jews. That is a part of their conditional covenant; a part of their national law. Moses was given the Law on Sinai, a law to govern their nation, right out of the box. This was a law in which there was no flaw. This was a part of the personal and national existence of Israel. This was a national thing.


The Mosaic Law was scrupulously observed by the Lord Jesus Christ as a child and through to adulthood. He was the only Person who could fulfill the Mosaic Law and the only One Who would. Every other Jew also had an obligation to fulfill the Law. They all had sin natures and they all sinned at various times in their lives. The Law was always violated by everyone one way or another.


The pharisees thought they could keep the Law; or they would pretend that they are able to keep the Law. The Jew had the obligation to keep the Mosaic Law, and so Jesus was the only One Who could do this successfully. The Mosaic Law reminded the Jews that they needed an intervention on their behalf. Only Jesus Christ was an acceptable mediator between God and man.


Circumcision reminds the Jews of their own inability to keep the Law as well as the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. No Jew would be justified by keeping the Law.


This circumcision of Jesus Christ is no insignificant event. This is the most significant event in His young life. The baby would be too young to remember the pain of the circumcision. So, early in life, on the 8th day, a time designated by God, so that cruelty and any pain is beside the point of circumcision.


Circumcision Today

1.       Circumcision in the Church Age does not carry the same ritual meaning that it did in the Age of Israel. Today, some call circumcision to painful and too cruel.

2.       It is no longer a symbol because client nation Israel no longer exists in the Church Age. That nation has been set aside. It will be set aside until the Tribulation.

3.       It can still be used as a reminder that the covenant is still in effect for Israel.

4.       The church is not under the Abrahamic covenant or the Mosaic Law.

5.       The ritual of circumcision has no spiritual connotation in this age as it did during the Age of Israel.


Circumcision on Jesus Christ was a recognition of the covenant that God made to Israel and to Abraham. This promise was given to Abraham. The 8 day old child has the symbol of this circumcision.


Gen. 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"


Lesson #0049   Luke 2:21 The Life of Christ February 16, 2011         Wednesday


All of the rituals of the law pointed to Jesus Christ, His work, His kingship, and to His substitutionary death. Jesus had to keep the Mosaic Law, and that was necessary in order for Him to show that He was sinless. He could not violate one jot or tittle of the Law. The pharisees attempted to keep the Law and none of them were able to. Jesus is the only one qualified to be the Savior. This is His credential of Messiahship.


Jesus, in His birth and conception, fulfilled the Law. There is the place of His birth and the virgin birth and His line, all were things that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ.


Once 8 days came to pass, Jesus was circumcised. We discuss circumcision because this is here. This helps to define Who Jesus is.


Luke 2:21 And when eight days were fulfilled to circumcise the child, His name was called JESUS, the name called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.


Gen. 12:1–3 there would be a nation, a land, a seed, an inheritance and this would be a covenant between God and Abraham.


Gen. 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.


This ritual had a symbolic meaning which is centered in reality. Circumcision was mandated as a sign of the covenant promise between God and Abraham.


Circumcision, Regeneration and Abraham

1.       This symbolized the revival of Abraham’s sexual function. In the covenant, God promised that Abraham would be the father of a great nation, and it got to a point where Abraham was too old. When God made this announcement, circumcision was a sign that guaranteed the promised child.

2.       Circumcision was the sign of the new race fathered by Abraham.

3.       This began the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham believed in God, and that was why he was chosen. He believed the covenant and he believed the One who made the promise. First physically and second spiritually. Abraham was the first Jew and he was also regenerated. Abraham generated the race. Abraham was regenerate. The race was born and the race was to be born again race.

4.       Circumcision is a sign of the divinely ordains, Abraham was the father and the forerunner of this race.

5.       The Jews were to be a blessing to all of mankind; and their race was based upon regenerate. Furthermore, they would be blessed under the Abrahamic Covenant.

6.       Gentiles were circumcised as a symbol of belief. Circumcision represented all of these things to Israel. Therefore, it was necessary that Jesus Christ be circumcised as a Jew.


The reality was regeneration; circumcision is the sign. Gal. 5 is all about the sign of circumcision. This is not mandated for Church Age believers. We are not under the Mosaic Law.


Gen. 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,


Gal. 5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.


If you go the legalistic way, then you have no advantage.


Gal. 5:3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.


If you think you must keep one part of the Law, then you are obligated to keep all of the Law. Paul is logically devastating to these people. What the Church Age believer has is unique way beyond this ritual.


Gal. 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away [drifted off course] from grace.


If you think that circumcision is the answer, you have been severed from Christ. You have fallen from grace. Maybe this is where he has drifted off course from grace?


If they are trying to be saved by the Law, they are in the same boat as unbelievers in the Old Testament. They may, after salvation, decide that the Mosaic Law is the way to go, and that means they have drifted off course.


The Church Age Believer and Circumcision

1.       The Church Age believer is not identified by circumcision as a New Covenant people. So circumcision is not a ritual for us which identifies us.

2.       Dispensations allow us to differentiate between the times.

3.       God has a different plan for the Church Age believer. That mandate is not for this age. We do not live under the Law.

4.       Our identification is with Jesus Christ. We are not a racial species but a new spiritual species.


Circumcision is practiced today, by both Jews and Gentiles. However, there is no spiritual connotation associated with it. It is mostly a hygiene thing. Regeneration is by faith in Christ. No Jew under the covenant just by descent from Abraham or by means of the ritual of circumcision is saved. It was all about regeneration. This is true in the Age of Israel and during our time as well.


Why Jesus Was Circumcised.

1.       It identified Jesus Christ with Israel and the Jewish race and identified Him to Israel.

2.       It was a symbol of His being under the covenant.

3.       For Jesus, as the Messiah, He was the fulfillment of that covenant.


Gal. 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.


Being cut off from the hope of regeneration if you depended upon the symbol of regeneration. Circumcision was never the means of gaining the promise of Abraham.


The 8 day old child was circumcised as a sign of accepting the covenant. It would be like being baptized at 80 yeas old.


Circumcision was and is meticulously practiced by the Jews. However, then and now, it was not practices for the right reasons. It is a ritual only.


There are many Christians who believe in baptismal regeneration. This is heresy. Working your way to salvation via sacraments is also heresy.


Moses wrote in the Law in Deut. 30:6, which is all about the real circumcision: And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Outer symbols represented inner realities. It is the circumcision of heart that matters.


Rom. 2:28–29 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.


Rituals do not save; rituals represent something. What divides the Jew is the reality. Circumcision is a matter of the heart. It is the Holy Spirit Who has the knife and circumcises the heart.


Justification is the reality. The redeemed are circumcised of heart.


Final Points

1.       Outward rituals must represent the inward reality; otherwise it is pointless. How many churches go through rituals which are meaningless.

2.       Regeneration of heart first. Circumcision of the foreskin represented the circumcision of the heart.

3.       Symbolic rituals do not solve the problems of man’s sin nature.

4.       Only Christ can solve the problem of the separation of man from God.


Fulfilling the ritual of circumcision signifies Mary’s and Joseph’s faith and signifies that their child was set apart as a child of Abraham, bound to obey the Mosaic Law.


40 days after circumcision, something else comes. Up.


Gal. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.


Lesson #0050    Luke 2:22–24 The Life of Christ Feb. 17, 2011              Thursday


There are 2 more rituals here in the early life of Jesus which are not as well-known as circumcision.


They named Him Jesus as they were told to do by the angel; and then He was circumcised on the 8th day.


Then, about a month later, there was a legal requirement. 40 days after Jesus was born, they went to Jerusalem. Bobby said they went due north?


Luke 2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord


This describes this purification.


Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord)


There was a sacrifice which had to take place in the Temple.


Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that said in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.


These commands come straight out of the Mosaic Law. This was part of the Law for every child (or, every firstborn child?).


This was a critical event in his life. This may seem routine, but for Jesus, this is a critical moment.


Every Jewish mother went to the Temple after have a child for a purification ceremony. Then there was a redemption ritual which took place. Jesus was the Redeemer of mankind, and notice was posted when these rituals took place. This would be circulated among those who had not yet heard, but a group who is very important. This is the first time that the religious leaders head about our Lord.


Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord)


This is a restatement of Ex. 13:2; God chose every firstborn male for priestly service.


Ex. 13:2 "Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."


The spiritual life is a part of everything that we do. Wandering off course from this means that we are not living the Christian life. The Jews were always forgetting what God had done for them. They were always off chasing after false gods.


Similarly, we are not to marry a heathen. They always drag the Christian down. So this ritual reminds Israel that every male child firstborn was to render service to the Lord. This was a sacrifice for a family, and that is why is spoke of the sacrifice of the firstborn of Mary. This passage was prior to the Levitical priesthood. Aaron’s family became the line of the priesthood. However, God never abolished this requirement. This mandate remained in place and the firstborn was still dedicated, but they were to support the new Levitical priesthood.


God provided for His priests a means of support. More importantly, this was servanthood of the firstborn. The firstborn is the one with the greater honor. The firstborn, who are the highest, had become servants. The highest is Jesus Christ, and He was a suffering Servant; He came to serve us. This ritual was a picture of Jesus.


Not every firstborn male was turned over to be a servant. However, the family could pay to keep this child from serving. The family had to pay this price, and that would get him out of this service. Serve the priests or pay the redemption price. One of these 2 was required. Jesus Christ was both. He is both the servant and the Redeemer.


The total payment is 5 shekels of silver from Num. . This was a legitimate and legal and this was also expensive. This was a considerable amount for someone to pay. This was not a cheap redemption. This same ritual occurred over and over again in Israel. The synagogue still has this ritual.


Jesus, the Son of Man, needed to be redeemed from Temple service, just as was every other firstborn son. This was Jesus fulfilling all of the rituals and all of the requirements, demonstrating that He was the Messiah. The picture is, Jesus would redeem all mankind.


All of this was a picture of Who He is. 40 days old, and He is pictured as the redeemer of all mankind.


Luke 2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord


There is also all of this cleanness and uncleanness. You may wonder, what is the deal with all of this clean and unclean stuff. Being unclean was a circumstance mentioned many times in the Mosaic Law. This represents a very basic doctrine. Uncleanness represents sin.


Now, in the Law, there were clean and unclean animals. Cows and sheep were considered clean. Animals who walked on flat paws were considered unclean, like dogs and cats. Eating of blood was considered unclean, whereas, other societies around the Jews did that.


Even today, Jews do not eat unclean food. They eat kosher food.


The emission of bodily fluids was considered to be unclean; sexual discharge, menstrual discharge; and then the afterbirth was considered unclean.


Every mother was considered unclean. All are unrighteous. Men and women were all considered to be unclean.


Places and locales were considered unclean. Place outside of an encampment was considered to be unclean (because they poop there). At some point in time, everyone violates this and is considered unclean. So then, we have to be made clean. That is what the ritual is all about.


There was certainly a theological lesson to be learned.


Cleansing Rituals and What They Represent

1.       The standard of ritual purity, cleanness, is built upon God’s perfect righteousness.

2.       God is clean in every respect. Jesus Christ was also righteous throughout His entirely life.

3.       Uncleanness in Israel pictured separation from God. God cannot have contact with unrighteousness.

4.       The uncleanness before God, the barrier of unrighteousness, represents spiritual death.

5.       So the cleansing ritual was a picture of redemption; a cleansing from all unrighteousness. Mary ritually went from unclean to clean.

6.       So the ritual cleansing is the picture of the work of the Savior. It is making man clean and righteous.

7.       Also, this is a picture of rebound, after salvation. The cleansing from all unrighteousness.


Mary was defiled, and this was contagious, and it extended to Joseph; so the entire family was contaminated. A picture that Adam contaminated all of us. It is everywhere in the Old Testament.


She would remain ceremonially unclean for 33 more days. She had to be purified from this uncleanness, and her ritual cleansing was a picture of her redemption.


The purification required a sacrifice. The more wealthy is to bring a lamb. Mary was more poor so she brought a pigeon or a dove, indicating that she and Joseph were poor.


How Jesus Was Redeemed

1.       The ritual purification is a picture of the cleansing from sin. A sacrifice was rquired to cleanse mankind. The turtle dove was the sacrifice.

2.       The one who would be redeemed from Temple service would be the true Redeemer.

3.       The reality of the redemption was demonstrated in this ritual.


This also shows that Mary is not sinless. She is not immaculate. She had to be purified just like everyone else. Everyone needs this purification. She needs redemption just like everyone else.


All of this elaborate ritual centered around the Lord Jesus Christ, because the Mosaic Law had to be strictly adhered to. The Law was given to Moses by the Shekinah Glory. When he came down from the mountain, Moses’ face shined as a reflection of the glory of the Lord. This is the Law given by Jesus. He gave the Law and He fulfills the Law perfectly. He was without sin. He was ritually redeemed.


In the Communion Service, Bobby gives us information about Jesus Christ. The Communion speaks of Who Jesus is. From the very beginning, Jesus was the Savior of all mankind. They looked forward to Him and believed; we look backward and believe.


In case no one gets this so far, this will be announced again. The shepherds did it. And next, 2 people will show up, a man and a woman, and they will make the announcement in the Temple, and they will make this announcement to the people who should have known this and understood this. They should have all looked to Jesus and said, “That is the One; the Messiah.”


The people are Simeon.


Lesson #0051Luke 2:22–26 Ex. 13:2 Life of Christ Feb. 20, 2011           Sunday 1

There are 4 rituals which must be fulfilled.


Think of all the laws in Houston; have you ever driven too fast in a 35 mph zone?


Even one misstep for Jesus, and He is no longer qualified to be our Savior. As an infant, Jesus Christ could make no choices; but in these first 40 days, there were customs which had to be followed, and His parents followed these laws.


The first was, Jesus was a physical descendant of Abraham and He lived under the promise of the Mosaic Covenant as a Jew. He also fulfilled the Mosaic Law perfectly. He is the complete fulfillment of the Law of Moses.


2 more meaningful rituals took place in the Temple of Jerusalem. He was redeemed from service in the Temple. Every Jewish firstborn was set apart to God, and if not redeemed, then he was to serve in the Temple.


Luke 2:22–24 And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice according to that said in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.


Ex. 13:2 "Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."


Jesus came to be the Servant of all mankind. The anguish of the soul of the Messiah in Isa. 53, because He bore the sins of the entire world, which is the greatest anguish that could be endured.


God the Father would be satisfied by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His wrath is no longer directed toward us.


The redemption ritual of the Temple would telegraph His redemption for all mankind.


A second ritual was equally important, which was the ritual cleansing of Jesus mother, Mary. This was related to her Son as well. In giving birth, Mary was unclean. This is because she came in contact with the dead tissue of afterbirth, which represents the sin nature.


Uncleanness represents sin in the Old Testament and the spiritual death which is caused by that sin. Men are unclean in the sight of God; we are all unrighteous in His sight; we are born unclean; we are born with sin natures.


Isa. 64:6 For we are all become as one who is unclean, and all our righteousness are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.


Mary was just one more unclean person, just like all of us. She was not sinless. She is not immaculate and she should not be deified. She was unclean because she gave birth, just like all of us.


Every ritual of the Mosaic Law points toward Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us. This is a perfect illustration, which they saw day after day in their rituals. Every mother had to go through this purification ritual.


Even though the mother contributed the pure gene structure, the impurity was passed along to through the man.


Mary’s Ritual Cleansing

1.       She was made unclean.

2.       The reality represented by this ritual was the work of the Savior Who purifies her. This ritual represents the work of the Savior in purifying Her. The reality of her uncleanness was right there with her.

3.       The purification was making Mary righteous when she was unrighteousness.

4.       This is a picture of redemption from sin; and a picture of justification; being made righteous.


We are truly purified by His righteousness in us. That is ritual with reality. We no longer perform that ritual; but we understand it as we study it.


There was a specified ritual which provided for her necessary cleansing. This was a blood sacrifice.


Luke 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that said in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.


The cleansing ritual was a sacrifice; that is how she was purified. It represented another blood, her child, the one who’s redemption had been purchased, which was to the purpose of revealing His future substitutionary sacrifice. This is the redemptive solution to sin.


When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are justified; we are made clean. He fulfilled the symbol.


The whole world needed to understand what happened here. 2 witnesses were on the scene, and the fact that they were there is entirely miraculous. This announcement would be made to Jerusalem, to the city, in the heart of Judaism, in the Temple itself, the residence of the Shekinah Glory. This is the amazing revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ. The people rejected this reality.


They would give thanks to God and then they were speak of the Redeemer child.


In a day when legalism ruled and the oral tradition reigned among the religious leaders, there, right in front of them, was the grace of God in Christ. Grace overshadowed all of their legalism.


In the midst of all this legalism, Simeon looked for the purifier, the Redeemer. Simeon was an old man, but he was grace oriented. He was in the heart of legalism. He longed to see the grace of God, which is called the Consolation of Israel.


400 years had passed since God spoke to Israel. But Simeon never stopped believing in the promises of God. He would be like believers today who are convinced of the promises of God. What eschatology is in front of us? We look for that promise, yet we do not know when this will occur.


Throughout his life, Simeon looked forward to the coming of the Messiah of God. The great blessing begins with the Son of Abraham; with the Son of David. It was not just the land and not just the nation, but the salvation which comes through the redemption of mankind.


Maybe we never think about the eschatological future which will happen.


Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him.


Luke 2:26 And it happened to him, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, he was not to see death before he would see the Christ of the Lord.


Lesson #0052    Luke 2:25–33 Life of Christ February 20, 2011              Sunday 2


Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him.


There were a number of announcements to indicate that Jesus, the Messiah, was there, among the people.


Simeon understood the redemption and the various Temple sacrifices. He was righteous and he was devout. 40 days into the history of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this man is looking for the Messiah. All that he knew about the Old Testament was unfolding before his eyes. He was waiting for the Consolation of Israel. He had an advantage. It had been revealed to him and he would remain alive until he came face to face with the Messiah of Israel.


Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him.


Luke 2:26 And it happened to him, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, he was not to see death before he would see the Christ of the Lord.


This man spent his life growing in grace and knowledge and growing in the understanding of the Messiah, looking for the moment that Messiah would appear. The Holy Spirit told him to continue to wait. The next prophetic event of the Bible would be the Messiah, and he, along with many others, anticipated this event. This revelation is His future appearance; and we await His 2nd Advent in much the same way. He looked forward to seeing the face of the Messiah just as we look forward to the coming of Jesus.


Bobby’s grandfather was the pastor of a Tucson church for 50 years. He was a dispensationalist and the pastor of Bob during a time. He used to think the rapture would occur in his time, but he admitted that he did not know for certain. He was making a point; his statement revealed his attitude; “Yes, the Lord is coming while I am alive.” That is the imminency of the rapture.


We ought to live as if it will happen today or tomorrow; but it may not occur for 1000 years. He lived in such a way knowing that it could happen at any time. He also said, “Don’t be so heavenly-minded that you are of no earthly good.” Both things are a part of our responsibility.


Some of us waste so much time. What do you do with your spare time? Is it worthless? God does allow us time for recreation. Think about the return of our Lord. Don’t sell all of your goods; but this is an invitation to live the spiritual life.


However, unlike the coming rapture, Simeon actually knew that He would see the Lord before his death.


His promises are true and reliable. All of them, including the rapture. Every believer has many promises of God, which include the resurrection. If we every become sad about those we have lost, we will be resurrected and we will see them again.


It is not a blinding flash which makes you suddenly confident. It is a day by day process. You begin to think more and more with divine viewpoint. You learn more and more to live in the light of eternity. We are redeemed in order to serve Jesus Christ.


Receiving the Holy Spirit, and this knowledge, was the Word of God to him. The revelation that we receive is in the Word of God. We do not get extra-revelation. Simeon got it directly; we get it indirectly.


The Holy Spirit told Simeon that he would not see death until he see’s the Lord’s Christ. We are not told at what time he heard this from the Holy Spirit. Was he told as a young man? Was he told as an older man, close to dying? He wasn’t discouraged. He had the promise. He knew it would come true. These are God’s Words. They will come to pass.


We have promises; hundreds of them. How long did Simeon carry this promise in his soul? Here, his faith was rewarded. One day, Simeon, an old man, walks into the Temple, and there is Jesus, the object of his faith, the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit to Simeon. This had to be quite a moment. This was probably the apex of his life.


In essence, we walk into the Temple every day. Jesus is with us and He is in us; and the more doctrine we know, the more we are cognizant of these facts.


Luke 2:26 And it happened to him, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, he was not to see death before he would see the Christ of the Lord.


The next few verses tell us what is next for Simeon.


Luke 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And as the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do according to the custom of the Law concerning Him,


Just as Simeon walks into the Temple, so does Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus. He will be given one more task.


This would take place in the religious center of Israel. These were the scribes who wrote the oral tradition. And here is Simeon, walking into this nest of legalistic vipers of religion, and he walks in.


Luke 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And as the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do according to the custom of the Law concerning Him,


Simeon lifts up the baby in his arms.


Luke 2:28 even he received Him in his arms and blessed God, and said,


He sings the Nonk Dimetus, which means “his farewell.” He can now depart in peace. This is a great moment for him and for the world. A great honor to be able to make this announcement to the entire world.


The same One Who gave the Law to Moses, is back in the Temple. He had not been in the Temple since the Chaldeans removed the Ark of God from the Temple.


Luke 2:29 Lord, now You will let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.


Vv. 30–31 reveal the context of what Simeon sings. Isa. 32:6


Here are 2 men, who had no contact with one another, and they were giving the same message, the same continuity. This is the agreement which was written over centuries. Is there any greater proof? There are lots of authors and lots of witnesses. It all fits together, perfectly.


4–5 b.c. He is born and in a.d. 33, He dies on the cross. The message is the same, as given to those before His birth and to us today who live after He paid for our sins.


Luke 2:30 For my eyes have seen Your Salvation


Luke 2:31 which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples,


Luke 2:32 a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.


Jesus parents were right there and they understood, to some degree, what was going on, and Who Jesus was, but what Simeon is saying here, they find to be stunning. They were unaware of some of the specifics. They did not fully understand everything there is to know about Who He is.


We know, right now, enough to be saved. And he learn daily more and more about Him. It is progressive; we learn, bit by bit. Jesus’ parents learn the same way. They listen to Simeon, and some of these things make sense and they begin to grasp more and more about Jesus. Joseph and Mary did not know everything at His birth.


Simeon serves in his own way. He brought some doctrine to the Temple; he brought some doctrine to Mary and Joseph. They hear Simeon, and they learn more and more.


Luke 2:33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken by him.


Lesson #0053     Luke 2: The Life of Christ February 23, 2011           Wednesday


A pastor visiting from England.


The coming of the Messiah was announced at every turn. For the birth narrative and beyond, it was announced. He was born in a time when the Roman empire had great control of that region and Palestine was under the control of Herod, who was a monster. He comes into contact with the Lord Jesus Christ at that point.

 

This was no ordinary child Who is born, in the line of David. His arrival needed to proclaimed to the Jews and the whole nation of Israel and to the world as well. The Old Testament was full of prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ; it revealed Who He was and how He would be.

 

The religious leaders could not see Jesus in Isa. 53. When the time came, in the moment of history, when God chose to send His Son into the world, there was a concentration of announcements.

 

The Announcement of Our Lord Jesus Christ Being Born

1.       Mary was told about the child and that she would be the mother and that the seed of the man would not be involved.

2.       The actual moment of the birth was announced by the angel of the Lord and then by a whole chorus of angels singing to the shepherds to the field in Bethlehem.

3.       40 days after His birth, there were 2 rituals which took place. The purchase of the firstborn out of service to the Temple. The 2nd was the cleansing of Mary, who was unclean because she gave birth. This is even bearing the Messiah. There was just Mary, Joseph, and a priest at these 2 rituals.

4.       God provided the means for a larger audience; 2 special witnesses. The first one was a man called Simeon.

 

Simeon was a man who lived for the Lord; he glorified the Lord. He was looking and waiting for the Messiah. He knew that he was looking for his Savior.

 

Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him.

 

Simeon was told that he would not see death before he saw the risen Christ. This does not mean that we hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us; but the Holy Spirit gives him direct guidance. This is a special revelation by God.

 

The religious leaders of Israel were so mired in the legalism of the Law that they were unable to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ. The last prophecy give to Israel was 400 years prior. However, Simeon had no problem believing. After all of this waiting, Simeon was miraculously informed that he would be an integral part of this event.

 

Luke 2:26 And it happened to him, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, he was not to see death before he would see the Christ of the Lord.

 

So Mary takes Jesus to the Temple. Simeon is moved in by the Holy Spirit. One day, the Holy Spirit told Simeon, “Get off your butt and get into the Temple.” All that he had waited for was in front of him at this time. What would he do?

 

Mary did not know this guy from Adam’s half ox. So, the child is in the Temple and going through the ceremony, and Simeon comes in.

 

Luke 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And as the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do according to the custom of the Law concerning Him,

 

He picks up the child and blesses God. We have no idea how this came to pass. Did he grab the child? Did he ask Mary.

 

Luke 2:28 even he received Him in his arms and blessed God, and said,

 

Simeon was quite moved by the child that was in his arms. He now speaks these words in a much more conspicuous way, from the porch of the Lord’s own house. God was home. The Shekinah glory was now resident in the Temple.

 

Luke 2:29 “Lord, now You will let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.

 

Simeon now sings a hymn of praise.

 

Luke 2:30 For my eyes have seen Your Salvation

 

This moment was prepared in the face of all people.

 

Luke 2:31 which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples,

 

The presence of God was with Israel; His glory was with the people Israel. The is the wonderful announcement that Israel and the whole world had been waiting for.

 

Luke 2:32 a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.

 

Joseph and Mary knew that their Son was the Messiah, but they did not fully get it.

 

Luke 2:33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken by him.


You ether rise with the Savior or fall if you are against Him. “For a sign to be opposed to the end that many hearts might be revealed.”


Luke 2:34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this One is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against


Then this gets dark. There will be great impact of the child upon Israel and upon Mary.


What Is this Negative Stuff?

1.       There would be great opposition to the Lord.

2.       He would be rejected by His Own people.

3.       In this rejection, Jesus was reveal the intents of their hearts, which was negative volition toward God’s plan.

4.       This child would reveal the legalism and the lack of grace orientation of Israel and Judaism in general.

5.       Men would be compelled to take a stand for or against Christ. This is compelling to say yes or no. There is no ambivalence here.

6.       He told Mary that she would suffer greatly in the process. He?

7.       A righteous judgment would fall upon those who reject it. Because her child, her son would suffer, she would suffer. All that Jesus faced by way of rejection, Mary, as His mother would feel. A sword would pierce even Mary’s own soul.


Mary would stand at the foot of the cross and watch Him bear the sins of the world. A sword would pierce her heart. She would witness all of it. During the process of her life and she understood the grace of God and the consolation of Israel.


Luke 2:35 (yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.


The second witness is the prophetess Anna. At the very moment this was announced, this whole ritual was occurring, and she begins to speak. Simeon got the word from the Holy Spirit; and she is there, but nothing is said about anything. When she spoke, people listens.


Luke 2:36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in many days, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity.


Why Was She Listened To?

1.       She was a distinguished woman from the tribe of Asher.

2.       She had been a widow for 84 years and a wife for 7; so she was well over 100.

3.       Unlike today, age was venerated. This woman was aged and she showed great wisdom in these years. She was a great woman of the Word and of grace. She was not a legalist like the pharisees.

4.       In those 84 years she literally lived in the Temple; she was involved in fasting and prayer.

5.       So everyone knew of her passion for God and desire to follow His will.


She was the consummate prayer warrior. She had a special place in the plan of God. She would lay her eyes on the Messiah.


This reminds Bobby of May Walker, an elderly widow confined to a wheelchair. Every time the doors to Berachah was opened, she was wheeled integrity Berachah Church. May was always there. She spent more time in prayer than anyone else that Bobby knew of. She also made a great cherry pie. Every church needs an Anna.


Luke 2:37 And she was a widow of eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, serving God with fastings and prayers night and day.


Like Simeon, her prayers were answered. 84 years in the Temple and it finally happened. We live in an age of instant gratification. I want what I want when I want it.


She waited 84 years and now she is seeing the Lord. She prayed that long for this one moment. There is always a reason why your prayers are not answered immediately. It may takes days or a year or 20 years.


Bob used to pray when he was driving, but he kept his eyes open. Some work out and some run.


Sometimes His plan involves growing up. Sometimes you have to grow up in order for God to answer your prayer. Every day when you face a test, pass it, using divine viewpoint. But know that prayer is not a problem solving device.


these 2 people had the honor of making this announcement.


There is one more set of witnesses to study; the Magia.


Luke 2:38 And she coming in at that instant gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those in Jerusalem eagerly expecting redemption.




Luke 2:39 And when they had finished all things according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.




Luke 2:40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was on Him.


Lesson #0054Luke 2: The Life of Christ February 24, 2011          Thursday


A pastor visiting from England. He’ll be speaking after class about the spiritual condition of England.


Magi are only mentioned in Matt. 2. This term was based upon Melech, but it came from Melchior, which is King of Light. This suggests that they are experts in astronomy. Such men look at stars. They had been looking at stars.


There are all kinds of speculative traditions concerning these men. All we can really hang out hat on is the Scriptures. They arrived in Bethlehem sometime after the birth; and certainly not on the night of the birth, even though many Nativity scenes portray it that way.


Why the Magi Did Not Arrive the Night of the Birth of Our Lord

1.       Mary and Joseph, when the Magi arrived, are in a house in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a manger in the courtyard of an inn or in a cave near to the inn. They would have been surrounded by animals and people.

2.       Jesus is called a child here and not an infant.

3.       There was travel time needed to get to Bethlehem, particularly since they stopped in Jerusalem first.


We have always assumed that there were 3 magi, but that is not in the text. 3 because there are 3 gifts, so the assumption has been I gift per person. They are probably Arabians, but there exact identities are not known.


Some traditions say these are representatives of Shem, Ham and Japheth. However, there is no indication of this. It is much more likely that these are gentiles who held high positions in their society. They are probably priest sages.


Matt. 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem,


How did they know about the star? Jerusalem and all of Judah was taken into captivity in 586 b.c. by Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans. The spreading out of the Jews took place over a century and a half. Most of them no longer resided outside of Israel. The Persians then conquered the Chaldeans and they had a lot of contact with the Jews. They learned a lot of information through Daniel, etc. Perhaps, they timed all of this based upon the prophecy of Daniel? However, that is based upon a number of years and days.


They could have gotten this information by ancient prophecies, about the King of Kings. This was the ancient prophecy. They may not have been believers; but it is more reasonable that they are believers. If they were believers, they understood this immediately. These Gentiles represent a wider expectation throughout the world; there were more than just Jews waiting for the Messiah.


What Is Important about the Magi?

1.       The visit of the magi is a part of the early revelation of Jesus Christ.

2.       The visit of the magi constitutes a strong proof of His universal Messiah-ship and Savior-hood. This indicates a universality of Jesus.

3.       These magi came to worship Him, which indicates prior knowledge of Him. They were already believers, if they came to worship him.

4.       Jesus Christ is not just a Jewish phenomenon known only to Jews. Jesus was already well-known; universally, before He was born.

5.       This also represents the Messiah’s universal appeal and His overall work for mankind.


Then there was the star. Who has not gazed at the stars and wondered, what is out there? What is up with all the movement of the universe.


There are all kinds of theories about the phenomenon of the star. Many ideas come from secular hedonism. However, the real explanation is, this is supernatural.


Various Theories

1.       This star is linked to astronomical events; an unusual conjunction of stars at this time. People figure this out as a natural phenomenon which is not supernatural, but some alignment or some incredible which caught their attention.

2.       Another theory is that this whole star thing includes astrology. The nature of eastern astrology lent itself to this. Some connect this to actual astrological predictions. This is simply a false theory.

          1)       Astrology is a ploy of Satan and demonism throughout the Bible.

          2)       Satan would not like to present the Savior, the Messiah and his ultimate conqueror to the world. That would not be his approach to this; he would want to obscure this.

          3)       Satan would like to obscure the birth of the Messiah.

          4)       Therefore, this was not astrology that revealed Jesus to the magi. Many dabble in Tarot cards, astrology, and various occult activity.

3.       It is anti-God, even if it is accurate from time to time. It is prohibited for us.

          1)       If a divination is accurate, it could simply be a coincidence. Or it could be a very generalized prediction. Or this can be much more sinister.

          2)       Various occult mediums have been used throughout history. We are forbidden contact with them. We do not need such exposure.

          3)       Satan uses divination as a revelation of his plan and his cosmic system.

          4)       Divination is always opposed to the leading of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

          5)       If divination includes the doctrine of demons, that is never used to commend God’s plan to anyone. Not to a believer or an unbeliever.

          6)       Divination is a distraction at best; or demonic influence at worst. We really do not need ot know the future to be in God’s plan. Everyone wants to know who they will marry, and how much money they will have, etc. God expects us to utilize His Word. Bible doctrine is to reign in our life, not divination. Our lives are not to be based upon the words of the astrologer. As a believer, why would you want to know the future of this life. We are always in God’s plan as a believer. We can already know everything necessary for our future. What happens with regards to the details is unimportant. We need to live our lives in the light of eternity. That is the triumph of our lives. We are not rewarded for what happens in the future, and side-stepping it or embracing it. There is no such thing as bad news which can shake the peace that passes all understanding.

          7)       Divination is a diversion to the spiritual life, or an indication of reversionism and demon-influence. This is why God told Israel not be become involved in such practices.


Disregard the predictions or suggestions of those involved in fortune telling or astrology. In this way, we depend upon Him rather than any form of human or animal machinations.


Αστερ is the Greek word for star. This is not a cluster of stars which come to an unusual arrangement. This was not a natural phenomenon but a supernatural even.


This could be another event which involves the Shekinah glory. The bright light, the presence of God. Just as the Shekinah led the people through the desert, so God gueded his people.


This star provides us notice that Messiah is born and His locale is known.


Jesus Christ limits His divinity by choice. He could have been in 2 places at once; in the Messiah and Jesus may have manifested His presence in 2 places at the same time.


The magi represent the gentile world. Here is the glory of God manifested to the Gentiles. He is not just Savior of the Jews, but He is our Saviorl was well.


What Do We See in the Magi?

1.       This shows that he is welcomed by the Gentiles.

2.       This foreshadows the incarnation.

3.       This portrays the Savior of all mankind.


Matt. 2:2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."


We have these announcements all over; this is the announcement to the Gentiles. The life of Christ will next intersect with Herod I and with the religious leaders for the


So Herod begins to ask the priests around him, Where is this Christ child?


Matt. 2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.


Matt. 2:4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.


English pastor to tell a little about his past life and what is going on in England. This has been a significant year for him. His 50th year association with the colonel’s ministry. He first came in 1989 and he waited 30 years to first meet the colonel. In England, it is rare to gather even 8 or 10 people. A woman said she learned more in an hour than her entire Christian experience. She brought the colonel’s teaching back which introduced this guy to it. When he first heard, he was hooked.

 

He is fascinated how various people come into contact with the colonel and his message. He had hoped to share this message with the people in England. Bob never advertised his ministry at all. It always became available to those who were positive. He regarded it to be selfish to keep this just to himself. People would listen, give it a hearing, but their interest would wain and they would drift away.

 

They eventually set up their own local church; but people won’t listen to anyone without the proper credentials. They thought about joining a Baptist church and tried to share it, but the interest waned. He finally tried his own pastorate. This was a little village where he tried to make the message known. He strayed there for 22 years. The motto, the Lord would provide. They would gather with the few people who were there. Some would go and a few would show up.

 

From the first Sunday morning, there were children. So his wife taught them. However, they would grow up and leave. Unable to solidify the people. Much more difficult to be a pastor’s wife than the pastor.

 

He came to the conclusion that there was no reality to what those were being taught. Simeon knew the reality of what he believed; the confident expectation with regards to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some may give it a hearing, but they are not prepared to stake their lives upon it. If all the people had stayed in his church, he would have had about 250 people and the church would have been packed. But that was not the case. This was a seaside location, and many became positive toward the gospel there.

 

He knew not to ever take any credit to himself.

 

There was a woman who distributed tapes and she told him, his ministry was to anglicize the Colonel’s ministry. A half a dozen elderly people ended; so he had no alternative but to leave the church. It was his desire to stand in the pulpit and make dogmatic point. God knows best. He knows what the situation is. The truth of doctrine was never diminished. He is very sad and disappointed.

 

1.       Disappointed the loss of glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be a great amount of glorification in the eternal state.

2.       Disappointed that those believers who neglect the doctrine lose their escrow blessings.

3.       Loss of pivotal influence within England. It is going downhill, although it is doing better as of late.

 

He is not surprised in the loss of interest in doctrine. The charismatic churches are flourishing, but they ebb and flow. It is a great distraction from the teaching of the Word of God. There is so little interest in spiritual things. Prosperity leads them away. Finally, Christianity has been bracketed together with all the other religions there. We know there is a difference, but many of the English clergy teach Christianity as simply a religion. They just want people in the seats and the money out of their pockets. Many religions are seeking to dominate England. The Muslim influence is mostly confined to the larger cities; the villages and smaller towns do not see this influence. The Muslims tend to congregate in particular areas. As with all media, much has been expanded beyond all recognition, and it only appears to be worse than it is.

 

Without a congregation, there can be no teaching. Therefore, he is grateful to all of Berachah.


Lesson #0055     Luke 2: The Life of Christ February 27, 2011               Sunday 1

Up until this point, all of the witnesses have been Jewish. Jesus Christ is the King of the Jews. These were mostly individual witnesses to his conception, birth and uniqueness. When He was born, another group, shepherds, spread this around.


Simeon and Anna both witnessed to Him in the Temple. These are all Jews, but Jesus is not just the Messiah of Israel; He is the Savor of all mankind.


These Gentiles were from outside of the Jewish world, indicate that people knew about Jesus outside of the Jewish world.


By and large, Israel would reject Jesus as their King; but the Gentiles would receive Him. Most of the early churches were founded among the Gentiles.


How did the magi foreshadow the rejection of the Jews of Jesus. These gentiles stop in Jerusalem first, and they knew that Jesus is born. These are gentiles from Persia. Jews had been scattered throughout the world; they went to Chaldea and Persia. Some recalled what God had taught to them. It only make sense that they might stop in Jerusalem, the capitol of the Jewish world, and ask around to find out where Jesus is.


There is an intersection here with Herod first.


Herod hears that there is a king born in his realm, and Herod is troubled, and so is all Jerusalem with him.


The magi came west, but the star did not go before them. This star is not mentioned until it is above the home in Bethlehem. Therefore, the star probably did not lead them. It is reasonable that there was a message connected with the star; they understood that what star represented. So these magi came to Jerusalem to seek the King of the Jews, to pay homage to Him. They only worship God or gods. This king is a man, and they thought, at first, maybe the royal palace would know where the Messiah was.


This was no localized event; this message had been spread about in gentile world. These gentiles did not consider politics, intrigues, family rivalries, etc. They were focused on salvation. It only made sense that people all over would be looking for Messiah.


Herod is the ultimate political animal. Jerusalem was not a very large city, and court rumors spread around rather quickly. The reaction of most of the people of Jerusalem was much different than that of the magi.


Aorist passive indicative of ταράσσω; he was troubled in himself; he was troubled in his own soul. King Herod was paranoid and power-mad. If he would kill members of his own family to preserve his power, do you think he would have any problem with some Jewish baby? He knew that this would stir up some fanatical independence among the Jews. Rome was Herod’s patron. Augustus could remove Herod at any moment. He could send a group of soldiers to him at any time and end his rule. Herod was committed to destroying any opposition to himself or to Rome, and he would do this in any way possible. He was thinking, “Who do I have to kill to solve this little problem?” He had not problem to destroy others without conscience. He was a monster.


Cæsar Augustus understood the nature of Herod exactly. “Better to be Herod’s hog than Herod’s son.” The hog had a better chance of living.


The city of Jerusalem were also deeply disturbed. This was their Messiah? Why would they be frightened? Many knew the horror and bloodshed of the Maccabees and the Hasmonians. They knew the beginning of Herod’s reign, where he wiped out much of the Sanhedrin. They were afraid of a resurgence of bloodshed.


Verb: tarassō (ταράσσω) [pronounced ], which means, 1) to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro); 1a) to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; 1b) to disquiet, make restless; 1c) to stir up; 1d) to trouble; 1d1) to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread; 1e) to render anxious or distressed; 1f) to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts. Thayer Definition only. Strong’s #5015.


Matt. 2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.


Herod gathers all of the religious leaders to his palace. Herod had to know where this Messiah was. The scribes and the chief priests had to be careful here, because Herod might kill them. Everyone was a little tense.


Here, we will get to see the cowardice and pathetic actions and thoughts of the religious leaders. No courage whatsoever.


Matt. 2:4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah [Christ] would be born.


These religious types immediately give up the Messiah’s birthplace. They quote the prophet Micah.


Matt. 2:5 "In Bethlehem of Judea," they told him, "because this is what was written by the prophet:


Herod would act immediately on this information. They understood who Herod was and why they were there, and they were afraid for their lives.


Herod knew that he had these men under his thumb. They caved immediately to Herod.


The struggles between the church and the nobility during the Middle Ages. This perfectly illustrates the problem of the church.


The Puritans got their name from the pure Scripture. They settled New England in order to escape persecution. They sought liberty to worship, without manipulation or oppression. There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before.


These religious leaders were nothing more than political animals. It would not be healthy for these religious leaders to align themselves with a Jewish king in front of Herod. These religious leaders were content to allow gentiles from the east to check out their prophecy; what numb indifference to ignore the fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah. Israel rejects and the Gentiles seek the Lord.


These Jewish leaders are irrelevant spiritually. They mean nothing in the plan of God. They are, at best, obstacles. Only absolute truth is relevant. History is all about the Lord Jesus Christ; it has nothing to do with the power politics that is going on right now. What we see in this world is the Angelic Conflict.


The ones who should have known Jesus rejected Him and gave Him up. The gentiles from afar seek Him.


Matt. 2:6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel."


Herod probably told the magi that he would find this information out for them. So, now Herod begins to pick their brains, to determine who might take away his throne.


Matt. 2:7 Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared.


Lesson #none              Church Meeting February 27, 2011                       Sunday 2


I did not attend.


Lesson #0056         Luke 2: The Life of Christ March 9, 2011              Wednesday


We are in the last phase of the very early life of Jesus in the gospels. Now, we are dealing with the wise men or the magi; probably from Persia; possibly further east. They saw a star and they understood what had occurred. The Jews of the diaspora were all over, and their evangelization taught many of the coming Messiah.


They first went to Herod, who was the ruler over the Jews; and who would know better who the king was than the present king of the Jews. Then men read his face and understood what he was saying, and understood that this was a bad guy.


Herod knew that the King of the Jews could arouse the people to revolt.


Matt. 2:4–6 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah [Christ] would be born. "In Bethlehem of Judea," they told him, "because this is what was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel."


Herod calls the magi back in and asks them some questions. He needs to know the time frame. He is trying to figure out the approximate age of the child. Herod knew from the wimpy, cowardly religious leaders about where the Messiah was born. He needed to know more about the child’s age. While doing this, he had already determined to kill this child. He was ready the ransack all Bethlehem to find and kill this child. He was a lot like Stalin, who killed millions. The closer you got to Stalin, the more danger you were in. Stalin killed many people out of paranoia.


Herod asks about when the star occurred, determining that would be the birthdate of the Messiah. He was looking for one simple answer to one simple question. Herod determined that the child would have been around 2 years old.


Matt. 2:7 Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared.


Herod sends these magi out to the child. He was attempting to be discrete. He asks to know where the child is, so that he could go and worship this King. This is the King of Kings, worthy of worship by all mankind; and Herod used this subterfuge in order to find out where the Messiah was so that he could go kill them.


All the human power on earth cannot foil the plan of God. No idea where this nation is going; but we know where this administration wants to take us. No matter what happens, God is still in charge. We will retain our client nation status, if that is God’s choice. No votes or talk show host which will keep us from the destruction of the fifth cycle of discipline. We ought not to sweat it. Our prayer should always be for our nation and our leaders.


Herod could not do what he wanted to do. He was unable to stand against the plan of God. No one can take us out of this life until it is time for us to go. We are the only ones who can turn our adversity into stress; but this is an option.


Matt. 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him."


The magi got their instructions, and they followed the star, and they followed it until it stood over the place where the Lord was.


Star light defuses and it does not shine upon any particular place. This star was a supernatural event, and it shined upon the house of the Messiah.


God has a specific purpose for the men in this plan. They were going to reveal the presence of their Savior. They are simply some gentiles from Persian, but they are here fulfilling the plan of God.


We normally do not get a star to guide the way; it is usually His written Word which lights our path and guides us. There must be a way for us to ascertain the will of God. They were led all along the way, but we are led as well. Divine guidance is just as much a part of our lives as it was for these magi.


We do not receive divine guidance through human divination; and they did not receive it the same way either. God forbids that sort of thing.


All sorts of people are into the future and divination.


Divination

1.       Divination is a vehicle used by Satan and it is a ploy of demonism.

2.       Since this can be a Satan, so, sometimes divination and mediums are accurage. This is coincidence or some much more sinister.

3.       Satan has used divination throughout history. However, Saul was about to go to battle and he went to the witch of Endor. God prophesied through this medium. It also scared the witch of Endor.

4.       There is nothing spiritual about divination.

5.       Divination is always opposed to the leading of God the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

6.       Satan will never commend God’s plan to any believer through divination.

7.       Satan is opposed to the Holy Spirit in every way, so divination does not guide the believer in any way.

8.       Divination is a distraction at best and demonic influence at worst.

9.       God’s will is obscured and opposed by the occult; it is not revealed by the occult. The future is in His hands. We do not need to know where everything is all going.


The comfort is, His plan for our lives can be a clear to us as that for the magi. Deferred gratification rather than instant gratification. We do not get a star in the sky to follow; what the stars are up to is not our lead.


Guidance for us is progressive. God makes sense. His Word makes sense. We have to wait, we need to pray for guidance, particularly when coming to a fork in the road; we need to be sensitive to providential circumstances. We need to be able and willing to walk through the open door, and door Go would have.


We do not need to know what will happen 3 years from now. It just will; and we are in the plan of God when we grow to maturity. And if we make a mess, that is something which we have created. Allah is not God.


This guidance was very similar to Old Testament guidance, like the Pillar of fire.


Ex. 13:21–22 The LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people.


The Star and the Leading of the Star

1.       These pillars reveal the manifested glory of Jesus Christ with the Jews at that time; the manifested Person of the 2nd person of the Trinity.

2.       So also the star above the house; this aldo idicates the Trinity.

3.       The star led the magi to the Shekinah glory in the flesh.

4.       Thge star reveald the Shekinah glory to the magi.

5.       Just as the pillar of fire led the Exodus generation, so did this sign.


The family was still there in Bethlehem. In Luke’s account, after they report.


A contradiction in Luke 2:39 Luke 2:39 When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.


Luke leaves out the trip to Egypt. Only Jesus in the Temple at age 7 or 8 is the only event in Jesus’ life.


For about 2 years, the family stay in Bethlehem; then they go to Egypt.


Birth, 40 days, the rituals; 2 years; there is no going back and forth; back and forth. They stay in Bethlehem for 2 years without going back to Nazareth. The magi had to find Him in Bethlehem.


the prophecy to the Jews and the Gentiles was fulfilled. This is how God’s will works. Little incidents; little things that happen. They probably wanted to go to Nazareth, but God had them in Bethlehem.


Matt. 2:9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was--the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.


Lesson #0057 Matt. 2:9–11 2Cor. 9:7 Life of Christ Mar 10, 2011           Thursday


Herod asks the magi to tell him where the Christ child was in Bethlehem, so that he can go there and worship Him as well.


The star goes and stops over the place where the child is.


Matt. 2:9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was--the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.


There are some chronological problems. There are some dating problems, which we will get into later.


Matt. 2:10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.


They come in and worship the Christ child on the spot. The one house in all Bethlehem, and it is lit up like a Christmas tree. The magi were let into the room. The enter the room of the child. What happens next is quite significant. The recognize the Christ child and they dropped to the ground, faces on the ground; and they had no problem worshiping this child.


These magi were complete strangers to Mary, and yet, here they are, in her house, worshiping her Son. Doubtless, they explained their journey; the star, how they found her; and their visit to Herod. They probably told her what he said; and she asked, “Herod knew? Hmmm.”


These men are even telling Mary things about her Son that she did not know. This event was another clue in the progressive revelation of her child. Mary had no idea men would show up and worship. Jesus came to the gentiles as well. This was more than Mary realized and this was a part of her learning experience.


She was finding out more things about her Son, and really Who He was. She was immersed in all of the motherly things, but there was much more going on. She learned a little theology related to her Son. She would continue this learning process all of her life. She was just like us.


Mary Is Just like us

1.       When the magi showed up, it is clear, Mary only had partial knowledge of her Son.

2.       Like her, we continue to add and to grow in our partial knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an ever-expanding growth process. We learn about Him. We expand our knowledge of Him.

3.       We will never know all things about Him until we arrive in heaven.

4.       As long as we live, we continue to add to our knowledge from God’s Word. She learned from the Living Word, from the mouth of her own Son. We progressively grow in grace and knowledge as she does. \

5.       In doing this, we begin to progressively understand the spiritual life that Jesus pioneered for us. We are understanding Him and what this means to us.

6.       As we begin to understand, we are motivated in life by Him. We gain reciprocal love for Him. We begin to understand what true love is. We gain capacity for love. We begin to express reciprocal love for God. We are simply learning to live the Christian life.


The magi then got up and presented their gifts. They had been carrying these gifts with them for however long. They open up their rucksacks and get out their gifts, but only after they worshiped.


What Do the Magi Teach Us about the Worship of Jesus Christ?

1.       These men, these magi, understood worship to be first from their souls. They had been worshiping from their souls for some time now. They had been worshiping him at least through the journey.

2.       When they arrived; when they went in the door, the overtly expressed this worship, in front of this child, they fell on their faces. This takes doctrine in the soul. They would not do this unless they know who this child is.

3.       They were profoundly moved by being in His presence. This is from the knowledge in their souls. Are we profoundly moved by our understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ from our souls.

4.       Only after this worship, after they expressed what was in their souls, then it was appropriate to pass along gifts. That was set aside until after they worshiped Him.

5.       What do we learn by this. Internal worship always precedes external worship.

6.       The worship of our Lord emanates from the mentality of the soul; it does not come from the emotion or from overt demonstration. It is all about what is in our soul.

7.       This is the divine order of worship which gives meaning to the worship. First internal and then an external expression. This is where so many Christians go wrong. Believers want to wave and clap their hands. They want to worship apart from thought. Their minds are blank, but they just get into the feeling. This moving and swaying has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Such worship is just external. You may feel something if you have something in your soul.


There is the ritualistic worship of high church. Worship which is nothing but ritual. It is an external show with nothing in the soul. It is a meaningless repetition of some rituals; it is rote. People just do it. It is going through the motions.


A pitfall of Christianity is the external signs of worship apart from the inner reality. So many have no interest in learning the mind of Christ. That takes self-discipline and concentration and investment of time. It takes a prepared teacher to teach doctrine; not an uninformed discussion leader, and asks what everyone’s opinion is. These are meaningless opinions.


Believers often want instant gratification; they want to feel close to God. We are an instant gratification society. However, that is not the Christian way of life. This is a slow, step-by-step growth. Ex-Berachah people tell Bobby that they learned more at Berachah than anywhere else, and yet they stopped going.


When you get away from it, human viewpoint sweeps into your thinking. If you do not continuously take in doctrine, you will not think with the mind of Christ. You will be inundated with something else. There are churches loaded with people simply keeping up appearances. There is no renovation of thinking for someone who is just keeping up appearances. Rom. 12:2 is all about the renovation of our thinking; that is our first and foremost objective. This is an internal life with external manifestations.


Matt. 2:11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


Churches from all over America have techniques for turning you upside down and shaking the money out of your pockets. Giving is for the dissemination of the Word of God. That is what the financial report is all about. Berachah’s financials are all about spreading the Word throughout the world. We are to give out of correct motivation. No one can express true worship apart from doctrine in the soul. We cannot and should not be manipulated.


The magi were correctly motivated givers. The ritual of communion is when we can worship from our souls and we think upon what we know about Jesus Christ. What rattles around in your head when you can mediate on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not sacraments or magnificent buildings or a repetition of certain physical movements.


Bobby went to one of the most magnificent gothic cathedrals in France. There are 2 spires and they are different. All that matters is, what do you think of Christ.


External expressions of worship must always follow the correct motivation of reciprocal love of God. That must emanate from our souls. The reality of internal worship can only occur as person grows in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Doctrine must be metabolized; it must be a part of our thinking; then it becomes worship. Listening to the raw material is not enough; it must become a part of your thinking.


2Cor 9:7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart--not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.


The queen of Sheba brought Solomon a bunch of gold. This is the time-honored gift for a king. They knew they were going to see a king before they even left home. He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.


This gold undoubtedly sustained this family in the hardship which was to come. They would soon depart on an abrupt passage to Egypt. These men gave valuable assets to this family. This was God providing for His Own Son so that He could survive. This was logistical grace to Jesus Christ.


Frankincense used for healing and as a base for makeup. All 3 gifts are highly valued. There is great symbolism involved here, and all Israel would understand. Both used in the grain offering.


Lesson #0058  Matt. 2:11–14, 16 Lev. 2:1–2 Life of Christ 3/6/11             Sunday 1

A normal star does not shine on one location, but it diffuses and shows over a much larger area.


Matt. 2:11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


What happened when these men saw the Christ Child; they knew that this was He. These facts were found only in the Old Testament Scriptures or only by the Jews in the diaspora. These are the Jews who knew the prophecies, and magi from far off places knew these things. Jesus was, of course, the Jewish Messiah, in the line of David. However, these are gentiles from a gentile land and they knew about Jesus Christ and the revelation which had been given to Israel. These were believers. From this incident, we can understand the clear impact that this child would have on the entire world. He was not just the Jewish king, but He was the King of Kings and the Savior of all mankind.


These gentiles fell on their faces first, indicating obeisance, which is given only to a king or to the worship of God Himself. They were to understand from this that they had intimate knowledge of Israel’s Savior.


They then stood up and presented 3 gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh, which are very expensive and valuable spices. These gifts recognize this Person. This is tribute to a king.


The Queen of Sheba came to King Solomon and she brought him 120 talents of gold. She also brought him spices and many precious stones. These gifts she brought to the great king of Israel. The real meaning of the worship of the magi is found in Lev. 2:1.


Kev. 2:1 "When anyone presents a grain offering as a gift to the LORD, his gift must consist of fine flour. He is to pour olive oil on it, put frankincense on it,


The grain offering was the only non-bloody offering given to the Lord. There were many different offerings which symbolized death; but this is the only one which symbolized life. This is serving God’s plan and will. That is exactly what Jesus was doing by becoming the God-man.


The King and God Himself are the things involved here. Gold became very important to Mary and Joseph, because they are a poor family. Gold became logistical grace for the family for what they must do for being in the plan and will of God.


Kev. 2:2 and bring it to Aaron's sons the priests. The priest will take a handful of fine flour and oil from it, along with all its frankincense, and will burn this memorial portion of it on the altar, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the LORD.


Magi had an important role to play in identifying the child as the God-King.


Jerusalem was not a large city and the meeting of the magi with Herod probably got out and there may have been a crowd which followed this Christ child.


Jerusalem and Bethlehem had now found out Who this Child was.


Matt. 2:11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


The Magi were warned not to return to Herod. Herod had asked them to return to him and tell him where this Christ-child was, and he said he wanted to worship the child. The magi experienced this dream and they believed it.


Today, people simply pick and choose what it is that they want to believe. Sometimes, there are things we do not like, and then we reject that. We all fail. We all have sin natures. However, the mandates of the Bible still apply to us.


Christians often question, how can heathen on the other side of the world hear the gospel? Why don’t others out there have their own way? There cannot be several religious which contradict one another. That makes little sense. Salvation message is not limited by geography or language. God will see to it that all people who so desire will hear the gospel. No matter where someone is, if they desire to know God, they will receive the gospel. Whoever accepted the gospel there spread it around.


Matt. 2:12 And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.


We will skip over a few verses.


Matt. 2:16a Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage.


Another angel will come to Joseph in a dream and tell them to escape. Herod was not used to be tricked, and he was paranoid about his kingship. He was dead.


These parents needed to move out quickly. It would have taken Herod very little time to assemble his army. Herod would go out and search for the child.


Matt. 2:13 After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him."


The Old Testament, by this time, was available in Greek, and available to all of those in that area.


There is an historical precedent for Jews to go to Egypt.


In Gen. 12:10 Abram went to Egypt to escape famine. Jacob also went there. However, there were those who escaped Nebuchadnezzar during the time of Jeremiah.


Joseph and Mary and the child left for Egypt, about 75 miles away.


Matt. 2:14 So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt.


Matt. 2:16b He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men.


Lesson #0059       Matt. 2:16, 15 Life of Christ March 6, 2011                 Sunday 2


Herod has decided to kill all children 2 years and younger; and this is going to involve some technicalities.


Herod, in listening to the Magi, determined that the Christ-child was 2 years or younger.


Most of the time, the Bible lines up well with ancient history. However, this is one place where there are some questions. This is the Word of God. This appears to be an error and that calls into question the rest of the Bible’s accuracy. Any inaccurate piece of information is problematic. This opens us up to accepting this but not that in the Bible.


What historical facts do we know. Jesus Christ was born in the winter of 5–4 b.c. and Herod died in 4 b.c. So we have a maximum span of a year. So Jesus could not be more than 1 year of age when Herod died. Jesus and the family had to flee Judæa while Herod was still alive, as there would be no reason to leave.


Herod’s calculation is 2 years and younger. Herod probably calculated the travel time and their arrival in Jerusalem. He determined how long it took them to get there. This gives him the approximate age of the child. They came from Persia to Jerusalem.


Let’s assume that the star appears the night that the Christ-child was born. If the magi arrive 2 years after the birth of Christ, Herod would have been dead.


There were 2 interviews between Herod and the magi and the family of Joseph fled, all of which would have occurred before Herod died.


The magi arrived before Jesus’ family left Bethlehem.


The Time Frame of Jesus Birth and Herod’s Death

1.       The journey from Persia did not take 2 years, but probably a few months. Modern Iran to Jerusalem is the distance being covered.

2.       The star appeared to the magi in Persia before Jesus’ birth. Not necessarily on the night of His birth. The star would have been a forecast of His birth. Matt. 2:2 gives us no idea as to when this birth occurred. This way, they could have set out before the child was born. This was a supernatural star; it was not a normal star.

3.       This 2 year time frame is feasible, but not the time frame of Jesus’ age. The magi could have arrived within a month of our Lord’s birth.

4.       A 3rd possibility that Herod fudged on the 2 year calculation in order to cover all of his bases. He was truly a monster. We think of monsters of this era: Stalin, Hitler and Mao.

5.       The calculation that Herod makes could be incorrect.

6.       Jesus was less than a year old when the magi arrived when Herod sent out the edict to kill all of the children 2 years and younger.

7.       All of this is speculation, but one scenario will be true, as the Bible is infallible.


More on this Time Frame of the Magi

1.       The magi left Persia up to 2 years before the birth.

2.       The travel time is unimportant in the calculation of the child’s age. The magi could have traveled for 2 years, and the child still in His first year.

3.       Herod’s calculation would have been correct if he figured out the appearance of the star in relation to the birth. This was an unknown.

4.       Likely, neither the magi or Herod knew the exact timing.

5.       The magi were just looking for the King; they did not care how old He was. His age did not enter into their thinking. Herod only cared because he wanted to kill the Child.

6.       So the magi worship this child, regardless of His age. He might have been a few months old and He might have been a year old. His parents are only beginning to learn and understand the impact of their Son as well.

7.       The whole time sequence fits the events surrounding the magi. They fit the events concerning Herod’s cutthroat orders; and they fit the time of Joseph’s return from Egypt.


The Scripture which we study is accurate.


Matt. 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men.


Back to Herod. What he did to Bethlehem is, he turned it into a Jewish ghetto. Russians were pushing the Germans back to Berlin. The Germans surrounded the Jewish ghetto and they began to systematically exterminate the Jews; and the Jews resisted here, for the first time, and they fought well against the Nazi soldiers. Herod here ordered the systematic killing of all children 2 years and young.


Herod died very soon after this of very painful diseases (2 of them) and members of his court kept him from killing himself. Herod wanted a monument to himself; and he dies this excruciatingly painful death. “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.” God uses nations to administer the 5th cycle of discipline from time to time.


The Jews are aware of all this. In WWI, the Jews were thoroughly integrated into German society at this time; and yet, the Germans managed to isolate and destroy them.


Today, of course, there is another group bent on destroying the Jews. Why is it always the Jews? It is the Abrahamic covenant; the Angelic Conflict. If Satan is to avert his eternal condemnation, Satan must show that God is wrong and cannot keep His Word. One way is to show that God cannot keep His covenant.


Another objective was to keep Jesus from growing up.


Among believers, Satan wants to stop evangelization; and to stop spiritual growth. The divine viewpoint of history explains why everything happens in this world, and it is all centered upon God and His plan and all that is related to that.


The Angelic Conflict is being revised to put out.


This history of the Jews ought to be some kind of comfort to us, to indicate that God does control history. If God preserves all of these people over all this time, can God not take care of us? Do we think that our little problems amount to a hill of beans to God? Get some perspective on all of this. God never forsakes us and never deserts us, no matter what the circumstances.


Matt. 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men.


There is a prophecy here. This is a quotation of one of the prophets of Israel 700 years prior to this. Prophecies are fulfilled again and again and again in God’s plan. God does not determine our volition. But His plan marches on. It moves forward in the exact manner in which He has decided.


The fleeing of these people for their lives may seem unreal; but God deals with it. Ask those who have fled out of Germany and uprooting one’s entire life. George Mueller is an example of this.


Every day is the day that the Lord has made. We have no excuse to be afraid. No excuse to say, “God has deserted me” or “God doesn’t love me.” Our circumstances inside the plan of God are just what we want. They will be exactly the best for us. Just one morning recognize this.


Matt. 2:15 He stayed there until Herod's death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.


Lesson #0060      Matt. 2:15–23 Isa. 11:1 Life of Christ 3/9/11            Wednesday


Herod is chasing down the family of Jesus so they will go to Egypt until Herod is dead. Herod was dying of 2 diseases, and he died in great pain. He killed at least one wife and two sons. He attempted to commit suicide, but was apparently stopped.


There is nothing written about Jesus and His family in Egypt. There is always speculation. There is a necessity for them to leave Judæa and go to Egypt. This is also a fulfillment of prophecy. This was anticipated by an Old Testament prophet.


Matthew often uses an Old Testament quote, and this is divine inspiration in itself. However, what is not always obvious by the context, is still picked up on by a New Testament writer.


Matt. 2:15 He stayed there until Herod's death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.


When the nation was just formed, God loved Israel; and God called them out of Egypt. Hosea is not thinking about the Messiah when he wrote this.


Why did Matthew understand this prophecy in this way. The answer is in typology. Hosea’s statement was topological. In making this statement, Hosea did not necessarily know that this was related to the Messiah. However, God the Holy Spirit meant it in this way. A type is an Old Testament illustration or analogy, which, although it had a place in Biblical history, it is also divinely intended to foreshadow some New Testament truth about the Messiah.


The Typology Found by Matthew

1.       Matthew made a topological interpretation from Hosea 11:1

2.       Matthew is comparing Israel, whom God delivered from the slavery of Egypt to become a nation, as He promised Abraham; to what God would do for the spiritual deliverance of Israel in returned the exiled Messiah to Israel.

3.       In Christ, there is salvation and deliverance for the Jews when He came out of Egypt; just as Israel was delivered under Moses. Out of Egypt comes our Lord, for the purpose of delivering Israel. Israel was delivered out of Egypt as a covenant promise. Jesus is the fulfillment of a covenant promise.

4.       The Jews understood the national slavery issue. This was written for Jews.

5.       In Matthew’s quote, our Lord did not deliver Israel from physical slavery; He would deliver them from the slave market of sin.

6.       In Christ was by far the greater fulfillment; the spiritual fulfillment culminating at the cross.

7.       Conclusion: in this prophecy, our attention is drawn to the identification of the Savior with the nation He came to save.


Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.


Matt. 2:15 He stayed there until Herod's death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.


Then Matthew goes to Jeremiah. Jeremiah prophesied many difficult things for Israel.


Rachel is used metaphorically here, weeping for her children, who is Israel, because they are no more. Judah was destroyed; 586 b.c. In Babylonia there was slavery.


Jer. 31:15 This is what the LORD says: A voice was heard in Ramah, a lament with bitter weeping--Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children because they are no more.


Matthew interprets this prophecy topologically. Jeremiah did not mean it in this way. Jeremiah understood a single meaning.


Jeremiah, Matthew and Typology

1.       Jeremiah’s context of Nebuchadnezzar, who devastated Judah and dragged almost all of them into slavery. The place was destroyed, including Solomon’s Temple.

2.       In this typology, Matthew included what Herod did to Bethlehem, where he ransacked Bethlehem, to find and kill our Lord.

3.       Mattew brings in this identification.

4.       He notes that there are so many incidents in the life of Israel which foreshadow the Messiah. Matthew is linking this historical event with Jesus Christ.

5.       Jesus’ life perfectly unfolded in accordance with the plan of God, including all of the typology of Israel’s history. The Jews should have recognized this on their own.

6.       Matthew again uses a typological approach.


Matt. 2:17 Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:


Matt. 2:18 A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.


Joseph was given the all-clear in a dream from an angel.


Matt. 2:19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,


The angel tells them that it is time to return to Judæa.


Matt. 2:20 saying, "Get up! Take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, because those who sought the child's life are dead."


Matt. 2:21 So he got up, took the child and His mother, and entered the land of Israel.


Herod had a son, whose name was Herod Archelaus, a name from history. He was the worst of the worst of Herod’s children; and he was the worst one to rule over Israel.


As soon as Herod Archelaus took control, he killed 3000 Jews in the temple while they were worshiping. He would be no more respective to a king of the Jews any more than his father was.


Herod Archelaus was a survivor, but not a good man. As Joseph begins heading up to Judæa, he is given orders to avoid this area and to go up to Galilee.


Could this be the same route as the children of Israel coming out of Egypt.


This is also logistical grace.


No one can be taken out of this life apart from God’s timing.


Matt. 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee.


Every time they made a move, it was a fulfillment of prophecy.


There is no Old Testament prophecy “He will be called a Nazarene;” so how can there be such a statement?


To answer this, we must go to several Old Testament Scriptures. There are several prophets being referred to.


Matt. 2:23 Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He will be called a Nazarene.


This is clearly about the Messiah. Branch is the Hebrew word Netser. This is the connection to Nazarene. Hebrew is made up of only consonants. There are no vowels in the written Hebrew.


Where Does Nazarene Come From?

1.       Netser without the vowel points is נצר. That means branch. This is the same consonants as Nazarene.

2.       Therefore, there is a connection between branch and Nazarene.

3.       Branch has the connotation of lowliness and obscurity in the Hebrew.

4.       David was a obscure in Jesse’s house. He was the lowly shepherd. Bobby reminisces about Samuel choosing David from among Jesse’s sons.

5.       David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ, also had lowly beginnings.

6.       The title Nazarene fits this lowly concept. They have a similar meaning. Nazarene means lowly and obscure.

7.       Nazareth has quite a raucous reputation. Nazareth was filled with lowly Galileans.

8.       Galileans were despised and rejected by the Galileens.

9.       The greatest portion of Jesus’ life was spent in Nazareth in the despised city of the despised Galileans.

10.     It was the religious leaders of Judæa and Jerusalem.

11.     This final quote by Matthew, the toughest to figure out; that is the connection. Lowlenss and reject of Messiah.


Jesus will live most of His life here in the Galilee area.


Isa. 11:1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.


When our Lord presents Himself as the Messiah, He comes out of a town of obscurity. John was known, but Jesus was not. No human credentials and no accomplishments. He presented His spiritual credentials. Those are His credentials.


The religious leaders who knew prophecy should have linked Him to Old Testament prophecy and typology.


Lesson #0061           Luke 2: Life of Christ March 10, 2011                     Thursday


Herod the Great is dead. Joseph, Mary and Jesus are in Egypt. They have been instructed to return. They understood that Herod was dead, but his son was still alive, and his son was worse than Herod. He killed 3000 Jews on Passover when he took over.


In all of this, our Lord was fulfilling prophecy in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is still a year old. He now resides in Nazareth. What about all of these years of His childhood or young adulthood. What did He do for all of these 29 years in Nazareth? What was His day to day life like?


The Scripture is silent about these years; and they would apparently add nothing to our necessary knowledge of Him. It should have been obvious to those who knew Him that He was unique. This impact was only upon those who knew Him.


Even in Nazareth, He lives; and the word does not get around about Him. We are all being prepared in our early life without much knowledge of anything. Our knowledge of divine things must grow. Jesus Christ was no different. His learning had to take place as well. This is the greater part of His life.


There is brief mention of Jesus going to Jerusalem and he was 12 years old. Only Luke records a few general facts about His childhood. From these few e can ideally, this will allow us to know Him a little better.


Luke 2:42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the Feast.


Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.


Jesus developed physically like all children did; and he had brothers and children. He likely gazed about to see the beautiful landscape. This is what kids do.


Jesus developed a very strong body, which explains why He is able tod do this or that. He had no sin nature; so his body developed as God designed it to develop. He would have had no diseases.


His strength was not unlimited; there are verses where He stopped and rested?


For 24 hours, Jesus was beat down like no one else, and He lost His footing only in carrying the cross to Golgotha.


There would have been no flaws or defect in His body; since He had no sin nature. No mood swings, no complications. He probably was very handsome with an attractive personality; and a strong delivery of His message.


He increased in His intellect; He had to increase. He had to learn as any child learns. No doubt, He had a mental capacity which is off the charts.


He likely knew Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic. It is possible that He may have known Latin; He would have had plenty of exposure to it.


We do know that He gained in intellectual knowledge in several ways. He probably attended a synagogue school as a child. He could retain things; and He did not cause trouble. The Old Testament was the Jewish textbook; so He learned. He had no formal education, but He could think rings around the pharisees and Jewish theologians.


He gained knowledge from experiencing life. He learned a lot from his brothers and sisters. Without doctrine, we are destined to repeat our mistakes.


Everything that He thought was in terms of divine viewpoint. No contaminating human viewpoint. We are clouded by our own sin nature; and by our human experiences. He had no problem with evolution. He understood that everything came from divine creation. No prejudices to overcome. He had no prejudices to take into account. He was not co-dependent with anyone; He had no bad habits.


We may have wanted to be around Him for a week or so; but we have the mind of Christ.


He also developed morally and spiritually. He had to learn the Old Testament; it was the foundation of His education he read


He no doubt spend hours in prayer and cocentration.


It will be clear that He knows and understands the Old Testament. We can take our cue from the Lord and how He handled Scripture.


God’s grace poured through our Lord. He was our prototype at a ver you ag. He lived his life empowered by the spit.


All of these things re issues in our lives; but we have all of the assets that we need to live the same spiritual life that our Lord led.


He developed as the idea His development was without flaw and without a sin nature. He is the only man to grow up and function as the


he could be movitvated externally, but He did not have the sin nature. He was completely innocent in thought and act


there is one incident of importance


now we have a specific picture of hod o


many debout families bac go lkl.


this one discussion probably started many other discussions.


Luke 2:41 And His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.



the Passover is occurring. They


this child is left behind as a 12 yearo old.


they did not notice that Jesus was hiding vvl


Luke 2:42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the Feast.


Luke 2:43 And fulfilling the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know.


Luke 2:44 But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey. And they looked for Him among the kinsfolk and acquaintances.


It takes them 4 days to. Jesus was listening to what was being said and he would ask questions


Luke 2:45 And when they did not find Him, they turned back to Jerusalem, seeking Him.


People were amazed. Genius and mastered the Scriptures; at 12 yeare. These teachers got there by being the best. Do not ever be intimidated fy smart people. They have no real wisdom. These guys developed this possession. Suddenly there is...


There were theological discusses with religious leaders and many recognizes His great knowledge.


These talks were to His advantage. He came to know first-hand, the distortions, hypocrisy, an left. He knew them backwards and forwards. He knew their souls. He had them. He listened.


We can hardly wait to pontificate with al of our knowlege. When you straighten some people out, you are arrogant and it does not encourage them.


Jesus knew when to make them mad; He knew when those around Him needed to hear the truth. Many of the teachers were negative to the core. However, there were other people who were interested in the truth.


Jesus goes missing for 3 days. Men and women traveled separately within the caravan. They frantically searched for Him. They miss Him on the caravan for a day; and then serch for Him for 2 days.


His parents came into the Temple and saw Him doing something they did not expect to see. Now, it seems like this would be violating parental authority. Is that not a sin?


Luke 2:46 And it happened that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them.


Lesson #0062         Luke 2:40 Life of Christ March 13, 2011                   Sunday 1

Communion Sunday:

John 12:41 “These things Isaiah said, “Because he saw His glory and he spoke of Him. The Old Testament is as much a testimony to Jesus Christ as the New, but in a different way. David saw, and Moses, and the prophets. There has never been a time in human history that God has left man with no knowledge of His plan of salvation.

 

Uzziah was not a bad king, but he died in 740 b.c. Isaiah had a vision of what would come. The importance of this vision is testified to by John. The 2nd Person of the Trinity, Jesus, is revealed, in the Shekinah Glory. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

 

What did Isaiah and John see in this vision of glory? They saw Almighty God and the power and glory revealed in the omnipotence of Him. For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us, and the government will rest upon His shoulders, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah understood that the power of God would reside in the Person of Jesus Christ.

 

Isaiah did not see or speak of a weakling, but He spoke of a King to be called the Mighty God. So that Person could not just be man. He is also the Creator, the God of the Universe. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.

 

Until this very day, He has not occupied the throne of David. However, He will someday yield the scepter of power in great glory and all will bow to His will. Matt. 6:10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Behold My Servant, Whom I uphold, My Chosen One in Whom I delight. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for the many.

 

He is our substitute Servant; in Him is our eternal salvation.

 

Philip. 2:6–8 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death--even to death on a cross. The most ignominious of all deaths. When man looked upon the dying figure of Jesus Christ on the cross, he saw more than just a man. The world saw omnipotent God; God in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, undergoing the humiliation of taking upon Himself our sins. All of this is done for you and me, because God so loved the world.

 

Why such a paradox of humility and glory? Jesus Christ is the only One Who could satisfy the requirements of God to pay for our sins. He is the only One Who could mediate between man and God. Jesus had all the power of God, and still, He went to the cross for us. This humble Servant would be the mighty conqueror. The cross must precede the crown, and in both, there is glory.

 

Philip. 2:6–9 For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow--of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth-- and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Isa. 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied. By His knowledge, the Righteous One will justify the many, for He will bear their iniquity. To look upon Jesus Christ as anything other than our substitute, is to miss all that He is. He opened the way to our glorious future. We are lost, but He found us in His ignominious death.


We know almost nothing about our Lord’s early life, past his first couple years and on up until around age 30.


Luke 2:40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God's grace was on Him.


His physical body was perfect and without illness and defect.


He was perfect and He did not rebel, have tantrums, attention deficit, etc. He perfectly honored the authority of His parents, just as the Old Testament mandated.


He had a conscience with perfect standards. He was always without guilt. He certainly had emotions and appreciated all that God created and He wept. But He never expressed emotionalism of any mental attitude sins.


He was certainly and truly tempted.


When did Jesus become conscious of Who He was? He certainly understood this within the first decade of His life.


He also matured intellectually as well.


Lesson #0063   Luke 2:40–49, 52 Life of Christ March 13, 2011             Sunday 2


There are 3 verses which deal with our Lord between age 1 and age 30. One difference is, He would have been different for His parents; an ideal son.


He also grew intellectually, and He had an amazing capacity to learn. His mental acuity is off the charts. He learned by experience and in His parents’ home. He also went to synagogue school, as did all children between ages 6 and 10. He had a formal education at least until age 10, and He undoubtedly knew the Old Testament. He could pull passages out of the Old Testament and interpret them very easily.


He metabolized doctrine just as we do. His concentration and mental processes were perfect and He continued to spiritually advance very rapidly. He lived with the same power, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and we have His mind in the Scriptures.


The grace of God was upon Him. Jesus had the favor of God and He deserved it, as He was without sin. We do not deserve God’s grace. He grew in grace orientation. How could Jesus be anything less than perfect grace, dying for all of us.


Luke 2:40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God's grace was on Him.


Jesus continued to grow in wisdom and stature, and in grace with God and man. No self-righteousness whatsoever in Him. He is the Servant and He acted like it in His life. He had incredible humility. He showed great lover and great consideration for those around Him, whether they deserved it or not. He demonstrated perfect virtue love. This is what we take in doctrine to be able to do.


He developed in every way as we do. He lived in the midst of adversity and degeneracy and misery, and yet without sin; without self-righteousness, without arrogance. He was the very perfect man.


Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.


He lived quietly in Nazareth in silence. The silence of the gospels concerning these early years was broken just once in the book of Luke.


His parents go up to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Firstfruits.


Luke 2:41–51 Every year His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When He was 12 years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents did not know it. Assuming He was in the traveling party, they went a day's journey. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You." "Why were you searching for Me?" He asked them. "Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what He said to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart.


Jesus became absorbed in conversation with the most learned in the Law and the Old Testament, and, during this time, His parents took a caravan out of town. They must have thought that He was somewhere with them in the caravan. Men and women traveled separately in the caravan. One would have assumed that Jesus was not with them. At that time, parents begin to panic, after a full day, without a child.


They searched for several days; 2 or 3 days. If they knew fully Who He was, they might not have worried as much. They got very upset over this.


Luke 2:41 And His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.


Luke 2:42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the Feast.


Luke 2:43 And fulfilling the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know.


Luke 2:44 But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey. And they looked for Him among the kinsfolk and acquaintances.


Luke 2:45 And when they did not find Him, they turned back to Jerusalem, seeking Him.


These scholars must have been dazzled by Him, and kept up a conversation with him for 3 days. He had a tremendous capacity and understanding of the Word of God. At this time, He had tremendous skills in the knowledge of the Old Testament.


What would you do if all of your theological questions were being answered and explained by a 12 year old. There was obvious excellent content.


All who heard Him were amazed at His understanding. Imperfect middle indicative of εξιστιμι, which means to drive out, to confuse, to astound. These scholars were utterly astounded within their own minds. His knowledge and speech was complete overload for them. He never stopped.


You know that they must have brought in other experts and other teachers. Because of the holy days, there were probably teachers and experts from other cities. This could have been like a Bible conference going on. Not begun as such, but continued as such.


What do you suppose they were discussing? What kinds of information do you believe passed between them? They probably covered a lot of ground in 3 days. Even if they simply went 3 12 hour days.


The very meaning of existence as related to God; the actual versus the possible; a philosophical discussion with regards to God Himself. There were probably many questions about difficult interpretations of this or that passage. What do you think about it? Jesus could take the context around it and show how this fit into the Mosaic Law.


It is likely that they got into the prophets and into the Messianic prophecies.


He could have said, “I wrote this, so I will let you know what I meant.” However, He did not because He voluntarily restricted Himself and He did not use His divine nature unless willed by God the Father.


We cannot say that He knew these things because He was God. It was not just there; He learned it. He could utterly astonish the greatest scholars of His day. They must have asked every question that they always wanted to know.


Abraham was a believer and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. He could not be a part of the kingdom of God without faith in Jehovah Elohim. Probably some were saved in this discussion with Him and there would have been others who resisted Him. Others would have had the seeds planted in them and they would believe at a later time.


You can present the truth, and volition can still reject it. Jesus would have given the best and clearest presentation of the gospel, and it can be rejected. Do not be surprised at giving the greatest presentation of the gospel and have it rejected.


We may reasonably surmise that He knew Who He was. It would be 18 years before He announced Who He was; but He would not have revealed that here, because this was not God’s plan for Him to reveal Himself at this time.


Luke 2:47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.


His mother spoke to Jesus as she would any child. They were desperately concerned for Him. They were overwhelmed. They also had a strong reaction.


They must have had a number of different reactions, e.g., happiness that He is in the Temple holding his own against great scholars. At the same time, they are concerned that He would allow His parents to go through this anguish.


She was giving her son what-for, as a parent would naturally would do. To her, He had not honored the wishes of His parents. Kids grew up much faster at that time. They expected Him to be on this caravan; and yet He was in the Temple. Yet, in this, He had not sinned.


His parents were His authority, and He did this without sinning. There was a higher authority in God, and His parent’s wishes were overruled by the will of God. Jesus was there to do the will of God.


Luke 2:48 And seeing Him, they were amazed. And His mother said to Him, “Child, why have you done so to us? Behold, your father and I have looked for you, greatly distressed.”


Jesus asks them, “What did you look for Me?” Age 12 would have been a level of growth attained by Jesus Christ, which was accepted. Jesus would have been an adult at this point.


It is possible that Jesus was disappointed with His parents for not quite getting this, not understanding Who he was.


Luke 2:49 And He said to them, “Why did you look for Me? Do you not know that I must be about My Father's business?”


Luke 2:50 And they did not understand the word which He spoke to them.


Jesus did not buck their authority. He went back with them. Jesus was the authority of the universe, and yet, He consented to return to Nazareth with them. He chose to place Himself under their authority.


God the Father’s will was for Him to remain in Nazareth with His parents under their authority. This was a learning experience for His parents; and Jesus learned to listen to the legalism and apostasy of the religious leaders of His day. He learned about the opposition and how He could address it.


Luke 2:51 And He went with them and came to Nazareth, and He was subject to them. But His mother kept all these sayings in her heart.


Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.


Lesson #none           Luke 2: Life of Christ March 16, 2011                 Wednesday


No Bible class


Lesson #none           Luke 2: Life of Christ March 17, 2011                     Thursday


No Bible class


Lesson #0064                   Life of Christ March 20, 2011                            Sunday 1

Our Lord Jesus Christ had perfect character as a child and He enjoyed an excellent upbringing. His parents were mature believers. They were great facilitators to His spiritual growth.


Some of you have children and all you want is for them to love your and to be their friend. That is sad. The first thing you need to do is to teach them discipline.


Mary would have been a good mother and she was a student of the Scriptures. When it was explained what would happen to her, she accepted it, understanding, to some degree, who Jesus was. We believe in Christ in the same way, not fully understanding all about His character.


Joseph would have taught his child a craft; a profession. This would have been carpentry, which is what Jesus would have done. Before His public ministry, Jesus worked hard, just as all of us do. He had a vocation. His step-father made certain that He had a vocation.


Apparently Joseph died prior to our Lord’s public ministry. He is never mentioned during the public ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph was in the line of David; he was the immediate successor. Jesus Christ was the king, and He could not be the king until His father had passed.


In the course of His life, Jesus Christ was sinless; He had no sin nature; because He had not human father. He remained in a state of perfection for all of His life. He could not pay the penalty for our sins without being perfect, the unblemished Lamb of God to take away all the sins of the world.


In the midst of adversity, humor is a bit of a lift; and doubtless, the Lord had a sense of humor. He did not engage in brawls nor was He a bully nor did He pick on his younger siblings. He was head and shoulders above all of His contemporaries.


He did not get any spankings or time-outs for bad behavior (although it is not out of the question that He received some for things that He did not do). He showed respect for those in authority, despite their sinfulness.


Those in authority over us are in authority over us; we do not get to pick and choose the ones that we respect and the ones that we disobey.


We can also surmise that there was no period of rebellion, as many teenagers go through. He was responsive toward the wishes and directives of His parents. He fulfilled the mandates of the Old Testament concerning His parents; Honor your mother and father. Certainly, there were times when He was treated unjustly by His parents; and He was respectfully, nonetheless.


If you are not authority-orientated, then life becomes a constant battle.


In all of these things, Jesus was exactly like us. He had a soul like ours and bodily functions just like ours; and yet, He was unique. He had a gracious personality, because He was the epitome of grace, representing God to man. He lived grace. He demonstrated grace.


Jesus was probably quite puzzling as well. No doubt, His parents often laid in bed with many questions. Jesus had no sin nature, and He would have been quite unusual for that reason.


Nazareth was a Roman army town; and when there are guys in the service, things happen. This was no different in the city of Nazareth. Nazareth was a crossroads town, where people came and went. There were temptations and places where carnal lusts could be satisfied.


Jesus was not a legalist; He was not self righteous. He did not run people down who were sinners. He would later spend time with taxpayers and prostitutes. They were His friends. Pharisees and sadducees were not His friends. Jesus was not self righteous.


Jesus had no utopian illusions about mankind. He knew that mankind was not essentially good. That is a view of certain people today; that utopia is possible. If only the government could be in charge. Rousseau and Voltaire wrote all about this.


Bobby read an article about what would happen if Israel laid down their arms, they would cease to exist as a nation within 2 days.


Jesus could tell that man, with their sin natures, could not please God. All our righteousness are as filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah).


Jesus completely fulfilled the Law without a single mistake. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If there were a single violation of the Mosaic Law, then He could not be our substitute. How could anyone be without sin? If He was not perfect, then we cannot be saved.


The march of His life was specifically for that purpose. As we study His life and ministry, it culminates in His purpose as man and God.


We now leave His 30 years.


The public ministry took place over a very short time. It begins with the designated forerunner, John the Baptizer. From the time that Jesus was 12, he dazzled everyone with His superior knowledge. He was a genius. After this age, the gospels go silent for the next 18 years. We can only speculate about those years.


We know His character from His public ministry. We can only draw a few conclusions from the public ministry; but these are only generalities that we can depend upon.


Some go well beyond this evident. Some have surmised that Jesus was married with children. As the God-man, what sort of children would He produce? Furthermore, this is not His purpose in life.


Many liberties are taken in the theater with His life. No one can know His actual movements or activities or communications in those years. He did not sin; He had family life; He had a vocation; He developed physically, mentally and spiritually. Clearly those silent years prepared Him for the final 3 years of His life.


Bob spoke of the great deal of preparation required for the ministry. B. B. Warfield said 40 years of preparation for 1 year of ministry, that is a good deal.


Lesson #0065   Luke 1:17 3:1–3 Life of Christ March 20, 2011              Sunday 2


The prophecy.


Luke 1:17 And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.


Then John, about 6 months, is the forerunner of Jesus Christ, about 30 years after this prophecy.


All 4 gospels speak of John. Matt. 3:1–12 Mark 1:1–8 Luke 3:1–18 John 1:6–8 3:27–36


Our homework assigned is to read these passages and to see how these gospels compliment one another. We will put these together to get the entire picture. We will see each one has a different perspective, and there are different details revealed in these accounts.


400 years have gone by, and there were no prophecies from the Lord. Many Jews were waiting for a word; they were waiting for some prophet to step forward and say something. When John stepped forward, people came from all over to hear John the Baptizer, a prophet. This man drew a big crowd. This became well known throughout all Israel. He was preaching in the desert-wilderness.


He was very effective; he was gifted in teaching.


John was a link between all that was great in Israel’s past. The prophets; those who spoke the Word of God clearly and with authority and without fear. He was also a revealer of the evils of that present generation. That was also indicative of Israel’s past. Furthermore, he was fearless. He had no problem condemning anyone who was a part of the evil of his generation. So many who came out to hear him in the wilderness loved his message.


He rebuked the religious leaders, and this resonated with the people. He took on the rulers of Palestine. John was the herald of the One they were waiting for. This began the new era of the future king.


The legalists, pharisees and sadducees were the ones who should have been interested, but they were not.


John the Baptizer was kind of a strange person. He was kind of weird. He was announcing the advent of the King.


You would think that he would make these announcements in the streets of Jerusalem, but he was out by the Jordan River.


John wore a belt and a sack. He ate locusts and wild honey. That is a weird guy.


Matt. 3:4 John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.


He probably looked like quite a wildman, out in the wilderness. He was not exactly what one would expect of an exalted herald calling for people to observe the coming of the King. His humble beginning and attitude spoke of the humility of the One to Come.


He was humble in deeds and in every other way. He was the forerunner of the King of Kings, Who is also very humble.


Mark 1:6 John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.


Nothing is known of John’s life prior to this ministry. We have his birth and the predictions of his future ministry, and from there, we go right into his ministry.


John was well aware of the apostasy of the religious leaders. He could tailor his message just for them and the common people. His father was a priest in the Temple and his father loved the Scriptures. His father knew about all that went on in the Temple. His father could have taught him what is right and wrong about the Judaism which existed during their time.


The Temple was a great place to observe apostasy. He made visits to Jerusalem for the festivals and the holy days; and there, he could observe firsthand the evils of the day. The hypocrisy of the religious types of that day.


He saw the tyranny of Roman rule. He saw the restlessness of the people for deliverance and their hunger for truth and for a Deliverer. He understood the impact of his calling. He called for repentance; a change of mind, for his people.


We will go into repentance in the future. John understood the impact of his calling. He had the privilege of presenting what Israel was looking for.


How would they see the future Messiah, as a political liberator or as the liberator from the slave market of sin? Those were the options in the announcement of the King.


John had 30 years to prepare for his short ministry. Luke tries to give the exact date, but there is some dispute about this time period. There are other sources that we can go to.


Luke 3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,


There Are 6 Chronological Markers

1.       a.d. 26–36 for Pontius Pilate.

2.       Herod Anitpas, who was deposed in a.d. 39

3.       Philip died in a.d. 34.

4.       Lysanias cannot be dated as of right now.

5.       Chaiphus was the High Priest until a.d. 37.

6.       So we place this between 26 and 34.

7.       Tiberius Cæsar’s 15th year, but there are 5 ways this is calculated. There is a calendar that needs to be used. We do not know the calendar that Luke uses. What calender was available; the Julian calendar, revised in 45 b.c. by Julius Caesar.

          a.       The Syrian method for years. 21 Sept 26 to 21Sept 27. Crucifixion would be a.d. 30.

          b.       The Julian calendar, begins Aug and December of 29. Crucifixion placed in a.d. 33.

          c.        Probably 26 or 27 would be the calendar that a Jew would use.


So, let’s place his ministry in a.d. 26.


at this time, the Word of God came to John, which is a formula phrase. This is a prophetic message to God to be delivered to Israel. We find this Haggai and Zechariah and Malachi, all 1:1 for each of those books (post-exilic prophets). John would fit into this same mold. 4 to 6 centuries after these great prophets. Many of those who heard John understood this. John is claiming to be an Old Testament prophet.


John’s prophecy was quite different; he claims, “The Kingdom has come. It’s here. It is not sometime later down the road. It is right now.”


Luke 3:2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God's word came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.


Bobby gives the parallel passages once again. Bobby will take these 3 synoptic passages and combine them into one passage. This will be a synthesis of divinely inspired Scripture.


Luke 3:3 He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,


Lesson #0066   John the Baptist Life of Christ March 23, 2011         Wednesday


There had been no prophecy for 400 years, and suddenly, out of nowhere, came Jesus Christ. So many different groups ruled over Israel. The Persians and the Chaldeans and the Assyrians and now the Romans.


Now, a prophet spoke out at the Jordan River, and he kept saying, “The kingdom is at hand.” His fame spread like wildfire, and huge crowds came out to hear what this prophet had to say. This is a man who had the Word of the Lord. No prophecy had been heard for centuries.


However, John ben Zacharias was a very strange man. He would be the forerunner for Jesus Christ.


Did we do our homework? Repentance is a word that is very misunderstood.


Luke 3:3 He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,


Luke 3:4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!


Luke 3:5 Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth,


Luke 3:6 and everyone will see the salvation of God."


The parallel passage in Matt. 3:1:


Matt. 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea


Matt. 3:2 and saying, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!"


Matt. 3:3 For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!"


Matt. 3:4 John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.


Matt. 3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were flocking to him,


Matt. 3:6 and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.


Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


Mark 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way.


Mark 1:3 A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!"


Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.


Mark 1:5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.


Synoptic Accounts

1.       All these accounts have similarities and differences.

2.       Each narrative adds something of John’s preaching.

3.       That is the beauty of the synoptic gospels. Everything which is written is divinely inspired. There is no contradiction anywhere. There is a uniqueness to each author.

4.       Each gospel confirms the other, while adding knowledge from their own perspective. The gospels verify each other simply because they agree. Why does one author add information that another lacked? It reveals their own personal perspective.


Bobby is going to give an interperative synthesis of all 3 passages, which will include all of the facts.


In those days, John went into the region around the Jordan River in the Judæan desert in fulfillment of what is written in the prophet Isaiah: I sent My messenger before You to prepare a path for You. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This John the Baptist is the one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah. The voice of one calling in the desert, the voice prepares the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him [open up a way for Him], every valley will be filled up and every mountain and hill will be leveled; crooked paths will be straightened [much of the apostasy in Israel will be revealed]; rough paths will be made smooth; all mankind will see the salvation of God. This is John’s complete message to Israel, paralleling Isaiah’s message from 8 centuries before. What John was presenting was close at hand; not centuries down the road.


The difference was timing. John is called the baptizer. He was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He dunked them under water and pulled them back up. Secondly, a repentance, for the Kingdom of God was at hand.


What Is the Connection?

1.       His baptism indicated a repentance on the part of the one who was being baptized. This does not refer to professing one’s sins in front of others.

2.       It was part of John’s ministry to baptize the repenters in the Jordan River.

3.       Those being baptized were the ones coming out to him at the Jordan River.

4.       These were responding to his call to repent for the forgiveness of sin.

5.       The repentants were a group of people who acknowledged and accepted His message.

6.       Exactly what this repentance meant, we have studied. It refers to a change of mind. This is important in understanding John’s message to Israel. He baptized in a different dispensation. He was still a part of the Age of Israel. This meant that his baptism and message was specifically for Israel. The church was not found in the Old Testament.


John’s Baptism of Repentance; What Was It?

1.       This was a symbolic baptism. Those being baptized were identified with the future kingdom of God, which was promised to Israel in the Davidic Covenant.

2.       What is clear is, these people are not yet in the Kingdom. It had not yet been offered by the King.

3.       John’s baptism ritually identified the repentant Jews with the future kingdom when it was initiated because of their repentance, their change of mind. It is like our water baptism today, which ritually identifies the believer with the work of Christ. It represents the believer’s change of mind concerning the work and Person of Jesus Christ. When that person is baptized, it is a testimony of faith in Christ. Being baptized and dunked without a message means nothing is being represented. This is a ritual identification, so the gospel needs to be given. We do not have to be baptized to be saved.

4.       John’s baptism was preparatory work for the appearance of the King, Who would be shortly identified by John. The promise of the Kingdom. People change their minds about the fact that the Messiah has come.

5.       The people being baptized would be a remnant of Israel. Based upon a change of mind and the future forgiveness of sin. This is also the entrance to the kingdom for the Jews who are promised the kingdom. In the Millennium we will also be...

6.       The remnant of Jews refers to the repentant of the Jews; those who will be part of the Kingdom of Heaven and God’s Kingdom on Earth, as the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. The Jews understood this; there is a history and a future to this remnant. There was a remnant of believers during the time of Isaiah. Assyrian attacked the northern kingdom; and Chaldea and Babylonia to the southern kingdom. There was a remnant of believers who returned to the Land of Promise. This is a foreshadowing of a more distant fulfillment.


The Kingdom of God has yet to be instituted. It is still future. The King was rejected; the King was crucified. At this point, John was addressing only the Jews of Israel. He was presenting the Messiah; he was looking forward to the Messiah.


Here is the king who will make a legitimate offer, and He will be rejected. When Messiah is rejected the forgiveness of sin is provided for on the cross. Isa. 53 is all about the suffering Servant, our Lord on the cross.


Acts 13:38 Let it be known to you, brothers, that forgiveness of sin is made to you. The forgiveness of sin is effective for all. Repentance of sin, the Kingdom of Heaven, all pulled together by John’s baptism.


How Are These All Related?

1.       Only through Jesus Christ could sin be forgiven; and only through Him could be brought the Kingdom of God. A change of mind because Israel had been so apostate over the past 50 or more years. They followed their religious leaders, who were teaching them salvation by keeping the law.

2.       Only those who repented, symbolized by the baptism of John, would be the remnant of Israel and enter into the Kingdom. They did not get the kingdom through the baptism but through the change of mind.

3.       This baptism was a symbol; a representative of the coming Messiah; they were identified with the Messiah and His future Kingdom.

4.       The baptism was a symbolic pledge of those who repented that Messiah would forgiven them their sins. It was a pledge; a symbolic pledge. This pledge that they would enter the kingdom because they changed their minds. These people being baptized would not see the Kingdom in their lifetime, but they would become a part of it.

5.       The judgment of the Messiah Himself had to precede their forgiveness; He had to die in order for our sins to be forgiven.

6.       When John was preaching, his judgment on the cross was yet in the future and his ministry had not yet begun. He was the herald; the forerunner.

7.       The crowing of the King could only be done when the judgment was complete. This was a legitimate offer, had Israel accepted Him as their King and Savior. A legitimate offer.

8.       Without the cross, no one could enter into the kingdom, because sins would not be forgiven.

9.       The entrance into the Kingdom and forgiveness of sin by those being baptized was all in the future. That is why they changed their minds. They looked forward to what would happen.

10.     That is why John’s baptism was a symbolic or representative thing.


So we will need to take a close look at the background of baptism. It had a meeting. There was a background for this. They already understood what baptism meant. What did John insist on the ritual of baptism? Because they would get it. They were well-versed in baptism already.


Lesson #0067           Luke 2: Life of Christ March 24, 2011                     Thursday


We are currently looking at John the son of Zachariah. John prepared for the offer of the Kingdom. They must accept the King John spoke of. This was not a political savior that John announced. He was announcing the Savior, Who would forgive them their sins. He would bring them into the Kingdom as regenerate Jews, as those who believed in Jesus Christ.


Bobby gave us a composite of the 3 John the Baptizer passages:


In those days, John went into the region around the Jordan River in the Judæan desert in fulfillment of what is written in the prophet Isaiah: I sent My messenger before You to prepare a path for You. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This John the Baptist is the one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah. The voice of one calling in the desert, the voice prepares the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him [open up a way for Him], every valley will be filled up and every mountain and hill will be leveled; crooked paths will be straightened [much of the apostasy in Israel will be revealed]; rough paths will be made smooth; all mankind will see the salvation of God.


This was a very special baptism. There are 7 baptisms in the Bible. The real baptism is an actual baptism; we are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are 3 symbolic or ritualistic baptisms. This baptism was the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. There would be an identification of the Davidic Covenant, the King and His people. The kingdom of heaven and the King were at hand. They were quite close; the King was over in Nazareth. The King had finally arrived after all of those centuries. All of this time, they expected the King; all of the prophets that spoke of Him; and He is at hand.


What Is the Kingdom of Heaven?

1.       This is any type of rulership that God asserts on this earth.

2.       John proclaimed the future rule of Jesus Christ, the King Who had not yet been introduced.

3.       It was a kingdom instituted by God Himself. The kingdom of heaven would occur at the 2nd advent.

4.       This would be the first appearance of the God-man, Jesus Christ.


Unfortunately, Jesus would be rejected. Many accepted Him and believed in Him, but many in the nation rejected Him. They hated Him and they killed Him.


The cross had to come before the crown. How can this be a legitimate offer? If the King has to die. Even if He was accepted by the Jews, Jesus still had to die for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance and baptism which identifies the Jews with this kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is the future kingdom of the Millennium.


His Was a Ritual Baptism, Symbolizing...

1.       A change of mind of the Jews and the nation about the Messiah. They had to accept that He is the Messiah.

2.       They had to accept a future forgiveness of sins by the Messiah. There was a lot of legalism at this time. Remember the rich young ruler?

3.       Entrance into the kingdom was brought in by the King for those who are regenerate.


Why was this water baptism necessary? What was it all about? Israel understood ritual; their religious lives was all wrapped around ritual. This baptism ritual had meaning well beyond John. This was not brand new. The Jews understood what it meant. Baptism was a very common word in the Old Testament.


What Did Baptism Mean in That Culture and Time?

1.       Βαπτιζω which means to dip, to dye.

2.       Baptizô was a common word in the fuller’s trade (one who works with cloth).

3.       The fuller received the cloth, which was unprocessed sheep’s wool. It had no luster and it needed to be washed. Sheep do not smell very good. This wool needed to be cleaned up before it was used.

4.       It was prepared for use by being dipped into bleach and then into dye. This was a very common industry.

5.       When the wool emerged from the bleach, it was clean and the smell was gone.

6.       When it arose from the dye, it was further altered with a lusted that it did not have before.

7.       

8.       The appearance of the cloth was changed by bleaching it and dying it. It was a completely different thing; there was a change in the wool itself.

9.       This was the literal concept of the word βαπτιζω.

10.     But baptizô did not emphasize the process, but the result of the process.


There was a symbolic meaning of baptizô as well. Iron is a hard substance; and iron can be used metaphorically as well. This could be used to change identify, to change appearance, to change in a relationship. This metaphorical usage could be understood by the Jews.


There Was a Baptism in the Old Testament

1.       Water was used extensively in the Old Testament in connection with the ritual of cleansing. Mary washed at the end of the period of time, after giving birth. Water was used extensively in the ritual of cleansing; and consecration and change to a new identify or relationship.

2.       Lev. 14:7 refers to the sprinkling of water and a literal cleansing. The Jews were mandated to good hygiene in the Mosaic Law.

3.       The unclean person had to wash with water to remove his uncleanness. Lev. 16:4

4.       A literal washing could change or cleanse from symbolic uncleanness. When the physical act was done, symbolically this was going from being unclean to clean.

5.       The high priest was to carry out rituals on the Day of Atonement. He needed to wash himself with water, which indicated that he was cleansed. This idea is, he was cleansed from sin, symbolically. Only then could he enter into the Holy of Holies for the sacrifices.

6.       Literal washing first meant that he was symbolically clean, cleansed from sin.

7.       So this literal use of water in the Old Testament signified 2 things: cleansing from sin and devotion and fidelity to God.

8.       This is a change of identify from clean to unclean. There is a new relationship.


There is a requirement of Judaism; a new convert to Judaism had to have this.


Old Testament Baptism

1.       In baptism, converts were ritually admitted into an identification with the people of Israel and with the promises of God to Israel. This included gentiles. There was a baptism, a circumcision and the animal sacrifices.

2.       Baptism symbolized the removal of the defilement of sin. Sin was what blocked a relationship with God. The cleansing of baptism represented a new relationship with God where there was none before.

3.       The baptizing of the new convert symbolized a changed relationship with God. Water baptism is a changed relationship, for us, from lost to regenerate.

4.       Sin is no longer a barrier to the relationship with God. Baptism was soteriological for the Jews in Israel.

5.       In the case of conversion of Gentiles, this signified terminating a relationship with their false gods. And beginning a new relationship with Yehowah.

6.       Baptism was an identification with the God of Israel where none existed before.

7.       This ritual cleansing and identification continued to be practiced by the Jews in the time when John was preaching it.


The Jews already had the concept of baptism; and John tweaked it slightly. He was preaching this to Israel about their current need to change; their current need to repent.


Μετανοεω and it is used as an imperative of entreaty. John entreated his audience to change their minds. Standing up in front of everyone and feeling sorry about your sins is not what John was talking about. John wanted these people to change their minds about something.


Perhaps the idea is, to change their minds about what they expected to find in the Messiah.


He does this with a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Here, this is the idea of a symbolic cleansing portrayed in the literal dunking of water.


The Baptism of Repentance of John

1.       Something great was going to occur. The Messiah was coming. The people came and said, “I want to be baptized; I can’t wait.” This was quite exciting for the people; they were stunned and overjoyed; the Messiah would be there. The baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. They were to change their minds about the Messiah, about His appearance and His work.

2.       This signified that they had chanted their minds about Christ. We were not clean and now we are clean.

3.       John was immersing these people. Sprinkling does not reveal the real meaning for being baptized. The old relationship is gone and the new relationship has begun. John immersed people in the Jordan River. This mode symbolized the forgiveness of sins.

4.       John was immersing people in the waters of the Jordan River. The necessity for the Messiah to do it. The Messiah had to change the relationship between these people and God. This was all about the Messiah and His work.

5.       They changed their minds about what Christ would accomplish on the cross and the offer of a relationship with God. Who could do that? Only the Messiah on the cross. Here is entrance into the kingdom. There were many people there to be baptized. There were many people who identified with the Messiah and His work and the Kingdom.


The only problem for them was, when would this actually happen? Would he walk into this place and destroy the Romans? Even though the kingdom was not instituted in the 1st advent, this would come in the 2nd advent.


All that was necessary was a change of mind. We accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. We will return with Him and we will rule with Him. That is our promise.


No ritual sacrifice like baptism could be efficacious for sin; this was a symbolic ritual of baptism. This represented the work of Christ. For many years, there was the concept of baptismal regeneration. That is a heresy and a fallacy. Baptism has nothing to do with your eternal future.


For them, it was the same. It was a symbol of the reign of God in the Millennium. This was John’s introduction to the Lord Jesus Christ, preparing our Lord’s path. This message would divide the nation. It would separate the saved from the lost.


Final 3 Points

1.       The future work of the Messiah must be accept for what it is and what it does.

2.       A change of mind is necessary from the old way of thinking about the ritual sacrifices to the new real sacrifices. The old rituals are obsolete.

3.       The baptism was a recognition that the one who was baptized had changed his mind and had repented and was forgiven.


Lesson #0068           Luke 2: Life of Christ March 27, 2011                     Sunday 1

John the Baptizer was the forerunner to Jesus Christ. He was 30 years old in a.d. 26. One of the methods for heralding our Lord was baptism. We was also a prophet on the order of the Old Testament prophets, like Isaiah. Israel had not heard a voice from God through a prophet for 4 centuries. Nothing but dead silence, and they were ready to hear a voice. This is how Israel received divine revelation.


It was a bad time for God’s teaching during the time of John the Baptizer. They needed this reassurance. “Has God forgotten us?” they asked themselves. They did not like being subject to Roman occupation.


Israel, at this time, was in a general state of apostasy. The path they should have followed was well-defined for them in a number of places. David spoke to his son Solomon and he was about to hand over the throne for the first time; and his was the first in the Davidic line. That advice is found in 1Kings 2:3–4 And keep the charge of Jehovah your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn yourself, that Jehovah may continue His Word which He spoke concerning me, saying, If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul saying, there shall not be a man of yours cut off from the throne of Israel. The first great king of Israel tells Solomon what is mandated for a nation to be great.


In the time of John, the people then were interested in politics, in power; they had become very secular, in the guise of religion. John’s message was a message of repentance. The actual preaching of John is found in 3 passages.


A synthesis of these passages: In those days, John went into the region around the Jordan River in the Judæan desert in fulfillment of what is written in the prophet Isaiah: I sent My messenger before You to prepare a path for You. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This John the Baptist is the one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah. The voice of one calling in the desert, the voice prepares the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him [open up a way for Him], every valley will be filled up and every mountain and hill will be leveled; crooked paths will be straightened [much of the apostasy in Israel will be revealed]; rough paths will be made smooth; all mankind will see the salvation of God.


“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin” are 2 very problematic passages.


Baptism is an identification. Today, it is a ritual, symbolic of our union with Jesus Christ. Going under the water is identifying Jesus Christ in His death; and coming back up, we are associated with His resurrection.


There is the false teaching, baptismal regeneration, which is, no baptism means no salvation. Infant baptism is totally apostate and wrong. How does an infant have any idea what is going on? He cannot know Who God is and Who Christ is.


Repentance for the forgiveness of sin. He identified those individuals in Israel who had repented. That is what his preaching message was. What occurs is in the soul; the repentance occurs in the soul. Some people just want to hear it. They just want to hear that it has been done. This was John’s call for the people of Israel to repent for the forgiveness of their sins.


Standing up and naming your sins in front of everyone just puts everyone else out of fellowship. Baptism does not bring about the forgiveness of sins; it is symbolic. It is an identification.


Forgiveness of sins can only be accomplished in one way; but the people of Israel had to change their minds about forgiveness of sins. Confession is not a prerequisite for the forgiveness of sin. The Jews must change their minds about the One Who would shortly appear. They must accept the One about to come. Jesus is the Savior of infinitely greater impact; the only One Who can bring forgiveness of sins and he spiritual life to them. They were simply looking forward; we look back. This was a change of mind in the Jews, in Israel, about the Messiah to come. Jesus is their king, and they needed to change their minds about Him. There is the King and the Savior; they should have known both. He truly offered the kingdom. If He had to die, how can He offer the kingdom? If God offers something, then it is true. They had to accept Him in order to be entered into the kingdom.


“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is any sort of rulership that God brings upon he earth. No