Course: The Doctrine of Christ (Christology)
Thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior into this world. Thank You that He died for our sins and paid for them and rose again from the dead. Thank You, Lord, that we have life and forgiveness in Him. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." Thank You, Lord, for the wonderful inheritance we have in Christ. We are joint heirs with Him and we pray that our study of Your word concerning Jesus Christ will prepare our hearts to bring the message of Jesus to a lost and dying world. We pray, Lord, that we would never loose sight that Christianity is not just a religion—a system of doing things—but it is Jesus Christ our Lord. Without Christ there is no Christianity. Help us, Lord, by opening our minds and hearts. Make us diligent students of the Bible so that we would have an answer to give to those who ask us for a reason of the hope that is in us. We thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The course description states that the purpose of this course is to present the person and work of Jesus Christ from His pre-existence to His Second Coming. Thus, acquainting the students with the major doctrines of Jesus Christ, while focusing on the centrality of Jesus Christ in all that Christianity teaches, believes, and practices. That is a wonderful course description and we will try to do that.
There is a little tract that is published by the Faith, Prayer and Tract League and its title is the same as the textbook: The Incomparable Christ. Let me read a few lines out of this that your heart might be warmed.
He came from the throne of the Father to the womb of a woman. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of Man that we might become sons of God. He was born in a supernatural way, lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He had neither wealth nor influence, yet the wisdom of men has never matched His wisdom. Never has a man spoken like this man. His family was inconspicuous and uninfluential. In infancy He startled a king. As a boy, He stunned theologians with His knowledge and wisdom for He was taught of God. In manhood, He ruled the elements and quieted the raging sea. He healed the multitudes without medicine. And fed thousands from a boy’s lunch. Even demons obeyed Him and He gave back life to those who died. He never wrote a book, yet none of the libraries of the world can contain the books that have been written about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme of more songs than all song writers combined. He never founded a college, yet all the colleges together cannot boast of as many students as He has. He never marshaled an army, yet no leader has ever had more volunteers. Great men have come and gone yet He lives all. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not tempt Him to sin. Death could not destroy Him. The grave could not hold Him. He laid aside His purple robe for a peasant’s gown. He was rich yet for our sakes He became poor. He slept in another’s manger. He rode on another’s donkey. He was buried in another’s grave. He conquered death and rose on the third day as He said He would. He ascended into heaven and is now at the right hand of the throne of God. One day He will return with power and great glory to judge the world when every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue shall confess Him as Lord. His friends gladly. But enemies seeking for a place to hide from His face. He is the perfect one. The only one who can satisfy the soul. He gives everlasting life to those who love Him. He is altogether lovely. But best of all, He is my Savior.
He is a wonderful Lord. Now God often gives us illustrations that are rather close to the times that we speak. Yesterday morning a Jewish medical doctor called me because somebody gave him my name. He had never heard our broadcast, but he called our ministry. He had just been talking with his rabbi about Jesus and wanted to know about Him. Though He had heard all about Jesus growing up, since it was in a Jewish home it was only to stay away from Jesus. Now he had become interested and somebody gave him a New Testament. While he was reading the New Testament, something about Jesus really bothered him. He went to his rabbi to find out the scoop about Jesus, but his rabbi gave him a lecture on why Jesus cannot be the Messiah. The funny thing about it is that he faxed the reasons to me and the rabbi gave the exact same arguments that I use to prove that Christ is the Messiah. The rabbi was not at all ignorant of the facts; he laid them out very beautifully for this man and told him that because of the curse on the line of David through Solomon at the time of Jeconiah Jesus cannot be the Messiah. Secondly, because He was born by virgin birth according to the New Testament, He would have come out of the womb of a woman (though she was in the line of David through Nathan) Christ could not have been the King of Kings because the messiah cannot be adopted. According to Psalm 132:11, He has to be born out of the loins of David—out of the woman’s womb from King David through Solomon as this rabbi claimed. Now the Scriptures do not say that it must be through Solomon. He was born of a woman in David’s line out of Mary. The rabbi was wrong concerning the adoption issue. We will get to that one day when we talk about it in this course and go over the details of it. Here is a man telling me that Jesus was not the Messiah by using the very argument that we use to prove that He is the Messiah! The point is that both sides agree to the argument. Now I just looked at him and said, "Glory!" because I have now, in print, a Jewish rabbi stating exactly the argument as to why Yeshua ben Yosef is the only one who could ever be the Messiah. There is no other possibility.
In case, you are worried about that now, Isaiah 9:6 states, "For Unto us a Child is born." Birth. "Unto us a Son is given." Adoption. Whoever this one is, whose name is wonderful will be on the throne of David and He will be exercising righteousness and justice forevermore. Whoever this one is, He has to have both birth and adoption in order to fulfill Isaiah 9:6.
The other interesting thing—if the rabbi is correct—that he has eliminated any possibility for any Messiah, because nobody could be the Messiah. Why? Well, because He cannot meet the prophecies that are in the Bible. He listed the prophesies about Jesus and said they were coincidence. We will see in this course whether or not it is coincidence. Did the disciples sit down with Jesus one day and say, "You know what? I mean, you are nice looking. You’ve got a lot of great things to say. I think you’d make a great messiah. We certainly need one." Now, we do have a little problem here. There are 300 prophecies that we are going to have to work on. Can you imagine the day that came along when they said, "I hate to tell you this, Jesus, but there are 30 prophecies that you have to fulfill in one day and you also have to be killed. There is one more that is even worse than that, because on the third day, you are going to have to come back from the dead."
We will get back to this later in the course. We are getting a little bit ahead now. Allow me to run down the outline briefly so that you know what we are going to cover. We are actually going to deal with ten major subjects. Two weeks will be spent on most of these subjects.
1. Of the ten major subjects, the first one is the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. He did not just start as a baby in Bethlehem.
2. The second one that we will look at is the messianic claims of Jesus Christ. The fundamental issue of the Bible which a lot of schools do not at all teach their students, unfortunately, is that Jesus is the Messiah. As a matter of fact, to be accurate with the New Testament, a person becomes a Christian by believing that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. It says that point blank. It astounds me the little interest people have in the whole issue of the Messiah Himself. The claims of Jesus Christ to be the Messiah is the heart of the gospel. John wrote in John 20:30-31, "These signs are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that in believing you would have life through His name." So it is critical to understand the messianic claims of Jesus Christ.
3. The third subject is the deity of Christ, and which will include a look at all the cults and aberrations of Christianity—everybody who is just a little off. They call themselves Christians, but they are just a slight bit off, and it is always over the deity of Christ. The deity of Christ functions as the common denominator of cults, whether they deny or water it down. The fact of the matter is that He is God. And we are going to deal with that.
4. We will address the incarnation and virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Incarnation means God became flesh. How that occurred? We will discuss the virgin birth—even addressing it genetically. We will also discuss the biological miracle involved in it. And hopefully all of us will get a good, clear understanding of why that is an essential doctrine of the Bible about Jesus Christ.
5. We will look at the humanity of Jesus Christ. A very real subject. The Bible uses that to tell us He identifies with us. He is our merciful and faithful High Priest. He will comfort us. He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities in all points as the Bible says. We will look at the humanity of Jesus Christ.
6. We will look at the miracles of Jesus Christ. And since John 21:25 says that the books of the world cannot contain all those miracles, we obviously will not be talking about every one of them. But we will be showing you some of the key miracles of Jesus Christ. Especially as it relates to different veins of thought. For example, His power over demons, His power over the weather and sickness and illness. We are going to be looking at His mighty power.
7. We will address the death of Jesus Christ. No issue is more crucial to the gospel than understanding the death of Christ. We will be giving you about fifteen reasons why He died, and that will be a great time in the Lord.
8. We will also discuss the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And of course that, if the resurrection did not occur then we have a dead Savior—we have no Christianity, for we would remain in our sins and our preaching and teaching is a waste of time. Obviously the resurrection is crucial.
9. We will look at the ascension and present ministry of Jesus Christ. Rarely do you get in a lot of studies on Christ’s present ministry in our life. It is almost as if people believe He ascended to heaven and that He is not doing anything anymore until He comes back. Oh yes, He is very active and we will find out how and what He is doing.
10. Lastly, of course, is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Now we do have a course in eschatology that deals totally with prophecy, but we will be hitting some of the highlights only as it relates to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Now just a word about Jesus as we begin the first subject, the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. Let us take a moment and simply discuss His title and who we are talking about. The name Jesus in English comes off a Greek word Iesous. So basically it is not translated, it is said into English (transliterated). You also have it in other languages of the world. For instance, in Latin America and South America you have many people called Jesus. It is not just those letters and then title that is who we are talking about. We are speaking of a particular Jesus here.
Now, the Greek word, Iesous, which we get the name Jesus, comes off of a Hebrew word. And I want you to spell it with English letters so that you can get a hold of it. The word is often called Yeshua, which is an abbreviation that people use of His name. The real name is Yehoshua. Now that means "Yahweh is salvation" or "the Lord is salvation." That is also the name of one of the books of the Old Testament: the Book of Joshua. We will mention how sometimes people can be confused on certain passages where it is talking about Joshua or whether it is talking about Jesus. His correct name is Yehoshua.
Now in the messianic circles of today, we abbreviate it and it is spelled: Y’shua. Now when you hear somebody say that Jesus is Yeshua ben Abraham, Yeshua ben David, or Yeshua ben Joseph. The word ben is placed to denote "son of." So when people use that today, you know that they are speaking of so and so is the son of so and so. That is how they are identified. The New Testament does the exact same thing.
Let us open up our New Testament and look at Matthew 1. It says the book of the generation of Jesus Christ. Now the word "Christ" in English is from the Greek word christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew word for Messiah. When we say, ha Masheach, the word ha is the definite article (i.e., the word "the"). You will see people say Yeshua ha Masheach. In Irvine there is a messianic assembly at which I recently spoke on Jewish salvation, and the name of it is called Adat ha Masheach. So understand when we read right off of Matthew, that Matthew was a Jew. The book probably has a Hebrew source and has been translated into Greek so the whole world will hear the message of the gospel. It is the book of the generation of Yehoshua ha Masheach, Jesus the Messiah, or as we often say, "Jesus Christ."
The next thing that Matthew states is "ben David," the son of David. This immediately identifies Christ as the messianic King. Yeshua ben David is the Messiah King. It also said He is the son of Abraham.
So, here right away, the Bible uses a typical Hebrew or Jewish way of identifying who we are talking about and what the New Testament is all about. Here we have the book of the generation of Yeshua ha Masheach [Jesus the Messiah] ben David [the son of David] (the messianic King) and ben Abraham [the son of Abraham] (the promised seed).
We also know in this same chapter that He is the son of Joseph (ben Yosef). When you are communicating with Jewish people who are unfamiliar or do not want to agree with you about words like "Jesus Christ" and "Jesus is the Messiah," the way to talk to them is to say, "I want to speak to you about Yeshua ben Yosef [Jesus son of Joseph]." Jews never say that a person is the son of a woman—they never say that—instead, they always list the man. That is why in the genealogies you see all these men. Now in Matthew 1:16, it says, Yacov [Jacob] (a very common Jewish name even today) begat Yosef [Joseph] (the husband of Mary). Now the next phrase, "of whom," is a feminine pronoun that must agree in gender and number with its antecedent. Gender denotes whether it is masculine, feminine, or neuter. Number means either it is singular or plural. This is a feminine singular pronoun and it is highly unusual in any genealogy. Now the details of the Bible are very important. It is indicating that Jesus is not the natural son of Joseph. It says "Jacob begat Joseph." You list the men in the line, and then it says that he is the husband of Mary of whom, feminine, singular pronoun was born Yeshua who was called ha Masheach [the Messiah].
This is a part of the simplicity of getting started and yet it can become complex if you are not careful. We often throw these things around. "Hey, do you believe in Jesus Christ?" "Well, I’m Jewish." "Well, do you believe in Jesus Christ?" Now, what I would say to you about your witnessing is that it is lacking, but it is understandable. A lot of us are ignorant. We do not know what is really being said. The Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, therefore do not begin evangelizing them by asking if they believe in Jesus Christ. You have to learn to communicate with people. The Bible communicates with us very carefully so that we know who it is that we are talking about.
Now according to this passage (Matthew 1:21), He was given the name of Yehoshua. "She shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call His name Jesus." Why? "For He shall save His people from their sins." You see, it means, Yahweh is salvation. That is the meaning of Yehoshua—Yahweh is salvation. The oshua part we know from Hosanna. Remember when Jesus came in on Palm Sunday? "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Hosanna means "save us now." It is a form of oshua, the salvation part of Jesus’ name. The little ye on the beginning of Yehoshua, is an abbreviation of the name of God, Yahweh, in English we say Jehovah (which is really from a Latin word). So Yehoshua means, "Yahweh is salvation." That is the meaning of the name that was given to this one who is ben David [son of David] and ben Abraham [son of Abraham] and a son of Mary, but not born naturally as a son of Yosef, who became His father by adoption. After he married Mary, Joseph adopts Jesus as his own son.
Is everybody with me still? When did Jesus get the name Yeshua? Only here, when He comes into the world. So what was His name before that? And it is interesting even discussing that. The word name appears 800 times in the Old Testament. It is the word shem. Remember that Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japhath. Shem is the line of the Messiah—the line of the Jews and the Semites. The word shem means "name." Therefore the Semites are the People of the name.
In Jerusalem there is a memorial to the Holocaust when six million Jews were killed by Hitler and his troops. The name of it is Yod ha Shem. Yod, meaning "monument" or "pillar." So it is a monument to ha Shem, "the name." It is really a monument to God and the survival of the Jewish people which He promised in His Word. There is quite a story behind that.
In the New Testament the word "name" is onoma and is used 200 times in the Bible. Now here is something interesting: not once does the word name, in reference to God or Jesus, ever appear in the plural. It is always in the singular, even when it mentions all three persons of the Godhead, like Matthew 28:19 which states, "Go and teach all nations in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." There it mentions all three persons but they only have one name.
When we say "name", we mean the title we have that our parents gave us. When the Bible uses the word name, it refers to the character and attributes of that person (i.e., who that person really is).
Now we are told in the New Testament as well as the Old, that our Lord has a name that is above every name. There is no name of anybody worth mentioning in the same sentence. His name is above every name. The Bible says in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." You know, some people when they are trying to cast out a demon say, "In the name of Jesus come out of him," as if the only thing necessary is to mention the name Jesus. You know. Do you understand? We’re missing the point. We’re talking about the character and attributes and glory and majesty of this One who received the name Yehoshua. But there were other people who had the name Yehoshua as well. It simply means "Yahweh is salvation."
So the name Yehoshua, when did that come? When was that given to Him? At His birth. Well, then what was His name previous? Isaiah says that His name was Wonderful. You call Him wonderful in the Old Testament. But the Hebrew word Wonderful, means "difficult to understand" or "incomprehensible." So what are we talking about when we discuss the preexistence of Jesus Christ? We are talking about someone who has not yet received His name, Yehoshua, and whose name is beyond our ability to understand. That is really something important, yet we sometimes miss it.
Why is His name beyond our ability to understand? Now if you need to know the meaning of wonderful, you can check Psalm 139:1-6, where it speaks of God’s knowledge being so great that before there is a word on our tongue, He knows it altogether. Before we say anything, He knows exactly what we were going to say. He knows the end from the beginning. And the Bible says in Psalm 139:6, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it." There is a clear definition of the word wonderful. It is greater than your ability to understand it. When it says in Isaiah 28:29, "His counsel is wonderful," and in Isaiah 9:6, "He is the wonderful counselor," it means that it is "too difficult to understand." He is the incomprehensible Christ!
You know this is the kind of class and teaching where along the way, you do not know whether to be quiet or to shout, "Glory!" You know I find it very difficult to talk about these things and not get really excited about praising the Lord. I do not know about you. We are talking about that name that is above every name—a name that is so wonderful. His ways are past finding out. "Oh the depth of the wisdom and the knowledge of God," the riches of that. It is incomprehensible. His greatness is too difficult to fathom. He calls all the stars by name. His sovereignty is so amazing that He rules over all—whatever is in the heaven and in the earth. He does whatever He pleases. He sustains all the physical laws of the universe so that when I let go of this book, it drops to the table. And my Lord is sustaining the laws of the universe.
He is incomprehensible. What you learn about the preexistence of Jesus Christ will accelerate your appreciation for the incarnation of Christ. In fact, you will begin to wonder how in the world it could have occurred, which we will cover when we get there.
How is it possible that this great God who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, could localize His infinite presence that fills the universe? In fact, the heaven of heavens cannot even contain Him. It is all within Him; He fills it all with His presence. Now how can He localize Himself in a human body enough to say that all the fullness of God dwelt in His physical body as Colossians 2:9 states?
In our discussions and teachings about Jesus Christ, we are sometimes too light. We are very superficial and do not think it through. The preexistence of Jesus Christ is an amazing subject about our Savior. This One whose name is wonderful (too difficult to understand), whom is called Yahweh Himself, never got the name Yehoshua, but He still was Yehoshua because He has always been salvation from the beginning to the end. "Look unto Me," this Messiah says in Isaiah, "all the ends of the earth and be saved. For there is no other God besides Me. There is no other Savior." He has always been Yahweh-is-salvation.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
People ask me, if there is any other way of being saved apart from Jesus? Is the grass green? Yes. What are you asking? Because the Bible is very clear. There is no other salvation. How did they get saved in the Old Testament? Typical Gentile question. Do you think any Jewish person who never heard the name was excluded from the salvation, which He who is above every name and has always existed provided at any age under any time? Do you understand what people are saying? How was Abraham saved? I expect to see him in heaven. Along with Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, David, Solomon and all the rest. They are going to be in heaven, but how did they get there? Though they never saw the earthly Jesus, you should never doubt for a minute that He whom we are discussing has always been there. There was no other way. God told Abraham, "In thee all nations of the world will be blessed." "In thy seed," Abraham, and Galatians reminds us, that it is not many seeds. We are not talking about all the Jewish people being your saviors. It is only one Jewish person; the seed of Abraham will bring salvation to the entire world. Everybody will come the same way. The Lord is salvation and there is no other way. The Lord is the only one who can save you. No one else can. And if you existed before He became a baby, you still had to call upon Him in order to be saved.
Did you know that every statement in the New Testament about what you are supposed to do is based on the Old Testament? There simply is not anything new. You say, the Bible says whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Well, that is how they got saved in the Old Testament. In fact, that is a quotation from the Old Testament.
It is interesting to me how we think. No one in any age will ever be saved apart from Yahweh who is salvation. That name was given to Him because that is who He is. They did not say, "Let’s flip a coin. Shall we call Him Abraham? Jacob? David?" No, we can only call Him one thing. We can only call Him Yehoshua. It is the only thing we could call Him, because He is Yahweh, who alone is salvation. It is the only thing we can call Him. We can tell people also that He is ha Masheach, the Messiah that God has been talking about all the way through the Bible. He is the redeemer, and this is exciting stuff!