Course: The Doctrine of Christ (Christology)
The Messianic Claims of Christ
Thank You, Lord, for the fact that His name is above every name, and that includes all principalities and powers—not only in the world now but in the one to come. No one is greater than He. You tell us that He is better than the angels; He is better than Abraham; He is better than Moses; He is better than all the priests. He gave us a better sacrifice and He is our coming King—our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We come to not only study about Him, but we come also to worship, love, and adore Him. We fall at Your feet, Lord, and proclaim You alone as worthy. Thank You. Bless our time together. We pray in Jesus' wonderful name. Amen.
We are coming to one of the more exciting parts of our study on Christology and that is the Messiah Himself. Take your Bibles and turn to John 20:30-31. It says, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written." Some say that there are ten signs; others say nine; others twelve; and still others say six. This makes you wonder if they all are reading the same Gospel. However many, "These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ [the Messiah] the Son of God."
What if I asked you the question, "Do you need to believe that Jesus is the Messiah in order to be saved?" I rarely see anybody saying that you do in a gospel tract. Yet, according to the Bible it is absolutely critical. The question is, "Who is Yeshua? Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah?" All of this was written, John said, "So that you might believe that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name." So is it critical to believe that He is the Messiah? Absolutely! That should be one of our essential points of belief in order to become a Christian.
Now, this whole issue of the Messiah is a very interesting one. You will notice that the word Messiah appears in the English Bible in just one passage. This is true, but the word, Christ in Greek also means Messiah. It is just a matter of what we are looking for in English. That also does not really deal with the Hebrew word. Now, interestingly, in the English Old Testament, it is only mentioned in Daniel 9:25-26—the prophecy of the 70 weeks. Here it mentions Messiah the prince. I find that very fascinating because it helps us to understand what sort of bias there was among Christians even at the time of the King James Version and subsequent English versions against whether or not the Old Testament really teaches the Messiah.
I know that you are going to find this hard to believe, but Jewish rabbis of the past actually read more messianic hope into the Bible than Christians by far. When I read Christian/theology books about the doctrine of Christ, they mention a few key passages that are messianic claims. Now, all you have to do is go to the Jewish rabbis to find out that there was a lot more that they saw as messianic than we Christians. It is really interesting!
Let me tell you a little bit about the Jewish view of the Messiah. Today the average Jewish person does not want to talk to you about the Messiah. First of all, anybody who is going to bring up that subject is probably going to talk about Yehoshua or Yeshua (the abbreviated form). They are going to talk about Jesus, and they are already ready to fight you. Therefore the Jews do not want to talk about the Messiah and because of that there has been a growing liberal rabbinical idea perpetuated on the Jewish people that somehow our history is not filled with messianic prophecies. That is a flat out lie. I do not care who you are (Jewish or Gentile). It is a flat out lie. Jewish writings are filled with the talk of the Messiah!
Let me give you a few ideas of what I mean—a few little things that might be a blessing to you. Many of you have heard about the Talmud. The Talmud was compiled over a period of three centuries, from c. A.D. 200-500. It contains sixty separate treatises in thirteen very thick volumes. Every good Jewish boy would read the Talmud. There are some condescend versions of it—like a Reader's Digest Condensed version that you can buy in bookstores. I have several of those and get a lot of the teachings of the Talmud in it. The Talmud states unequivocally these words, "All the prophets prophesied only for the days of the Messiah. And the world was not created but only for the Messiah." That's pretty strong!
Now the Targums are an explanatory version of the Bible written in Aramaic, dating from circa the second century A.D. (About a hundred years after the time that Jesus and the apostles). In the Jewish teachings of the Targums there are seventy-two Old Testament passages that apply directly to the Messiah. They were written after Jesus and the disciples, when there was a lot of commentary against Christianity, yet they still admit that the Old Testament is filled with messianic truth.
Maimonides, probably one of the most famous Jewish scholars of all times, has written articles of faith that every godly Jewish man should say. Now the articles were to be recited every day of your life. His twelfth article says, "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah and that though He tarry I will wait daily for His coming." When was the last time you thought your Jewish rabbi might be saying that everyday? You see, things have really changed since Maimonides in the Middle Ages wrote that.
A lot of you have heard that the Psalms are messianic. Did you know that Jewish rabbis read more of the Messiah into the Psalms than the Christians? Jewish tradition actually says that seventy-three of the 150 Psalms speak of the Messiah. Do you remember, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord"? That is in the Hallel, Psalms 113-118. The word "Hallel," means to praise the Lord, and they are sung at Passover in the middle of them there are statements like, "Open the gates of the temple." There have been many songs written about that. "This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." It is not talking about today, but about a particular day—the day when the builders rejected the cornerstone. "This is the day!" We believe that is the day Jesus died. Listen to this as it is very interesting to me and should be interesting to you (at least by test time). According to Rashi, one of the greatest scholars of all time—every Jewish person reads Rashi—now according to him, concerning this passage in Psalm 118 (where it says the stone which the builders rejected), "There is no doubt that this speaks of Messiah, the son of David." Now concerning Micah 5:2 where it says, "Thou Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of he shall come the one who shall govern My people Israel." Rashi says that that passage in Micah 5:2 is talking about the Messiah who will be the ruler of Israel and must be born in Bethlehem. Is that not interesting?
Here is another little interesting quote. A medieval rabbi by the name, Abraham ben Ezra was fascinated with the New Testament Book of Revelation because he saw so many messianic quotes in it. What he said still stands today because I love to tell this to my Jewish friends. He said that the Book of Revelation was written by a Jewish man under the power of the Holy Spirit and is acceptable for all Jews to read. I always like to say to my Jewish friends, "You do read the Book of Revelation, don't you? Rabbi Abraham ben Ezra said it was acceptable for all Jews to read and it was written by a Jewish man under the power of the Holy Spirit." I love it.
This goes on and on. It is so remarkable as I have quote after quote after quote. Another interesting one relates to Genesis 49:10, which we will be looking at it in a moment. It is a prophecy about the tribe of Judah, which tells us that "the scepter will not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between the feet, when you come out of a womb of a woman in that line of Judah, until Shiloh comes." Now people do not know whether Shiloh was a proper name or whether we should break it down in its Hebrew letters, which would mean "he whose it is." In other words, the one to whom the scepter belongs. It will never depart from Judah until the one to whom it was intended finally comes. It is interesting that rabbi Gotleib Kline points out that Shiloh has a numerical value. Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. For instance, my name has a numerical value of fourteen. That is extremely important for you to know. Why do I want to know that the teacher's name has a numerical of fourteen? Because in Matthew 1 it says "This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham, the son of David." Then it proceeds to divide history from Abraham all the way to Joseph and Mary in sets of fourteen. Three sets of fourteen to be exact. Everyone who has ever studied it knows that it does not represents all the people that are in that line. There are far more than 14 generations. Why did the Bible organize it in three sets of fourteen? Because the numerical value of David's name, He who is a son of David. It is a messianic/Jewish poetic way of saying the Messiah is the only thing we are talking about here.
Now, Shiloh has a numeric value in Hebrew of 358. It is also interesting that the word for Messiah is 358. Masheach in Hebrew has exactly an equivalent of 358. Is that a coincidence? I do not think so. With Shiloh ("he who comes") there is a play on the word. In other words, we have Messiah there.
By the way, the numerical quantity of the word "snake" in Hebrew also is 358. It is the word nachash. In the rabbi's writings on Genesis 3:15 (which we are going to look at right away), it speaks of the seed of the woman that will crush the head of the snake. Now they write these words on the basis of the fact that the numerical quality of the word serpent is identical to the Messiah. Here is the official Jewish interpretation, which they deny today, but unfortunately it is in print. It says, "The Messiah alone will crush the head of the serpent." That is the official Jewish interpretation on Genesis 3:15, and the average Jew you witness to will deny it.
Do you remember when you are given all the genealogies in Genesis and it speaks about Perez? He was one of the twin sons of Judah and Tamar. Listen to the Midrash Raba, "The last Savior of the world is the Messiah, the son of David, who is descended from Judah's son Perez." It just goes on and on.
Genesis 3:15 speaks of Christ where he will crush the head of the serpent and his heel will be bruised, and there will be enmity between Satan's seed and the woman's seed. It is interesting that in the Jerusalem Targum, which Jews are required to read, says, "They will make peace in the end at the close of the end of the days"—the days of the Messiah King. In other words, Jewish boys are reading that and many times it just goes in one ear and out the other. What it is talking about is the Messiah. The Messiah is in Genesis 3:15!
Now, we Christians say in Genesis 3:15 that this is, in fact, the first mention of the Messiah in the Bible. "The one who will crush the head of the serpent." Christians talk about this being the protoevangelium, meaning the first mention of the gospel. Did you know that Jewish teachers teach that Messiah comes before Genesis 3:15? You say, "Where do they get that?" Look at Genesis 1:3, "God said, let there be light and there was light." Now in Aramaic (remember the Targums were written in Aramaic) the word is nahora, which means light. Would you believe the rabbis list it as one of the secret names of the Messiah in the Bible. They say that He is the light. He is the nahora.
If you follow that concept through the Scriptures, they go to Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 60:1, which says that He will be a light to all the nations. They are absolutely surprised that a Jewish man, again, who believed in Yeshua said in John 8:12, "I am the Light of the world." Exactly what the Jewish rabbi said was the title of the Messiah. So in that moment He was standing in the court of the women at the Feast of Dedication, which is Hanukkah. In that particular feast in the Court of the Women, also called the Court of the Treasury where they bring their gifts, there are gigantic candelabra. I am not talking about the menorah in the holy place; only priests can go in there, but out in the courtyard, these giant candelabra. They lit them during Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. In the middle of that, the Bible records that Jesus, at the top of His voice, shouted out, "I am the Light of the world and he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." That was not brand new teaching, but if any Jew heard Him say it, knowing what the rabbis had said for years, they would have recognized it.
How do you handle this in terms of the Messiah being the seed of the woman? First of all, the evidence among Jewish rabbis teaching is that this verse refers to the Messiah. There is no question about it. It refers to the Messiah according to Jewish rabbis. Why today have they changed their view? What do they say now?
A few years ago I was on a tour in Israel and we were at the northern part of Galilee, Kuryat Shemona. While there we would all bed down at this kibbutz for the night. As I was sitting in the dining room of the kibbutz, we were having coffee and tea together among the Jewish guides. There was a rather large group, so there was about five or six guides still standing and sitting there. They had heard me speak now for about a week in Israel. I like the Jewish guides as they are all military—all armed in order to protect the people that are there, even though the people do not know they are. They are kind of cool guys, most of them are sabra, meaning they were born in the land, thus not Americanized. Anyway, I am sitting with these Jewish guides and one of them said, "Hey David."
I said, "What?"
He said, "We have been listening to you."
I said, "Well, it's about time." We had that kind of repartee.
They said, "No, we've been listening to you and we're just a little concerned for you."
I said, "Why is that?"
"Well, we know you don't like to make mistakes. And you made a big one today, very big."
I said, "What did I do?"
They said, "Well you indicated that the Messiah is the seed of the woman and you gave Genesis 3:15. And I mean, you're just way off." He said, "Messiah is not mentioned in that verse."
I said, "Sure He is. He's the seed of the woman."
"No, He's not." He said, "the Hebrew doesn't say that."
I said, "Have you got a Hebrew Bible?"
He said, "Sure." He went over and got out it out of the book case. Everybody laid around their Hebrew Bibles and we're reading it.
I said, "Okay let me ask a question now." I said, "Who is the seed of the woman?"
They said, "Oh that's the Jewish people."
"The Jewish people? Well then, who's the seed of the serpent?"
They all looked at one another. "We don't want to say."
I said, "Well let me tell you what you believe. You believe the seed of the serpent are all the Gentiles in the world." Well... And so we're laughing a little bit about that. I said, "But you're all wrong. And it's based on Hebrew grammar, not on my opinion."
"What do you mean? We know it real well." One guy told me, "I won the national Bible contest, man. I've got it memorized."
I said, "Well you didn't memorize it too good."
He said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "Well, because it's not plural, it's singular. So exactly which Jew is the seed of the woman?"
He said, "Very good point." He said, "Very good point." Like Paul heard in his day they said, "Oh we're tired. We'll hear you again about this matter." And they're out. They didn't want to stay any more.
Turn to Matthew 1. One of the embarrassing things about that passage, or should I say, troubling, is that it is the seed of the woman. What's wrong with that? Well, last I heard the sperm comes from a man and not a woman. Is that not interesting. You see, Genesis 3:15 is a hint. Now some people think that that word "seed" means descendants. You know, that is the way they handle it, but go to Matthew 1 and see if the Bible is consistent in the New Testament. It is an accurate description of this.
In Matthew 1:16 it says that Yacob begat Yosef. "Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ." What am I pointing out? The pronoun, of whom, is feminine and cannot refer to Jacob. It cannot refer to Joseph in that verse either. It can only refer to Mary. You will not find that anywhere else, but the Bible's accuracy is incredible. It did not use the plural pronoun to indicate that He is the son of both of them. It says very clearly, "of whom," meaning only through Mary was born Jesus. Joseph and his sperm were not involved, Christ is indeed the seed of a woman.
How was He conceived? The Bible tells you in Luke 1; He was conceived of the Holy Spirit. You needed the egg of Mary do you not? I don't think so at all, but we are going to talk about that when we get to the virgin birth and it will blow you away. You will have to brush up on Mendel's laws of genetics when we get to that problem. He is the seed of the woman.
Now look at verse 18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise when as His mother was espoused, betrothed, engaged to Joseph, before they came together. Look at the accuracy here. Before they came together. They never had sex. She was found with child. How? Of the Holy Ghost. You see, Genesis 3:15 is speaking of the seed of a woman that will crush the seed of the serpent. That is the gospel. It is a messianic claim of Jesus Christ.
Now go to Genesis 9, as we continue our investigation of the Messiah. Genesis 9:26 describes a blessing that Noah gave to his sons. At the same time he is cursing his grandson Canaan, who apparently was involved in some sort of immoral act while he was drunk and asleep. Now verse 26 says, "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem." "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem." The word shem means name. Once again, the rabbis say that this is the Messiah, Shem. Was there a man named Shem who was the son of Noah? Yes. Notice that it does not say, "Blessed be the Lord God of Japheth," or "of Ham." It says it "of Shem," because the Messiah would come through the line of Shem. That is where we get the idea of Semitic peoples. It means people of the Name. What name are we talking about? It is the name that is above every other name. When you read the word "Shem," you do not even need to read it as a proper noun: "Blessed be the Lord God of the Name." The question is, what name? Does the Bible give any indication about whose name is greater than anybody else's name? Of course it does on numerous occasions. His name is wonderful, the counselor, almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Who is the Name? Who is this descendant of Shem? It is the Messiah.
In Genesis 12 when God made His wonderful promise to Abraham, look at the last part of verse 3. "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." All people of the earth. Verse 7, "Unto thy seed will I give this land." The Lord appeared to him and said that to him.
Turn to Matthew 1:1 where it says that He is the son of Abraham. I want you to really turn to Galatians 3. Who is the seed of Abraham that is going to bring all the blessings and promises of God? He is going to fulfill them. Who is the One, the child of Abraham through whom all the families of the world will be blessed?
Galatians 3:8, "And the Scripture forseeing that God would justify the heathen [the nations, the Gentiles] through faith preached before the gospel [the good news] unto Abraham saying, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed.'"
You see, I am not making this up. The New Testament says that that was the preaching of the gospel. Look at verse 14, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ [Yeshua Hamashea], that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." It is very clear.
Now look at the sixteenth verse. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. "He saith not, and to seeds as of many." Did you know that some modern English translations, and I'm ashamed to say, the New King James Version, as it reflects on the promise of Abraham translates it as descendants. Now sometimes that is proper, but it cannot be here because of the New Testament's clarification. "It is not to seeds as many, but is one. And to thy seed which is..." What? What does it say? Galatians 3:16, what does it say? "Christ!" The Messiah is that seed of Abraham. So I am not making it up.
There is a messianic prophecy also in Genesis 12:3 when he said, "In thee, Abraham, shall all nations of the earth be blessed." He was talking about the seed—a person—a son of Abraham.
Look at Genesis 17. He is also the seed of Isaac not Ishmael. Ishmael is the father of twelve princes—the father of twelve divisions of the Arab peoples of the world. You are not Arab unless you are a son of Ishmael, which makes an interesting scene in the Middle East as many of you have heard me say. Syria is not Arab. Iraq is not Arab. Iran is not Arab. Jordan is not Arab. Egypt is not Arab. Saudi Arabia is not Arab. Kuwait is Arab. Kuwaitis are the direct descendants of Ishmael's second son named Kidar. But God spoke of the Arabs being wanderers all over the wilderness and all these different nations, and oh how history has shown that to be true. "We don't have a homeland." Why do you think they want a homeland in Israel? It's a place to call home. You can understand it from their point of view.
But the Messiah will not come from Ishmael. Did you know that Yassar Arafat, the chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, once stood up at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and proclaimed that the Palestinian Jesus was a descendant of Ishmael, not Isaac. That the Jews are wrong. And that Christ is an Arab. Now that may sound ludicrous to you, but there are millions of Arabs who hold to that belief. And there were shouts to Jesus in Bethlehem and can you imagine what people thought. The Palestinian Jesus? Who is an Arab? The son of Ishmael? Well, the Bible is very clear. It is not through Ishmael. It is through Isaac.
Look at Genesis 17:18, "And Abraham said unto God, ‘O that Ishmael might live before thee.'" This was his answer to the problem of his barrenness and his wife's barrenness. God said, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed. And shalt call his name Isaac," which means laughter. When Sarah heard that she was going to have a child she was 89 years old. You would have laughed too. So God, said to just call his name Isaac the rest of his life. Everybody every time they see him, they will just start laughing.
Can you imagine going to school. "How old's your dad?"
"Oh, about 110."
"Can he come out and play?"
"No, he can't walk."
What did the kids say about his dad? Everybody heard the story. You know, in Jewish homes when they tell that story, if they do not laugh spontaneously they have to actually create it. It is the instruction of the fathers and grandfathers in teaching children. You tell the story and you just start laughing wildly and hysterically. And actually behind that is our confidence in the miraculous. Our laughter is with joy over what God can do. It is Amazing!
But it is very clear here. It was through Isaac that the Messiah was born. He said, "Thou shalt call his name Isaac and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his seed after him." He then promises to bless Ishmael. In verse 21 He says, "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year." That is pretty clear.
Look at Genesis 21:12, "God said unto Abraham, ‘Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, because of thy bondwoman.'" This is Hagar and Ishmael being kicked out. "In all that Sarah has said unto thee, hearken unto her voice." Why? "For in Isaac shall they seed be called."
We just eliminated a lot of folks from the possibility of being the Messiah. All the nations of the word that came from Japheth—remember God said he would enlarge the borders of Japheth. They are the world empires. The Japhetic empires. All the sons of Ham: Cush, Ethiopia, Misria, Egypt, Put, Libya, Canaan, the Canaanites, all of them. Now, none of the children of Japheth or Ham would yield the Messiah. It has to be through the line of Shem. And it is a particular man in the Shem line, Abraham; None of Nahor: None of Tirah. Simply, through Abraham, then Isaac; Not through Ishmael. None of the Arab peoples of the world are involved in the line of the Messiah! We eliminated hundreds and thousands and even millions of people from any possibility of being the Messiah. It really narrows down quite nicely.
Look at Hebrews 11. It is clear in the New Testament that we are talking about the Messiah in the promise to Isaac. Hebrews 11:17, "By faith, Abraham when he offered, was tried or tested, and offered up Isaac, and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom..."It was not his only son by the way. The word means his unique one. "...of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall they seed be called." That is a direct quote from Genesis 21:12.
You see, the Bible is very clear. That is a messianic promise. We are looking at the claims of Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah. He is the seed of the woman. He is the seed of Shem. He is the seed of Abraham. He is the seed of Isaac. Let us narrow it down even further. He is also going to be from the line of Jacob and not Esau. This excludes everyone from Jordan—all the Edomites.
In Numbers 24:17-19 there is another title of the Messiah, "I shall see him but not now. I shall behold him but not nigh. There shall come a star." What does Revelation call Him? The Morning Star. "There shall come a star out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel and shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession. Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies. And Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall dominion and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city."
It is from Jacob—not Esau. Esau or Edom is going to be a possession of him. It is getting more limited as we continue our study.
Go to Genesis 49:10. Here we have the great prophecy of Jacob's sons. There are twelve sons of Jacob who are the fathers and the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. Here we have a prophecy about the future: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah." Judah is the fourth son of Jacob's wife, Leah. It is ordered: Ruben, Simeon, Levi, then Judah. The name means praise. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his knee." That means coming out of a woman's womb. "Until Shiloh come." We have already mentioned that the numerical quality of that name is the same as Masheach. "And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." The Messiah is going to come from Judah. That eliminates all the other eleven tribes.
Turn to Hebrews 7 for a biblical confirmation of this. Although the genealogy in Matthew 1 would also do it, we read this in Hebrews 7, "It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. It is yet far more evident for after the similitude or likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, thou art a priest forever out of the order of Melchizedek." By the way, all the rabbis say that verse in Psalm 110:4 is referring to the Messiah.
He is from the tribe of Judah, and the New Testament confirms that that is a prophecy of who Jesus is. So, what have we learned so far? The Messiah is the seed of the woman, the seed of Shem, the seed of Abraham, the seed of Isaac, the seed of Jacob, and the seed of Judah. That narrows things down rather rapidly. Amen!
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Christ is the seed of Shem. He is the seed of Abraham. He is the seed of Isaac. He is the seed of Jacob. He is the seed of Judah. Now there is a family among all the families of Judah. Turn to Isaiah 11, which is another messianic passage. He is from the family of Jesse. Isaiah 11:1 says, "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch." The rabbis say the word branch is a technical name for the Messiah. "And a branch shall grow out of his roots." As we know, the branch is mentioned many times and refers to our Lord. "The Spirit of the Lord will be upon Him..." and so forth. You can read the verses that follow. I would also note verse 10 as being particularly important as well, "That in that day there will be a root of Jesse which will stand for in sight of the people and to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious." He will bring peace.
Romans 15:12 is an interesting verse as it talks about our Lord and says, "And again Isaiah saith, ‘There shall be a root of Jesse and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles trust.'" So, Paul confirms the messianic usage of that passage in Romans 15:12.
Now Christ came out of the family of Jesse. Jesse has eight sons, and the one that is going to be the ancestor of the Messiah was certainly not their first choice at all. Have you ever noticed how often God skips over the first born son, which is the most likely choice. Who was born first between Isaac and Ishmael? Ishmael. Who was born first between Jacob and Esau? Esau. Who was born first in the sons of Jacob? Ruben. Which means, behold the son! Ah, it is a boy—it is a good name. Call him: Ah-it-is-a-boy. It is interesting how often God skips over the first born.
Now here we have Jesse, "Have you seen our, Elia? He is so tall and good looking and handsome."
Samuel says, "No not the one."
"Oh, his brother?" (Number two in line.) A little difficult with the second son, but here he is. He goes through the whole line.
"No, none of these. Are these all you have?"
"Oh, we have this little ruddy kid out there taking care of sheep, but oh no, you don't mean him."
"Yeah, we want that one." Do not despise the day of small things.
Sometimes when Hollywood presents King David in any of the stories, they have this unbelievable, gigantic person with muscles. I do not believe in that picture of David at all. He is a ruddy little kid, though he did great things. It is funny to me really that we cannot have a little scrawny, wimpy guy handling a lion and a bear and so Hollywood has got the Schwarzenegger type taking on the bear. Some people actually believe the reason that he could not get Saul's armor on was due to the fact that his muscles were bulging and all of that. Are you kidding? Saul was the muscular one. Saul was extremely handsome and good looking in appearance and had, he was taller than anybody else. They have this all wrong. David was a little shepherd kid, and the reason that he could not wear the armor is that he could turn around several times in it. It was too big for him! It was hanging all over him. Is it not wonderful to realize that little is much when God is in it?
It was a little boy's lunch that fed the 5,000—not because McDonald's offered to cater it. When God has a little, He can use it. God saves by few, not by many. I think a lot of us get intimidated by the images of greatness that are in our minds as to who is really going to be used mightily of the Lord. God takes ordinary men and women and does extraordinary things through them. He has always done that. And so we should never look down on anyone. God may be using the person sitting next to you in a way that you could never possibly dream. Maybe the next Billy Graham is sitting next to you. Who knows? "Is it I, Lord? Is it I?" I think we already had that syndrome years ago, but you just let the Lord use you and He will. He will do great things in your life, though not because of your great faith in God, but because it is faith in a great God. You should know the difference between those two things because it will help you in your life.
Too much emphasis has been placed on man and his ability to really believe great and mighty things. It sounds like we are right back in a Word of Faith church. No, that is not the issue. The issue is who God is, and God makes it so significant. He said, "If you had the faith of a grain of mustard seed, you could say to that mountain, be removed and it would be removed." When was the last time you moved a mountain? So apparently your faith is more dinky than that.
I never quite understood this principle until one day when I was walking back from Lazarus's tomb—from Bethany—on that little road back to the bus. Then the guide said to me, "Hey, You remember that story about the mustard seed?"
I said, "Yeah."
He said, "There is a big mustard plant over here."
I said, "Oh I would love to see that."
He said, "Okay. It's growing over the fence here."
So we went and got that mustard seed. He pulled one of those little seeds off. And I said, "Boy you can really see what Jesus said." He looked at me. No, no, no. He is not a Christian, but Jewish. Anyway he was talking to me. He said, "That's not what He meant."
I said, "I thought you brought me over here to see it."
He said, "That's not what He's referring to." He says, "Hang on." He took his finger and he smashed that little pebble and inside it were thousands of specks. One of those little specks was what Jesus was talking about. That was very humbling. Then the guide walked on as if he had really conquered the day, but he missed the whole point. I never forgot it. If you have the faith of even a speck of mustard seed, you could say to a mountain, "Be moved."
Was Christ telling us about the great exploits we could do? No, He is talking to you about how great God is. He is not really dependent on your faith. You see it comes out totally different than what people are saying. Do you think God is wringing His hands in heaven, sweating today and waiting for you to believe Him so that He can operate? No. God can do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask or think. He does not have to use you. He used Balaam's donkey. He could use you—He can use anything. He can have the stones cry out if He wants to. It is best that you not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.
Understand that God, because of who He is, is able to do extraordinary things through just one person's life. That is certainly the lesson of King David.
By the way, when you go to Israel, I suggest not ragging on David. We are talking about being killed for a very valid reason. If you walk down the street, especially in the new city, there is the King David Hotel, the King David Cleaners, the King David Deli, and the King David Bakery. If you go down to see the McDonald's, the name of it is McDavid's. This is true. If you get a hamburger in Jerusalem, it is McDavid's, and you will not see any ham sandwiches there either.
But isn't it interesting how God took a little tiny shepherd boy, the least important in his family, and he became Israel's greatest king and the one whose name also becomes the name of the Messiah. For the Messiah Himself is called David. Do not tell me that you did not know that? The Hebrew letters mean beloved one. This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. The Messiah has always been ben David—"The son of David." He is David and that is why the Messiah is called, long after David's life, "David my servant." He is my "beloved one." It is really a special thing.
There is so much about David that one hardly knows where to start. Let us go to 1 Samuel 16 to get a reminder in all of our hearts of that wonderful story of God selecting that little shepherd boy. There is so many great things about David's life that show you how God works with a few to conquer the many. Do you remember Goliath? He appears to be about 9 feet tall and scaring the daylights out of everybody. David called him an uncircumcised Philistine. Who does he think he is? He is a little shepherd boy that cannot even wear Saul's armor. He takes a sling shot, saying, "Don't worry. He's defiled the armies of Israel. He's blaspheming God. Hey, I'll tell you I'll have him for lunch." You can see all the soldiers laughing at him because he is a little kid. "Hey, let him go out and kill himself. Who cares?"
So David picks up five stones from the ground. Do you not think that somebody thought at that time, "Hey, if you're so brave why don't you just take one?" Have you ever wondered why he took five because he got him on the first shot? Well, if you read your Bible you will notice that he had four brothers. It is true that there were four other giant brothers. King David was going for the whole family. I love it that God could take that little shepherd boy and use him for great things.
You know when He built an army, it was only 600 guys against hundreds of thousands. You would think that the those 600 were the top guys in Israel? Are you kidding? The Bible says they were in debt, and they were depressed and discouraged. They were the motliest crew of people that nobody wanted. He took 600 rejected men and built them into the finest military machine the world had ever seen. Why? Because God takes the few. Do not despise the day of small things the Bible says.
In 1 Samuel 16 we have that whole story and it is pretty great. In verse 6, I mentioned about Elia, the oldest son. He said, surely the Lord's anointed is before him. And what did God say? Look not on his countenance, on the height of his stature. Because I have refused him. The Lord seeth not as man seeth. For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
You are never going to fool God. God sees your heart an he knows whether you have a heart for Him or not. We make a lot of mistakes in life and do a lot of things that makes the world think of us as rejects, but God sees your heart. Though you may have blown it a dozen times, God knows your heart and He is looking for people that have a heart for Him. You say, "I can't be like so and so." Do not even compare yourself because all you need is a heart for God. Do not ever look on outward appearance because God looks on the heart.
As you know David was ruddy and had all of the beautiful countenance and goodness to look at. He was a handsome kid. The Lord said, "Arise anoint him for this is he." And Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren.
Turn over to Psalm 89:20, God said, "I have found David My servant. With my holy oil have I anointed him." Look at Psalm 89:35, "Once have I sworn by My holiness. I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before us." What wonderful promises these are.
Go to Psalm 132:11. The Lord has sworn in truth unto David that He will not turn from it. "Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." Rabbis call it the greatest theological problem in Israel because later in Israel's history a man in that line Jeconiah was cursed by God that a man born of his line would never sit on the throne. Yet God's promise to David is, "Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon the throne." Jeconiah was in the line of David through Solomon and was cursed. How can we ever have a Messiah to sit on the throne? A Jewish rabbi who is from Beverly Hills has written me a long letter on this one verse here. He said, it is impossible for us to ever have a Messiah due to the curse of God. It is Interesting to say the least.
Yet God had a different plan. The fruit of David's body could also be through another son. His son Nathan, and Mary was in that line. So from the fruit of David's own body, a Messiah did truly come. He came out of the womb of a woman in David's line. He could not have come out of the womb of a woman in Solomon's line because it was cursed. Yet in order to avoid the curse (for all the curse said is that a man cannot be born of that line) all you have to do to solve that problem is to have Mary marry someone who is in the line of Solomon. Then that man would adopt Jesus as his legal heir, and He becomes the heir to the throne. That is exactly what happened. Joseph is in the line of Solomon.
Now out of all of the sons of David there was just going to be one that God would choose. David had 17 children, but God chose Solomon. Do you know what really amazes me? Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba, but he was not the fruit of their adultery. Solomon was the fruit of their marriage. Isn't that interesting? The baby died, but God then blessed them and gave them Solomon and Jedediah, meaning the Lord loves him. What a beautiful thing to have the name Bathsheba. She was not Jewish, but she is in the line and she received a Jewish name: Bath means, "daughter of the oath" and Sheba means, ‘God's promise." His covenant will not change. It is really something, isn't it? In Matthew 1, she is listed in the line of the Messiah and I think that it is fantastic.
Some people believe that she is Jewish. I know this is going to upset some of you. Yet there is a big argument about that. Through the chronologies you can prove that her grandfather was Ahithophel, the one who betrayed David. Maybe that will help you to understand that whole story. Apparently that granddad was still carrying a root of bitterness towards David for what he had done.
A lot of people say, "Wait a minute now. He's got all these wives. What is all of this? I don't understand. Who's his real one? And what about Abigail? And what about...?" And on and on it goes. You know, you are wasting your time. If we had written this story instead of God, we would have had David with only one wife. David would never have had any problems, and we would have had him as the best looking guy in Israel. We would have had him built real tall. Speak eloquently. And probably even have him as a rock star. But no, God tells the story as it is. God tells the truth.
What does that teach us? Rahab the prostitute married in the messianic line, and how about Tamar? That was incest with her father-in-law! They are on in the messianic line too. What does that tell you? It tells me that God is a God of grace and forgiveness. What does it tell you? God tells the true story. And it was no problem to God's grace and forgiveness to have Gentile women in the line, or even all of these problems of morality, because God's wonderful grace can cover it. It's amazing really.
Go to Micah 5.We see that it is going to get nailed down even tighter. David then Solomon. Now we have to have him be born in the city of David. They say at the time of Jesus that there was probably no more than four or five thousand people in the city of Bethlehem. That is what you call narrowing it down. Today there is only 40 or 50 thousand. Most of them are probably Arabs and now more Muslim than they have ever been. It used to be a Christian Arab town.
Micah 5:2 says, "But thou Bethlehem Ephrata." Why does it say "Ephrata"? Because there are two Bethlehems. Ephrata is the one just south of Jerusalem about five miles. "Thou Bethlehem Ephrata." Why mention that? Well, Rachel died on the way to Bethlehem Ephrata, and she continues to weep for her children, said the Bible, when Herod killed all the babies in Bethlehem. Rachel was barren and cried like crazy that God would give her a son. And He gave her two: Joseph and Benjamin. Now there is a beautiful typology there with Rachel weeping for her children. Did you know that Rachel's tomb is there? When you come down that road from Jerusalem, often the tour groups will stop because there is a little monument to Rachel. Exactly where it happened. Years ago on the way to Bethlehem Ephrata.
Very near that place is a sign that says, "Migdol Eder." Migdol is a watch tower, and there are of course a lot of them all over Israel still standing, but it was a very important monument in ancient times because it guarded your property. You could see a long ways and see if anybody was coming to attack you. Now the word Eder is the word for flock or sheep. Thus the sign meant, "a tower of sheep."
Why is this Bethlehem Ephrata so important? When they were doing temple sacrifices—prior to the destruction of the temple in AD 70—all of the special sheep used in the sacrifices were raised in Bethlehem. You can cut straight across the hills and you are right up to Jerusalem. In fact, you can see Jerusalem from some of the hills there very easily. You see, the sheep have to be without blemish and without spot, and so they have to be very carefully bred. The sheep that were sold to all the visitors who came to Passover and they came from tall the nations of the world, cause every Jewish male 20 years old had to attend the feast. And they have got to have sacrifices. They cannot bring their sheep hundreds of miles across the snows and all of that. And so they're going to buy them there. And the sheep that they sell for temple sacrifices are born, bred, raised in Bethlehem.
And they are all killed on Mount Moriah. When Abraham offered his son, he was on Mount Moriah. And right before he was going to put that knife in him, God stopped him, and said, "God will provide Himself as a lamb." And he looked in the thicket and there was a ram he could offer in sacrifice. The symbolism here is great.
Is it not interesting that Yeshua was born where all the sacrificial lambs were born and died where all the sacrificial lambs died? You can not help but miss that.
In Micah 5:2 it says, "Thou Bethlehem Ephrata though thou be little among the thousands." Look at how the messianic prophecies are narrowing down the possibilities. Bethlehem? Why there are thousands of other cities in Judah. Why that little crummy place? Yet "out of thee..." What does Bethlehem mean? Bethlehem means "house of bread." Beth means "house" and Lehem means "bread." Christ is the bread of life. God chose very carefully where He had Him come out of and it was the city of David—the city representing the bread of life. "Though thou be little out of thee shall come forth unto Me He that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Apparently He did not just begin as a baby in Bethlehem.
Now everybody that has Micah open, please look carefully back to 4:8. Remember I told you about migdol eder? Here is where the context begins. Micah 4:8, "And thou migdol eder, oh tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come." What? The first dominion, the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. What it is talking about is little Bethlehem Ephrata where the sheep were raised and born, the tower of the flock was there. "And unto thee will come this one who is going to have dominion and kingdom that will be an everlasting kingdom." It will come to a daughter of Jerusalem, which is what Bethlehem was always seen as because it is just five miles south. You see, friends, right here we have a play on a situation. Today we know that was the ancient tower of the flock, migdol eder. We know unto that little place will come the One who will rule His people Israel, the Messiah Himself. These are tremendous prophecies!
We know that He is going to be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 says, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son." The sign of the covenant to David is a virgin birth. "The Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive."
Many of you have heard that the Hebrew word for virgin is almah. Now many people who translated modern English Bibles do not know this, but the word virgin in is Isaiah 7:14. Instead of virgin they translate it as "a young woman" or "a maid." Now there are three Hebrew words that could apply to a woman in this context. One of them definitely means a married woman and it is not used here. It could not have been used here, because Mary was not married when the Messiah was born. Now the word that is used, almah, can refer to a woman of marriageable age. That is, it can refer to a woman who is married or is not married. Let me put it to you another way. If I wanted to say virgin in Hebrew, almah is the only word that I could use. It does not always mean virgin, but it is the only word I can use.
Now why do we know that these modern English have deliberately tried to undermine the virgin birth? Because in Matthew 1:22 and 23, which quotes Isaiah 7:14, the word almah is translated parthenos in Greek. Parthenos can only mean "virgin." It cannot mean anything else. In Athens when you visit one of seven wonders of the ancient world, on top of the Acropolis you will find the Parthenon—the temple dedicated to virgins. The word can only mean virgin. We know that the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 is virgin. You cannot have a Messiah who is not born of a virgin. That would be impossible.
Do any candidates want to step forward and be interrogated and investigated? Boy, this is narrowing down. But you know the Messiah has to be born before the tribe of Judah lost its tribal identity. When did they lose their tribal identity? In AD 70, when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. You have to have the Messiah before that because "the scepter will not depart from Judah, not a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come."
Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. In Luke 21:20-24, He said, "When you see Jerusalem compassed with armies then know that the desolation there is nigh. This is the days of vengeance and distress and they will be trodden down of the Gentiles and they will be led away captive to all nations." The tribal identity and location is going to be changed.
According to Genesis 49:10 it cannot be until the Messiah comes. You see, whoever the Messiah is, He has to come before AD 70. I brought this up over and over again to my Jewish friends, and it is interesting that Jewish rabbis of the past also taught this. He had to come before AD 70. Were there any others claiming to be the Messiah before AD 70? Most definitely. There were many of them. From the time of the Maccabeeans clear until the time of Jesus, there were a lot of messianic expectations. They wanted to conquer Rome and get rid of them. They were looking for a Messiah. Some of the sects of Judaism were organized around the coming Messiah. The Zealots were those who believed the Messiah would have us take up arms and fight to deliver it. They saw Armageddon there; they saw their role there; they were zealots. Remember that Jesus had a zealot among His disciples.
Not only that, but the Messiah had to come while the second temple is still standing. You say, "What's this all about?" Turn to Zechariah 11. Now the second temple, the one that Herod the Great built, must be present when the Messiah comes. In Zechariah 11:12-13 it says, "I said unto them, if you think good give me my price and if not, forebear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter, a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord." That prophecy, we know in the New Testament, is applied to Jesus and the betrayal by Judas Iscariot.
Now friends, how in the world can you have the fulfillment of that prophecy if the house of the Lord was destroyed, which it was in AD 70? Let me put it to you another way. Look at the last book of the Old Testament. We looked at in a previous discussion about the Angel of the Lord and it says, "Behold I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me and the Lord whom you seek shall suddenly come to His temple" (Malachi 3:1). Now wait a minute, Zechariah and Malachi are prophesying after the destruction of the Solomonic temple. There was not any another temple until the Herodian era. It was just a reconstruction project under Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and Joshua. The second temple is Herod's, and we have to have the Messiah coming into that temple.
Interestingly, this passage is in the New Testament when Jesus came to the temple and knocked over the money changers and hit them with scourges and got them out of there. This prophecy was being fulfilled according to the New Testament. The second temple would have to be still standing for those prophesies to be fulfilled.
We are really narrowing this down, are we not? The Messiah also has to be cut off. He has to be killed before the second temple, and this is one where the Jews raise up their hands and say, "Oh you Christians! You Christians. You're nuts." No, we are not nuts because the Bible says so. Daniel 9 says that the Messiah would be cut off. Zechariah also speaks of the wounds of the Messiah. Where did you get these wounds? The Messiah will be cut off. Zechariah 12:10, says that "they will look on Him whom they have pierced."
I like to say sometimes to my Jewish friends, "Please explain to me, which person has died, has been beaten up, has been marred beyond recognition as Isaiah says? So badly that you couldn't even tell who he was? Tell me, what person in history has done that?" And it all happened before the second temple! Wow.
It is interesting, that the Messiah has to be a prophet, a priest, a judge, and a king. He has to be the prophet. In Deuteronomy 18, God said, "I will raise up a prophet just like Moses and his word you shall hear." When the Father's voice came out from heaven, this is "My beloved Son, hear Him"—listen to Him. These prophesies are quoted in the New Testament to refer to Jesus.
He is also to be a priest, but He was not in the line of the priests. He was in the line of Judah because He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He is not a priest after the order of the Levites. He is greater than they are!
He has to be a judge. The passages that support this are everywhere in the Old Testament. He is going to come and judge the world, and yet, the New Testament says that "the Father has committed all judgment into the hands of the Son." It even says that the believers will be judged for their rewards and that they will stand before the judgment seat of the Messiah. The Messiah is to be the judge! Psalm 2 says, "He will judge the world so severely, He will crush them with a rod of iron." And Isaiah says, "He will trample them under His feet, for I am come to judge all the nations of the world." Jesus even said in Matthew 25 that "the Son of Man will sit on the throne and judge all the nations of the world"—those that are the goat nations will go into everlasting fire, and those that are the sheep nations will go into the everlasting kingdom. He is the judge.
He is also the king. Over and over again the Scriptures speak of Christ being the King. "Behold your king cometh." Who is this Lord of glory who comes? Psalm 24 answers the question. Now, the Bible is filled with references to the fact this person be a prophet, He must be a priest, He must be a judge. He must be a king. Who is this one?
Turn to Isaiah 35. I know a lot of you are hoping on the final exam it will just say, who is the Messiah? And you can write down Jesus then say, "Amen." Well, I assure you that there will be a bit more than just that.
One of the most marvelous things about the Messiah, which Jewish teachers do know and speak of frequently is that He will do miracles of healing. We call these the credentials of the Messiah. Remember that we started with John 20:30-31, "These signs are written that you may believe that Yeshua is ha Masheach, and in believing you would have life through His name." The miracles were intended to point to who the Messiah is.
Let us look at this. Isaiah 35:4ff. says, "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong. Fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance. Even God with a recompense. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened." Did Jesus heal a blind man? Yes, that is point one. "The ears of the deaf shall be unstopped." Did He ever do that? Yes, the lame man shall leap as a hart. Did He heal a lame man? Tell him to rise and walk? Yes! "The tongue of the dumb sing." Did He ever loosen the tongue of a dumb man? Yes! "For in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool of the thirsty lands, springs of water: in the habitations of dragons, where each lay shall be grass with reeds and rushes and a highway shall be there." He is speaking about the messianic era that will come, but notice the one that comes, you had better check him out. Did He heal a blind man? Did He heal a deaf person? Did He heal a lame person? Did He heal the tongue of the dumb person who could not speak?
Now when you read the New Testament and the miracles, they will take on new meaning to you because we know that all His miracles are not recorded. John says that it would be impossible to fill all the books of the world with what He did. Well, why were the ones chosen? Because they prove that He is the Messiah. They were the ones that demonstrated that He will do exactly what these passages indicate.
The Messiah will save us from our sins. Now this last one many people do not want to believe. The Messiah is going to be resurrected from the dead. Well, they do not want a dead Messiah and they certainly do not believe in the resurrection. But what was the theme of all the apostles preaching? Remember they were all Jews. What was the one thing on which they kept focusing? It was the resurrection. Now, where did they get this?
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Now many people say that David is merely talking about himself there—the fact that he will be resurrected. Did his body see corruption? Sure. Let us go to Acts 2 and watch what Peter says. This is why people could not deny it—a little known fact that is nestled here in Acts 2:
For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Now that is pretty spectacular! You see the New Testament confirms that the Messiah had to resurrected from the dead. Did you know that in the Jewish rabbinical literature of the past on Psalm 16, that they actually say that the holy one is referring to the Messiah who will never see bodily decay? That cannot be King David. His sepulcher is with us to this day, as it sits there by the way on Mount Zion. You can even visit it. Psalm 16 undeniably refers to Jesus and there is no doubt about it. Let us pray.
Father, thank You for Your wonderful Word. Thank You for these glorious prophecies and the reminder that Jesus is the Messiah—the Savior of the world. Lord, we worship Your Son, our Savior, our coming King. I pray that we will grow and continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all the glory and praise. And it is in His name that we pray. Amen.