"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

JESUS IS GOD – The WORD Incarnate a.k.a. the MESSIAH of Israel - Part ONE




























~~ By James Fire

A friend of mine has three words scribed on the back of his lap top, and displays this message boldly out in public; the same three words are painted on the back window of his van, and scores of people read this controversial message as he drives all over the city of Tucson daily.

What is this controversial message consisting of only these three words?

JESUS IS GOD” and only recently my friend received a little note attached to his van from a detractor:

“Jesus was only a guy, just so you know.”

On this singular issue and assertion, the world is divided with increasingly noticeable distancing. In days gone by, the most determining factor that revealed whether or not a religious group was a cult, was their view of Jesus Christ.
Every cult either takes away from, or adds something to, Jesus of Nazareth. Some cults take away His divinity, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses; others add to His atoning sacrifice He accomplished on the cross, saying that it’s necessary but insufficient for salvation, such as the Roman Catholic Institution.

Yet increasingly among so-called evangelical churches, gone ‘Emergent’ such dialogues have transpired in order to “seek common ground” not merely among denominations, but with world religions across the globe. In seeking that common ground, one of the first things that seem to be conceded by churches today, is the Divinity of Jesus Christ! More and more denominations are ‘voting away’ the Divinity of Jesus! Another one is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!


Before we get too deep into this subject, I want to address this notion that the person, Jesus of Nazareth was just a myth, something concocted by those who claimed to be His followers, perhaps based on previous legends from pagan sources. To answer this, we turn to Got Questions? and the following article:
Is Jesus A Myth?~*

See also:
Did Jesus Really Exist?

GETTING TTUF On THOSE THAT DENY JESUS’ DEITY –

It is the intent of this series to reveal through Scripture that Jesus is the Christ (Y’shua ha Meschiach – the Messiah of Israel) and that the Word of God declares that the Messiah is indeed God made flesh; that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but that He is also God the Son!

As usual various resources will be utilized in this series, from books such as The Search for Messiah by Dr. Mark Eastman and Chuck Smith, 1993, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler; material from R.A. Torrey and other resource materials, as well as online information from such ministries as C.A.R.M.We are in the midst of the holiday season, and it’s during Christmas time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; what is our great hope and reason for celebration, if not the LORD Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings as the Lamb of God? Were Jesus ‘only a guy’ then our hope and faith would be entirely in vain, quite useless indeed and the Bible would become an unimportant, even a dangerous book of lies!

As we embark on a survey of Scripture we will examine the earliest of prophecies (beginning as far back as Genesis Chapter Three), through the Old Testament Scriptural prophecies that paint this portrait of who this coming Messiah would be. We will examine the New Testament Scriptures in light of the Old to see how Jesus qualifies on every count as the Messiah of Israel, indeed, the only worthy and provable candidate for the office of the Messiah, and that the Messiah would not ‘only be a guy’ that is, merely human, but also God made flesh.

It is our prayerful hope that any who reads this and has some serious skepticism and significant doubts regarding the person of Jesus of Nazareth and his true identity, that they will come to an understanding through the truth of Scripture that He is exactly who He claimed to be (and yes, He made definitive claims regarding Himself).

GOD, The GREATEST REJECT?

In the last days of the Judges of Israel, the people came to Samuel and they made a certain demand of the prophet:

1 Sam 8:5-7
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them
.

Samuel was instructed by God to forewarn the people that if they had a king to rule over them, he would eventually begin to oppress them, and take from them more than he would offer. Even after the protests from this pleading prophet:

1 Sam 8:19-20

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles
.

Israel was to be unique among all the nations of the world, and have, as their leader, God Almighty Himself – and yet from this glorious privilege and position, Israel instead wanted to be more like the world and have the things that the world has, rather than the blessings from and of the LORD (sounds sadly like many of today’s modern Western church doesn’t it?).
However, even after the disaster that was Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, Israel’s first king, the LORD raised up David (not a plan ‘B’ option after Saul, but the man after God’s own heart, whom He has in mind all along!) to be king over Israel.

The ‘HOUSE’ of DAVID, ‘RESIDENCE’ of the MESSIAH –

There was a day when a particular realization struck King David; the fact that he lived in a palace while the place of God was an elaborately decorated and expansive . . . tent. He wanted to build a house for the LORD, which touched God’s heart! Yet the word of the LORD came to David and told him that his son (Solomon), rather than himself would do this; and as for David, God was planning on building him a ‘house’ (“the house of David” – lineage; see 2 Sam. 7th Chapter, and Psalm 89) and that from this house would come the Ultimate King: the same King that Israel previously rejected in Samuel’s day – God Himself.

Prophetically speaking, there are two primary subjects in the entirety of the Bible: Israel is one and the other is He Who would come from Israel, the Messiah Who would rule over God’s people in an everlasting kingdom on this earth, known as the Millennium (1000 years).
The Scriptures have much to say about both, but the emphasis is on the Messiah Himself (See Psalms 40:7 and John 5:39) and it’s from the Scriptures of the Old Testament (the Tanahk) that we learn that this Messiah would in fact, be God in the flesh.

People routinely discount the divinity of Christ by saying, that ‘Jesus no where in the Scripture professed to be God’ – yet for the careful student of Scripture, Jesus’ declaration of divinity is evident, and He directly claimed to be the Messiah:

John 4:25-26
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Matt 16:13-17
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.



He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven
.

There is no denying that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and that He endorsed the declaration from others; they having been given divine revelation attesting to this truth, who said as much. So, if it can be proven that the Old Testament equated the Messiah with God incarnate as a man (and it can and does) we then rightly conclude that Jesus is God!

First let’s examine this chapter from The Search for Messiah by Mark Eastman and Chuck Smith*.

(* Recently and in the recent past, pastor Chuck Smith has befriended the founders of certain ministries, as well as making particular statements that we at TTUF do not agree with; so while we are using this resource which in part was authored by pastor Smith, we have definite reservations concerning his ministry and conduct in specific areas.)MESSIAH – GOD The SON?

Rev 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
John 8:24
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins
.

“Jesus Christ set himself apart from virtually every religious leader in history by making claims such as these. He left us no room for fence sitting. When he declared that he is no less than God, the great ‘I Am’.

“In making this claim Jesus set off a firestorm of debate that began when he claimed equality with God and the storm continues even to this day. He and his disciples clearly maintained that Messiah would be no less a person than God in human flesh. It was these claims that led the ancient rabbis to try Jesus for blasphemy, i.e. claiming equality with God.

“The belief that God is a plural being, eternally existent in the three persons of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit is called the doctrine of the Trinity. This is one of the foundational beliefs of Christianity (NOT a pagan concept as found in ancient Babylonian and other cultures wherein triplets of gods would form alliances with one another for their own purposes; the Trinity expresses One God (Godhead), revealed as three distinct Persons, yet identical in nature, power, motives, etc.) and a point of view that is strictly denied by modern rabbis.”

“… a careful examination of the Hebrew scriptures reveals verses where Messiah is worshipped and strong evidence that God is a plural being, existing eternally in more than one personage. Finally there are verses that portray the Messiah as a literal and physical manifestation of God.”

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel
.

From the book of Isaiah, long esteemed by the Jews as the greatest treatment of Messianic (The Messiah according to OT Scriptures has a triad of primary roles: that of King, Prophet and Priest (Sacrifice)) import in the Scriptures we have this verse that speaks of the virgin birth. Being without human father, this child, Immanuel would have one as his Father, which is God Himself (which Jesus later claimed profusely at every turn during His ministry). Its critical to observe that being without a human father, Jesus of Nazareth was a sinless man because of the curse of sin was not passed down to Him through Adam to Joseph (The stepfather of Jesus; more on the lineage between King David to Jesus will be addressed later on). Detractors would ask, “What’s in a name? There are millions of people named Immanuel, what does this Scripture prove?” Obviously the name Immanuel is a fairly common one, but mismatched with the nature of those mere humans bearing that name; there is only one that has truly lived up to that name, Jesus of Nazareth, of Whom even His enemies couldn’t find fault with, or point out a single sin He committed!

This miracle baby would also be “the Root of Jesse” (Is. 11:1) as well as the “Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6) and such referrals signifies His deity as the Messiah of Israel.

There are those that debate the significance of such Hebrew words as “almah” and “betulah” (Have a look at this treatment for an excellent examination of these words and how the Scriptures that relate the birth of Messiah with deity here (I do not entirely agree with some of the assertions and conclusions, but in the main, I feel this article has some useful information):
ISAIAH 14 and The VIRGIN BIRTH of the MESSIAH).

The MARVELOUS or MUNDANE MIRACLE of ISAIAH?

All Hebrew words and their meanings aside, one doesn’t require scholarship in linguistics in order to read the plain meaning of Scripture. If one examines Isaiah Ch. 7 in context one sees that Isaiah confronts the unbelief of King Ahaz by telling him that God has provided the opportunity to prove Him and His promise to the king by asking for a sign (a miraculous event or occurrence that must be Divine in origin):

Isaiah 7:10-11
Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,

Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above
.

Note the wording found here: “…either in the depth or in the height above.” This is a kind of ‘blank check’ from God Himself, In other words, He says, “as for a sign, the skies are the limit Ahaz! Ask whatever you want for a sign!” Yet in feigned piety Ahaz declines, exasperating even God! So the LORD turns from dealing just with Ahaz and addresses the entire house of David (vs. 13; the royal line through which the promised Messiah would come). Get the picture here: God is offering to show the entire house of David a sign, so beyond the norm – “in the depth or in the height” that it must by definition be proven as miraculous, so that all of the house of David would know for certain that this was a proclamation from God Himself – You can just see the LORD rolling up His sleeves and about to unleash a potent, cascading flood of miraculous, divine power:

But now let’s read vs. 14 as though “virgin” meant only young maiden:

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a
[young maiden] shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

. . . So . . . is that the best God’s got?! THIS is His witness to the miraculous power that He alone wields?! This is supposed to prove to all the house of David that this proclamation is undeniably from God Almighty?! Young maidens have been conceiving and birthing babies since Eve gave birth to Abel, Cain and Seth!The implication clearly is that in this instance, “almah” refers to a virgin who will “conceive and bear a son” (something that the record shows as having happened once and ONLY once!), in the very same sense that was stated regarding Rebekah and her virginity (“almah”):

Gen 24:16a
And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her . . .

And Mary, the wife of Joseph makes the same claim:

Luke 1:34
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?


The angel had just previously spoken that Mary would give birth to the Messiah (vs. 32, “God shall give to him the throne of His father, David”), the mother of Whom, revealed by the prophet Isaiah would be a virgin. This child, Immanuel is the LORD Jesus, whose character name of Immanuel actually means “God with us” not in a supportive sense, but in an actual sense. This is supported by the appellations (“the Mighty God” and “the Everlasting Father” among them) of this child, given later in Isaiah:

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this
.

This same child that would be granted the government and throne of David and his Kingdom (descriptive of the Messiah) and He would also be called “the mighty God” or “El Gibbor” – ‘El’ meaning God, and is used elsewhere in Scripture and refers unequivocally as YHWH (God) in other such passages as Isaiah 10: 21 and 46: 9. Even in the ancient Targum of Isaiah, a venerated treatment from Rabbis who wrote centuries before the birth of Christ:

“His name has been called from old, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, he who lives forever, the Anointed One (exclusive term for the Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us.”
The Search For Messiah concludes from this:

“The clear Messianic application of Isaiah 9:6 (9:5 in the Hebrew Bible), coupled with the fact that the title “El Gibbor” is a definite and common reference to the eternal God of Israel, is powerful evidence that, in some supernatural way, the Messiah would be a physical manifestation of God!”


And this concludes this first segment to this article; there is more to come soon, but as we are in the midst of this holiday season, I know we will all be quite intent on the celebration of our LORD's First Advent, so these segments will be posted once, weekly until its conclusion. Until next time, have a VERY BLESSED, HOLY and JOYOUS Celebration of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!

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