Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: September 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jesus Christ Our Lord

Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Jesus Christ Our Lord
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; . . .” (Romans 1:1-3).
The prophecies regarding the promise of the Messiah are very detailed.  All these prophecies concern various aspects of the ministry of the eternal Son of God revealed in His Name used by Paul in verse three.  Some of these prophecies are already fulfilled while many others are yet to be fulfilled.  These prophecies are details of events concerning “Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

In this short phrase, we have three distinctive revelations regarding the Person of Jesus.  Jesus is His Name.  Christ and Lord are titles defining Who Jesus is. 
Jesus is His Personal Name revealing the purpose of His incarnation as the Savior of sinners.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The name Jesus is from the Greek word Iesous (ee-ay-sooce') and is the Greek form of the Hebrew JehoshuaJehoshua means Jehovah is salvation.  Jesus is God incarnate.  The eternal Son of God was incarnate to be the Savior of all humanity and restore lost dominion over the first creation lost due to Adam’s sin. 

All three of the words “Jesus Christ our Lord” are intricately connected to the word Saviour and Redeemer in the doctrines of salvation and redemption.  Therefore, these five words (Jesus, Christ, Lord, Saviour, and Redeemer) are doctrinally inseparable.  In other words, anytime we see one of these five words used in Scripture, we can read the doctrinal significance of the others into any text.  Although these five words are not synonymous with one another, the use of any one presumes the doctrinal context of the others. 
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:18).
The terms the Lord Jesus Christ have become so familiar in use that they communicate little more than a Name.  If you are on a first name basis with the Lord Jesus, you have presumed an intimacy that does not reflect the respect His Name deserves.  Jesus is referred to as Lord one hundred and eighty-five times in the New Testament.  When we hear the terms the Lord Jesus Christ used, they should immediately cause us to think in terms of holy reverence.  These terms should cause our minds to bow in humble adoration and reflect upon these terms to generate worship of the One with which the terms identify. 

The terms the Lord Jesus Christ are not common words identifying a common person.  These terms identify the holy, incarnate Creator of the heavens and our Earth.  We will all stand before Him one day and give account of our lives of which He is fully aware, knowing the intimate details of every thought, emotion, and action of our lives.  We all would do well to reflect upon the meaning and significance of each of these terms so that the proper attitude and worship can be created when we use these terms. 
Christ is from the Greek word Christos (khris-tos') and is the Greek form of the Hebrew Messiah (mashiyach; maw-shee'-akh). 
The title Christ reveals Jesus as the Anointed One.  As the Anointed One, Jesus is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies regarding His coming to fulfill the Law for us and propitiate God.  The title Christ relates to the anointing of Jesus as the supreme Prophet, Priest, and King.  The synoptic Gospels (Matthew Mark, and Luke) present Jesus the Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King. 

Matthew presents Jesus the Christ as the Covenant King fulfilling the Davidic Covenant as “the righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15). Mark presents Jesus the Christ as the Servant Priest (“Servant Branch,” Zechariah 3:8).  Luke presents Jesus the Christ as “the Son of man . . .come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  This mission describes the nature and purpose of the many parables of Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke.  The Gospel of John presents Jesus the Christ as Deity and as the Son of God (John 20:31). 
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
“20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:20-22).
“18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:18-20).
“1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:1-3).
“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” (Isaiah 9:7).
“32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).
“3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints {lit: nations}. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (Revelation 15:3-4).
The word “Lord” is from the Greek word kurios (koo'-ree-os) and is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Jehovah.  This Greek word is usually used when quoting an Old Testament in any Greek verse where Jehovah is used in the Hebrew.  This name reveals the supremacy of Jesus in His Sovereignty as Creator and Redeemer.  The words Christ and Lord are inseparable in the identity of Jesus. 

Jehovah is always referred to as the One coming in the Old Testament prophecies relating to the coming of Messiah.  The Christ (Messiah) is the incarnation of the Lord (Jehovah).

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD {Y@hovah; yeh-ho-vaw', the self-existing One}, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).
“5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS {Y@hovah tsidqenuw; yeh-ho-vaw’ tsid-kay’-noo}” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
However, another prophetic detail in Romans 1:3 regarding the coming of Messiah is that He would come through a specific genetic line.  He would be born of the lineage of David.  “Was made” (Romans 1:3) is from the Greek word ginomai (ghin’-om-ahee).  It can mean to come into existence or to begin.  It also can mean to appear in history or come upon the stage of events in time. 
The Son of God exists eternally, but Jesus has a beginning in history (time).  Jesus is the Name of the eternal Son of God once His deity was united with humanity.  “Was made” refers to that point in history when the Son of God became man through the incarnation, conception, and birth.
“The seed” in “the seed of David” (Romans 1:3) is from the Greek word sperma (sper’-mah).  In plants, sperma refers to the seed which contains the germ of the next generation (just as seed is kept from the harvest for the next year’s sowing).  In humans, sperma refers to the semen virile and the product of this semen is all future offspring and generations in a family.  The eternal Son of God stepped into history through the “seed of David” as foretold through prophecy.  Salvation would come through the nation of Israel, the tribe of Judah, and the lineage of David.  The prophecy concerning Jesus as the Lion of Judah of the tribe of David will ultimately be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:5).
There is great theological significance to Jesus being “the seed of David.”  This phrase connects every believer to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ as “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  In first century Roman law, a seven-sealed scroll was used to transfer the title of assets of a deceased person to his heir.  This “seven sealed scroll” is the title deed to the dominion over the entire earth. Revelation 5:2 asks the question, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”  This would require a man, but not just any man.  It would require a perfect man.  It would require a sinless man. According to Revelation 5:3, not one single human being was found who met the criteria necessary to lay claim to the title deed of dominion over the earth. 

In the curse of the first creation, the first Adam (and humanity) lost dominion over the earth to Satan.  In the work of the cross, Christ (the last Adam and the God\man; I Corinthians 15:45) won victory over the curse and purchased the possession of that dominion back through His redemption.  When Christ finally takes this title deed of dominion over the earth, He will do so to transpose His authority to the church during the Kingdom Age.  The title deed of dominion over the earth is the Church’s inheritance in the Kingdom.
“13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
“18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:18-21).
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12).
“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:24).
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:4).
The dominion over the earth, restored in the Kingdom Age, is the inheritance “reserved in heaven” for us.  In Revelation 5:4, John wept much because “no man” was found worthy to open and read the book.  Immediately one of the twenty-four “elders” steps forward and encourages John with the words “weep not.”  There is a man who is worthy.  There is someone who has “prevailed.”  It is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and “the root of David.”  Both of these terms signify the lineage of the Man who would be able to claim the title deed to the dominion over the earth.  It is also a reminder of the coming Kingdom over which Messiah would rule on the throne of David.  It is the Lord Jesus Christ, who will share His Kingdom rule with His bride, the Church.
“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” (Isaiah 9:7).
 After one of the “elders” asks John to “behold” the “lion of the tribe of Judah” and the “root of David,” John turns to see.  However, he does not see what he expects to see.  Instead he sees something else “in the midst of the throne” at the middle of this heavenly scene.  He sees “a lamb as it had been slain.”
The word “lamb,” as used of the resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ, is used twenty-seven times in the book of Revelation.  The use of the word “lamb” identifies the Redeemer with His redeemed.  It is by the means of His sacrifice at Calvary that He has “prevailed” to open the book and lay claim to the title deed of dominion over the earth for all the redeemed of mankind.

It is Jesus Who loosens the seven sealed scroll thereby releasing the horrible catastrophes in the seven-year Tribulation and the judgment of the nations (Revelation 6:1).  The Lion was the ancient banner under which the tribe of Judah marched and encamped.  It was their insignia because of Jacob’s prophecy of Genesis 49:9-10. 
“9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:9-10).
The tribe of Judah bore this insignia with great pride, knowing that it was a testimony that God had chosen their tribe to be that through which Messiah (Shiloh) would come.  This relates to the next description of Christ as “the Root of David.”  David was of the tribe of Judah.  Christ speaks of this as a reminder in His concluding statements to the local churches in Revelation 22:16:
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16).
Jesus is both the Creator (“Root,” or source) of the Davidic line of Kings and an “offspring” of it in His incarnation.  This speaks clearly to both His Deity and Sovereignty.  This is a reminder of the coming Kingdom.  The Messiah would set upon the Throne of David in the Kingdom on earth.  This has yet to be fulfilled and so is used as a consistent reminder of that which is still to come.  Christ has instructed Christians that a major part of their prayer life ought to be preoccupied with praying for the coming of His Kingdom on earth.
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2).
“The seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3) refers to the fulfillment of all the prophecies as to the seed of David and all the promises to David himself.  Although the Bible is predominantly Christological, John chapter one and Hebrews chapter two give us the greatest Christological details. 
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).
“1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? 5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour {give relief to those suffering} them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:1-18).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Gospel Concerns the Son of God

Sermon Audio (NOT RECORDED)
Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
The Gospel Concerns the Son of God

Is the “doctrine of Christ” an essential element in the explanation of the Gospel?  This is an important question that needs to be addressed.  Many Evangelicals these days would say that the “doctrine of Christ” is NOT an essential element in the explanation of the Gospel.  This heresy is the substance of Ecumenical Evangelism, which de-emphasizes the doctrine of Christ and a biblical response to the Gospel of salvation for some silly notion of pseudo-unity.  

We need only look to one warning in Scripture to see that such people are absolutely wrong.  They are not only absolutely wrong, but they are absolutely wrong in ways critical to a biblical salvation decision and what defines belief in Christ.  Critical to this is the deity of Jesus as Jehovah incarnate.  Therefore, to believe and confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9) is to understand and recognize the Sovereignty of Jesus as the final authority in one’s life.

“7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth {stay or dwell} not in the doctrine {teaching} of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth {stay or dwell} in the doctrine {teaching} of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 1:7-11).

Obviously, according to II John 1:11, the true Christian is not to have any type of a working relationship in ministry cooperation with someone who does not abide in the teachings of Jesus.  The teachings of Jesus are to be viewed as the boundaries for sacrosanctity defining the Christian’s life and biblical evangelism. 

The true Christian should be preoccupied with knowing the teachings of Jesus (discipleship) and living, or observing, those teachings.  When we consider the substance of the teachings of Jesus, we must understand that this includes Jesus’ teachings about Who He is as well as His teachings regarding how He expected people to be “born again.  This includes how they were expected to live AFTER they were “born again.”  Jesus extensively taught about Who He is as recorded in the four Gospels.  Rightly understanding the doctrine of Jesus Christ is critical to understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

In other words, if the doctrine of Jesus Christ is corrupted, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is corrupted, which will lead to false professions and false Christianity.  This is the substance of what Paul is addressing in Romans 1:3. 

“1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;” (Romans 1:1-3).

The “gospel of God,” to which Paul was “separated unto,” concerns the Son of God, “Jesus Christ our Lord.”  In other words, the Gospel is Christo-centric If the incarnation of the eternal Son of God in Jesus is taken away from the Gospel, the Gospel is no longer good news.  The Gospel is not about sociological reformation (the Social Gospel).   The Gospel is not about a good man with great philosophyThe Gospel is an historical account of God’s love sent to earth written in the Heart of the eternal Son of God incarnate in human flesh.  The Gospel is about the eternal Son of God becoming man for the purpose of redemption.  This means His dying in the place of sinners.  Paul puts it another way in the book of Hebrews.

“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by {literally, in} his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Hebrews 1:1-2 could be translated, “God, who in many parts and in many different ways spoke in the past, unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days (of the Old Covenant) spoken to us in His Son Jesus, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the ages (dispensations)”.
In the Old Covenant, God used prophets to communicate His message to man.  He did so, not in one lump sum or always in the same manner.  He did so in different ways through various prophets.  He spoke to them with an audible voice, in dreams, and by visions.  He sent angelic host to speak to them.  On numerous occasions, the pre-incarnate Son of God spoke with them (known as a Christophany).  God’s message to the people of the New Covenant came as a Person.  God’s revelation of Himself is not just what Jesus said, but who and what He is as well.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ “by Himself purged our sins.”  This is the only purgatory mentioned in the Bible.  The finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary is our purgatory (place of purging from sin).  He has already purged (Aorist tense) our sins.  This purging refers to taking something unclean and, therefore unacceptable to a relationship with God, and making that thing or person clean.  This is a critical truth to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This truth is the very foundation for reconciliation with God and the possibility of fellowship with God. 
When Hebrews 1:3 tells us Jesus “sat Himself down,” it means after a finished work was done.  A finished work allowed a person to sit down.  A central truth to the epistle to the Hebrews is the finished work of Jesus Christ.  This truth is central to dealing with the heresy of Sacramental and Sacerdotal Theology.  What Christ did, He did once for all.  The once for all sacrifice of Christ never needs to be repeated in a sacrament.  Nothing can be, or needs to be, added to what Christ has already done.  Again, this is the substance of the statement of Hebrews 10:10; “By the which will we are sanctified {i.e., ‘made holy’, perfect tense, passive voice, which is why the words ‘for all’ are added in italics for clarification after the word ‘once’} through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

“28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:28-30).

Jesus is not on the Cross today.  He is not continually dying to give us forgiveness of sin.  Such nonsense is absolute heresy and a complete corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  His once for all sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary has “once for all” propitiated God’s wrath on sin, fully satisfied and remitted the penalty of sin, and is fully capable of justifying “whosover will” respond to the Gospel according to the detailed directions given in Scripture (repent, believe, confess, call, and receive).  Jesus has “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, 13, 8:1, and 10:12); the position of power and judgment of the Majesty on high. 

These are all essential truths to a biblical faith decision to trust in Christ for the gift of salvation.  This is why Ecumenicism and Ecumenical Evangelism are so dangerous to the doctrine of salvation.  In Ecumenicism and Ecumenical Evangelism, the corruptions of the Gospel in various ways by different denominations of Christianity (falsely so called) are tolerated and minimized to the place where all these false responses to the Gospel are accepted as equal.  Toleration in Ecumenicism simply means they will not talk about their obvious differences accepting every position as equal and all under the big umbrella of Christianity.  Such nonsense is a huge corruption leading many well-meaning people into disobedience regarding the Bible’s teaching on the “doctrine of Christ” (II John 1:9).
The term Son of God has definitive doctrinal significance and meaning.  Many people refer to Jesus as the Son of God without any comprehension of the doctrinal significance of the terminology.  The doctrinal significance and meaning of the term Son of God is essential to the Gospel message.   George W. Zeller and Renald E. Showers give a threefold theological significance to the term Son of God in their book The Eternal Sonship of Christ (published by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc.)

A son is a separate person from his father.

“19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:19-21).

“37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:37-40).

A son is the heir, not the servant, of his father (Primogeniture).

“1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:1-6).

“5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:5-14)?

“1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:1-7).

A son has the same nature as his father.

“9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. 16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:9-18).

“24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” (John 10:24-38).

“23 That all men should honour {revere, venerate, worship} the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:23-29).

The term Son of man denotes two natures perfectly united in Jesus Christ.  The term Son of God denotes the nature of deity.  The term Son of man denotes the nature of humanity, although sinless.
Here, we must briefly discuss two supposedly opposing theological arguments.  These arguments involve the eternal Sonship of the “Son God” and the incarnational Sonship of Jesus (“Son of man”).  The arguments are usually either/or.  The either the one or the other is why the theological tension exists.  The “Son of God” is the second Person of the Tri-unity of God and is eternally existent.  This is the eternal Sonship of the “Son of God.”  He is the Creator (Colossians 1:12-17).  Jesus has a beginning in time and history as the “Son of man.”  At the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, God created a perfect theanthropic union of God and man.  This is why the word “Son” is capitalized in the term “Son of man.”  Upon the incarnation, Jesus became a theanthropic union of perfect God and perfect man.  This is the incarnational Sonship of God.  If these things are not properly understood, the ignorance will create all kinds of other theological problems including the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. 

The Heresy of Modalism

Modalism is a very common theological error concerning the nature of God.  It is a denial of the Trinity, or Tri-unity of the Godhead.  Modalism teaches that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three consecutive modes, or forms.  Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times.  They will say that at the incarnation, the mode was the Son.  After Jesus’ ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit.  These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous.  In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another.  Modalism denies the distinctiveness of the three persons in the Trinity even though it retains the divinity of Christ.
Present day groups that hold to this error are the United Pentecostal and United Apostolic Churches.  These groups deny the Trinity, teach that the name of God is Jesus, and require baptism for salvation.  These Modalism churches often accuse Trinitarians of teaching three gods.  This is not what the Trinity is.  The correct teaching of the Trinity is one God in three eternal coexistent personages:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Tri-theism is the teaching that the Godhead is really three separate beings forming three separate gods.  This erring view is often confused by the cults as the same as the doctrine of the Trinity, which states that there is but one God in three persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The doctrine of the Trinity is, by definition, monotheistic.  That is, it is a doctrine that affirms that there is only one God in all the universe.
Tri-theism has taken different forms throughout the centuries.  In the early church, the Christians were accused of being tri-theists by those who either refused to understand or could not understand the doctrine of the Trinity.  In the late 11th century, a Catholic monk of Compiegne in France named Roscelin considered the three Divine Persons as three independent beings and that it could be said they were three gods.  He maintained that God the Father and God the Holy Ghost would have become incarnate with God the Son unless there were three Gods.
Present day Mormonism is tri-theistic - but with a twist.  Mormonism teaches that there are many God’s in the universe, but they serve and worship only one of them.  The godhead for earth is to them really three separate gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  They believe that the Father used to be a man on another world who brought one of his wives with him to this world.  They believe they both had bodies of flesh and bones.  They believe the son is a second god who was literally begotten between god the father and his goddess wife.  They believe Jesus and Satan are brothers.  They believe the holy ghost is a third god.  Therefore, in reality, Mormonism is polytheistic with a tri-theistic emphasis. 

Of course, tri-theism clearly contradicts the teaching of the Bible regarding monotheism - that there is only one God.

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

“Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Gospel of God in Prophecy

Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
The Gospel of God in Prophecy

According to Romans 1:2, “the gospel of God” that is fulfilled in the birth, death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of Jesus the Christ is the subject of a great deal of Old Testament prophecy. 

“1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)” (Romans 1:1-2).

The “gospel of God” is nothing new to the Scriptures.  It is not something unique to the New Testament even though the New Testament Scriptures are more doctrinally definitive and detailed in their presentation of the Gospel message. 

“6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:6-10).

The Epistle to the Hebrews quotes this text and establishes that God was speaking of the fulfillment of these verses in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first {Mosaic Covenant}, that he may establish the second {the New Covenant in Christ’s Blood}. 10 By the which will we are sanctified {i.e., ‘made holy’, perfect tense, passive voice, which is why the words ‘for all’ are added in italics for clarification after the word ‘once’} through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected {perfect tense, active voice} for ever them that are {positionally once for all verse 10} sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission {putting away of the penalty} of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:7-18).
On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to two disciples (Luke 24:13-30).  In this text, Jesus informs these two men, through the explanation of the Old Testament Scriptures (“Moses”) that they should have known all about Him and what He would do in His death, burial, and resurrection thereby defining the Gospel of the Old Testament.  Uniquely, one of these two men on their way to Emmaus was Cleopas, the husband of the virgin Mary’s sister (John 19:25). 

“13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs {about 7.5 miles}. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden {the implication is that their unbelief in the resurrection would not allow them to recognize that Jesus stood before them} that they should not know him. 17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive {they had eyewitness testimony to the resurrection, but still walked and talked in unbelief}. 24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them {‘this do in remembrance of me’}. 31 And their eyes {of understanding} were opened, and they knew {epiginosko; an intimate, detailed knowledge} him; and he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:13-31).

The first Gospel proclamation (the Protevangelium) is found in Genesis 3:15 right after God’s curse upon “the serpent” (Genesis 3:14).  This proclamation comes just prior to God’s condemnation of all humanity in Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16-19).  The first Gospel message is a bright beacon of hope in the midst of this curse of darkness. 

“14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:14-19).

Although the first Gospel proclamation that is found in Genesis 3:15, seems vague at first, it is actually quite detailed.  In the statement, “I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman (fallen humanity),” God Himself enters into the restoration and redemption of fallen mankind with the prophetic promise of the Seed.  The “enmity” God puts between Satan and mankind is the promised sacrificial Lamb of God in Christ Jesus.  This fact is expanded upon in the Abrahamic Covenant. 

“1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Abraham is part of both national Israel as their patriarch and part of spiritual Israel through faith in the coming Promised One.  Therefore, we have two descendancies from Abraham making up two elect groups; national Israel by birth and spiritual Israel “by grace through faith.” Spiritual Israel is all individuals “born again” into “the regeneration.”  These are the facts about which Christ said Nicodemus should have known.  These facts were clear Old Testament teaching from the Abrahamic Covenant. 

“3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things” (John 3:3-9)?

According to John 3:6, there is “flesh” Israel and there is “spirit” Israel.  A physical birth (“born of water,” vs. 5) makes a Jew part of elect national (“flesh”) Israel with its earthly and temporal promises.  A spiritual birth (“born . . . of the Spirit,” vs. 5) makes a person part of elect spiritual Israel with its heavenly and eternal promises “in Christ” and in “the regeneration.”  The fact that this is exactly what Paul is saying is supported by what he says in a number of other statements in his other epistles.  Paul’s statement in Galatians 6:6-18 is a thorough and clear explanation of his statement in Romans 9:8, “That is, They which are the children of the flesh {physical seed}, these are not the children {spiritual seed} of God: but the children of the promise {faith} are counted for the {spiritual} seed”

Another point would be missed in all of this if we skip past what takes place in Genesis 15:7-18.  It is important to look closely at this portion of Scripture in order to understand God’s covenant promise to Abraham.

“7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.  11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” (Genesis 15:7-18).

Normally, in the making of a covenant between two people, an animal would be killed and divided in half.  The parties involved would stand before the divided parts of the animals and state their individual parts in the covenant promises.  Then, they would pass together between the divided parts of the animal(s) signifying their acceptance of their own death should they break their covenant promises to one another. 

Notice that this is not what took place in Genesis 15:7-18.  God brought a deep sleep upon Abram.  God alone states the conditions of the covenant and God alone passes between the divided parts.  The covenant of God with Abraham was not based upon Abraham’s faith or conditioned on Abraham’s performance, but solely on the basis of God’s purpose. 
Although the Abrahamic Covenant has elements of earthly and temporal promise to national Israel, the heart of the Abrahamic Covenant lies in God’s eternal promises connected to “the regeneration” (Matthew 19:28) in Christ “by grace. . . through faith (Ephesians 2:8). 

“16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant {Abrahamic}, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law {Mosaic}, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (Galatians 3:15-18).

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

In the statement of Genesis 3:15, God enters Himself into the human predicament and declares war on Satan on behalf of helpless and defenseless mankind now living under the curse of death.  The Son of God would become the “enmity.”  What a wonderful and merciful God!  Redemption is God’s war against Satan’s deception and His instrument of warfare is His own incarnation, vicarious death, and resurrection from the dead. 

Man becomes a partner with God in this struggle for the redemption of souls only when he is individually saved and joins himself with God in bringing the message of salvation and redemption to a lost and dying world.  The work of redemption is totally of God.  Fallen mankind is incapable of doing anything to redeem himself.
The “enmity” (or the promised Messiah) has crushed Satan’s head.  The KJV has “bruise.”  The Hebrew word shuwph (shoof) means crush in this context.  It refers to the dominion of death that Satan holds over humanity due to the curse. 

Satan stole humanity’s dominion through deception.  This dominion of death is the headship that Christ would crush on the Cross of Calvary by paying the wages of sin for all mankind and by being victorious over death in His resurrection.  This is the focal point of I Corinthians 15:1-58 and the heart of the Gospel.  “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:54-57). 

Christ said that the Old Testament Scriptures were sufficient in Gospel truth for a person to be able to understand and trust in Him for salvation.

“31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John {the Baptist as a prophet of God}, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent {John the Baptist as a prophet of God}, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in {obeying them} them ye think ye have eternal life: and they {the scriptures that speak of the gift of eternal life} are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:31-40).

The only Scriptures written at this time were the Old Testament books.  However, Apostate Judaism (to which Christ is addressing in this text) taught that obeying the commandments and the law would assure people of the kingdom of God.  Christ emphatically taught against this false doctrine.  Therefore, preaching the Gospel involves teaching against both Ritualism and Moralism.  These errors must be corrected (repented of) before a person can truly trust in Christ.

“13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering {seekers} to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:13-15).

The Pharisees were the epitome of religious hypocrisy.  They used the pretense of lengthy prayers to give the appearance that they were above a desire for filthy lucre.  They would mediate an hour before prayer, pray for an hour, and mediate another hour after prayer.  This they would do thrice daily, or nine hours each day.  Wealthy widows would give goods and money to these hypocrites so as to be included in their prayers.  The point of Christ’s statement in Matthew 23:13-15 is that hypocrisy breeds more hypocrisy.  This kind of hypocrisy really gives nothing that actually impacts lives while taking away the resources from those that actually minister the truth that recovers lives from sin. 

The Law was never intended to be a means to save anyone.  The purpose of the Mosaic Covenant (the Law) was to expose humanity to the guilt of our fallen condition and our need of a Savior. 

“19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every  mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20).

Many of the Old Testament Scriptures give Messianic prophecies.  Some of them give great detail.  The following are a few of those prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment.

The prophecy of the virgin birth

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

The fulfillment of the prophecy of the virgin birth

“18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. . . 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” (Matthew 1:18 and 20-25).

There is a prophecy that His presence would be preceded by another great prophet preparing the way for Him.

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).

The fulfillment

“1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:1-6).

The prophecy that the Messiah would do great miracles.

“5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:5-6).

The fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would do great miracles.

“28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. 32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:28-35).

The prophecy that the Messiah would be rejected by the spiritual leaders of Israel.

“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner” (Psalm 118:22).

The fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would be rejected by the spiritual leaders of Israel.

“6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Peter 2:6-8).

The prophecy that the Messiah would be betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver.

“12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD” (Zechariah 11:12-13).

The fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would be betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver.

“3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5).

The prophecy that the Messiah would be rejected by His own people, mocked, beaten, and crucified is found in Isaiah 53:1-12.

“1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).

“1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psalm 22:1-18).

The fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would be rejected by His own people, mocked, beaten, and crucified is found in Matthew 27:26-50.

“26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. 32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. 33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. 39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. 45 Now from the sixth hour {probably high noon} there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour {probably 3 PM}. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again {‘it is finished’; John 19:30}, John with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost” (Matthew 27:26-50).

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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.