Celebrating Jehovah's Creation Memorial, the Seventh Day Sabbath
My study on the holy vine of David continued
Lets go back to David's last words as He testifies to Jehovah's faithfulness and covenant mercies.
2 Samuel 23:3-5
3The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me: One that ruleth over men righteously, That ruleth in the fear of God,4He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, A morning without clouds, When the tender grass springeth out of the earth, Through clear shining after rain.5Verily my house is not so with God; Yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things, and sure: For it is all my salvation, and all my desire, Although he maketh it not to grow.
Verse 5 is a high water mark of David's faith, expressing his understanding that even though his house would fail and falter, the covenant was sure because it would find unconditional fulfillment in the Messiah Jehoshuaz his salvation and all his desire.
Verse 4 alludes to the future Messianic King to proceed out of David's loins i.e. Jehoshua. The Son of God is the bright and morning star of Revelation 22:16:
"I Jehoshua 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."
Verse 4 Jehovah speaking to David calls the future righteous ruler of the house of David "as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds"
Jehoshua connects Himself being the offspring of David with being the bright and morning star which echoes what Jehovah told David in 2nd Samuel chapter 23 verse 4. The bright and morning star was the future Messianic Davidic King. Verse 1 of 2nd Samuel reads:
"Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse saith, And the man who was raised on high saith, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel"
David was raised on high by Jehovah God alluding to his anointing as the king of Israel. The anointing of David is eqauted with him being raised up which should help us understand Acts 13:33:
"that God hath fulfilled the same unto our children, in that he raised up Jehoshua; as also it is written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
The raising up of Jehoshua was a fufillment of prophecy to the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 18:15-21). This raising up is not in reference to the resurrection as that is spoken about in verse 34 of Acts 13. The raising up spoken of in Acts 13:33 is the same as David's raising up which is said to be when he was anointed as king (1 Samuel 16:13).
The anointing of David is when he started his ministry even though it would be some time before he was enthroned as king. So the raising up of Jehoshua that fufilled bible prophecy was Him arriving on the scene to preach the gospel of the Kingdom which took place at His baptism. Scripture in the new testament proves this concretely.
Concerning Jehoshua being the bright and morning star lets look at what Malachi says:
Malachi 4:1-2 (ASV)
1For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith Jehovah of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.2But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall
The Davidic king is called the light of the morning and the sun that riseth (2 Sam 23:4) and the bright and morning star (Rev 22:16). Here in Malachi 4:1-2, we see the the prophecy of the second advent of the Davidic Messianic King who is called the sun of righteousness echoing 2 Samuel 23:4 and Revelation 22:16.
Now we can properly understand why Jehoshua refers to Himself as the light of the world:
12Again therefore Jehoshua spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jehoshua was/is the light of the world because He is of the holy vine of David and the ultimate fufillment of the Davidic dynasty as the Davidic kingship in 2 Samuel 23 was called the light of the morning, the sun that riseth, a morning without clouds. The Davidic king is also referred to as the sun of righteousness and the bright and morning star elsewhere.
In the book of Revelation Jehoshua promises to overcomers eternal fellowship with Him:
Revelation 2:26-28 (KJV)
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.28And I will give him the morning star.
Jehoshua is the morning star as the radiant Davidic King and was prophesied to be the Star that rose out of Israel:
17I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: There shall come forth a Star out of Jacob, And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, And shall smite through the corners of Moab, And break down all the sons of tumult.
"A Star out of Jacob" a prophecy of Messiah, the seed of Abraham, seed of David and the true Israel. This Star is a refrence to the Davidic kingship dynasty and ultimately finds its full fulfillment in Jehoshua.
Isaiah 9:1-8 (ASV)
1But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.3Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.4For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian.5For all the armor of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be for burning, for fuel of fire.6For 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, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.7Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.8The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
Verses 1 and 2, both Israel and the Gentile nations were in total darkness when the Messiah arrived on the scene as the light of the world. They were in the shadow of death but the light of the Davidic Messianic King shone upon them.
Verse 6, this speaks of the birth of Jehoshua and the government being upon His shoulder speaks of the prophecy given to Mary that Jehovah God would give her son the throne of his father David and that He would rule as King over Israel forever (Luke 1:32-33).
Verse 7, the light is inherently connected to the Davidic throne and it is because Jehoshua is the rightful heir to the eternal Davidic covenant that He is the light of the world. Just as told to Mary, Isaiah prophesies that the Messianic King would rule over the Kingdom forever as the increase of His government and of peace will have no end. While this is a near prophecy about Hezekiah it is completely fulfilled in Jehoshua Messiah.
Jehoshua's Davidic Kingdom would be established with justice and judgment and the zeal of Jehovah God His Father would see to it that this would happen.
Verse 8, this word from Jehovah about the future Messianic King was a light to Israel.
2 Peter 1:19-21 (ASV)
19And we have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts:20knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation.21For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
What is this sure word of prophecy? In context, it is in relation to the Davidic dynasty and the promise of a future Messianic King of the seed of David that would bring the covenant to its fullness (2 Samuel 7).
How do we know that this passage is regarding the Davidic Messiahship? Because verse 17 of 2 Peter 1 mentions the transfiguration and the acknowledgement by Jehovah that Jehoshua is His beloved Son. The Sonship ofJehoshua is tied to the oath made to David by Jehovah God.
Also, in verse 19 Peter refers to Jehoshua as the "day star" which is a Davidic Messianic title. Jehoshua said that if we overcome then we will be given the morning star which is Himself. Jehoshua calls Himself the bright and morning star and the offspring of David in Revelation 22:16.
The reference to the day dawn is about Jehoshua's second coming which results in His resurrected brethren receiving the "day star" which is Himself.
In verse 20, Peter warns that no prophecy is of private interpretation meaning that we cannot come up with doctrine that disagrees with what the Holy Spirit revealed to the prophets before the coming of Messiah. No matter how many Church councils are held, they cannot alter one bit the spirit of prophecy given to men and women of God of old.
The Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jehoshua Messiah and this testimony is iron clad tied to Him being the seed of David and the ultimate fufillment of the Davidic covenant. The seven ecumenical councils and so called Church fathers came up with private interpretations of scripture that outright contradicted the prophetic Spirit.
Peter warned of decievers that would come to do that very thing in verse 16 of this passage:
"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jehoshua Messiah, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."
Peter's testimony of the power and coming of Jehoshua was right in line with the men of old time who prophesied of the coming Davidic King. These men were Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, David, Malachi, John the Baptist etc.
The common theme that these prophets spoke of concerning the future Messiah that He would be of David's seed (sperm) which indicates His proceeding out of a male descendant of David.
The cunningly devised fables would shortly come to the Church after the death of the apostles and were actually already at work during their lifetime. These cunningly devised fables are seen the Church fathers writings and the seven ecumenical Church councils. They are the virgin birth doctrine, the preexistence of the Messiah and ultimately the trinity doctrine.
Isaiah 42:1-8 (ASV)
1Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.2He will not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street.3A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth.4He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set justice in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.5Thus saith God Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:6I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;7to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.8I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.
This passage is a prophecy about Jehovah's servant, the coming Messianic King. In verse 1 we read that Jehovah will put His Spirit upon His servant which took place at Jehoshua's baptism. He will bring judgment to the Gentiles.
Verses 2-3 highlight how the Messiah will conduct His ministry, it will be characterized by mercy.
Verse 4, the isles a reference to the distant shores, the ends of the earth. The Messiah's mission is universal. "Wait for His law" hope in His teaching or instruction. As a King Jehoshua had a right to institute law as He did in the sermon on the mount. Jehoshua magnified and filled up the law of Jehovah. He brought the grace and truth out of it.
Verse 5, Jehovah God is the creator of the heavens and earth and the sovereign One which gives life to mankind.
Verse 6, Jehovah is the one who sanctions the ministry of the Messiah. He called Jehoshua in righteousness as it is God who selects people for the work of the ministry as no man takes it unto themself (Heb 5:4)
Jehovah God is the one who protected and perserved the Messiah during His earthly ministry and kept Him strong. Jehovah held His hand showing that the Messiah completely relied on God during His ministry work. Jehovah keeping Jehoshua reminds one of Peter's words in 1 Peter l:5
"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Just as we are kept by the power of God through faith unto the day when salvation is fully revealed (the resurrection), the same was true of Jehoshua. God the Father preserved Jehoshua by His (God's) power as the Son of God had faith in His Father. This is why we are told in Revelation 14:12, that the true Church has the faith of Jehoshua because we are to have the same faith in God that He had. It was by faith that Jehoshua was righteous as He believed in the promises of God which were eternal life by resurrection and to ascend and sit down on His right hand. It was by Jehoshua's faith that God empowered Him and kept Him (caused Him to persevere) until the day He died on the cross.
Back to verse 6 of Isaiah 42, Jehovah says He will give His servant as a covenant of the people which is a reference to the new covenant that Jehoshua made in His blood. Jehovah God says that His Messiah will be a light for the Gentiles. The reference to being a light is in relation to the Davidic covenant as stated in the passages previously discussed. God's Davidic King is a light to Israel and also the world. This was true in the old testament when the Davidic kings walked in righteousness, however it finds its full fulfillment in Jehoshua Messiah. All the references to Jehoshua being the light of the world, the day star, the morning star and the bright and morning star are due to Him being the seed of David and the fufillment of the oath made to David by Jehovah God (2 Samuel 7).
Verse 7, again the ministry of Jehoshua is characterized by mercy.
Verse 8, the Son of God's mission ultimately aims at the glory of Jehovah God. This verse is falsely used to promote the trinity doctrine, however all glory given to the Messiah ultimately glorifes Jehovah God and no one else especially graven images as the context of this passages dictates.
9Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name;10that in the name of Jehoshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth,11and that every tongue should confess that Jehoshua Messiah is King, to the glory of God the Father.
All glory and worship given to the Messiah as King (not God) is to the glory of God the Father hence God will not share His glory with graven images or false gods but He will give it to His anointed Son who is King not God.
Isaiah 49:1-10 (ASV)
1Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far: Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name:2and he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me: and he hath made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he kept me close:3and he said unto me, Thou art my servant; Israel, in whom I will be glorified.4But I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and vanity; yet surely the justice [due] to me is with Jehovah, and my recompense with my God.5And now saith Jehovah that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, and that Israel be gathered unto him (for I am honorable in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God is become my strength);6yea, he saith, It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
7Thus saith Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, [and] his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall worship; because of Jehovah that is faithful, [even] the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee.8Thus saith Jehovah, In an acceptable time have I answered thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages:9saying to them that are bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and on all bare heights shall be their pasture.10They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them will lead them, even by springs of water will he guide them.
This is another prophetic Messianic passage. Verse 1 is another reference to the isles i.e the distant shores, the extremities of the world. The Messianic promise concerns the whole world. Jehovah God predestined Jehoshua to this purpose before He was born (Jeremiah 1:5; Gal 1:15; 1 Peter 1:19). The Holy Spirit overhshadowing Mary was not about incarnation or virgin birth but rather the seperating of Jehoshua from the womb for the work of the Kingdom ministry for which He had predestined before the foundation of the world.
This was also true of David:
Psalm 22:9-10 (ASV)
9But thou art he that took me out of the womb; Thou didst make me trust [when I was] upon my mother`s breasts.10I was cast upon thee from the womb; Thou art my God since my mother bare me.
Just as Jehoshua was set apart from the womb by Jehovah so was His father David.
Verse 2 of Isaiah 49, "mouth like a sharp sword" Jehoshua's words are powerful to judge sin (Rev 19:15). Jehoshua is the word of God and with His word He will dash the nations with a rod of iron when He makes His glorious return to earth. "A polished shaft" a sharpened arrow (Rev 6:2) as Jehoshua is the King who conquers with the bow i.e. His gospel truth and righteousness.
Verse 3, Jehoshua is the ideal Israel and restores the people so the servant here cannot be the people. Jehoshua is the fufillment of all God desires in His covenant people for His glory.
Verse 4, the Servant of Jehovah expresses the apparent frustration and futility of His mission (Isaiah 53:1-3). Jehoshua entrusted Himself to Jehovah and called Him "my God". The explicitly shows that Jehoshua is not God but rather has a God. Jehoshua committed His work to God (1 Peter 2:23).
Verse 5 of Isaiah 49, Jehovah formed Jehoshua from the womb to be His servant. Jehovah God set apart Jehoshua at conception in the womb of Mary to be the Messianic King and to bring Israel back to God. This is similar to other great men of God but of course in a much greater way. There is no need of a virgin birth for Jehoshua just as there was no need for the other great men of God formed by Him from the womb to be virginally begotten.
This is why Jehoshua can be the Son of God without being ontologicaly God's offspring, because ultimately Jehovah God formed Him whether it was through a virgin birth or through the natural relations between a man and a woman. Jehovah doesnt need to literally beget someone in order to form them from the womb or be their Father.
"Though Israel be not gathered, yet I shall be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God shall be my strength"
Though a good portion of Israel rejected their Messiah, Jehoshua was still glorious in the eyes of Jehovah. This shows an absolute distinction between Jehoshua and Jehovah. Also, Jehoshua calls Jehovah His God who is His stength.
Again, this proves that Jehoshua Himself is not God and has a God. His God is our God:
Jehoshua saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.
The words of Jehoshua are absolutely clear, He has a God and His God is our God.
Verse 6 of Isaiah 49:
"yea, he saith, It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
The Messianic King was to be a light unto the Gentiles. The Identification of Jehoshua being the light is directly connected to Him being the Davidic King. This is not only true of Jehoshua but the Davidic Kingship in general as many believe Hezekiah is in immediate veiw of this prophecy. Most of the Davidic prophecies have a near and far view. The near view is usually about the present Davidic king or one in the very near future however they all find their final fufillment in Jehoshua Messiah. There are Davidic prophecies that can only be about Jehoshua but most do have the near/far view.
Hezekiah was to be a light unto the Gentiles just like all the Davidic kings were supposed to be. Ultimately it was Jehoshua that fulfilled this prophecy in full. We see a perfect example of the Davidic king being a light to the Gentiles in the story of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba:
1 Kings 10:1-9 (ASV)
1And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, she came to prove him with hard questions.2And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.3And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king which he told her not.4And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,5and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her.6And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom.7Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard.8Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, [and] that hear thy wisdom.9Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do justice and righteousness.
Here we see a perfect example of a Davidic king being a light unto the Gentiles as the Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame. Sheba was located 1,000 miles from Jerusalem. This indicates how extensive Solomon's reputation was.
Verses 3 and 4, the king of Israel had the wisdom of God and answered the Queen's questions successfully. This reminds us of the passage that says Jehoshua is the wisdom and power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). The Davidic kings had access to this power and wisdom of God depending upon their faith in Him (God).
Verses 6-8, the Queen is amazed at Solomon's wisdom, prosperity and acts, even stating that they exceeded her expectations.
Verse 9, "Blessed" synonymous with a different Hebrew word translated "happy" designates the ascription of praise when applied to God. The Queen of Sheba acknowledges that it was Jehovah God that set Solomon on the throne of Israel. The throne of Israel is also called the throne of David (Acts 2:29-36; Psalm 89:36-37; Luke 1:32). The throne of David is also called the throne of Jehovah God (1 Chronicles 29:23).
"Because Jehovah loved Israel"
The Davidic King is Jehovah God's love gift to His people (Isaiah 9:6). The Davidic king was supposed to bring justice, judgment and righteousness to Israel and even the Gentile nations. The Davidic dynasty is the light of the world and Jehoshua Messiah is the fullness of that light i.e. the bright and morning star and the offspring of David (Revelation 22:16).
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.
Here Isaiah the prophet describes the nature of the Messiah's earthly ministry. This is a perfect example of the Messiah being a servant as He sacrificed Himself for us and took the punishment we deserve for transgressing Jehovah's law.
Let's go to second part of verse 7
"being made in the likeness of men"
Much is made of this verse by those who believe in the preexistence of the Messiah as they say that He was in the form of God in heaven and then was made in the likeness of men through incarnation. However, there is no need to have this understanding as Jehoshua emptying Himself was not Him setting aside some divine nature or substance but rather simply humbling Himself.
The phrase "being made in the likeness of men" refers to His humanity and that despite being in the form of God, through being indwelt by Him (God), He was truly Human as scripture all over the place confirms. Jehoshua, during His earthly ministry, operated in the power of God (form of), yet He was made as man through birth like everyone else.
Galatians 4:4 (KJV)
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
The phrase "made of a woman" is parallel to being "made in the likeness of men". It was Jehoshua being made of a woman through birth that eqauted Him being made in the likeness of men.
The phrase "being made in the likeness of men" cannot possibly refer to Him not really being a man as some teach. Some use this verse to say that Jehoshua's true essence is as a spirit being or God Himself and that He just took on humanity to clothe His natural spirit substance. However, this patently false and even anti-Messiah. Even those of the trinitarian faith acknowledge the absolute humanity of the Messiah. However, they muddy the waters with the unbiblical hypostatic union doctrine.
The phrase "being made in the likeness of men" doesn't mean that Jehoshua was not fully a man or that He just took on the appearance of a man. It means that despite doing the works of God, He was made as a man through a woman just like everyone else.
1 John 4:2-3 (KJV)
2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
The very definition of the Spirit of anti-Messiah is when people do not confess that Jehoshua was a full flesh and blood human. Those that do confess His humanity have been inspired to do so by the Spirit of God. So when it says Jehoshua was made in the likeness of men, it doesn't mean that He was only like a man but that He indeed was a man and that He was like all other men in that He was fully human.
The early Church refuted any ideas that Jehoshua was some hybrid spirit/human being and labeled this as Gnostic. They also refuted any idea that He was a pure spirit being. Likeness of men doesn't mean Jehoshua wasn't just using humanity to clothe some divine nature but rather that He was like all other men in that He was made of a woman (Galatians 4:4). Even in His resurrected state Jehoshua is still fully human:
1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
The manhood of Jehoshua is essential to the Messianic/Christian faith. It's His full humanity that qualifies Him to be our High Priest.
Even Moses prophesied that the future prophet of Israel would be a man just like him and his Israelite brethren:
15Jehovah 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;
Hebrews 5:6-7 (KJV)
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Jehoshua was a full flesh and blood human during His life on earth, he was not a spirit being who just took on a human nature.
Verse 8 of Philippians 2:
"and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross."
This verse reiterates the humanity of the Messiah which we have already seen from the previous verses. Again, there is no reason to take this emphasis of the Messiah's humanity in combination with humbling Himself as some transition from some divine nature to human nature or being divine and then adding a human nature. Also, Jehoshua being spirit and then just appearing as a man but not really being one is also out of the question.
Jehoshua being found as a man refers to His absolute humanity and that when people came across Him during His ministry they found indeed that He was a man. As per the context of this passage in Philippians 2, Jehoshua's humility is highlighted and His humility resulted in Him submitting to the will of the Father. Let's look at Jehoshua's prayer to the Father in the garden of Gethasame:
Luke 22:41-42 (ASV)
41And he was parted from them about a stone`s cast; and he kneeled down and prayed,42saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Jehoshua asked that the cup that He was about to drink (his passion and death on the cross) be taken from Him. However, Messiah concluded His prayer but saying that nevertheless the Father's will be done.
Over and over again, the Son of God denies Himself and served others and submitted to the Father's will.
Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jehoshua endured the cross, meaning that despite the loneliness of it and despite the physical pain of it and the feeling of emotional anguish, He was willing to go through it because of His love for us. He also had the resurrection hope and that the sure mercies of David awaiting Him in the holy of holies in the heavenly sanctuary.
Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Due to the Son of God's love for us, He gave Himself as a ransom. It was love for His brethren that motivated the humility of the Messiah.
Galatians 1:3-4 (KJV)
3Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father
Jehoshua selflessly gave Himself for us in order that He would save us from this present evil world. Paul says that this was according to the Father's will. Again, this shows us that the Son was submissive to the Father's will and providing us with salvation now (presently). This shows us the absolute humility of Jehoshua Messiah.
13looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works.
Jehoshua gave Himself for us that we would be His purchased possession and redeem us from lawlessness (iniquity). Just as Jehoshua walked in good works, He has purified us by His blood in order to be zealous in the good works that the Father has prepared for us before the foundation of the world.
Jehoshua was the pattern man and His humility is an example for all of us. His obedience to Father in order to go to the cross should inspire us to follow in His footsteps.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (ASV)
1Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children;2and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell.
Verse 9 of Philippians 2,
"Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name;"
Remember that it is God (one being) who exalted the Messiah who is a completely different being. This Messiah is a man approved of God (Acts 2:22) not another God or a part of God in terms of "being".
Hebrews 1:8-9 shows that exaltation of Jehoshua on the throne of David upon His ascension into heaven. Acts 2:36:
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jehoshua, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Messiah."
It was God who made Jehoshua King and Messiah as these offices were not automatically His but had to be given to Him.
The name above all names is "Jehoshua", however it isn't the pronunciation of the name itself that is above all names but rather the character and authority that the name represents. This character and authority that the name represents is the fact that Jehoshua is the only begotten Son of God and King of Israel:
4Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.5For 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?
Verse 5 quotes two Davidic references (Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14) connecting the Davidic dynasty to the Sonship of Jehoshua as Psalm 2:7 is a royal coronation hymn and 2 Samuel 7:14 states that there is Father-Son covenant relationship with the Davidic king and Jehovah God. The name "Jehoshua" is not in and of itself the name above all names but rather it is the authority that the name represents that makes it a more excellent name than the angels.
This authority comes from the fact that Jehoshua is of the seed of David and rightful heir to the throne (Luke 1:32-33). Jehoshua was begotten (anointed) by Jehovah God into Kingship at His baptism as Psalm 2:7 is the original quotation of Jehoshua's baptism accounts.
Jehoshua was also begotten (anointed and enthroned) into Kingship at His ascension into heaven (Hebrews 1:8-9). The authority of Jehoshua's name is in His Davidic lineage and adoption by Jehovah God as Son and King.
To be anointed as the King of Israel was also the same as being begotten by Jehovah God as His Son. It was an adoption ceremony where Jehovah enthroned His chosen Messiah as the King of the nation of Israel. Jehovah God made a covenant with David's royal seed that they would be His Son and He would be there Father. Jehovah God never made this covenant with an angel. This is the whole purpose of Hebrews 1, which is to show the absolute superiority of the final Davidic King over the angels including Gabriel or Michael.
Verses 10 and 11 of Philippians 2:
10 that in the name of Jehoshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth,11and that every tongue should confess that Jehoshua Messiah is King, to the glory of God the Father.
This will take place at the white throne judgment when Messiah separates the sheep and the goats. In that day ALL will bow to Jehoshua and confess that He is King to the glory of God the Father. This is often used by Trinitarians as another proof text for their doctrine yet there is no need for that understanding because all throughout scripture Jehoshua is identified as the anointed King of Israel, the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. This is how we should understand the title "Lord" when used of Jehoshua.
Psalm 110:1 makes the distinction between Jehovah God (LORD) and the Lord at His right hand. The Lord at Jehovah's right hand is the future Messianic King and the word "Lord" here comes from the Hebrew word "adowne" which is used of human or angel rulers. It is mostly used for human rulers. It is never used as a title for Jehovah God.
The fact that all will bow to Jehoshua does not prove He is God as we see a similar scenario in 1 Chronicles 29:20:
"And David said to all the assembly, Now bless Jehovah your God. And all the assembly blessed Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and the king."
Israel worshipped both Jehovah God and His anointed king David. In essence they worshipped the Father and Son, because the Davidic King was in a covenant Father-Son relationship with Jehovah God.
Jeremiah 30:8-9 (ASV)
8And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds; and strangers shall no more make him their bondman;9but they shall serve Jehovah their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.
Israel was not only to serve Jehovah God, but also the Royal Davidic seed which is now Jehoshua as He was raised up as its King upon His baptism and then more fully at His ascension into heaven. The Davidic King was Jehovah God's begotten Son by way of anointing so again Israel was to serve the Father (Jehovah God) and His begotten Son (the Davidic King).
4For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord (Jehovah) God, and our Lord (King) Jehoshua Messiah.
In the days of the Davidic kings, you could not separate Jehovah from His anointed king in terms of worship and honor. This was true in terms of the righteous kings such as David, Solomon, Hezekiah and Josiah although they weren't perfect. To deny one was to deny the other. Jehovah and His anointed king were one in mind, plan and purpose and in a covenant with each other.
This of course is magnified tremendously now that the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic covenant has been enthroned. Here in the book of Jude we see that the false teachers were denying the only Lord God and His Messianic King. To deny one is to deny the other as they (Jehoshua and Jehovah) are in a covenant relationship with each other having its roots in the everlasting Davidic covenant.
This is why Jehoshua says:
22For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:23That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
As true as this was for the righteous Davidic kings of the past it is exponentially true of the greater David, Jehoshua Messiah.
Also, note that in verse 11 it says that the bowing and confessing as Jehoshua as King is to the glory of God the Father. This is because the Father is the one who made Jehoshua Messiah and King and exalted Him and set Him at His (the Father's) right hand.
All things in heaven refer to the angels
All things in earth, those all alive at Messiah's second advent
All things under the earth, those who are resurrected whether just or unjust.
In that day, Jehoshua will be vindicated as God's anointed King and the fulfillment of the oath made to David by Jehovah God.
Jehoshua being the King of Israel is what gives Him the right to the titles "Alpha and Omega" and "the first and the last". These are Kingship titles not necessarily having to do with substance or eternal existence. These titles are applied to Jehoshua in Revelation 1:11,17; 22:13. Jehovah God is also called Alpha and Omega and the first and the last in Rev 1:8 & Isaiah 41:4 and 44:6.
4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I Jehovah the first, and with the last; I am he.
17 verses later Jehovah is identified as the King of Jacob:
21Produce your cause, saith Jehovah; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.
In Isaiah 44, we see a direct connection between the title "first and last" with Jehovah being the King of Israel:
6 Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.
For Jehovah, the title of first and last refers to His Kingship as well as being the only true God which Jehoshua identifies as the Father alone (John 17:3).
For Jehoshua the titles of "Alpha and Omega" and "first and the last" refer to His resurrection from the dead and being given the sure mercies of David as a result. The sure mercies of David are the everlasting covenant made to David's seed, which is the royal thone and the Kingdom of Israel. Both of these (throne and Kingdom) were received by Jehoshua by way of the resurrection and ascension into heaven as proved by Peter (Acts 2:29-36) and the author of Hebrews (verses 5-9).
Jehoshua is identified as the firstborn Son of God by way of His being the seed of David (Psalm 89:27) and being made higher than the kings of the earth by way of resurrection as He inherited a heavenly throne which is above all earthly and angelic ones (Colossians 1:15-16).
As the Father and Son are one (John 10:30) and both are identified as the King of Israel then it makes sense that they share the aforementioned titles of "Alpha and Omega" and "the first and the last".
Revelation 1:5-6 (ASV)
5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood;6and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Jehoshua's title of firstborn is connected to His resurrection from the dead and His Kingship (Psalm.89:27). His Kingship is connected to His Davidic lineage. His resurrection is also connected to Him being the beginning (ruler, chief in rank) of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14). So the titles "Alpha" and "first" are linked to Jehoshua's resurrection which resulted in Him having the preeminence (Col 1:18) and being made ruler of the kings of the earth (Psalm 89:27; Rev 1:6).
The resurrection event led to the ascension of the Messiah into heaven to be enthroned as the King of Israel on the throne of David and to receive a Kingdom. So the "Alpha" and "first" titles are directly tied and connected to Jehoshua being the Davidic Israelite King.
The titles "Omega" and "last" are also directly tied to Jehoshua's Kingship. The fact that Jehoshua will be the one everyone in heaven, earth and under the earth bows and confesses to, is another reason He is the Omega and the last as He finishes this age with His second advent. His Kingship will be vindicated and His Kingdom consummated on this earth as He introduces the age to come by way of the new heavens and new earth.
Jehoshua having the keys of death and hell (the grave) is another reason for the title "Omega" and "last" as He will resurrect the dead and then judge them from His white throne. Jehoshua is the judge of men's eternity, hence He is the "Omega" and "last". Everyone one will go before the judgment seat of the only begotten Son Jehoshua:
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ASV)
10 For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things [done] in the body, according to what he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Revelation 22:12-13 (ASV)
12Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is.13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Jehoshua here clearly identifies why He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. It is because He has been given authority to judge all men and end this age upon His second advent. Jehovah God appointed Him this right:
21For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will.22For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son;
23that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him.
Basically the titles "Alpha and Omega", first and the last" are titles of supreme authority. For the Father, it is because He is the only true God and King of Israel (Isaiah 44:6). For Jehoshua, it is because He is Jehovah's firstborn Son by way of baptism and resurrection and the final anointed Davidic King of Israel i.e the fulfillment of the everlasting Davidic covenant.
This is why they share the same throne because they are both identified as the King of Israel. Jehovah is King of Israel by nature due to Him being the Almighty God and also adopting Israel as His firstborn son establishing a covenant relationship with them (Exodus 4:22).
Jehoshua is King of Israel due to being of the seed of David (2 Samuel 7) and rightful heir to the throne from before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-21). Also, Jehoshua was adopted as God's only begotten Son at His baptism, being anointed as the King of Israel. Jehoshua was then made the firstborn Son at His resurrection being made higher than the kings of the earth. He was then enthroned as the King of Israel at His ascension into heaven (Hebrews 1:8-9).
Jehoshua being the Alpha and Omega and first and the last can also be seen in 1st Timothy 6:15-16:
15Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;16Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Jehovah God will show in the last day that His only begotten Son is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16).
In this study I will look into the identity of the sea beast, antichrist, false prophet (earth beast) and Mystery Babylon. This will not be an exhaustive verse by verse study but rather an overview. As an amillennialist with a historicist eschatology my view of who the sea beast and antichrist is must fit a perspective that spans the age of the new testament Church.
Not all amillennialists or historicist take this approach as some take the numbers 42 months, time, times and half a time, a thousand two hundred and three score days as literal for the very last period of Church history or symbolizing years meaning instead of instead of 1,260 days they believe this numbers refers to 1,260 years. Adventists determine this time period to begin in 538 AD and end in 1798 AD.
I posit the numbers to be symbolic of the entire new covenant Church age. How you understand these numbers will have an influence on you in determining the identity of the sea beast, earth beast, Mystery Babylon and the antichrist.
Some believe the antichrist to be a system rather than a specific individual and believe that the antichrist is one and the same as the sea beast. Some believe that it is both a system and an individual who runs that system and that the antichrist is the sea beast or head of the sea beast system. Some may identify the antichrist as the false prophet because the false prophet has obvious religious overtones.
Some modern amillennialists spiritualize Revelation 13, 17 and 18 away to say that antichrist is any institution that is against the Messiah and His Church. While technically this is true it way over spiritualizes what seem to be specific information about the antichrist, false prophet and Babylon. Some of this over spiritualize is due to the fact that the identifying the identity of the beasts and Babylon can be difficult, however we are told in Revelation 1:
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
We are actually blessed when we hear (understand) the words of the book of Revelation. We are also told in Revelation 13:
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
John tells the brethren that they with wisdom can understand the number of the beast.
We will start in Revelation 11 that speaks of the time period in which these things will take place, persecution of the Church by the world. Already in chapter 1 of Revelation, John said these things were to shortly come to pass and that the time was at hand. These statements by John would be strange if prophecies of the book of Revelation were reserved for 2,000 years into the future in a literal 7 year period.
Remember that the book of Revelation is codified (signified) (Rev 1:1) in symbols. This is important to understand when we read of numbers, beasts, judgments and plagues.
Revelation 11:1-3 (KJV)
1And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.2But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
In verse 2, John sees the Gentiles treading the holy city for 42 months which is the same time periods mentioned in chapter 12 and 13. Remember that John identified the Church as already going through tribulation in chapter 1. John wrote Revelation in the first century. So the tribulation of the Church started in the first century and chapter 12 corroborates this.
The Gentiles are unbelievers, those natural Gentiles who have been converted are grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel and are the Israel of God along with believing Jews (Ephesians 2; Galatians 6) as there is no more Jewish-Gentile distinction in the new covenant Israel. Paul confirms this and Jehoshua confirmed that this was part of His mission to make one fold (the Church) out of two sheepfolds (Jew and Gentile).
With that said, the world persecutes the holy city (the Church) for 42 months which is the duration of the new covenant Church age. Futurists think that the Holy city is referring to earthly Jerusalem, however this is hard to believe since Paul described Jerusalem as a city in bondage (Galatians 5:25-26) and that the heavenly New Jerusalem was free and the mother of us all. Also the author of Hebrews said we (the Church) have no continuing city here meaning earth (Hebrews 13:14) but that we seek one to come (from heaven).
Hebrews 11 stated that even the heroes of old didn't seek an earthly city but rather a heavenly one built by Jehovah God. Hebrews 12 that we as believers go to Mount Zion for our worship which he says is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the Church of the firstborn is Headquartered. Revelation 21:2 describes New Jerusalem as a bride, the Church is referred to as the bride of Messiah.
In verse 1 of Revelation 11 the reference to the temple of Jehovah and those who worship therein is speaking about the Church which consistently is called the temple of God in the new testament (Ephesians 2). The world has been given to the unbelievers as they are the Gentiles who are outside the temple i.e. the Church. They tread on the Church for the duration of the new covenant Church age (42 months). History has bore out that indeed the Church has been persecuted consistently by the unbelieving world throughout the new covenant Church age. Even today throughout Africa, the middle east and Asia this happening intensely. In America and Europe the persecution of believers is happening more in a cultural shift type of way where those who stand up for the faith are marginalized socially and economically but not necessarily physically.
In verse 3 of Revelation 11 we learn that the two witnesses testify (prophesy) for a thousand two hundred and threescore days which is the same as the 42 months mentioned in verse 2. The two witnesses prophesy during the duration of the new covenant Church age. These are not as some suppose Moses and Elijah resurrected as the bible teaches that the heroes of old will not be made perfect (resurrection) without us (Hebrews 11:40). Moses and Elijah will be resurrected at the same time as all the other saints which is at the second advent.
I have a study on the two witnesses and I show that the two witnesses are the Church as scripture teaches that the two witnesses are the office of king and priest which the Church is called a Royal (king) priesthood (1 Peter 2:9; Rev 1:5-6; Rev 5:10). Verse 3 describes the Church preaching the gospel during the new covenant era before the advent of Jehoshua.
Lets now go to verses 7-11 of Revelation chapter 11:
7And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.8And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.9And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.10And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.11And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Verse 7, Even though the beast is active against the Church from the time of Messiah's ascension onwards, there is a final increase in intensity in the persecution of the Church by the anti-Messiah.
Verse 8, the martyred saints lie dead in that great city which is the same city described in Revelation 18 which is Mystery Babylon. Some say this is Jerusalem because it mentions where our Lord was crucified. This however is not so because Jerusalem doesn't match the description of Mystery Babylon detailed in Revelation 18. This should be taken as symbolic as stated by John:
"the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Eygpt"
This city spiritually has the characteristics of Sodom (Homosexuality), Eygpt (paganism) and Jerusalem (hatred and rejection of our Lord Jehoshua Messiah).
Revelation 18 details the economic side of Mystery Babylon and the United States of America is a perfect fit. Also, the characteristics of Sodom, Eygpt and Jerusalem are rampant in America and increasing exponentially.
Verse 9, we saw a time period of 42 months in verse 2 now we see a shorter time period of 3 and a half days. This like the 42 months is symbolic and indicates a shorter time period of intense persecution against the Church immediately prior to the second advent of Jehoshua. The 3 and a half days represent a brief time period right before the Son of God's coming, whereas the 42 months represent the whole of the new covenant Church age.
Verse 10, those who dwell on the earth will celebrate the killing of God's people because it was the two witnesses (Church) testifying against their sin that tormented them. This will include unbelieving family members and spouses who will be glad that their loved ones have been killed. Some may think that this is unthinkable but look at the social and political climate today and see and hear the hatred that the left wing liberals have for Christians and their morals. The sentiment today in America is that you better change with the times or you will be marginalized. This marginalization is economic and social right now but the time is coming when it will become violent. We have already seen violent confrontations between liberals and conservatives. In the eyes of liberals, bible believing Christians represent all that is wrong with society.
Bible believing Christians stand in the way of the Utopia the liberals desire for the world. This is because we refuse to remain silent on issues such as abortion and Homosexuality. Those that practice such sins look at Christians as a thorn in their side.
Verse 11, after the 3 and a half days i.e. the brief period of intense persecution, the breath of life from God will be breathed into the martyred saints and they will stand on their feet and ascend into heaven as verse 12 states:
"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them"
Many believe that this refers to the resurrection and rapture of the Church and indeed this is that event. This proves that the saints go to heaven after the resurrection and rapture not earth. Other passages in the book of Revelation confirm that the saints have a heavenly destination after their resurrection and translation from the earth.
We will come back to the rest of chapter 11 later but now we will go to Revelation 12 as my primary goal is to identify the antichrist, false prophet and Mystery Babylon.
Revelation Chapter 12
1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12 starts another cycle (recapitulation) of the events of bible prophecy as it takes us back to the birth of Jehoshua.
This woman in verse 1 is the nation of Israel with the 12 stars representing the 12 tribes.
Verse 2 describes the Messiah being born out of the nation of Israel, again the woman in view is the nation of Israel. The labor pains represent the very long waiting period that Israel had to endure for the arrival of their Messiah. It had been over 600 years since their had been a Davidic king on the throne.
Verse 3, this dragon is Satan symbolizing his spiritual dominion of earthly kingdoms (seven heads and 10 horns).
Verse 4, Satan drew away a third of the angels in his rebellion against God. Satan pictured as the Dragon sought to kill the Messiah as soon as he was born. This alludes to Herod who sought to kill Jehoshua upon hearing that the Messiah had been born. Also, the Dragon in this instance represents the Jewish religious leaders and the Romans who sought the life of Jehoshua and ended up killing him on the cross.
Verse 5, the woman i.e. Israel brought forth the Messiah who was the predestined Son of God who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. This Messiah had to be of the seed of David (2 Sam 7) in order to be the rightful King (Psalm 89). Jehoshua being caught up to God's throne is a reference to His ascension into heaven. The verse actually says "caught up to God, and His throne." Jehoshua sat on God's throne on His right hand and this throne is also the throne of David (Acts 2:29-36; Heb 1:8-9; Psalm 89:37). Its the throne of David, since now, a Davidic King sits on it. The throne of David was also called the throne of Jehovah God.
Verse 6, the woman "Israel" i.e the Church goes into the wilderness right after the Messiah's ascension into heaven which shows us that the 1,260 days is figurative for the new covenant Church age. There is no reason to insert a nearly 2,000 year gap as the futurists do. Some think that the woman i.e. Israel doesn't go into the wilderness until the events having to do with AD 70. I subscribe that the wilderness experience starts right after the ascension of the Messiah. Like the Israel of the old testament, the new covenant Israel sojourns and suffers and believe this began to be the case immediately once the Messiah ascended to heaven. Wilderness denotes an experience in addition to a geographical location. The new covenant Church wilderness experience is a spiritual one in nature and does not always have to be a literal location. However, because the Church is a sojourning body it will often be driven into the literal wilderness in order to hide from its persecutors.
This happened when the early Messianic's in Jerusalem went to Pella to escape the events of AD 70. Also, the Messianic's were often on the run from their own non unbelieving countrymen. Paul speaks of this showing that even before AD 70 the Church was driven into the literal wilderness. Later, Christians in the Roman empire went through this suffering severe persecution under Nero, Domitian in the 1st century. There were other persecutions during the early centuries by the Roman empire up until 312 AD.
Later, Arians, Albigenses, Waldenses, Huggenots and Anabaptists all experienced this. What this verse shows is that the woman i.e. the true Church was never the mainstream Church system i.e. Orthodoxy the Catholic Church meaning the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox and Protestantism/Evangelicalism. The true Church was in hiding from the time of Messiah's ascension and has always been a remnant in the wilderness not in so called Church buildings or ecclesiastical organizations. This remnant is marked by 3 main characteristics which we will address shortly.
Verses 7 and 8 of Revelation 12, Michael and his angels fought against Satan and his angels expelling them from heaven, as up until Messiah's ascension the devil had access to heaven to accuse the brethren. The war symbolizes the effect of Jehoshua's exaltation upon Satan and his forces. Colossians 1:16-17 and 1 Peter 3:21-22 are good verses to go to that correspond with this verse. All angels fallen and unfallen, all dominions, powers and authorities were made subject to the Son of God upon His ascension into heaven.
Verse 9, restating the effects of the war in that Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and to the earth as a result of the Son of God's ascension into heaven and enthronement as King of Israel.
Verse 10 of Revelation 12
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
A voice in heaven is heard saying that Now salvation is come and the Kingdom of God and His Messiah. The key word is "Now" and in context this has to do with the ascension of the Messiah into heaven and His enthronement. Remember, it was because of the Son of God's ascension into heaven that Satan and his angels were cast out. The voice in heaven connects the arrival of God and Messiah's Kingdom with the casting out of Satan showing us that the ascension is in view here. There is no need to push this verse 2,000 years into the future as futurists do.
Verse 11 of Revelation 12
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Believers overcome through faith in Messiah's death and resurrection, which frees them from the fear of death, enabling them to present a fearless testimony.
Verse 12 of Revelation 12
"Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
The devil roams about like a roaring lion. The earth, since the time of Jehoshua's ascension, has Satan's full attention. His doom is sure as he has only a short time before the Son of God destroys him.
Verse 13 of Revelation 13
"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child."
Right after the ascension of the Son of God, Satan starts persecuting the new covenant Church. Its important to understand this because it shows that the events of Revelation 12 started right at Jehoshua's ascension and not 2,000 years into the future. History also bears out that the persecution of the Church began right away after the Son of God ascended to heaven.
Verse 14 of Revelation 12
"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."
Right after the ascension of the Messiah into heaven, Satan starts persecuting the woman i.e. the Church. Right after Satan starts persecuting the Church, two wings of an eagle are given to the Church to fly into the wilderness. This is symbolic of the Church's wilderness experience and also it can be literal as often times believers have to go into hiding for fear of persecution. Again, this happens right after the Messiah's ascension not 2,000 years into the future. The reference to a time, times and half a time is the same time period mentioned in Revelation 11:2-3 "42 months and 1,260 days. The fact that this time period starts right after the Messiah's ascension into heaven shows it to be symbolic of the whole new covenant Church age. History shows that the Church has been in the wilderness far longer than a literal 1,260 days so this number is likely symbolic.
Understanding that this time period starts right after the Messiah's ascension into heaven is key in a proper view of eschatology. It will help us identify the antichrist, false prophet and Mystery Babylon and who the true Church has always been.
Verses 15 and 16 of Revelation 12
15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
The flood of water represents persecution. The fact that this persecution follows the woman going into the wilderness and was also said to take place once Satan was cast out of heaven again shows us that these events started taking place right after the Son of God's ascension into heaven. This hurts the futurists doctrine as they arbitrarily put many of these things far into the future. Here is the chronology
* Son of God ascends into heaven and is enthroned.
*Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven right after the Messiah's ascension into heaven.
*Satan persecutes the woman i.e the Church right after being cast out.
*the Church goes into the wilderness right after being persecuted for 1,260 days (symbolic).
* Satan sends a flood of persecution right after the woman flees into the wilderness.
Nowhere in this chronology does scripture insert a 2,000 year gap but rather these events happen one right after the other and history also proves these events started taking place right after the Messiah's ascension into heaven.
Verse 17 of Revelation chapter 12
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jehoshua Messiah."
This verse is a death blow to mainstream Orthodox Christianity as it shows that from the time of Jehoshua's ascension the Church has been a remnant and never the majority. Why is this a death blow to Orthodoxy? For one, they don't keep God's commandments as they reject the Sabbath either by saying its done away with or that Sunday replaced it. This happened in the 2nd century with what became known as the "Catholic" (universal) Church. Most if not all mainstream denominations come from the "Orthodox" family tree including the Evangelicals.
The dragon i.e. Satan was wroth with the woman (the Church) which follows the chronology of sending a flood of persecution after her. Again this is all happening right after the Messiah's ascension into heaven and continues throughout the Church age. The woman is Israel and her seed is her offspring which is believers in the Son of God who make up the new covenant Israel (Galatians 6:12-18).
The fact that the woman is Israel destroys the idea that "Orthodoxy" i.e. the Catholic Universal Church. This is devastating to the modern mainstream Church system which is a really a product of Constantine the Roman emperor and "Orthodoxy". The proof that the woman was never the "Orthodox Catholic system" is the fact that the remnant (small number) of the seed (believers in Messiah) of the woman (Israel, the Church) keep the commandments of God. This is an obvious reference to the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments are featured in connection with the judgment of the world twice in the book of Revelation showing us that one the main reasons for the Father's disapproval of the world is the breaking of His 10 commandments.
In this study we will try to determine whether the Sabbath is still binding on new covenant believers. Also, whether or not Sunday now has significance as either a new Sabbath or a special day of gathering for the saints in the new covenant. This study will be primarily focused on new testament scriptures but we will start in the old testament and go back to it from time to time.
All Christians acknowledge without controversy that the Sabbath was a sign between Jehovah and old covenant Israel and that it was the 4th commandment of the decalogue given to Moses at Mt. Sinai.
The controversy arises when we bring up whether or not the 10 commandments and the Sabbath in particular continues into the new covenant. Let's start from the beginning:
Genesis 2:1-3 (KJV)
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Jehovah God rested or "sabbathed" on the seventh day as an example to mankind and for mankind's good (Mark 2:27). Of course God Himself didn't need the rest but did this as an example to us.
Verse 3 of Genesis 2, God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, thereby setting it apart and making it holy as a creation ordinance. It is telling that many in Christendom today call the Sabbath a bondage yet Jehovah blessed it. Can you imagine calling something Jehovah blessed a bondage? That's treading on dangerous ground. God put His stamp of approval (blessed) on this day.
The establishment of the Sabbath at creation shows that its moral obligation was not limited to the law of Moses but abides as long as creation.
Its important to keep in mind that there was no Hebrew people or Israelite nation at this time so the idea of the Sabbath is not necessarily inherently connected to them. Those that disagree with the Sabbath say that there is no scripture that shows anyone keeping it before the nation of Israel. While that may be true it is merely an assumption to say that proves that no one kept it before Israel. Let's look at Genesis 26:
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Abraham is lauded as the father of the faith and was deemed righteous by faith i.e. believing in the promises of God. Yet Abraham still kept the commandments of God. "My charge, my commandments, my statutes, my laws" all four Hebrew words are used of the law of Moses, for God's moral law doesn't change. The question here is, was the Sabbath part of the commandments that Abraham kept?
This is where we will go to the new testament and cite a verse that very possibly gives us the answer.
Mark 2:27-28 (KJV)
27And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Man was created first, and then the Sabbath was instituted for him to benefit from its holy rest. Jehoshua doesn't say the Sabbath was made for Jews but rather made for man. This includes all mankind. Jehoshua was not abolishing the Sabbath, for He called it a creation ordinance, but He did oppose man-made legalism that made it a burden rather than an opportunity for spiritual delight in Jehovah (Isaiah 58:13-14).
So if the Sabbath was made for man not just Jews and it was sanctified at creation, it is reasonable to conclude that it was among the commandments that Abraham kept. Remember, that the word "Adam" is the very definition of "man or mankind". We could say that the Sabbath was made for Adam (man).
Nehemiah 9:13-14 (ASV)
13Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments,14and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them commandments, and statutes, and a law, by Moses thy servant,
On this day of fasting, the Levites praise the God of Israel beginning in verse 4 of Nehemiah 9 for His works of creation and faithfulness to Abraham and the Israelites during their red sea deliverance.
They then bring up Mt. Sinai and the giving of the law. Its noteworthy that in verse 13 of Nehemiah 9, that the Levites say that the ordinances, statutes and commandments were right and good and true. This refutes the idea that the Sabbath was a burdensome bondage or any of the 10 commandments for that matter. This is agreed to by Paul who says:
Romans 7:12 (ASV)
12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
Paul cannot be used as a tool to abolish the 10 commandments because He actually says they are holy, righteous and good. He says this in the present tense, which in his time was after the new covenant had been established.
In verse 14 of Nehemiah, we see that Jehovah made known to Moses and the Israelites His (Jehovah's) holy (set apart at creation) Sabbath. This shows us that the Sabbath was already Jehovah's prior to Mt. Sinai. It was already something that existed prior to the giving of the law at Sinai.
The Sabbath was not just a day of physical rest but also a day in which the Israelites were to gather together to worship Jehovah.
Leviticus Chapter 23:1-4 (ASV)
1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, The set feasts of Jehovah, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my set feasts.3 Six days shall work be done: but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work: it is a sabbath unto Jehovah in all your dwellings.4 These are the set feasts of Jehovah, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season.
A few things to note here is that the Sabbath is considered a feast day, a weekly one. The word feast is taken from the Hebrew word "mow'ed" (Strongs 4150) and means "festival, congregation, assembly, an appointment, a fixed time or season, place of meeting, solemnity".
When you study the feasts you see that the Israelites worshipped Jehovah God in song, reading Torah, prayer, offering sacrifices, fellowshipping and eating together. Since the Sabbath falls under the feasts then we know these same things were also done on the weekly Sabbath. The way the feasts were kept in the sense of fellowship and breaking bread together is very reminiscent of Acts 2:
46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
Back to Leviticus 23, verse 3 calls the Sabbath a holy (consecrated, dedicated) convocation.
Convocation comes from the Hebrew word "miqra" (Strongs 4744) and means "something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal: - assembly, calling, convocation, reading."
So we see that without a shadow of a doubt the Sabbath was a day where the Israelites would gather together in a public meeting which today we call "going to Church".
The same things that the old covenant Israelites did on the Sabbath is what many Christians do today in Church on Sundays such as:
Worship God in song, read the bible, eat meals together and offer sacrifices albeit spiritual ones.
In verse 4 of Leviticus we do see a distinction between the seventh day Sabbath and the other feasts as the others are proclaimed in their seasons according to the monthly/yearly calendar whereas as the weekly Sabbath was a continual cycle of rest every seventh day the counting of which began at creation.
Now lets head to the new testament and look at some passages that talk about the Sabbath as well as Sunday. I'll actually be referring back to the old testament as we look at the new testament Sabbath passages. The purpose of this will to dispel some myths that people have about the Sabbath.
Luke 4:14- 21
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about.
15And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read.17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written,18The Spirit of Jehovah is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,19To proclaim the acceptable year of Jehovah.20And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.21And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears
This passage in Luke 4 details the beginning of the gospel preaching of the Son of God and it officially began on the Sabbath day (verses 16 and 21). This event in the synagogue was a fulfillment of bible prophecy as Jehoshua quoted Isaiah 61 to let His countrymen know that He (Jehoshua) was the Savior and King of Israel that would preach the gospel of the Kingdom. This particular Sabbath was the day that the Kingdom of God had arrived as the Son of God announced the fulfillment of its arrival by His citation of Isaiah 61.
Its very significant that the Messiah's gospel of the Kingdom preaching began on the Sabbath showing us Jehovah God's high regard for the seventh day of the week. Sunday keepers never mention the significance of this and yet will take every opportunity to lift up Sunday whenever there is something in scripture that mentions it.
John 5:8-10 (ASV)
8Jesus saith unto him, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.9And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked. Now it was the sabbath on that day.10So the Jews said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed.
This was likely on the feast of trumpets (verse 1) so it could have been a yearly Sabbath or the weekly Sabbath that this healing took place on. Jehoshua healed a man who had infirmity and told him to take up his bed and walk. The man was healed and did that very thing. The Jews told the man that he was breaking the Sabbath by taking up his bed. Many use this verse to prove that Jehoshua broke the Sabbath by telling the man to do this yet this was not a violation of the Sabbath. The man merely broke the traditions of the Pharisees who had added numerous man made rules to Sabbath keeping.
Its amazing that many Christians immediately cling to the accusations of the Pharisees when it suits their doctrine. Lets now go to verses 16-20 of John 5:
16And for this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did these things on the sabbath.17But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work.18For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.19Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.20For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel.
The Jews in their zealously for their own man made traditions wanted to kill Jehoshua for breaking their version of the Sabbath. Verse 17 is one of those verses that Sunday keepers badly mangle in order to uphold their man made traditions. Jehoshua's response to the Jews was that His Father (Jehovah) had been working (since creation) until that point and He Himself had been working (likely since the beginning of His ministry).
Again, this is one of those verses that Sunday keepers rip from its context and justify the breaking of the Sabbath. They say that both the Father and Son work on the Sabbath so therefore its done away with and now we can work our secular jobs on the Sabbath and its no longer a binding commandment. This is honestly one of the most violent ripping of scripture from its context.
Of course the Father is constantly working as He is the sustainer of creation. Remember Jehovah God didn't keep the Sabbath because He needed rest but rather as an example for mankind. Also, its ridiculous to think that the kin of work God and Jehoshua were doing wasn't for the Kingdom. People act like God and His Son were working at McDonalds. Yes the Father and Son work on the Sabbath but its not the kind of work we do when we go to our secular job but rather it is work to heal, restore and execute justice and ultimately advance their Kingdom.
People ignorantly think that Jehoshua was breaking the Sabbath by healing the man at the Bethesda pool. They think this because they fail to study for themselves and learn what the heart of Sabbath keeping is. Isaiah 56-58 detail how Jehovah wants us to keep the Sabbath:
Isaiah 56:1-3 (ASV)
1Thus saith Jehovah, Keep ye justice, and do righteousness; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.2Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that holdeth it fast; that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
The heart of Sabbath keeping is to do justice and righteousness. The man who does this as part of his Sabbath keeping is blessed. Ask yourself, did Jehoshua do righteousness by healing the man at Bethesda? Absolutely, because everything Jehoshua did during His ministry was righteous and pure.
In order to refute the false accusations of Sunday keepers who side with the Pharisees in saying that Jehoshua broke the Sabbath, here is a verse destroys their ideas:
Matthew 12:12 (ASV)
12How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days
This is another passage that we will touch on later. This verse is in context of the Pharisees asking Jehoshua if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?
Jehoshua's answer in verse 12 destroys the false teaching that Jehoshua broke the Sabbath by healing the man at the Bethesda pool. Jehoshua without any confusion says it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day and healing is one of the good things that are lawful.
Many Sunday keepers even go so far as to say it is a sin to keep the Sabbath yet the Messiah said it is lawful to good on the Sabbath day. Ask yourself this, is it good to read the bible, pray, fellowship, worship in song and do works of mercy to others? If your answer is yes then these are things that can rightfully be done on the Sabbath in the eyes of Jehovah God.
1At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears and to eat.2But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath.3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him;4how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests?5Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless?6But I say unto you, that one greater than the temple is here.7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.8For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.9And he departed thence, and went into their synagogue:10and behold, a man having a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? that they might accuse him.11And he said unto them, What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?12How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day.
This is another passage that many use to do away with Sabbath keeping. Jehoshua and His disciples were going through a field on the Sabbath day and plucked ears of corn to eat. The Pharisees accused them of breaking the Sabbath however Jehovah's law permitted handpicking food from a neighbor's field but not harvesting with a sickle or container (Deuteronomy 23:24-25).
The Pharisees tried to impose their man mad traditions on Jehoshua. The Son of God referenced David and His men eating the shewbread from the holy place in the temple. According to the law the shewbread was only for the Levitical priests. Many anti-Sabbatarians fail to go back to the story regarding the time when David did this. David and his men didn't just go into the temple randomly and eat the shewbread, they actually had permission from the priest after proving they had been pure from sexual relations for a number of days. Below is the description of what took place with David eating the shewbread:
1 Samuel 21:1-6 (ASV)
1Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?2And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know anything of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed the young men to such and such a place.3Now therefore what is under thy hand? give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatsoever there is present.4And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under my hand, but there is holy bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.5And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days; when I came out, the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was but a common journey; how much more then to-day shall their vessels be holy?6So the priest gave him holy [bread]; for there was no bread there but the showbread, that was taken from before Jehovah, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
David asked the priest for the loaves or bread that were in his hand. The priest told David that the bread he had was hallowed bread (the shewbread). The priest asked David if he and his men had kept himself from women.
David responded that he and his men had been kept from women for three days thereby their vessels (bodies) were holy. Notice David's words in verse 5, he says that even though the bread was sanctified it was in a manner common. David was comparing his men being holy with the holiness of the shewbread. The inference is obvious that David was esteeming the need of his men who were holy above the holiness of the shewbread. He was stating that the need of man supersedes ceremonial law. David was stating that man was better (greater) than bread even the sanctified shewbread. This would be restated by Jehoshua in his dialogue with the Pharisees here in Matthew 12.
Even at this, David had to show the priest that he and his men had been pure from women for a number of days. What David was asking the priest to do was not a light thing. Those who read Matthew 12 without going back to 1 Samuel 21 miss out on the moral of the story of Jehoshua and His disciples plucking corn on the Sabbath day. Those who read Matthew 12 without the context of 1 Samuel 21 could mistakenly think that Jehoshua was making light of the importance of the Sabbath. Actually, the opposite is true as Jehoshua was magnifying the true heart of Sabbath keeping. The Priest gave David the holy bread that was put before Jehovah in the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.
Now back to Matthew 12, in verse 5 Jehoshua then mentions the Levitical priests in how they worked on the Sabbath day and yet were guiltless. We as kings and priests (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5-6) are also allowed to work on the Sabbath day yet only for the service of Jehovah's temple which in the new covenant is the Church. The Levitical priests did no secular work but rather work of a divine service in the earthly tabernacle and temple.
In verse 7 of Matthew 12, Jehoshua makes it clear that mercy trumps sacrifice showing that the Sabbath was intended as a day of healing and justice not stringent unreasonable legalisms.
In verse 8, Jehoshua says that He is Lord of the Sabbath. This doesn't mean that Jehoshua is the one that instituted the Sabbath as some think but rather that He has authority over the Sabbath day and how it is to be kept.
In verse 10 of Matthew 12, the Pharisees ask Jehoshua if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath day. Their intention was to trap Him in His words. In verses 11 and 12 Jehoshua gives an answer that exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as they would not hesitate to pull their sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath because it directly benefits them monetarily. Jehoshua says that man is of far more value and that to heal man on the Sabbath day is lawful. Jehoshua then concludes it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day. Never once in His dialogue with the Pharisees does Jehoshua do away with the Sabbath day.
John 5:15-21 (ASV)
15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole.16And for this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did these things on the sabbath.17But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work.18For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.19Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.20For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel.21For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will.
This is the same man that was healed at the Bethesda pool. In verse 16, the Jews persecuted Jehoshua because He did this healing on the Sabbath day. Verse 17 is one of those verses that anti-Sabbatarians use to disregard Sabbath keeping. Jehoshua stated that His Father works as does He (Jehoshua) on the Sabbath day. This is actually one of the silliest attempts by anti-Sabbatarians to dismiss the continuing validity of the Sabbath.
Clearly Jehoshua is not talking about secular work, the work that the Father and Him do is not going to McDonalds or 7 Eleven for a swing shift or working at a law firm. The work that the Father and Son do is described by the Son in the verses following verse 17.
In verse 19, Jehoshua states that whatever He does has been shown to Him by the Father. In verse 20 Jehoshua says that they will see even greater works than what just happened at the Bethesda pool and these works will be from the Father doing them through the Son of God.
One of these greater works is mentioned in verse 21 and that is the raising of the dead. Jehoshua raised Lazarus and others from the dead and ultimately will raise all humans from the dead at the last day. So this is the type of work done by the Father and Son on the Sabbath day not secular work.
In verse 18 of John chapter 5, the Jews sought to kill Jehoshua for breaking the Sabbath and calling God His Father. Many use this verse as a proof against the Sabbath because they say that John even stated Jehoshua broke the Sabbath. John is simply stating the perspective of the Jews not agreeing with them. Remember, in Matthew 12:12 Jehoshua said it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath day, so He Himself said He did not break it by healing the man with the withered hand. Also the accusation of Jehoshua making Himself eqaul with God was a false accusation as Phillipians 2:5-11 attests as well as His own words in John 14:28:
"Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I."
The Sonship of Jehoshua is the foundation of the new testament Church. Once we leave this pillar of truth behind then we as a Church have our foundation built on quicksand. Most Churches today almost ignore the Sonship of Jehoshua or minimize it to a great degree.
They have substituted the Sonship of Jehoshua for Him being God Almighty. The results of this have been devastating to mainstream Christianity as they have all but lost their witness due to themselves being confused on the very basics and foundation of the doctrine of Messiah. In this study we will show that the Sonship of Jehoshua is an essential truth that absolutely cannot be minimized in any way shape or form.
Those that do so have the spirit of anti-Messiah. This will be shown from scripture as it not just a ransom accusation. Jehoshua said that there was only one Church that would prevail over the gates of hell and that was the Church that was built on the rock that Jehoshua is the Messiah and the Son of the living God. Its no wonder that the trinitarian denominations are in major apostasy and in league with the ecumenical movement led by the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.
In this study we will see how exactly Jehoshua is the Son of God as there are many theories on how Jehoshua is the Son of God and when He became the Son of God. The truth of what makes Jehoshua the Son of God is actually very simple once we interpret the "begotten" passages within their context.
Within Christendom, there are various theories on the Sonship of Jehoshua, here is a list of the prominent ones.
Creedal (historic, RCC, EO, traditional Protestant) Trinitarianism = eternal generation Sonship. Jehoshua is eternally begotten from the Father and shares eternally in His substance and has always existed.
Modern Evangelical Trinitarianism, Incarnational Sonship = Jehoshua was the Word i.e. God (second person of the trinity but not the Son) before His incarnation and then agreed to play the role as Son to God the Father by being incarnated into Mary's womb.
Arian/Semi Arian (Jehovah Witnesses/SDA Historic/Yahweh Restoration Ministries), begotten at a certain point in eternity Sonship = Arians claim Jehoshua was begotten out of nothing whereas Semi Arians claim He was begotten out of the Father's substance before the world began.
Biblical Unitarian, incarnational Sonship = unlike Modern Evangelicals, biblical unitarians deny the Son's preexistence therefore Jehoshua had his beginning in the womb of Mary.
Adoptionists, begotten Sonship at baptism and/or resurrection = adoptionists deny the virgin birth and therefore incarnational Sonship. They believe that Jehoshua was either begotten at His baptism or resurrection or both. Its noteworthy that the earliest Christians (Ebionites) had this view.
Tri theists/Binitarian, SDA GC, Armstrong Churches of God and its offshoots = they generally believe in incarnational Sonship but some will say that the Father and Jesus had a Father-Son relationship going back to eternity but deny Jehoshua was begotten before He came into this world.
These are the general veiws and of course there are variations of them but i just wanted to give a brief synopsis of the various Sonship beliefs.
In this study we will see how exactly Jehoshua is the Son of God especially when He was begotten as God's Son as that ultimately determines the nature of His Sonship.
Before we start, its important to understand that as a whole the nation of Israel was adopted as sons and daughters of God (Exodus 4:22), so any Israelite could rightfully claim to be a son or daughter of God. So in this sense, Jehoshua was God's son by just being an Israelite. However, Jehoshua's claim of Sonship obviously supersedes the general concept of Israel as a nation being the adopted sons of God. We can see this in His heated exchanges with the Jewish religious leaders.
Lets begin this journey and determine exactly how Jehoshua is the Son of God and when He was begotten as God's Son. The truth is actually rather easy if we use the begotten passages in context and also avoid speculation based on unclear verses.
1 Peter 1:18-21 (ASV)
18knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers;19but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, [even the blood] of Christ:20who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake,21who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.
Jehoshua was foreknown and predestined before the foundation of the world to be the Messiah of Jehovah and Son of Jehovah. This is important to understand as we go through some of the texts in Jehoshua's early life before He was baptized.
Isaiah 53:1-2 (ASV)
1Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed?2For he grew 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 see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Even though Jehoshua wouldn't start His ministry until 30 years of age, its clear that Jehovah God was watching over Him from His birth. Jehovah would watch Jehoshua grow up from a infant (tender plant, root) until the time came when He was to be anointed for the work of the ministry.
Like the apostle Paul and the prophets of old, Jehoshua was separated (set apart) for the work of the ministry from His mothers womb (Jeremiah 1:1-5; Galatians 1:15). Jehovah God had his hand over Jehoshua from the beginning of His life in the womb of Mary all the way to the end of it and of course beyond as they now sit together in the heavenly places (Hebrews 8:1-2).
Let's go to one of the foundational verses in scripture that prophesies of the Sonship of the Messiah:
2 Samuel 7:12-16 (ASV)
12When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.13He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.14I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;15but my lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.16And thy house and thy kingdom shall be made sure for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
This is Nathan the prophet speaking on behalf of Jehovah to king David. In verse 14, Jehovah tells David that his seed (sperm) that proceeds out of his bowels (male sexual organs) will be a son to him and He (Jehovah) will be His Father. So here in 2 Samuel chapter 7, the Sonship of the future Messiah is connected to being the seed of David. "I will be his father, and he shall be my son" this denotes a legal relationship applicable to every Davidic king but uniquely descriptive of Jehoshua as the ultimate fulfillment of this promise made to David by Jehovah God. Jehoshua was the firstborn, by way of resurrection, Son of God and the appointed Son of man.
While there were other righteous Davidic kings, every single of them died and did not fulfill the promise that one of David's seed (offspring) would establish the throne and Kingdom of Israel forever. Jehoshua died but then was resurrected to eternal life and was enthroned on the throne of David in heaven the new Jerusalem (Hebrews 1:8-9).
The above passage is important to remember as we proceed in this study especially when we get to the heated dialogues between Jehoshua and the pharisees and saducees.
Let's go to the first verse that clearly uses begotten language in relation to the Messiah.
Psalm 2:5-8 (ASV)
5Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, And vex them in his sore displeasure:6Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion.7I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee.
8Ask of me, and I will give [thee] the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
"Begotten" not literal birth but technical language of adoption, used especially for enthronement of a king (Psalm 89:26-28; 2 Samuel 7:14). Ultimately it refers to the Messiah's resurrection and ascension when He was enthroned/inaugurated as Priest-King in heaven (Hebrews 1:5, 8-9; Hebrews 5:5).
It also refers to the baptism of Jehoshua as Psalm 2:7 was the original quotation in the Luke and Matthew baptism accounts according to older manuscripts. It was at Jehoshua's baptism that He was anointed as the King of Israel. Nathanael confesses Jehoshua's Kingship just two days after His baptism (John 1:49).
The word begotten is rendered from the Hebrew word "yalad" which has the literal meaning of birth and conception but also has the figurative meaning "to declare pedigrees". This is exactly what took place in Psalm 2:7, Jehovah is declaring the pedigree of Jehoshua as His Son and King.
"I will declare the decree" this is the Messiah stating what Jehovah said to Him at His anointing (baptism) and enthronement (ascension). Jehovah is declaring a statute that Jehoshua is His Son and on this day (anointing/enthronement) He is begetting i.e. declaring the pedigree of Jehoshua as His anointed King and adopted covenant Son.
While many use Psalm 2:7 to promote the virgin birth doctrine or some type of begetting in eternity, the context of Psalm 2 refutes this explicitly. The first few verses are about the persecution of Jehovah's anointed by the rulers of the earth. This Psalm was composes by David and likely written towards end of his life when his son Solomon was enthroned as king. In ancient times, change of rulers meant special danger of revolts among the subject nations. This Psalm can apply to any of the Davidic kings but ultimately it is fulfilled in Jehoshua Messiah.
The apostles applied the first 3 verses to the persecution of Jehoshua by Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel.
Verses 4 and 5 speak of Jehovah God's mocking of the rulers of the earth for thinking they have defeated His anointed one. This must have been especially true when Jehoshua was dead in the grave. However verse 6 shows the ultimate victory of Jehovah God as He has set His Messiah on the throne as King upon Mount Zion which is Jehovah's holy hill.
Chronologically speaking, this obviously took place at the Messiah's ascension into heaven and His being set at the right hand of God enthroned as King (Heb 1:8-9). This enthronement took place in the heavenly Zion, which is the city of the living God (Heb 12:22-23).
Again, Psalm 2 starts the narrative during the adult life of Jehovah's anointed one not in eternity or during the time when the anointed one is in His mothers womb. The progression of Psalm 2 then goes from the anointed one's persecution to His installment as the King of Israel.
This is what leads to verse 7 and the phrase "I will tell the decree: Jehovah hath said unto me, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee"
It is a declaration of the Messiah's pedigree (yalad, begotten) as Jehovah's Son and King. This understanding perfectly fits the context as this declaration by Jehovah God comes right after He has set His King on mount Zion.
The verses after this declaration show also that this begetting has nothing to do with literal birth but rather being enthroned and receiving a Kingdom. The last verses speak to the second advent of Jehoshua as He destroys all nations with a rod of iron.
I believe i have shown from the context of Psalm 2 that the begetting described has nothing to do with a literal begetting whether the virgin birth or an eternal begetting. Lets now look at Proverbs 8:22-31 as this is a passage often used for those who teach a eternal begetting for Jehoshua. This passage is used by both classic trinitarians and arian/semi Arians.
Proverbs 8:22-31 (ASV)
22Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. 23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was.24When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water.25Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills was I brought forth;26While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world.27When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep,28When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong,29When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth;30Then I was by him, [as] a master workman; And I was daily [his] delight, Rejoicing always before him,31Rejoicing in his habitable earth; And my delight was with the sons of men.
The above passage was attributed to the preexistent Son of God by the early Church fathers and by many today in Christendom. This is one of the strongest texts for the preexistence of the Messiah and also that He was begotten before the world began.
If it can be proved that the Messiah was preexistent then this verse would prove indeed that He was begotten before the world began. Many modern Evangelical trinitarians deny this passage is about the Messiah as they know that it implies that at some point before creation Jehoshua was begotten from God's substance. Classic trinitarians have no problem with this verse as they use it to prove eternal generation.
Unitarians and adoptionists say this verse is poetic and is not about a literal being who was begotten by Jehovah before the world began. If we can find a new testament verse that reinforces Proverbs 8:22-31 is about the preexistent Son being begotten then we have just identified how and when Jehoshua became the Son of God. Lets first look at Colossians 1:15 which seems to be the same thing mentioned in Proverbs 8.
Colossians 1:15-17 (ASV)
15who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;16for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him;17and he is before all things, and in him all things consist.
On the face of it this passage seems to reaffirm Proverbs 8:22-31, however a deeper look into this verse may not do so.
Jehoshua is the image of the invisible God. This is a post resurrection statement regarding the glorified Messiah who is now the express image of God being of His very substance. I believe this was to a great degree true during His earthly ministry as Jehoshua Himself said that if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Not too mention that the Father literally dwelt in Him from the time He was baptized. Image also has to do with characteristics not just visual. From a characteristic standpoint Jehoshua was fully the image of God during His earthly ministry. From a visual standpoint, Jehoshua being the image of God applies to His glorified state post resurrection and ascension.
Of course if Jehoshua was preexistent then this statement also applies to His pre-incarnate state. Lets go to the second part of verse 15:
"the firstborn of all creation"
On the face of it this looks like its the same thing as what Proverbs 8:22-31 is telling us. However a closer look gives us the true meaning. If it wasn't for the usages of firstborn in the old testament for the nation of Israel and king David, then those who support Jehoshua being begotten before the world began would be just in using this passage to prove their doctrine.
Those trinitarians who don't believe in eternal generation deny that the term "firstborn" is about a literal begetting of the Son of God before the world began. So they would be in agreement with unitarians and adoptionists in that "firstborn" in this context is not about literal birth but rather to the divine privileges and rights of the firstborn son, like the Davidic reference in Psalm 89:27. Firstborn denotes preeminence or the Son of inheritance.
Psalm 89:27 (ASV)
27 I also will make him my first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.
This is coronation language much like Psalm 2:7. Notice Jehovah making David (and His kingly seed) His firstborn is connected with anointing and/or enthroning them as king of Israel thereby making them higher than all other kings on the earth. This was ultimately fulfilled in Jehoshua who became not only higher than all kings on the earth but also higher than all thrones, prinicipalities and powers in heaven excepting God the Father of course.
Remember the context of Colossians 1:15 has to do with the resurrection as verse 18 proves this:
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Verse 18 identifies exactly how Jehoshua is the firstborn Son. It is His being the firstborn from the dead that gives Him the title of "firstborn". Paul connects Jehoshua's resurrection with the reason He (Jehoshua) has preeminence i.e firstborn over all creation. Firstborn designates inheritance. Jehoshua is the firstborn by way of being the first human being resurrected to eternal life thereby inheriting what was promised to Him.
"Firstborn of all creation"
Some say that this is a separate idea from what Paul is talking about in verse 18 and that its speaking of Jehoshua being begotten before the world began and being the agent by whom all things were created. Let's look at another verse that connects Jehoshua's resurrection with Him being the firstborn.
Revelation 1:5-6 (KJB)
5and from Jehoshua Messiah, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood;6and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Jehoshua here is called the firstborn in relation to His resurrection and Him being the ruler of the kings of the earth. This is a direct reference to Psalm 89:27 and it is the resurrection in view not some eternal begetting before the world began. Also noteworthy is that it is Jehoshua's death and resurrection that made the church a Kingdom of priests. This shows that Jehoshua's resurrection and ascension began a new order of things. This is important to grasp as we go back to Colossians 1:15-16. As stated before, many connect Jehoshua being the firstborn of all creation with His being begotten before the world began and being the agent of creation. The trinitarians who deny eternal begetting just say that "firstborn" here means He is the chief ruler of creation of course still posit that He is the agent of creation.
Verse 16 is also key in understanding the context of verse 15:
"for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him"
On the surface this does indeed read like Jehoshua created all things but when compared with other verses we can glean another meaning from this verse. As mentioned Revelation 1:5-6 connected Jehoshua being the firstborn from the dead with His followers being made a Kingdom of priests. This shows that there was a beginning of a new Kingdom at Jehoshua's ascension into heaven. Again, the resurrection and ascension are the events that brought this Kingdom into being. We can understand this as related to the visible thrones and dominions, powers and principalities on earth created in Jehoshua and through and unto Him. We as believers are kings and priests and reign with the Messiah (1 Peter 2:9). We sit on spiritual thrones here on earth as our Lord sits on the throne of David in heaven (Acts 2:29-36).
Ephesians 2:4-6 (ASV)
4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved),6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:
As Jehoshua was resurrected to sit in the heavenly places (most holy place) we also are spiritually resurrected to sit with Him in the holy of holies. He sits on the throne of David as King of Israel i.e. the Church thereby we sit with Him as anointed kings and priests.
Hebrews chapter 1 is another revealing passage connecting Jehoshua's resurrection with Him being the firstbegotten (firstborn). Let's look at Hebrews 1:
5For 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?6And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.7And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, And his ministers a flame a fire:8but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; And the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
The begetting of the Son in verse 5 is directly tied to His baptism and also His resurrection. Jehoshua is the called the firstborn in verse 6 and again it is connected with the events subsequent to the resurrection. The phrase "world" here in verse 6 is not speaking of this literal earth but rather heaven. The context is clear that this has nothing to do with the birth of Jehoshua but rather His exaltation. Also, the angels of God did not worship Jehoshua when He was born or even after but they did indeed worship Him after His ascension into heaven as Revelation 5 clearly shows:
11And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;12saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing.13And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, [be] the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever.14And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshipped.
The multitude of angels give worship to the resurrected Lamb of God in the heavenly sanctuary. Notice what they say in verse 12 in that because of His victory over death He now will receive riches, honor, wisdom, glory, might, blessing and power. This is spoken as if its the first time Jehoshua is receiving these things.
Back to Hebrews 1, verses 8 and 9 show us the coronation of Jehoshua and Him being given the throne of David and a Kingdom in which He will rule with a sceptre of righteousness. This is the glory, power, riches and honor spoken about in Revelation 5. Again, this undoubtedly shows that the title "firstborn" when used of Jehoshua has to do with His resurrection from the dead which led to His ascension into heaven and exaltation as King higher than the rulers of the earth.
Back to Colossians 1:16
"for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him"
The thrones, principalities, powers and dominions in heaven (visible and invisible) were created in Jehoshua in the sense of being appointed the heir of all things. Hebrews 1 verse 2 goes perfectly with this concept:
"hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds"
The phrase "worlds" should be rendered as "ages" as aion (ages) is the Greek word that was rendered as worlds. The ages were designed in Jehoshua, meaning with Him in intention because He was appointer the heir of all things before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-21).
Peter the apostle states that upon Jehoshua's ascension into heaven the angels were made subject unto Him:
1 Peter 3:21-22 (KJV)
21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
"Angels, authorities and powers" were made subject unto Jehoshua upon His ascension into heaven. It coincided with the Son of God sitting on the throne of David on the right hand of God. In Colossians 1:16 it also speaks of authorities and powers being created in Jehoshua and through Jehoshua and unto Jehoshua. It never says that Jehoshua literally created the angels, authorities and powers before the world began but rather they were created in Him and unto Him by way of Jehoshua's resurrection from the dead which gave Him the preeminence. Remember, Peter stated that it was by way of Jehoshua's resurrection and ascension that these angels, authorities and powers were made subject unto Him.
Paul in Colossians 1:16 is not speaking of a Genesis creation but rather the new creation brought about by the resurrection of the firstborn Son from the dead. The things mentioned in Colossians 1:16 as being created in Jehoshua are not the earth, sky, sun and moon but rather thrones and dominions. These thrones and dominions are created in Jehoshua as the Father predestined His Son to be the ruler and head of these thrones and dominions. They are also created through and unto Him by way of the Messiah's resurrection and ascension being made subject (created through and unto) unto Him ad He sat down on the right hand of God being exalted.
Hebrews 1 shows us the enthronement of the Messiah as King of Israel (the Church) sitting down on the right hand of God and Peter says this is when the angels, authorities and powers were made subject unto Him.
Verses 30 and 31 of Acts chapter 2:
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
In part 2 we discussed verse 30 and how David was promised by Jehovah God that a descendant of His would be established as the eternal King of Israel sitting on the throne of David. In verse 31, Peter connects the resurrection and ascension of Jehoshua as the fulfillment of this prophecy. Peter says that David being a prophet spake of the resurrection of the Messiah as being the fulfillment of Jehovah's oath to him (David).
The oath made to David was that of the fruit of his loins (male sexual organs) would one be raised up to sit on his (David's) throne. Peter explicitly says that David spake of the resurrection of Jehoshua as the very fulfillment of this promise by God. We see further evidence that indeed the resurrection and ascension of Jehoshua Messiah was when Jehoshua was raised up to sit on David's throne in the book of Hebrews chapter 1:
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.
Hebrews chapter 1 is an exaltation passage about the Messiah's ascension into heaven and His superiority over angels. Verse 3 clearly shows that the coronation scene of the Messiah in verses 8 and 9 of Hebrews is in heaven. Verse 3 says that after the Messiah purged our sins that He sat down on the right hand of God. We know that the throne of Jehovah is in heaven not earth and that following the death and resurrection of Jehoshua He ascended into the heavenly places (sanctuary) (Hebrews 8:1-2).
Also, another key scripture in Hebrews 1 that proves that the resurrection and ascension of Jehoshua was the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant is verse 5 which reads:
"Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee"
Verse 5 of Hebrews 1 was quoted from Psalm 2:7, which in context is the coronation and enthronement of Jehovah's Messiah into Kingship. In other words, the begetting of Psalm 2 is not about literal birth but installment into office of King. The Psalm applies first to David and then all the Davidic kings culminating in Jehoshua.
Three verses later, we have the actual enthronement of Jehoshua as King of Israel by Jehovah God. In verse 8 of Hebrews 1, Jehovah tells His Son that His (the Son's) throne is for ever meaning that the Son at this point is receiving a throne and this particular throne will be His eternal throne. So this means that the throne that Jehoshua sat on upon His ascension into heaven will always be His throne. Peter says that the throne Messiah sat on upon His ascension into heaven was the very throne that David was told His seed would be raised up to sit on.
Infact, David's seed was only promised one throne not two. He was not promised an intermediate throne, so this throne could only be the Davidic throne that every Davidic king ruled from. Righteousness will characterize His Kingship as the Father tells the Son:
"a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy Kingdom"
So we know from this statement that the Son of God has been given a Kingdom by the Father. This is a present tense statement that took place at Messiah's ascension into heaven. This Kingdom is not future but present tense as Paul the apostle says in Colossians 1:12-14. Hebrews 1:8-9 is quoted from Psalm 45:5-6 which is an Israelite coronation Psalm showing us that Jehoshua is being coronated as the King of Israel upon His ascension. There is absolutely no reason to put this event over 2,000 years into the future.
Both Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 45:5-6 are quoted in Hebrews chapter 1 and they are both coronation Psalms about an Israelite King. This leads us to rightly conclude that Jehoshua is being coronated as an Israelite King in Hebrews chapter 1. Hebrews chapter 1 is about the exaltation of Jehoshua upon His ascension into heaven, so we also can rightly conclude that Jehoshua became the King of Israel at this very moment i.e. His ascension into heaven followed by sitting at the right hand of God.
If Jehoshua was coronated as King of Israel upon His ascension then we can also rightly conclude that the throne He is sitting on is the throne of David as that was the only throne that the Davidic kings sat on and Peter confirms this in Acts 2:30-31.
In verse 31, Peter quotes Psalm 16:
" For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption"
The first part of this verse applies to David as well as Jehoshua as it states David's confidence in the resurrection from the dead on the last day for the saints. Jehoshua of course was resurrected on the third day from His death. The second part of the verse can only apply to Jehoshua as David's body did see decay (corruption) in the grave as he has not ascended to heaven according to Peter and is still in his grave (Acts 2:29; 34).
This psalm is Messianic as David wrote it as a prophet speaking of the King Jehoshua Messiah knowing that God would raise Him (Jehoshua) from the dead. The scriptures revealed the resurrection of Messiah centuries before He was born.
Verse 32 of Acts 2:
"This Jehoshua hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."
God who is the Father raised up Jehoshua, He didn't raise Himself up. Paul also confirmed that Jehoshua was raised up by the Father's glory in Romans 6:
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Nowhere in scripture does it say that a trinity raised up Jehoshua. God the Father by the Spirit of holiness raised up His Son (Romans 1:4).
Verse 33 of Acts 2:
"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
Upon Messiah's ascension into heaven He was exalted to the right hand of God the Father in the holy of holies in heaven. Hebrews 8 makes it clear where Jehoshua went upon His ascension into heaven:
1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Jehoshua sits on the very throne of Jehovah God in the heavens. Seventh Day Adventists say that this is in the holy place not the most holy place where the ark of the covenant is. However, scripture clearly teaches that the throne of Jehovah God is in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary which was also true in it's earthly counterpart as the presence of Jehovah God would rest between the cherubim above the mercy seat.
Exodus 25:17-22 (ASV)
17And thou shalt make a mercy-seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.18And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shalt thou make them, at the two ends of the mercy-seat.19And make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end: of one piece with the mercy-seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof.20And the cherubim shall spread out their wings on high, covering the mercy-seat with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the mercy-seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.21And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.22And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel It was between the cherubim above the mercyseat where Jehovah would meet and commune with Moses. The mercyseat is the lid of the ark of the covenant which is located in the second compartment of the tabernacle and/or temple.
Hebrews 10:19 and 20 indicate that at Messiah's ascension He went into the most holy place not just the holy place:
19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
The use of the word "holiest" in verse 19 is a clear reference to the most holy place which by default also includes the holy place (1st apartment). The new living translation reads verse 19 like this:
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus."
The NLT and NIV render "holiest" as "most holy place" very appropriately. The Berean bible version also says appropriatley "holy places".
The phrase "thru the veil" is a reference to the curtain that separates the holy from the most holy place. Thereby, because of what Messiah did at the cross and then His subsequent ascension He gives us access to the holiest by metaphorically tearing apart the dividing veil. Thereis no doubt that the overriding theme of the ascension of the Messiah into heaven is that He fulfilled the day of atonement giving us full access to the most holy place.
Back to verse 33 of Acts 2, the Holy Spirit that was poured out on the day of Pentecost was sent directly by Jehoshua having received the fullness of it at His ascension. Jehoshua had earlier told the disciples that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to them in a powerful way.
Verses 34 and 35 of Acts 2:
34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Peter reiterates that David has not ascended to heaven proving the doctrine of soul sleep to be accurate as it makes no sense for Peter to say this if David was somehow in heaven as a disembodied soul. Peter then quotes the Messianic Psalm from chapter 110 which prophesied of the Son of God's exaltation to the most holy place at Jehovah's right hand.
Jehoshua is not a standing High Priest like the Levites which stood daily offering sacrifices in the holy place (1st apartment of the sanctuary) but rather He is primarily a sitting High Priest who reigns on Jehovah's throne in the holy of holies. Jehovah God told His Son to sit at His right hand until the time comes to destroy His (Jehoshua's) enemies. We know this time to be the second advent.
The Psalm 110 quotation was a prophesy of the Son of God's ascension into heaven and His enthronement as King of Israel on the right hand of God. We know this a coronation of an Israelite King prophecy as Hebrews 1:8-9 describes the culmination of Jehoshua's ascension with being enthroned and installed as King. Two coronation Psalms are quoted within Hebrews 1, which is also a passage about the Messiah's ascension into heaven, showing us that what took place in Hebrews 1 was indeed the coronation of Jehoshua as the King of Israel (the Church).
Jehoshua will reign from the throne until His enemies are made His footstol and then He will come down to earth to vanquish them, smashing them to pieces like a potters vessel.
Zechariah 6 also prophesied of the Son of God's unique dual office of King and High Priest:
12and speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying, Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: and he shall grow up out of his place; and he shall build the temple of Jehovah;13even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Jehoshua is the man who is called the Branch which is a reference to His Davidic lineage. The building of the Temple of Jehovah is Jehoshua the Son of God building His Church which is the new Temple as stated in scripture. Also, Jehoshua said that He would build His Church i.e. Temple (Matthew 16:13-20). Jehoshua is the builder of Jehovah's new covenant Temple which is the Church built on the foundation of the Sonship and Messiahship of Jehoshua.
Verse 36 of Acts 2:
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Both of these titles "Lord and Messiah" were used of Jehoshua during His life on earth. He was called "Messiah and Lord" the day He was born (Luke 2:11). He was predestined to be "Lord and Messiah" before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-21). He was propesied as such all throughout the old testament.
It was however at His baptism in which Jehoshua was anointed i.e. made Messiah as the meaning of Messiah means to rub with oil. Jehoshua received the Holy Spirit at His baptism and oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. At His baptism, He was also anointed with the Spirit of Jehovah to be the King of Israel just like David was (1 Samuel 16:13).
It was after His baptism in which Jehoshua was identified as the Son of God and King (Lord) of Israel (John 1:49). Both designations are Messianic titles. Peter confessed the Sonship and Messiahship of Jehoshua which was acknowledged as the foundation of the Church that Jehoshua would build.
The making of Jehoshua to be Messiah and Lord (King) by God wasn't neccessarily at one precise moment but rather predestined before time began then made manifest by anointing at His baptism and then ultimately culminating in His resurrection and ascension into glory.
After Jehoshua finished His work on the cross the Father manifested the glory of the resurrected Son in a far greater way than had been seen during His earthly ministry. Phillipians 2:5-11 captures this beautifully:
5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jehoshua being in the form of God alludes to His having the Father dwell in Him literally during His earthly ministry. Jehoshua was given all things into his hand by the Father (John 3:35) and possessed a functional eqaulity with Him, yet He (Jehoshua) humbled Himself.
Jehoshua made Himself of no reputation as He took on the form of a servant which alludes to His earthly ministry as He stated that He came to serve not to be served. This has nothing to do with changing from one substance (divine) to another (human) but rather the servant nature of His ministry.
This was how he was made in the likeness of men in that He did not seek the exaltation and glory of a King while on earth. Jehoshua was a suffering servant during His life not a conquering exalted King that lived luxuriously. Jehoshua had God dwelling in Him and was the chosen King of Israel yet denied His right to rule while He was on earth and instead loved His enemies and blessed those who cursed Him.
While Jehoshua allowed Himself to be worshipped as the Son of God and King of Israel while on earth, He continually gave of Himself and forsook any of the earthly privileges fit for a King so that He could ransom Himself for us by dying on the cross.
Jehoshua denied His own will and did the will of the Father, going to the cross and emptying Himself. It was prophesied that the Messiah would be a suffering servant during His life. In fact, servant is one of the designations used of Jehovah's future Messianic King.
Isaiah 53 prophesies of this very thing:
10Yet it pleased Jehovah 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 Jehovah shall prosper in his hand.11He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities.12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The heroes of old considered themselves as strangers and pilgrims on this earth. The patriarchs could not recieve the inheritance apart from the rest of God's people (verse 40 of Hebrews 11).
"They seek a better country" not a homeland that could be traveled to in this life because if it was, they might have had oppurtunity to have returned. All believers are to seek the heavenly homeland of New Jerusalem as we, like the patriarchs of old, are just pilgrims and strangers here in this earth including earthly Jerusalem.
Even the heroes of old didn't place their home and hope in earthly Jerusalem but rather were desiring the heavenly Jerusalem that was to come.
Those who consider themselves strangers and pilgrims on this earth, including earthly Jerusalem, plainly declare that they seek a heavenly country which they believe is a better country than anything that's on this earth. It's very telling that even the ancient saints of God knew that earthly Jerusalem was not their eternal destination or their hope. They had their hope on heavenly things and the city of the living God New Jerusalem.
Because the saints of Jehovah declare that they are strangers on this earth, which includes earthly Jerusalem, God is not ashamed to be called their God. The saints that have the heavenly hope have no desire to return to their earthly homelands. This includes the Israelites of today who are in Messiah as they don't seek to return to earthly Jerusalem but seek the free Jerusalem, the mother of us all:
Galatians 4:26 (KJV)
26But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Jehovah God has prepared a city for the saints which is the heavenly Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven:
1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV,)
9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him
As much as scripture talks about the heavenly Zion, we cannot possibly fathom how glorious this city will be. Those that love God will get to enter into the gates of New Jerusalem. Loving God is equated with keeping His commandments:
Revelation 22:14 (KJV)
14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
God has prepared New Jerusalem for those who keep His commandments which are those who love Him.
Ezekiel 48:35 (ASV)
35It shall be eighteen thousand [reeds] round about: and the name of the city from that day shall be, Jehovah is there.
In Ezekiel 48 verses 31-35, the city of Jehovah is described and the name of the city is "Jehovah Shammah" meaning Jehovah is there. Not only will the city be beautifully prepared for us but the Father Himself will dwell there with us and spread His tabernacle (presence) over us.
Revelation 21:2-3 (ASV)
2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.3And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
The city of New Jerusalem is prepared (made ready) as a bride adorned for her husband. New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of Jehovah God and He will dwell with men. John says God Himself will be the redeemed saints. This is why New Jerusalem is called "Jehovah Shammah" because Jehovah Himself will be with His people in the city.
John 14:1-4 (KJV)
1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Jehoshua spoke about the city of God to His apostles and guaranteed to them that there are many mansions in the Father's tabernacle of New Jerusalem. He said this to encourage them and give them hope. Jehoshua never promised earthly Jerusalem as the inheritance or hope of His apostles but rather gave them the heavenly hope of New Jerusalem. Jehoshua told them that He was going to heaven, by way of resurrection and ascension, to prepare a mansion for them.
Let's go to Acts 15 and show that the new covenant does not include keeping the law of Moses:
Acts 15:1 (KJV)
1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Paul and Barnabas firmly disagreed with the brethren who tried to impose the law of Moses on the Church (Antioch). Specifically circumcision was the controversy. The disputation was great verse 2 says. The church determined that Paul and Barnabas should go up to Jerusalem and get counsel from the apostles concerning this matter (verse 2).
Verse 5 of Acts 15:
"But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Not only was circumcision alone the point of the controversy but also the law of Moses as a whole. Circumcision related to a required ceremony in the covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 17:9-10) and the law of Moses encompasses the ancient ceremonies that God required in His covenant with the nation of Israel (as in the book of Leviticus).
Verse 7 of Acts 15:
"And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."
This one verse destroys the notion that the gospel of the Kingdom includes the keeping of the law of Moses as Peter says point blank that He preached the word of the gospel to the Gentiles and verses 8-10 show that the Gentiles believed and received the Holy Ghost. Chapter 10 of Acts details Peter's encounter with Cornelius. Did Peter's preaching to the Gentiles include a call to keep the law of Moses? Let's let Peter speak for Himself:
Acts 15:8-10 (KJV)
8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Jehovah God is no respecter of persons and blesses those who by faith believe regardless if they are a Jew or Gentile. The Father purified the hearts of the Gentile believers by faith in the Son of God circumcising their hearts (Romans 2:29).
"By faith" trust in Messiah, not the old ceremonial law, is Jehovah's means for cleansing the soul (Acts 26:18).
In verse 10, Peter says the words that condemns every Hebrew roots person who is teaching the necessity of keeping the law of Moses:
"Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"
Do we really want to believe that when Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles that he included the law of Moses as part of it? Go back to Acts 10 and there is no mention of Peter telling Cornelius and his household to keep the law of Moses.
Also, here Peter refers to the law of Moses as a yoke, so obviously he didn't include something that is a "yoke" as part of his gospel preaching to the Gentiles. That would make Peter double minded and a hypocrite, on one hand preach the keeping of the law of Moses to the Gentiles and on the other to call it a yoke.
Peter says that you are actually tempting Jehovah God when you tell people they must keep the law of Moses. That is dangerous ground to be on. Even the Israelites of old couldn't bear the yoke of the Mosaic law yet somehow Gentiles think they can.
Verse 11 of Acts 15,
"But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jehoshua Messiah we shall be saved, even as they."
Salvation is a free gift and powerful work of God through the death and resurrection of the now glorified Jehoshua Messiah. This is how every single new testament saint is saved. Even the old testament saints were saved by faith in the Jehovah's future Messianic King and salvation program.
Peter concluded from God's manner of saving the Gentiles that Jews must be saved the same way.
We heard from Peter one of the 12 apostles, now let's hear from Jehoshua's brother James who headed up the Jerusalem Church:
Acts 15:13-19 (KJV)
13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
The above is one of the most powerful passages in relation to the new covenant and what constitutes Jehovah's new covenant Israel. Let's look at the above verses.
Verse 13, James tells those present at the council to listen to what he is about to say.
Verse 14, James attributes Peter's gospel preaching to the Gentiles as fulfillment of prophecy. Jehovah's purpose in sending Peter to the Gentiles was to graft a remnant of them into the Commonwealth of Israel. These Gentiles would then be sealed with the Father's name on their forehead (Revelation 14:1). They would become Jehovah God's purchased possession.
Verses 15-17, James quotes Amos 9:11-12 and attributes this to the gospel going out to the Gentiles in the new covenant. The returning of Jehovah God was Him bringing the long awaited Davidic Messiah into the world and then anointing Him as King with the Spirit at His baptism. By the time of Jehoshua's first advent into the world, the Davidic dynasty was in ruins i.e. fallen down.
Jehovah God rebuilt the tabernacle (Kingdom, throne) of David by anointing Jehoshua as the King of Israel at His baptism and then subsequently enthroning Him as King at His ascension into heaven. Jehoshua was of the fruit of David's loins and was qualified to be the King of Israel.
Jehoshua was coronated as King of Israel upon His ascension into heaven and was given an eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14; Hebrews 1:8-9; Acts 2:29-36; Col 1:12-14). Jehovah God set up the tabernacle of David by bringing forth the Messiah at the Jordan river and then ultimately resurrecting Him to glory. Jehoshua fulfilled the oath made to David by Jehovah God (2 Samuel 7).
Jehoshua was the promised seed of David and made the firstborn of all creation at His baptism and higher than the kings of the earth at His resurrection.
Psalm 89:26-27 (ASV)
26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.27 I also will make him my first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.
Jehovah adopted the royal line of David (2 Samuel 7:14) making it a type of Jehoshua, the glorified Son in His resurrected Kingship. Firstborn here is not necessarily about birth but rank and designation. Jehoshua is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19).
28My lovingkindness will I keep for him for evermore; And my covenant shall stand fast with him.29His seed also will I make to endure for ever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
Jehovah promised that He would be loyal to the covenant He made with David. Jehovah promised David that His seed (family descent) would endure forever and that his throne would be established eternally. This was all fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jehoshua.
Psalm 89:35-37 (ASV)
35Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David:36His seed shall endure for ever, And his throne as the sun before me.37It shall be established for ever as the moon, And as the faithful witness in the sky. Selah
God's commitment to exalt the Son of David is forever sealed with a solemn oath, communicating its unchangeable nature (Psalm 110:1; Heb 6:17-18). The psalmist reiterates Jehovah's promise to David that his seed (sperm) would last forever. This alludes to a male descendant of David establishing the throne and Kingdom of Israel forever. Both verse 36 and 37 show that the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant will result in a throne that is established in heaven as the sun and moon are in the heavens.
The throne will be a faithful witness in heaven not on earth. Faithful, because it shows that Jehovah kept His covenant with David and made good on the promises of the covenant in that David's seed (family descent) and throne would be established eternally. Again, Jehoshua is the fulfillment of this covenant and just as He is the faithful witness (Rev 1:5) His heavenly throne is a faithful witness in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary (Heb 8:1-2).
So going back to Acts 15, James says that Jehovah would return to the nation of Israel and rebuild the Davidic dynasty setting it up eternally as the new covenant Kingdom. This was fulfilled in the life, death, resurrection and ultimately the ascension of the Messiah into heaven. The birth of Jehoshua was a sign that God was with His people, the nation of Israel, and had not forgotten His promise to raise them up a Davidic savior.
Jehoshua was brought forth publicly by Jehovah at His baptism being anointed as the King of Israel and begotten as God's Son. He was confessed as both just two days after His baptism by Nathanael:
"thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
Then five days before the Passover, a multitude of people took palm branches and went forth to meet him and proclaim Him the King of Israel. They sang Psalm 118:25-26:
25 Save now, we beseech thee, O Jehovah: O Jehovah, we beseech thee, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah.
They knew that the arrival of the Messianic Davidic King was the day of salvation and prosperity. They acknowledged that Jehoshua was indeed the fulfillment of the oath made to David by Jehovah God. Jehoshua was Jehovah's anointed King and came proclaiming the Father's name.
In the passage detailing this great event, Zechariah 9:9 is quoted:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass."
This was a day of salvation for the house of Israel, their King Jehoshua arrived humbly sitting on an ass's colt and yet bringing salvation to His people. The events following this would lead to Jehoshua's glorification and enthronement as Israel's eternal Davidic King.
Now to the event that sealed the deal and fully established the raising up of David's tabernacle (Kingdom):
Hebrews 1:5-9 (ASV)
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 when he again bringeth in the firstborn 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 winds, And his ministers a flame a fire:8 but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; And the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Hebrews 1 is an exaltation passage about the ascension of the Messiah into heaven. Psalm 2:7 is quoted here and it significant that it is, because in context Psalm 2 is about the trials and eventual coronation of an Israelite King. The author of Hebrews wants us to know what exactly took place upon Messiah's ascension into heaven.
The quotation of Psalm 45:5-6 in Hebrews 1:8-9 further shows us what actually took place at the Son of God's ascension. Psalm 45:5-6 is another coronation Psalm of an Israelite King. These coronation Psalms are being applied here in Hebrews chapter 1 to Jehoshua's ascension into heaven. This clearly shows us that upon Jehoshua's ascension into heaven He was crowned and enthroned as the King of Israel.
The tabernacle of David was now rebuilt and established as a new covenant Israelite Kingdom, in which Gentiles are now grafted into as fellow citizens (Ephesians 2). This is what James is referring to in his quotation of the book of Amos. Part and parcel to the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David is Jehovah taking out for Himself a people from among the Gentiles.
Peter was Jehovah's vessel to this very thing (Acts 10) as was Paul. It was actually the mystery of the gospel (that the Gentiles would be brought into the Commonwealth of Israel) that Paul later talks about in his epistles.
Philippians 2:5-11 (KJB)
5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Messiah Jehoshua: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that in the name of Jehoshua every knee should bow, of things celestially and things terrestrially and things subterraneanly 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jehoshua Messiah is King, to the glory of God the Father.
This is one of the most discussed passages of scripture in terms of what people call "Christology". Trinitarians, semi-arians/arians and Unitarian/Adoptionists all interpret this according to their understanding of "Christology". I am not a scholar nor do I desire to be one so I will be taking a dive into this passage praying that the Spirit of Jehovah guides me into all truth. Remember it is the Holy Spirit who is our teacher not so called scholars that can't even agree on what to order for lunch let alone be depositors of biblical truth.
Prior to verse 5, Paul is exhorting the Messianic's/Christian's to have care for their brethren and to be "others" centered rather than "self" centered. This leads him to discussing the example that the Messiah left us. Let's dig in:
Verse 5, Paul encourages the brethren to have the same mind Messiah had, using the word "was" indicates that Paul is referring to the past.
Verse 6, this is the touchpoint verse in terms of Christology, "existing in the form of God". Paul here is obviously referring to the past and not Jehoshua's present resurrected state. All the various Christological beliefs mentioned above would agree that Jehoshua in His resurrected state is in the "form of God". However the context here is about Messiah's past not His present as Paul is taking us chronologically from "existing in the form of God" to His exaltation to heaven and then ultimately to judgment day which coincides with the second advent.
If Jehoshua's "existing in the form of God" was in His past, prior to His exaltation, then when did He exist in the form of God?
Trinitarians, semi arians and arians would all say this was in regards to the preexistence of the Messiah. Many (not all) Unitarians and Adoptionists would say that this was at some point during the earthly ministry of Jehoshua. Some Unitarians and Adoptionists attribute Jehoshua existing in the form of God to His resurrected state yet the context here doesn't support that. So what is the answer?
If we are to go by scripture alone then the earliest that we can posit that Jehoshua was in the form of God would be His baptism at the Jordan river. It was after His baptism that for the first time Jehoshua is described as full of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 4:1 (KJB)
1 And Jehoshua, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness.
Let's go to the book of Isaiah for a better understanding of what transpired at the baptism of Jehoshua and what He received from Jehovah God.
Isaiah 11:1-4 (ASV)
1And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.2And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.3And his delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;4but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Messiah was endowed with the fulness of the divine attributes of Jehovah God.
John the baptist confirms that during Jehoshua's earthly ministry He (Jehoshua) had the full measure of the Spirit of God in Him:
John 3:34 (KJV)
34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
Jehoshua told Thomas and Phillip that if they had seen Him (Jehoshua) he had seen the Father:
John 14:5-11 (KJV)
5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.8Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
How could Jehoshua with confidence tell His disciples that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father?
It's a simple answer, because the Father literally dwelt in Him (verse 10). Jehoshua twice states this in one verse. Either we believe the Son of God or we believe so called scholars that try to rationalize spiritual truths and make the word of God of none effect.
In verse 11, Jehoshua states again that the Father is in Him.
The truth of the Father literally dwelling in the Messiah during His earthly ministry sheds light on the phrase in Philippians 2:5 - "existing in the form of God".
Let's also go to a very early account of Jehoshua's baptism that I believe was later corrupted by the Orthodox Church's i.e. the proto-Catholic church. This early account is in many of the older manuscripts and many scholars acknowledge that this was the original account of Jehoshua's baptism:
Epiphanius recorded near 400 AD that this original Hebrew Matthew had God speak from heaven at the baptism "today I have begotten thee." -
There is much more historically regarding the words uttered in the Matthew baptism account that prove the quotation of Psalm 2:7 to be the original words spoken by the voice from heaven. However, we will proceed with looking at Matthew 3:16-17:
16 After the people were baptized, Jesus also came and was baptized by John. And as Jesus came up from the water, Heaven was opened, and He saw the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a dove and enter into Him. 17 And a voice from Heaven said, ‘You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.’ And again, ‘Today I have begotten thee.
- Luke 3:22 In Old Manuscripts
The baptismal account of Jesus in Luke 3:22 in old manuscripts likewise had this account that the Father spoke from heaven to Jesus: "This day I have begotten you."
A modern study Bible comments on Luke 3:22: "Other ancient authorities read You are my Son, today I have begotten you." (Wayne A. Meeks, Jouette M. Bassler, The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (HarperCollins: 1997) at 1962.)
The New American commentary reads: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased: this is the best attested reading in the Greek manuscripts. The Western reading, ‘You are my Son, this day I have begotten you,’ is derived from Psalm 2:7.” http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/luke/luke3.htm(last accessed 2005.)
This reference to a "Western" text that reads "begotten thee" is because it appears in the Greek Western type text known as Codex D. It also appears in many other texts of Luke 3:22.
Throckmorton in Gospel Parallels (1992) at 14 lists some of the sources for "This day I have begotten thee." He lists - "D it Justin, Clement, Origen, Augustine, Gospel of the Ebionites.
Just like in the account of David being anointed as king, the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Jehoshua in a mighty way.
Here in Matthew, it says that the Holy Spirit entered into Jehoshua and in Luke it went upon Him. Both are true of course as the life of Jehoshua shows us that the Father was in Him as Jehoshua also said as much.
With this understanding of the significance of Jehoshua's baptism we can now see how He was existing in the form of God during His earthly ministry. The bible teaches that Jehoshua was begotten as God's Son at His baptism which Jehoshua Himself confirms in His discussion with Nicodemus:
John 3:3-8 (KJB)
3 Jehoshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be begotten from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be begotten when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be begotten?5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be begotten of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6That which is begotten of the flesh is flesh; and that which is begotten of the Spirit is spirit.7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be begotten from above.8The 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 begotten of the Spirit.
The phrase "begotten from above" is the more accurate rendering than "born again". Jehoshua is clearly telling Nicodemus that in order to see and be in the Kingdom of God one must be begotten from above by the Spirit. Clearly Jehoshua is telling Nicodemus that one must be begotten by the water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. This is exactly what took place at Jehoshua's baptism as He entered the water and coming up received the Holy Spirit of Jehovah God. Jehoshua at the Jordan river was begotten by water via immersion (baptism) and by the Spirit as it came down from heaven to enter into Jehoshua anointing Him as the only begotten Son of God as testified in the original most reliable manuscripts with the Psalm 2:7 quote:
"Thou art my Son; This day have I begotten thee"
Jehoshua was only referred to as the only begotten Son after His baptism not before. In fact, only 2 days after His baptism, He is acknowledged as the Son of God and King of Israel:
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
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 the beloved apostle connects the Word being made flesh in Jehoshua, at His baptism per the context, with Jehoshua being indwelt with glory (The Father's) as of the only begotten Son, showing us that Jehoshua became the only begotten Son at His baptism.
Matthew 17:1-2 (KJV)
1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
This is the famous transfiguration of Jehoshua in which His face shines with the glory of God. This is likely what John was referring to in 1 John chapter 1:
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
John and the other apostles saw and handled Jehoshua only after His baptism which is also identified in the book of Mark as the beginning of the gospel of Jehoshua Messiah, the Son of God. This is what John means when he says:
"That which was from the beginning"
John refers to the baptized Jehoshua as the Word of life showing that this is precisely when the Word was made flesh as that Word came down from heaven to dwell in the Messiah anointing Him to preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
The Word prior to Jehoshua being baptized was God's actual words and His actual Spirit (breath), see Psalm 33:6.
John identifies Jehoshua as that eternal life which was with the Father in the beginning which in context is about the baptism of Jehoshua (Mark.1:1). That eternal life i.e. the Word made flesh in Jehoshua was manifested to the disciples after His baptism which is precisely when the Word was made flesh.
I think we have enough scriptures to show us that Jehoshua was indeed in the form of God the Father during His earthly ministry. Let's now look at the second part of verse 6 which reads:
"counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped"
Despite being anointed and indwelt by Jehovah God, Jehoshua didn't seek to be equal with Him. This is overwhelmingly evident from reading the gospels. Over and over again, Jehoshua exalted the Father above all including Himself. Let's look at some examples :
John 17:3-4 (ASV)
3And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.4I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.
Jehoshua confesses that the Father is the only true God (verse 3). Central to Jehoshua's mission was to glorify the Father (verse 4).
1 John 5:20-21 (ASV)
20And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.21My little children, guard yourselves from idols.
John the beloved confirms that Jehoshua's mission was to give us an understanding of Him that is true which is an obvious reference to His Father (John 1:18). John, in agreement with Jehoshua, identifies the one that is true as the true God which is an obvious reference to the Father. We know this because John says we are in Him that is true and even in His Son Jehoshua Messiah. So the one that is true has a Son and the one that is true is identified as the true God showing that the Father is absolutely identified here as the true God.
18 And Jehoshua said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God.
When Jehoshua was called Good master by someone who ran over and bowed to him asking Him about eternal life, Jehoshua made sure to let this man know that there is only one who is good and that is God. We have already seen that Jehoshua identified the Father as the one true God.
John 14:28 (ASV)
28Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I
Jehoshua Himself said that the Father is greater than Him. This statement is consistent with His own confession that the Father alone is the only true God (John 17:3).
Luke 4:7-8 (ASV)
7If thou therefore wilt worship before me, it shall all be thine.8And Jesus answered and said unto him, It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve
The Devil promised Jehoshua the kingdoms of this world if He would worship him. Jehoshua refused to worship Satan no matter what he promised. The Son of God quoted scripture (Deuteronomy 6:13) and said that we are to worship Jehovah thy God alone and serve Him only. I have already shown who Jehoshua says is the only true God and that is the Father so His response to Satan is about worshipping and serving the Father alone. All over the new testament the Father is acknowledged as the living God, true God, God, the Almighty God etc.
In a conversation with a fellow Jew, Jehoshua quoted the shema of Israel and stated that it was the most important commandment:
Mark 12:28-30 (ASV)
28And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all?29Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength
Jehoshua says that to know that Jehovah God is one is the most important commandment and the scribe agrees and both confirm that God is a He confirming that "one" means singular not plural in terms of persons. Of course, the one God has repeatedly been identified by Jehoshua as the Father alone. This truth of the Father being the one true God is a running theme throughout the new testament. Even in Jehoshua's resurrected state He says that He has a God:
Revelation 3:12 (KJV)
12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
In one verse Jehoshua says He has a God four times. This should be enough to convince any naysayers and it also shows that even in His resurrected state that the Son of God is not seeking an equality with the Father.
John 4:23-24 (ASV)
23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers.24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
Jehoshua plainly states that true worshippers worship the Father. Jehoshua consistently defers to the Father as the true God and the one deserving of our worship.
Verse 7 of Philippians 2:
"but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men"
The KJV says "humbled himself" which means the same as "emptying". There is no need to posit "emptying" as some sort of laying aside a preexistent divine nature. It simple means that Jehoshua, despite being in God's form, humbled Himself. It has already been proven from scripture that Jehoshua was in God's form during His earthly ministry and that He exalted the Father above Himself. Along with Jehoshua not seeking eqaulity with the Father, was Him humbling Himself even further and taking on the form of a servant. Jehoshua humbled Himself to be the servant of others:
Matthew 20:28 (ASV)
28 even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jehoshua came to serve others despite being Jehovah's Messiah and also to make the ultimate sacrifice which was to give His life as a ransom for the Church.
The above statement by Jehoshua came after a discussion His disciples had about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom in which Jehoshua responded:
42 And Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they who are accounted to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it is not so among you: but whosoever would become great among you, shall be your minister ;44 and whosoever would be first among you, shall be servant of all.
Jehoshua made it clear that in His Kingdom economy leadership is top down as those who desire to be leaders or greatest must be the servant of all. Zechariah the prophet described the future Messiah as Jehovah's servant:
8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
Joshua the high priest and his fellow priests were symbolic of the future High Priest Jehoshua who is the branch that Jehovah would bring forth at the appointed time. Isaiah the prophet describes the Messiah as a suffering servant:
Isaiah 53:11 (SSV)
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities
Jehovah calls His future Messiah a righteous servant and says that He (Jehoshua) will bear the iniquities of many showing that the Son of God's mission was a sacrificial one.
My study on the new covenant part 2
1Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
The ordinances of the old covenant were performed in a worldly (earthly) sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:11 (KJV)
11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
When the Messiah ascended to heaven He was installed as High Priest over the heavenly sanctuary which the author of Hebrews calls the more perfect tabernacle. The heavenly sanctuary was not made with human hands but was pitched by Jehovah God and is called the true tabernacle i.e. the original (Hebrews 8:2).
The new covenant is connected with the heavenly sanctuary ministry of Jehoshua.
Hebrews 9:14-17 (KJV)
14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.16For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.17For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Jehoshua's sacrifice was a spiritual sacrifice (eternal Spirit) and is therefore effective. Messiah was the perfect Lamb of sacrifice (Ex 29:1; Lev 1:3; Num 6:14).."dead works" any works we might seek to perform yo gain acceptance with God are defiled by sin like a dead body. The living God is a reference to the Father of Jehoshua. The goal of Messiah's ransom sacrifice is to bring us into covenant relationship with Him and His Father.
Verse 15 of Hebrews chapter 9, Jehoshua is not mediating the old covenant but rather the new covenant which has a heavenly sanctuary with spiritual sacrifices offered up by the saints. Jehoshua is operating the mediation of the new covenant under a different priesthood than the old covenant. Whereas the Levitical priesthood was temporal, the Melchisedec priesthood is eternal. The new covenant High Priest is also a King whereas the Levitical high priest wasn't.
Jehoshua's death was for the transgressions committed under the old covenant and also brings eternal life to those called by God the Father for salvation. The author of Hebrews attributes salvation as a work of God and that those who receive the gift of salvation are called by God according to His own will. It was Jehoshua's death that redeemed the called unto salvation. His death brought an end to the old covenant.
Verses 16 and 17 of Hebrews 8, Jehoshua had to die before the new covenant can be put into effect just as when a will and testament of someone is not put into effect until they die. While they are living their will and testament is in a holding pattern. Once they die, then the terms of the testament are put in force. It was beneficial for the Messiah to die so that we can enjoy the promises of the new testament.
The capital city where the old covenant system was centered was earthly Jerusalem. The new covenant is based in the heavenly New Jerusalem. This is why we are told to have our mind on heavenly not earthly things, because our citizenship is in heaven:
1If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.2Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.
We have been spiritually resurrected in the Messiah, which means we dwell with Him where He dwells which is in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. Jehoshua is seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:8-9).
This is why we are to have our minds focused on heavenly things which include the heavenly Jerusalem and the heavenly sanctuary where Messiah sits as King and High Priest. Paul says clearly here that we are not to focus on the things of the earth which include earthly Jerusalem and the modern day Geo-political Israel and any talk of a temple or a return to animal sacrifices along with the Levitical priesthood. Our hope as believers is the better New Jerusalem.
Philippians 3:20 (ASV)
20 For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ
Paul says that our citizenship as Christians/Messianic's is not in earthly Jerusalem but rather in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Many today are ignoring Paul's sentiments and looking back to earthly Jerusalem and a flawed system of worship that was not sufficient for redemption. They are trying to integrate old covenant ceremonial rituals and demands with the new covenant and trading in the heavenly city for a piece of dirt in the middle east.
22but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels,23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,24and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than [that of] Abel.
The author of Hebrews, earlier in this chapter right before the above verses, described the atmosphere surrounding the giving of the Sinai covenant (old covenant). He exhorts his readers not to fall into unbelief like some of the Israelites of the past did and highlights the superior nature of the new covenant over the old one, which in his view is even more of a reason to be faithful to Jehovah.
Let's now look at verses 22-24 of Hebrews chapter 12,
Verse 22, the old covenant was an earthly based system of worship whereas the new covenant is heavenly and the author compares these two differences. Whereas the old covenant worshippers figuratively approached Mt. Sinai, new covenant worshippers approach New Jerusalem the heavenly Zion which is called the city of the living God.
The Mosaic covenant had a strictness and bondage about it compared to the glory and boldness belonging to the new covenant. Mt. Sinai had a physicality that the Hebrews seemed to be hankering after and the author here is trying to get them to look up to the true Jerusalem which is heavenly and free.
Verse 23 of Hebrews 12, the headquarters of the church is in New Jerusalem which is called the "church of the firstborn" referring to the only begotten Son of God Jehoshua. "General assembly" carries the meaning of a festive or joyous assembly, whether of angels or of men. Mt. Sinai was a place of dread and Zion is a joyful festival. Those who are in Messiah are members of the church of the firstborn:
Hebrews 1:6 (KJV
6And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
The reference to the church of the firstborn also designates that although we are physically here on earth, spiritually we are with Messiah in heaven.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
We have all the heavenly spiritual riches granted to Messiah given to us by Jehovah God. We are called kings and priests which are the two offices Messiah holds in the holy of holies.
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
God the Father raised us up, as He did His Son Jehoshua, to sit with His Son in the heavenly places a reference to the heavenly temple in New Jerusalem. We are raised with a spiritual rebirth and are begotten into kingship and priesthood as was our Lord and Saviour Jehoshua.
Phillipians 3:20 (ASV)
20 For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Paul makes it clear that our citizenship is in New Jerusalem in heaven not earthly Jerusalem. This is because the headquarters of the Church is in New Jerusalem where our membership is. The phrase "church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven" designates that those in Messiah are written down as official members of the New Jerusalem church and that we indeed our members of the only begotten Son's heavenly Church with New Jerusalem as it's capital city. We need not be members of any earthly organization or denomination.
Jehovah God is the judge of all and the spirits of just men made perfect. We are perfected in the faith by God when we have our hope in heaven and not on the things of the earth. The beauty of all this is that God had foreordained our membership of the New Jerusalem Church before the foundation of the world:
4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:5having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Jehovah chose us in Messiah before the foundation of the world and foreordained (predestined) us to be adopted as His children by having faith in His only begotten Son Jehoshua.
Verse 24 of Hebrews 12:
"and to Jehoshua the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of Abel."
Jehoshua is the mediator of the new covenant not the old one. "Blood of sprinkling", the Son of God sprinkled His blood on the mercyseat thus fulfilling the day of atonement. The Messiah's blood bridges the heavenly and temporal age. "That speaketh" God is probably speaking through the blood of Messiah.
28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
The conclusion of the realization that we are in a new and better covenant and that our home and hope is in New Jerusalem is that we have received a Kingdom that is unmovable.
The Kingdom of Jehoshua Messiah was established in conjunction with the new covenant being instituted via His blood being poured out on the mercyseat and His enthronement as King of Israel upon His ascension into heaven. Hebrews 1 covers this well as it connects Messiah making purification for our sins and sitting on the throne of David at the right hand of God being given a Kingdom. See also Daniel 7:13-14.
Because of all this we are to serve Jehovah God with reverence and have grace by being thankful for the plan of salvation that has gathered us into a family of God.
Hebrews 13:10-15 (KJV)
10We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.14For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Verse 10, "an altar" our altar as new covenant priests (1 Peter 2:9) is the Messiah. The priests who minister the rites of the old covenant have no right to Messiah if they insist on the altar that He (Messiah) replaced. Our taking of communion is symbolic of eating the body of Jehoshua and drinking His blood. This is the table (communion table i.e. the new covenant altar) where we eat and drink. Jehovah God can only have one altar and He replaced the altar of burnt offering in the old tabernacle/temple system with the Son of God.
Verse 11, the bodies of sacrificed animals were cast outside the camp as unclean and unholy.
Verse 12, Jehoshua suffered without the gate of Jerusalem, and as High Priest entered the heavenly sanctuary, leaving the old temple as nothing more than an empty shell. Messiah's suffering outside the gate removes the uncleanness of His people and renders them consecrated (sanctified) to God the Father.
Verse 13, the author of Hebrews is saying that Jewish believers should not aim for acceptance from those who rejected their King. Instead, they are called to partake of His reproach, because Messiah had gone first (Heb 11:26). "Without the camp". For a time, Moses was required to pitch the tent of Jehovah outside the camp because the Israelites had rejected God and His presence (Exodus 33:7).
By rejecting the Son of God Jehoshua, the Jews were rejecting God and therefore the shekinah presence of God left the temple and earthy Jerusalem as the capital city was ended. Those in covenant with Messiah, especially Jewish believers, must have nothing to do with the Messiah rejecting temple system including viewing earthly Jerusalem as the holy city of Jehovah. This includes going back to the old covenant system of worship or supporting efforts to do so such as rebuilding a temple.
The tabernacle of Jehovah is now pitched outside the camp of earthly Jerusalem and this tabernacle is the new covenant Church which is a body of believers who worship neither in Mt. Gerazim (site of the Samaritan temple) or in earthly Jerusalem at the physical temple as it along with ceremonial law were passing away (John 4:24). The true temple had come and that was the only begotten Son in whom Jehovah God dwelled. We as believers receive the Spirit of Jehovah and His Son which dwells in us as we are the new covenant temple.
Ephesians 2:19-21 describes the Church as a holy temple in Jehovah.
God has moved His Presence from the physical temple in earthly Jerusalem to the spiritual temple that is the Church and is international in scope.
2 Corinthians chapter 6
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Verse 14 of Hebrews 13
"For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come."
The result of the dissolution of the old covenant and the shadows and types that were inherent to it's system, is that we as new covenant Israel no longer look to earthly Jerusalem having any significance.
Earthly Jerusalem is no longer the capital city of Jehovah God and new covenant believers now look forward to the arrival of New Jerusalem to be our eternal home. Even now, as Hebrews 12 states, we come to worship not on any earthly mountain but we come unto Mt. Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem as that is the capital city of the Israel of God.
Jehoshua clearly says that the reward of the saints is the New Jerusalem which is the true tabernacle of Jehovah God:
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Jehoshua in His encouragement to the Church says that those who overcome will be made a pillar in New Jerusalem which He clearly says is the city of God confirming what the author of Hebrews says in chapter 12. He also says that this city (New Jerusalem) will come down out of heaven from God as a reward to the overcoming saints. Notice that Jehoshua makes no mention of a restoration of earthly Jerusalem as a hope for the Church.
Hebrews 11 also details that the old testament saints looked for a heavenly country whose maker and builder was God. They didn't consider this earth their home and looked at themselves as strangers and sorjourners here.
8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Even Abraham, which was given the land covenant by Jehovah (Genesis 13), ultimately looked for a heavenly country not an earthly one showing us that the land promise was inherently linked to the heavenly Jerusalem which is the capital city of the new heavens and new earth. Abraham knew that the land (city) that was promised to him and his seed was a heavenly one i.e. the new earth which coincides with the coming down of the heavenly city New Jerusalem. Abraham knew that the land (city) that was promised to him and his seed was a heavenly one i.e. the new earth which coincides with the coming down of the heavenly city New Jerusalem.
Even when he sorjourned in the land of Canaan he considered himself a stranger as he knew that ultimately it was a heavenly land he looked for. The heavenly Zion was Abraham's hope as he knew that the land promise required the land to be regenerated into a paradise thereby it's maker could rightfully be called God.
This paradise is the sought after new heavens and new earth prophesied by Isaiah and waited for by Peter (2 Peter 3:10-13) and prophesied again by the only begotten Son Jehoshua (Rev 3:12).
Hebrews 11:11-16 (KJV)
13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
The arrival on the scene of the Son of God over 2,000 years ago marked the beginning of the end of the old covenant system established by Jehovah God at Mount Sinai and the bringing in of the new covenant. For most of the past 2,000 years plus, Christians have understood that fact. Throughout it's history, the Church has been very careful to keep the distinction between the old and new covenant clear.
However, in recent years there has been a move by many Christians to go back to many of the old covenant practices. In these circles, the lines between the old and new covenant get blurred often times resulting in confusion. On the other end of the spectrum, some Protestants and many Evangelicals have become so leery of mixing old with new that they end up in antinomianism. The misconception about the new covenant is that it is a covenant without law or laws. Those that have this extreme view will call the new covenant a covenant of grace as if grace is antithetical to law.
The Christians who have recently ventured into some or many of the old covenant practices are often labeled "Hebrew roots" or "Messianic" or sometimes keep their "Christian" moniker but keep the feasts, food laws and tithing laws, an example would be the various "Churches of God" groups. There are a few groups that have a balanced view of the new covenant, in that they uphold the 10 commandments including the Sabbath but for the most part they get their ecclesiology (Church practice) from the new testament.
Such groups would be the Seventh Day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh Day Anabaptists. Seventh Day Adventists keep a few of the old covenant practices that their Anabaptists and Baptists counterparts don't such as tithing and food laws.
It is safe to say, that at some level, most Christian groups mix the new and the old in terms of Church practice and to a lesser extent salvation requirements.
The two extremes would be the Hebrew roots movement which heavily mix old and new covenant practices confusing the two and the other extreme would be much of modern Evangelicalism that has attempted to strip the new covenant of any law.
In this study, I will look into the question "what exactly is the new covenant and what does it consist of in terms of Church practice as a body and for the individual Christian? Also, what are the salvation requirements of the new covenant? Also, what has transferred over from the old covenant to the new if anything?
This is an important topic because many Christians have been given false information on both sides of the debate (Hebrew roots vs. Evangelicals). A wrong view of the new covenant could lead one into bondage (Hebrew roots) or lead one into antinomianism (Evangelicalism).
Let's begin our journey by going back to the prophet Jeremiah and his prophecy of the coming new covenant:
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (ASV)
31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah.33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:34and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.
So here we learn that the new covenant was in Jehovah's plan long before it came to pass in the time of Jehoshua. Also, this new covenant would be made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. What's noteworthy, is that in verse 32 Jehovah says that the new covenant would not be according to the covenant made with Israel at Mount Sinai. This is important to understand as many today are saying we have to keep the law of Moses which was given at Sina.
In verse 33 it says that as essential to the new covenant will be Jehovah's law written in our hearts and placed in our inward parts. This very statement destroys modern Evangelicalism and their antinomian (lawless) understanding of the new covenant. It's important to remember that just because we are not under the law of Moses in the new covenant doesn't mean the new covenant is without law.
To the contrary, Jehoshua will reject many self professed Christians who even did wonders in His name for the precise reason that they are lawless. This is a sobering reminder for many Evangelical Christians.
Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Iniquity means lawlessness. Neither a profession of faith, nor ministry, nor supernatural gifts proves one has a place in Messiah's Kingdom, but only repentance of sin (iniquity) and obedience to God's commandments (doeth the will of my Father) based on a relationship of grace with the Son of God. The Messiah will reject unrepentant sinners, sending them to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:41).
What we are trying to determine is exactly what law and commandments apply to us in the new covenant.
Verse 34 is what trips some people up, they say that this isn't happening now and will only take place in some future millennium on earth.
The phrase "for they shall all know me" need not mean that every single person on earth will know and have a relationship with Jehovah but rather that all of His covenant people will know Him (Jehovah) from the least to the greatest. Also, in the old covenant, the mystery of God had not been revealed so there were still blinders of the Gentile nations. In the new covenant the mystery of the gospel hidden from the ages has been manifested in that the Gentiles now have citizenship in the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2).
Let's go to Ephesians 3 for a description of what the mystery of God is and how it fits into verse 34 of Jeremiah 31:
Ephesians 3:1-12 (KJV)
1For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,2If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:7Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:10To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,11According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
When Jeremiah 31 says quoting Jehovah that "they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest" it isn't literally saying that every single person during the new covenant administration would know Jehovah but that people from all nations would know Him. Jehovah would have a remnant people made up of all nations as in the new covenant His mystery would no longer be hidden but revealed.
In Ephesians 3 Paul tells us what this mystery is. Let's look at Ephesians 3 closer.
Verse 2, the mystery of God is also called the dispensation (administration) of grace meaning God's favor which in this particular context is God's favor (grace) on the Gentiles.
Verses 3 and 4, God revealed the mystery of the gospel to Paul through His Son Jehoshua Messiah. Paul had already briefly touched on the mystery of God.
Verse 5, Paul confirms that in the past ages this mystery was not known but that now (apostolic Church age) Jehovah has revealed it to the apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit. In the old testament, we see that there prophesies of the Gentiles being brought into the fellowship of Israel but it was only in the new testament do we see and understand the full truth and revelation of this.
Verse 6, Paul explains what exactly is this mystery which is that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs (sons of inheritance) with the believing Jews/Israelites in the same body i.e. the Church also known as the Commonwealth of Israel. In this mystery, the Gentiles are to be fellow partakers of God's promise in His Messiah by the good news of the Kingdom.
Verses 7 and 8, the meat of the mystery of the gospel is that the riches of Jehovah's Messiah once hidden in view from the Gentiles are now made known to them. In the old testament times, the Messianic king of Israel was often blessed with spiritual and material riches and at these blessings would often overflow to the people (Israel) that the king oversaw. Now in the new covenant, the Gentiles are made known the riches of Jehovah's Messianic King. As followers of Jehovah's Messiah, we now are blessed with every spiritual blessing that has been bestowed upon Jehoshua in the holy of holies in heaven.
Verse 9, the fellowship (communication) of the mystery was hid in God from the beginning of the world and revealed to us in the last days. God created all things because of His Son Jehoshua.
Verses 10-11, manifold. Literally "plentifully multicolored", with great abundance of variety. Purposed. Performed. God created the world with this eternal purpose: to reveal His complex wisdom to the angelic powers by uniting many nations in Messiah. The angels learn about Jehovah's glory as He saves the Church through Jehoshua Messiah.
Verse 12, close and confident friendship with God the Father. Jehovah's plan is to display His glory by lavishing His love upon His multiethnic spiritual family in Messiah.
With a better understanding of the mystery of God, we can now see how the terms of the new covenant "for they shall all know me" is not a reference to universal salvation for every single person. Jeremiah the prophet points forward to a future regeneration of both Jews and Gentiles who would believe in the new covenant messenger. The new covenant rests upon Messiah's finished work of redemption by His death on the cross.
The word "all" in Jeremiah 31;31-34 is a reference to even the least of the new covenant people knowing Jehovah with a heart knowledge that enriches the soul and transforms the life. The word "all" is also a reference to men and women from "all" nations (Gentiles) being grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel as fellow citizens and being partakers of the covenants of promise (Ephesians 2).
Luke 22:20 (KJV)
20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
By His death Jehoshua instituted the new covenant, which promises inner sanctification and covenantal knowledge of Jehovah God based upon forgiveness of sins (Jeremiah 31:31-34). "Shed for you". Jehoshua speaks of His substitutionary death, the only necessary and final sacrifice to be made. Like the passover lamb, He died so that His people might escape God's judgment and live.
Let's now go to the two quotations of Jeremiah 31:31-34 in the book of Hebrews that show without a shadow of a doubt that we are already in the new covenant and have been since the death of the Messiah. The book of Hebrews can be looked at as the new testament version of the book of Leviticus. The author of Hebrews wants to make the distinction between the better promises of the new covenant and the imperfect nature of the old covenant.
Hebrews 8:1-13 (KJV)
1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.3For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.4For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:5Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.6But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
We are going to look at all of chapter 8 so that we can understand the context in which Jeremiah 31 is quoted.
Verse 1 of Hebrews 8, the author is summing up the things which he has just got done talking about for seven chapters. This is why the book of Hebrews is extremely important to understand because it exposes false ideas that are running rampant in the Church concerning the law of Moses in relationship to the new covenant.
Here in verse 1 the author is stating what He is about to say in chapter 8 is the summary of the message of Hebrews thus far. What he has to say in chapter 8 is the bottom-line point of the significance of Jehoshua's death and subsequent exaltation at the right hand of God and what the result of this was. Again, this will expose the false understanding that somehow the new covenant hasn't begun yet or that we will somehow go back to the types and shadows of the Levitical/Mosaic system.
Verse 2, the emphasis in the new covenant is on the heavenly sanctuary not the earthly one. The author of Hebrews calls this the true tabernacle meaning that Messiah's priesthood in the heavens surpasses the typical tabernacle/temple at which the Levitical priests served. "Lord pitched" the true tabernacle is in heaven and was not built by man but by the hand of God Himself.
Verse 3, Every high priest was required to offer something to God. Jehoshua offered Himself up to God on behalf of the sins of His people.
Verse 4, the exaltation of Jehoshua to heaven qualifies Him for a different priesthood. "There are priests that offer gifts according to the law" Messiah's priesthood, if it had remained on earth, would have been a priesthood that was not sufficiently greater than the Levitical priesthood.
Verse 5, the Levitical priests served a temporary and typological ministry. "According to the pattern shewed thee in the mount (see Exodus 25:40). The old testament witnesses to the surpassing greatness of the Son of God, for He is the substance of the shadowy mystery of the priesthood.
Verse 6 of Hebrews 8
"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises"
"More excellent ministry". The form in which it is ministered. "Mediator". Jehoshua mediates as a better surety (Heb 7:22). Surety is a bond and Jehoshua far exceeds Moses as our bondsman as He gives us assurance of salvation whereas the Mosaic administration couldn't make anyone righteous thereby salvation wasn't assured through it.
The new covenant is better than the old covenant. "better promises" there were promises under the old covenant, but the Son of God brings a new covenant which was established upon better promises as the new covenant far exceeds the old covenant in glory as now Jehovah's people have access to the holy of holies and participate in the King of Israel's kingship and priesthood being blessed with every spiritual blessing in Messiah Jehoshua. We now as Gentiles have the Spirit of Messiah living in us which is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:2. The believing Jews have this Messianic Spirit as well.
Ephesians 1:2 says that our spiritual blessings in Jehoshua are in the heavenly places i.e. the heavenly sanctuary. This is why the new covenant is better as the heavenly sanctuary is the true tabernacle of Jehovah and the earthly sanctuary and temples pale in comparison and are merely copies of the original one in the glorious city of New Jerusalem. Peter calls those in the Church a Royal Priesthood meaning we are presently kings and priests in the Kingdom of Jehoshua Messiah.
Verse 7 of Hebrews 8,
" For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."
The old covenant was not faultless and yet many are seeking to go back to it or trying to mix the old covenant with the new covenant to create some type of hybrid form of Christianity. Yet we are told by Jehoshua Himself that we cannot put new wine into old wineskins in Mark chapter 2:
21No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.22And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
In ancient Palestine, wine was kept in goat skin containers. The new grape juice would ferment over time and stretch the containers. An old bag would not be able to withstand the pressure and would burst; thus a new bag was recommended for new juices. Jehoshua used this illustration to emphasize that His way was new, and would not fit into the old, discredited ways of the Pharisees, or even within some of the limitations of the Mosaic laws.
One must wonder why many today are seeking to return to something that had fault when we have a faultless covenant available to us. Many are trying to put the new wine of the new covenant (Jehoshua's way, His law) into the old bottles of the old covenant (the law of Moses).
The very fact that a new covenant was instituted shows that the old covenant wasn't perfect and needed to be replaced because it couldn't accomplish Jehovah's plan of salvation. The new covenant without a doubt is superior to the old covenant.
2 Corinthians 3:4-11
4And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.7But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.10For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.11For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
I will revisit this passage in more detail later in this study, but I wanted to show that Paul the apostle leaves absolutely no doubt as to the superiority of the new covenant over the old covenant.
Let's go back to Hebrews 8 and look at verses 8-12 which quotes Jeremiah 31:
8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Verse 9 of Hebrews 8 specifically says that the new covenant will not be made according to the old covenant that was made with the fathers when they were brought out of the land of Egypt. From this verse we are to understand that the new covenant is indeed new and distinct from the old covenant. Jehovah instituted this new covenant as a new thing and didn't make it with the house of Israel according to the old covenant He made with them.
Verse 13 of Hebrews 8,
"In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
There is no question that the institution of the new covenant made the old covenant invalid and unnecessary. The new covenant supersedes the old covenant by establishing better promises. The phrase "ready to vanish away" may be alluding to what was about to take place in A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed for ever doing away with the practice of the old covenant rituals. Of course, prior to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, the old covenant was already done away with.