Celebrating Jehovah's Creation Memorial, the Seventh Day Sabbath
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.
Luke 1:26-27 (KJV)
26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
Mary was a virgin at the time that the angel Gabriel paid her a visit.
The word "virgin" comes from the Greek word "parthenos" (Strongs 3933) and means "a madien, by implication an unmarried daughter: - virgin."
The meaning of the word virgin has a flexible meaning as it simply means a young woman, which could include a young woman who has never had sex. It could also mean a young woman of marriage age regardless of whether she has had sex or not. This meaning can even include a young woman who is married, as the meaning only implies a young daughter who is not married but doesn't limit the meaning to this.
It's very important to remember that at the time of Gabriel's visitation, Mary was already espoused to Joseph (verse 27).
The word "espoused" comes from the Greek word "mnesteuo" (Strongs 3423) and means "to give a souvenir (engagement present), i.e. betroth: - espouse.
So according to scripture, Mary already knew the man Joseph as her betrothed (espoused) husband. This fact is important to remember as we continue through Luke chapter 1 in terms of the prophecy of Jehoshua's birth.
Let's go to verses 28-30 of Luke 1
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
We learn from the above verses that Mary was favoured by Jehovah God. She was blessed among the women of Israel due to her favor with Jehovah and the news she was about to recieve. This angelic visitation troubled Mary. Let's now to the amazing prophecy given to her by the angel Gabriel in Luke chapter 1:
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JEHOSHUA.32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and Jehovah God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
The angel tells Mary that a son will be conceived (begettal process) in her womb and then subsequently she will bring Him forth out of her womb through labor in travail bearing the son to be born.
Notice that the angel doesn't specify who will take part in conceiving the son in her womb but just states that it will happen. The natural conclusion that the one who would beget the son in her womb would be her betrothed husband Joseph who was mentioned in verse 27. The angel doesn't tell Mary in verse 31 that it will be God or the holy spirit doing the actual conceiving of the son. This is important to remember.
His name would be Jehoshua (salvation of Jehovah) and He would be great and shall (future tense) be called the Son of God. There is absolutely no indication that Mary was pregnant at this point. Nothing in this passage even alludes to her being pregnant at this time. The angel says that her Son Jehoshua would be given the throne of His father David by Jehovah God.
This prophecy is huge and should not be lost on the reader. So far she has hears that her Son will be great and given the divine name of God within His name and that He will (future) be called the Son of God. Now she is told that her Son will be given the throne of David by God.
Now we can better understand why she is said to be highly favored by Jehovah. Mary's Son, that she will give birth to, will fulfill the Messianic prophecies of the old testament. Here the angel clearly states that David is the father of Jehoshua denoting that Mary's Son is from the family line of David. The only way Jehovah could give the throne to Jehoshua was for Him (Jehoshua) to be a descendant of David. Only David's lineage could make a rightful claim to the throne.
The origin of the Messianic prophecy concerning the future King of Israel comes from 2 Samuel 7 which reads:
11....Moreover Jehovah telleth thee that Jehovah will make thee a house.12 When 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.13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.14 I 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;15 but my lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.16 And thy house and thy kingdom shall be made sure for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
This is the foundation of the Davidic covenant. Here Jehovah makes a covenant with David that his (David's) seed (sperm) which comes out of his bowels (male sexual organs) will be established after David dies. While this applies to Solomon in it's immediate context it ultimately only applies to Jehoshua as Solomon died. Verse 13 of 2 Samuel chapter 7 says that David's offspring/seed would have His Kingdom established by Jehovah forever. This could only apply to Jehoshua as all other Davidic kings died and Jehoshua was resurrected to glory and received an eternal Kingdom (Hebrews 1:8-9; Daniel 7:13-14).
The reference to David's seed and bowels show that the future Messianic King would have to come from a male descendant of David as only males have seed (sperm). The reference to bowels when used of a man refer to the seat of generation i.e. male sexual organs such as the penis and testicles. This is important to remember as we continue to read through Luke chapter 1.
Verse 16 of 2 Samuel chapter 7 says that David's house (family dynasty), Kingdom and throne would be established forever. This could only apply to Jehoshua as all the other Davidic kings died and are asleep in their graves. Jehoshua was resurrected to glory recieving the throne of David (Acts 2:29-36) and also recieving a Kingdom (Colossians 1:12-14) and forever preserving the Davidic dynasty and family line (Revelation 22:16).
Nathan the prophet spoke this vision to David (verse 17).
Now back to Luke chapter 1, now we can understand better the weight of what Mary was told. As an Israelite she knew the prophecies concerning the future Messiah so this had to hit her like a ton of bricks. This was no small thing.
Verses 32 and 33 of Luke 1 link Jehoshua being the Son of God with His Davidic Kingship and not anything else, virgin birth included. Verse 33 of Luke 1 echoes what Nathan told David in 2 Samuel 7:16 which is that His seed's Kingdom would be established forever. This confirms that Jehoshua and no one else was the ultimate fulfillment of the oath made to David by Jehovah God. It would be His (Jehoshua's) Kingdom that would be an everlasting Kingdom. Solomon and the others were only partial fulfillments of the Davidic covenant.
Mary has just received the biggest news of her or anyone else's life. Her shock must be understood in order to understand how she is about to respond. Let's go to verses 34 and 35 of Luke chapter 1:
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Verse 34 has been misunderstood by many as Mary referring to sexual relations by saying "I know not a man" yet verse 26 clearly says she already knew a man named Joseph who she not only knew but was her espoused husband. To say that verse 34 has to do with sexual relations makes no sense for a couple reasons. One, Mary is never said to be pregnant in this passage of Luke 1:26-35 where the angel appears to her. All pregnancy and child references are made in the future tense.
Two, why would Mary question how this child would come into existence when she was already espoused to a man? Common sense says that if a woman is engaged to be married to a man, then her future children would come from that man. She would not react to talk of future children with wonderment of how she will have them if she is already engaged to be married.
Also, the question that Mary poses to the angel has nothing to do with the actual birth of this child as that was discussed in verse 31. Her question follows verses 32-33 that have to do with the Messianic prophecies concerning the future King of Israel. There is no reason for Mary to question the angel regarding how she will give birth to a Son as that happens everyday between a man and a woman and she is betrothed to a man so it's reasonable to conclude that this aspect of the prophecy was easily understandable to her.
The miraculous aspect of the prophecy that has left Mary amazed at how this will happen has everything to do with her future Son being the King of Israel and reigning over the House of Israel forever and being given an everlasting Kingdom. This had to imply to Mary that her Son would live forever either by never dying or resurrecting. Do you now see why she was left i amazement at Gabriel's proclamation?
A Davidic king had not sat on the throne of Israel for some time and the current king (Herod) was an illegitimate king as he was not from the line of David. Also, the nation of Israel was under the occupation of the Roman empire. By the time of Mary's angelic visitation, things looked bleak for the Davidic dynasty and the nation of Israel as a whole.
Mary's question to the angel of not knowing such a man can now be better understood.
The word "know" comes from the Greek word "ginosko" (Strongs 1097) and means "allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand."
Nowhere in the meaning of "know" even hints of sexual relations. This destroys the Catholic/Protestant interpretation of this verse that "know" means that Mary had not sexually known a man. Even if it did, it wouldn't prove anything as nowhere in the angels announcement to Mary is she said to be pregnant as all the pregnancy references are spoken of in the future tense. The fact that all the pregnancy references are in the future tense then eliminates the likelihood that Mary's question to the angel had anything to do with sexual relations as that question wouldn't make sense being that she was not pregnant yet.
The man that Mary did not know was the man that the angel just described to her in verses 32 and 33 that would be called the Son of God (future) and would be given the throne of David by God and reign over the house of Israel forever as it's everlasting King. Mary had trouble fathoming such a man due to the Davidic dynasty being in ruins and the political climate of that time which featured an illegitimate king on the throne of Israel under the rule of a pagan empire. The angel then gives Mary the answer in regards how the prophecy will be accomplished through her future Son.
Verse 35 of Luke chapter 1:
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Many use this verse to refer to the virgin birth doctrine however when we look closely at this verse there is absolutely no hint of a virgin birth. The angel answers Mary's question of how this prophecy of her future Son will be accomplished and says that "the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee". For some reason this is understood by many to mean that the Holy Ghost will impregnant Mary or cause her to be pregnant without a man's participation via sexual relations. Let's look at the meaning of the word "come" in the Greek:
The word "come" comes from the Greek word "eperchomai" (Strongs 1904) and means "to supervene i.e. arrive, occur, impend, attack, (figuratively) influence: - come (in, upon)."
All we can conclude in this verse is that the Holy Spirit in some way will be with Mary during the process of conceiving and giving birth to this child (Jehoshua). The meaning of the word "come" (eperchomai) means to supervene i.e. arrive. At some point prior to Mary conceiving Jehoshua the Holy Spirit arrived upon her. It also means to influence and of course it's reasonable to conclude that the Holy Spirit influenced the conception and birth of Jehoshua. It also means to come in and/or upon and certainly the Holy Spirit came upon her during the whole process.
However, what's noticeable about the meaning of "come" is the absence of getting pregnant or begetting a child (conception) as part of it's definition.
There are other scriptures that prove that the Holy Spirit can be involved in the conception and birth of a child without being the one to impregnate or directly cause the impregnation of the woman with that child without the use of the man via sexual relations. Let's look at some instances where the Holy Spirit was involved in the conception and/or birth of a child.
13 And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for Jehovah? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
After the angel of Jehovah told Abraham that he and Sarah in her old age would have a son, Sarah laughed as she couldn't believe it. Jehovah reiterated to Abraham that indeed it was true that they, Abraham and Sarah, would have a child. Jehovah stated that at the appointed time (when this promise was to be fulfilled), that He would return to Abraham and Sarah according to the time of life.
The reference to "the time of life" is likely referring to Sarah's ovulation cycle which is the time when women's eggs are the most fertile making them ready to be impregnated by the seed (sperm) of a man.
Let's go to Genesis 21 to read the fulfillment of this miraculous birth:
1And Jehovah visited Sarah as he had said, and Jehovah did unto Sarah as he had spoken.2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.
This passage is very revealing and helps to refute the idea that just because the Holy Spirit came to Mary and overshadow her that a Virgin birth is needed. Here in Genesis 21, It says that Jehovah visited Sarah and did as He had spoken in Genesis 18:13-14. Remember, Jehovah said He would visit Sarah according to the time of life (her ovulation cycle). This is what Genesis 21 is describing which is that Jehovah visited Sarah during her ovulation cycle so that she can conceive a child and bare a son.
Jehovah's visiting Sarah was the cause of her pregnancy yet no one believes this was a virgin birth. Of course, it wasn't a virgin birth as it didn't need to be for Jehovah to accomplish what He told Abraham. The progression of Jehovah visiting Sarah and then her conceiving and baring a son is the exact progression that the angel of Jehovah told Mary what would take place with her in regards to the conception and birth of Jehoshua. Just as Isaac's birth didn't have to be the result of a virgin birth neither did Jehoshua's.
Let's break down the first few verses of Genesis 21 closely:
Jehovah visited Sarah according to the time of life meaning her ovulation cycle.
The word "visited" comes from the Hebrew word "paqad" (Strongs 6485) and means "to visit (with friendly or hostile intent); by analogy, to oversee, muster, charge, care for, miss, deposit, etc.: - appoint, at all, avenge, bestow, (appoint to have, the, give a) charge, commit, count, deliver, to keep, be empty, enjoin, go see, hurt, do judgment, lack, lay up, look, make, by any means, miss, number, officer, (make), overseer, have (the) oversight, punish, reckon, (call to) remember(-brance), set (over), sum, surely, visit, want."
Basically "visited" means to oversee, visit and appoint. This is pretty much the same thing as when the angel of Jehovah told Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon (visit) her and overshadow (oversee) her.
In Genesis, it is Jehovah that comes upon and overshadows Sarah and in Luke it is the Holy Spirit that comes upon and overshadows Mary. We know that Jehovah is everywhere present by His Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is the actual Spirit (power and presence) of Jehovah God not a third person. The new testament even says that Jehovah is that Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
17Now the Jehovah is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of Jehovah is, there is liberty.18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of Jehovah, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of Jehovah.
The above is corraborated by Jehoshua as in the gospel of John chapter 4 He says:
24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The Holy Spirit in the birth narratives of Jehoshua is eqauted with the power of the Most High God (Jehovah).
In both cases (Sarah and Mary), Jehovah visited them in their time of life (ovulation cycle) and overhshadowed (oversaw) them during the conception (when they became pregnant) process and then also when they bore (birthing process) their sons. In other words Jehovah formed both Isaac and Jehoshua from the womb as He did Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 1:4-5).
Acts 2:24-25 (KJV)
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-9, the Lord that David saw before his face is Jehovah God's. In the Psalm quotation here in Acts 2, the phrase "the Lord" is actually rendered as the divine name "YHVH" in Psalm 16:8-9. Jehovah being at David's right hand caused him to rejoice and be steadfast in heart. The reason for his gladness and joy is written in the following verses from Acts 2:
27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
The above two verses are also from Psalm 16, these are verses 10-11 from that chapter.
In the first part of verse 27, "thou will not leave my soul in hell", David is speaking of himself in terms of the future resurrection. David has the resurrection hope as one of God's saints not being a disembodied spirit and going to heaven right after death.
In the second part of verse 28 David seems to be speaking of himself but obviously this can't be as his body did suffer corruption since he is still in his grave according to Peter. David was actually speaking of the future Messiah in that He (Jehoshua) would be raised from the dead before His body would see corruption. This is proven as Jehoshua was resurrected on the third day from His death.
Verse 29 of Acts 2:
"Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day."
Peter confirms that David's prophecy about not letting Jehovah's Holy One see corruption was about Jehoshua the Son of God and not David. Peter clearly states that David was still dead and buried in his grave, proving that man sleeps in his grave until the resurrection not flies up to heaven as an immortal soul. The state of the dead i.e. soul sleep is essential to preaching the gospel as it is the resurrection from the dead that is the hope of the Messianic not flying up to heaven as a disembodied spirit.
Peter will drive this point home further without any room for confusion a few verses from now in Acts 2.
Verse 30 of Acts 2:
"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;"
David had the spirit of prophecy given to him by Jehovah God (1 Samuel 16:13). Peter references 2 Samuel 7:12-17 which shows how important the Davidic covenant was to the apostolic Church and how essential it was to the gospel message. Remember, this is the first gospel presentation post resurrection and it is this gospel message that inaugurates the new covenant Church. With that in mind it is noteworthy that Peter mentions nothing of the virgin birth, trinity doctrine or that Jehoshua is a God-man. Instead, Peter emphasizes that Jehoshua came from the fruit of David's loins according to the oath that Jehovah God made with him (David).
The phrase "fruit of his loins" means David's male sexual organs such as the penis and testicles. This means that a male descendant of David would produce (beget) the future Messiah. The phrase "fruit of his loins" is the same as "thy bowels" in 2 Samuel 7:12 which is below:
"When 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."
The word "bowels" means, "male reproductive organs" or "seat of generation", when looking at the meaning of the Hebrew word that "bowels" is rendered from. The word bowels could also apply to the females "seat of generation". However the promise has been made to David that his seed would be established forever and only males have seed which is sperm. So according to the oath Jehovah made to David, the future Messiah would proceed out of one of his male descendants reproductive sexual organs i.e. penis, testicles and sperm (seed).
Verse 30 says that the fruit of David's loins i.e. Jehoshua would be raised up to sit on his (David's) throne. This was the essence of the oath made to David, that a male descendant of his seed (sperm) would establish the Kingdom of Israel forever. This promise was also reiterated to Mary at the announcement of her Son's birth to her by the angel Gabriel:
Luke 1:32 (ASV)
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
The Gospel preached in the book of Acts part 1
The book of Acts is a Church manual as far as a way of life for the Church as a community and also in terms of what gospel preaching looks like and the contents thereof. Let's dive into some of the sermons preached in the book of Acts:
Acts 2:14-39 (ASV)
14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spake forth unto them, saying, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and give ear unto my words.15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose; seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.16but this is that which hath been spoken through the prophet Joel:17And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams:18Yea and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days Will I pour forth of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.19And I will show wonders in the heaven above, And signs on the earth beneath; Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:20The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the day of the Lord come, That great and notable day.21And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.22Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know;23him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay:24whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.25For David saith concerning him, I beheld the Lord always before my face; For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:26Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; Moreover my flesh also shall dwell in hope:27Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption.28Thou madest known unto me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of gladness with thy countenance.29Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day.30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set [one] upon his throne;31he foreseeing [this] spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.32This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses.33Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.34For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,35Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.36Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.37Now when they heard [this,] they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?38And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
This is the first sermon preached after the resurrection and ascension of Jehoshua Messiah into heaven. This sermon preached by Peter took place on the day of Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after the first Sabbath that falls after the Passover feast. Jews and proselytes from several nations were in attendance in Jerusalem to keep the feast.
This was 10 days after Jehoshua's last appearance to His disciples. The Son of God had instructed the disciples that they should not depart Jerusalem in order to wait for the promise of the Father which was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One of the main purposes of this Holy Spirit baptism was to preach the gospel throughout the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Verses 1-13 detail the Pentecost experience resulting in the gift of tongues being given to the disciples. It is clear that these tongues were foreign languages as the men from every nation under heaven understood the preaching in their own languages. After the accusation of drunkenness, Peter addresses the multitude who had gathered together after hearing this miraculous occurrence.
Peter cites Joel chapter 2 letting the crowd know that what they were witnessing was a prophetic fulfillment of Jehovah God's very own words by the prophet Joel. In quoting Joel 2, Peter is acknowledging that the last days has begun and that Jehovah is now pouring His Spirit out on all flesh both men and women. Jehoshua was referring back to Joel 2 when He told His disciples to wait for the promise of the Father. That promise was that the Father (Jehovah) would pour out His Spirit on all flesh.
Now going to verse 22, Peter starts his gospel discourse and the first thing he says is that Jehoshua was a man approved by God. He makes no mention of the hypostatic union or Jehoshua being some kind of God-man. He said that the miracles, signs and wonders which were a part of Jehoshua's ministry were wrought by God who did them through the Messiah. It was God doing the works through the Son of God.
This is the first gospel sermon after the resurrection and ascension of Jehoshua Messiah so we must pay attention to what Peter preaches as being the actual gospel truth. First important truth is that Jehoshua is a man. Again, no mention of Him being a God-man or God or a hypostatic union. We also know that God approved of Jehoshua and that the miracles that Jehoshua performed were actually wrought by God the Father. In other words Jehoshua didn't do them on His own. These points are essential to highlight when we preach the gospel.
The reference to Jehoshua being approved by God refers to His baptism. Our gospel preaching must speak of Jehoshu's baptism and subsequent ministry.
Verse 23, Peter hearkens to Psalm 2:1-3 by saying that Jehoshua was delivered up to be persecuted and killed and that it was by God's foreknowledge and counsel that this took place. There are a few scriptures that we can go to that speak of what Peter is talking about in verse 23.
Psalm 2:1-3 (ASV)
1Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing?2The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, [saying],3Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us.
David had prophesied long ago that Jehoshua would be opposed by the rulers and kings of the earth. In doing so, these rulers would actually be going against Jehovah God.
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.
Just as Peter said in verse 23 of Acts 2, Jehovah had predestined these events of Jehoshua's persecution and death before the world began.
11in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will;
Jehovah God works all things according to the counsel of His own will including the persecution and death of His Son.
In Acts 4 verses 25-27 the Church repeats Peter's sentiment in verse 23 of Acts as they in worship to God qoute Psalm 2:1-2.
Acts 4:24-28 (ASV)
24 And they, when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is:25 who by the Holy Spirit, [by] the mouth of our father David thy servant, didst say, Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples imagine vain things?26 The kings of the earth set themselves in array, And the rulers were gathered together, Against the Lord, and against his Anointed:27 for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together,28 to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass.
The above is being sang in worshship by the Church. The early Church was being taught by the apostles that Jehoshua's sufferings and death and exaltation were all connected to the Davidic dynasty and covenant. There was no mention of the virgin birth, trinity or Jehoshua being God. This is important to understand as it shows us what the true gospel is and exposes the mainstream Church as preaching a false gospel (Galatians 1:8-10).
The persecution and death of Jehoshua is an essential part of the gospel message. And also it's important to mention that it was lawless men who killed Him, both the Jews who gave Him up and the Romans who did the execution.
Verse 24 of Acts 2:
"whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."
The resurrection of the Messiah is the hope of the gospel and also making it clear that it was God who raised Him from the dead. It was the Father who raised Jehoshua from the dead not Jehoshua raising Himself. Peter later says in His letter that we have been begotten by God to the lively hope of the resurrection.
1 Peter 1:3 (ASV)
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The resurrection of the only begotten Son is the hope of every believer. Paul also states this:
1 Corinthians 15:12-23 (ASV)
12Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised:14and if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain.15Yea, we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised.16For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised:17and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.18Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.20But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep.21For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ`s, at his coming.
Paul basically said that if Messiah is not resurrected from the dead then we as Christians are of all men most miserable (1 Cor 15:19). Paul said all preaching was vain if Messiah has not been raised from the dead. Paul states that by Adam came death and by man (Jehoshua) came the resurrection and that all (dead saints) will be made alive by resurrection who are in Messiah.
Let's go back to Revelation 14 for confirmation of the rapture taking place before Jehovah's wrath is poured out:
Revelation 14:14-20 (KJV)
14And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.16And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.18And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.19And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.20And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
These seven verses in Revelation 14 are talking about the two harvests at the end of the age. The first harvest shows us one like unto the Son of man on a white cloud. This is the Son of God who is pictured with a golden crown as He is the King of Israel. He has a sickle in His hand as His reaping tool. The reference to the earth being ripe is regarding the saints both dead and alive being completed in number and ready to be resurrected and translated to glory.
Verse 16 is a reference to the resurrection and rapture of the Church as they are reaped from the earth as the first fruits of God and the Lamb. Where do these resurrected and raptured saints go to, earthly Jerusalem or New Jerusalem? The following verses give us a clue.
In verses 17 and 18 we see another angel having a reaping sickle and being told by the angel who has the power over the fire from the altar, to thrust his sharp sickle into the earth. The purpose of this reaping is to gather the clusters of the vine of the earth meaning the unbelieving wicked. Where will they be gathered? Verse 19 says into the great winepress of Jehovah God's wrath. Where is this winepress? The earth. The wicked do not have the privilege of being raptured to heaven so the judgment they will face will be right here on the earth just as it was in the days of Noah and the worldwide flood.
The wicked are the vine of the earth as they remain there after the righteous are reaped to New Jerusalem. Instead of a worldwide flood the unbelieving world will suffer a worldwide fire:
2 Peter 3:10 (KJV)
10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The day of Jehovah will be similar to when Sodom and Ghomorah suffered eternal fire and burned to ashes. This time however it will be the whole world that suffers the vengeance of eternal fire. The earth and everything in it will be burned that day executing the wrath of God hence the reaping of the wicked as they will be fully ripe.
What follows the worldwide judgment of fire?
Peter continues in verse 13 of 2 Peter ch. 3
"Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Rather than some restoration of earthly Jerusalem the apostle Peter says that we are to set our hope on a new heaven and new earth. This mirrors the sentiment of the author of Hebrews:
Hebrews 13:14-14 (KJV)
13 Let 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.
The author Hebrews says that we as Messianic's have no continuing city here on earth which in context is specifically about earthly Jerusalem. The author states that we seek one to come an obvious reference to New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven in conjunction with the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21).
Hebrews 11 identifies the heroes of old having the same hope i.e. a heavenly city not an earthly one:
Hebrews 11:8-10 (KJV)
8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a pklace 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.
The realization of the promised inheritance was not earthly Canaan but an eternal city. Abraham testified to this reality.
Hebrews 11:13-16 (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 mark of a true believer in the promises of God is to consider oneself a stranger and pilgrim on this earth including earthly Jerusalem. True believers seek a heavenly country. It is this heavenly hope that causes true believers to abstain from the affairs of this life such as politics, military, love of the world. Those who are mindful of earthly things and don't look for the heavenly country as their home, return in spirit back to the things of the world including fighting for earthly nations and earthly inheritance.
Because true Messianic believers consider themselves as foreigners on this earth, they desire a better country which verse 16 of Hebrews 11 says is a heavenly one. Today, many believers unfortunately have been deceived that earthly Jerusalem is their hope in some future millennium. The bible is clear that even the patriarchs and women of old desired and looked for a heavenly one that God prepared for them.
Verse 16 of Hebrews 11 says that because they desired a heavenly country that God was not ashamed to be called their God for He hath prepared for them a city.
See what the author of Hebrews is saying? God wants us to desire and look for New Jerusalem as our hope and not look to earthly Jerusalem and return in spirt back to that place. This goes for any earthly city or country, we must consider ourselves strangers, foreigners and pilgrims here and citizens of heaven with New Jerusalem as our hope. It is when we have the heavenly hope of New Jerusalem that God is not ashamed to be called our God.
Why look back to a city in bondage for our hope when we have the free one as our Mother?
Galatians 4:26 (KJV)
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
The trajectory of the new testament points believers to New Jerusalem as our home and hope not the earthly one.
Let's get back to the book of Revelation, we see that Revelation 14:14-20 shows first the resurrection and rapture of the Church and then the judgment of the grapes of wrath i.e. unbelievers. Verse 20 clearly shows us that the winepress (place where the unbelieving will be judged) where the grapes (unbelievers) are will be trodden without the city i.e. the Church. The Church on earth is symbolic of New Jerusalem in heaven and is thereby spoken of as a city.
This means that Jehovah's covenant people will not be here on earth (the winepress) when the grapes (unbelievers) will be trodden (trampled) as the wrath of God will be poured outside the city i.e. the Church. The Church will have already been reaped from the earth per verses 15 and 16 of Revelation chapter 14.
Let's now go to Revelation chapter 15 again for further insight:
5And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:6And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.7And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.8And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
Notice that the seven last plagues have still not fallen on the earth even after the redeemed saints are seen in heaven in the prior 4 verses. This shows that without a doubt that the saints escape the wrath of God by way of being taken up to heaven. They are seen in verses 1-4 on the sea of glass singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. As noted earlier the sea of glass is part of New Jerusalem not earthly Jerusalem as proven in Revelation 21 and 22. Also noteworthy, is that the saints in the first four verses of Revelation 15 have already gotten victory over the beast and his image, mark and name. This is prior to the seven last plagues coming into view in verses 5-8.
So if the saints have already gotten victory over the beast by the time the seven last plagues are poured out on the earth, then this further proves that the saints are not on earth when the plagues fall. What need would there be, if the saints have already gotten victory over the beast, to be on earth when the plagues fall? It would serve no purpose because have already been tried and proven faithful to God and His Son.
The saints are seen in heaven as victorious over the beast before the plagues are poured out on the earth as described in detail in Revelation chapter 16. They are seen in heaven singing the song of Moses and the Lamb even before the plagues are brought out of the temple of Jehovah so they can be poured out on the earth. Seven vials which contain the seven plagues are given to the seven angels by the four beasts. This happens after the saints are seen singing in New Jerusalem. This further proves that the rapture to heaven of the saints precedes the wrath of God.
One thing to note in chapter 15 is the reference to the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven. It is seen in verse 5 as being opened. In verse 8 the temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God. The temple visions here and in Revelation 11 are connected with judgment and also the wrath of God (verses 5-8 of Rev 15). The seven angels bring the seven last plagues out of the temple by way of the altar of incense i.e prayers of the saints. The temple contains the seven last plagues which are given to the angels in golden vials. No man can enter the temple until the plagues are fulfilled. This shows us that even in heaven there will be a solemn mood as the earth and it's inhabitants get devastated. This highlights the holiness of Jehovah's judgment on the unbelievers.
The final wrath of God originates from the heavenly sanctuary and is in the altar of incense which contains the prayers of the saints. These prayers of the saints don't ask for mercy for the wicked but rather their destruction.
Revelation 6:9-12 (KJV)
9And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.12And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthqauke; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
The altar mentioned above is the altar of incense in the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.
Revelation 5:8 (KJV)
8And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
The golden vials, containing the seven last plagues mentioned in Revelation 15, are seen here in Revelation 5 as full of odours which are the prayers of the saints. The nature of these prayers are spelled out in the opening of the 5th seal which calls for vengeance against the persecutors of the Church. The saints pray for judgment to be executed on the unbelieving world. They ask blood for blood.
Revelation 8:1-5 (KJV)
1And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.2And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.3And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.4And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.5And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake
Revelation 15 verses 5-8 echo Revelation 11 verses 15-19. Let's look at Revelation 11 for further proof that the rapture of the saints to heaven precedes the wrath of God (seven last plagues) being poured out on the earth.
Revelation 11:15-19 (KJV)
15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.16And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,17Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.18And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.19And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Verse 15, the seventh angel sounds the seventh trumpet which is the third woe and ushers in the two great harvests. This is when the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdoms of Jehovah God and His Messiah. The trumpet will usher in the eternal Kingdom of Jehovah God on this earth. However before this is realized, Jehovah is going to pour His wrath on the wicked unbelieving.
Verse 16 and 17, the divine council of Angelic elders worships God the Father making reference to His eternality "which art, and wast, and art to come." Jehovah God throughout the book of Revelation is praised as the eternal one (Rev 1:4, 8; Rev 4:8).
Verse 18, a reference to Psalm 2 is made "And the nations were angry". Psalm 2 is referenced throughout the new testament showing that it is an important passage concerning the theme of the gospel. The time of the dead being judged is a reference to both the resurrection of the just and unjust (Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 13:39-43). The judgment of both the just and unjust is never said in scripture to be seperated by a thousand years but rather is said to be within the same time frame.
The righteous will be given rewards whereas the wicked will be destroyed for destroying the earth. Sin destroys the earth.
Verse 19 of Revelation 11, the Temple of Jehovah God is opened and the ark of the testament is seen. The mention of the Temple which contains the ark of the covenant is lost on many Christians. It is very important to understand that the vision of the Temple and it's ark is in connection with the final plagues containing God's wrath being executed upon those who live on the earth. Lightnings, voices, thunderings and great hail and an earthqauke are mentioned following the opening of the heavenly sanctuary and the ark being seen. Verse 19 of Revelation 11 mirrors verses 5- 8 of Revelation 15. In both cases the Temple of God is opened and the testimony (ark of the covenant) is seen. Following the opening of the heavenly sanctuary is the appearing of the seven last plagues which are to be poured out on the earth.
The consistent view of both accounts (Rev 11 and Rev 15) is that the saints are taken up to heaven prior to the temple being opened, the ark seen and the plagues falling on earth's inhabitants. I have already shown this in Revelation 15, now I will show this from Revelation 11. Let's go a few verses prior to verses 15-19 of Revelation 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.12And 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.13And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.14The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
In another study, I show that the two witnesses are the Church. The Church is identified as kings and priests, as those two offices are the two olive trees (Zechariah). When the Church has finished her testimony (gospel preaching) enduring a final intensity in persecution by the anti-Messiah, the Spirit of God will be breathed into them and cause them to be raised to their feet. This is a clear reference to the last day resurrection of the dead saints which precedes the rapture of the living saints. For a brief period the world will rejoice at the killing of Christian's/Messianic's but then horror will strike their hearts when they see the sign of the Son of man in the clouds.
In verse 12, the voice of the Son of God calls to the dead and living saints and the voice calls them to come up hither to heaven in a cloud. The enemies of God actually witness this.
John 5:25 (KJV)
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
Jehoshua will be the one calling those dead in the grave and the living saints to come up to heaven. Revelation 11:12 is an obvious resurrection/rapture reference and they are said to be called up to heaven not come back to earthly Jerusalem. They are called to go upward in direction not upward then downward. The resurrection of the dead saints and rapture of the living saints follows the pattern of the resurrection and ascension of Jehoshua into heaven. Like Jehoshua, the saints get resurrected and then ascend up to heaven in a cloud. They ascend to the heavenly New Jerusalem just as Jehoshua did (Hebrews 1; 8:2).
After being taken up to heaven in a cloud Jehoshua went to the heavenly Jerusalem not the earthly one. The same goes for the saints, we will taken up in a cloud to the heavenly Jerusalem not the earthly one. Verses 1-3 of Revelation 15 prove this as do verses 9-15 of Revelation 7 and verses 1-5 of Revelation 14. All these verses show that the destination of the saints right after the resurrection and rapture is New Jerusalem in heaven. Most of these passages also prove that the resurrection and rapture of the Church precedes the wrath of God being poured out on the earth.
Right after the rapture of the Church to heaven (Revelation 11:12) there is a great earthquake which leads into the third woe. The bible teaches that the saints are exempt from the wrath of God.
1 Thessalonians 4
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The resurrection of the dead in Messiah will take place first and then the catching up of those alive in Messiah.
The phrase "caught up" comes from the Greek word "harpazo" and means "to sieze: catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
The question now is, where will the Church be caught up to? Will they go back to earthly Jerusalem with Jehoshua or up to New Jerusalem with Him? Paul gives us a strong indication in 2 Corinthians chapter 2:
2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Paul is speaking of himself and does not know whether this was a vision or whether he was physically transported. "Caught up" to the third heaven. The third heaven is Jehovah's dwelling place i.e. heaven aka New Jerusalem. How do we know this because in verse 4 Paul says he was "caught up" to paradise. Paradise is the enclosed garden; same place as the third heaven.
Two times the phrase "caught up" is used here in 2 Corinthians ch. 2 and both times they refer to going up to heaven not earthly Jerusalem. This strongly indicates that the catching up in 1 Thessalonians 4 is also a going up to heaven instead of returning to earthly Jerusalem.
To cement the fact that the reference to paradise is talking about heaven i.e. New Jerusalem, let's go to the words of the Son of God Himself in Revelation ch. 2:
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Jehoshua says the paradise of God contains within it the tree of life. We all know the tree of life is in heaven within the gates of New Jerusalem:
Revelation 22:14 (KJV)
14 Blessed 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.
This city that contains the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God cannot possibly earthly Jerusalem because Revelation chapters 21 and 22 just got done describing in detail the dimensions and the features of New Jerusalem.
There is a growing view within the Church that to be "caught up" i.e. the rapture is really saying that we will join with the Messiah in the air and continue on to the destination of going to earthly Jerusalem rather than going up to New Jerusalem.
Paul's usage of being "caught up" in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 strongly refutes this as clearly the idea of being "caught up" is to actually go up not go back to where you were. Paul was "caught up" to the third heaven i.e the paradise of God which contains the tree of life and is within the gates of New Jerusalem.
Paul's catching up to New Jerusalem in vision or transportation prefigures the catching up of the saints in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Jehoshua the Son of God confirms that when He comes back, He will not be taking us with Him to earthly Jerusalem but rather to a place where He was going to go after His death which was His Father's house:
John 14:1-3 (KJV)
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In 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.3 And 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.
Many use this passage to promote a earthly Jerusalem inheritance for the saints however Jehoshua refutes this as He says that He will come to recieve us unto Himself that we may be where He is. Where is this? Jehoshua says His Father's house. Where is His Father's house? Scripture clearly teaches that the Father's house is in heaven not earth:
Hebrews 12:22-23 (KJV)
22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect
The author of Hebrews leaves no doubt that the Father's house is not in any earthly city including earthly Jerusalem but rather it is in heavenly Jerusalem which is called the city of the living God.
Jehoshua absolutely cements the truth that the Father's house is New Jerusalem in Revelation chapter 3:
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.
The city of Jehovah God is not earthly Jerusalem but rather New Jerusalem which is in heaven "cometh down out of heaven". Jehoshua promises the inheritance of New Jerusalem to the Church not earthly Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:1-3 (KJV)
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,
and God himself shall be with them, and be their God
The holy city New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from God (verse 2) is also referred to as the tabernacle of God (verse 3).
The word "tabernacle" comes from the Greek word "skene" (Strongs 4633) and means "a tent or cloth hut: habitation, tabernacle".
Tabernacle basically means house and it is the holy city New Jerusalem which is called God's tabernacle i.e. house.
Believers can rest assured that they have a heavenly hope not an earthly one. That heavenly hope includes the new earth restored to paradise.
Revelation 7:1-4 (KJV)
1And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.2And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.4And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Verse 1 of Revelation 7 goes hand in hand with Matthew 24:31 which reads:
"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Jehoshua says in context of Him coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory (Matthew 24:32).
In verse 1 of Revelation 7 we see four angels holding the four winds of the earth back so that the elect of Jehoshua can be sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. This passage clearly demonstrates that the elect will be protected from the wrath of God as scripture clearly teaches that believers are not subject to the wrath of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (KJV)
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ ,10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
This passage is in context with the second advent of the Son of God i.e. the rapture and Paul is clear that we are not appointed to the wrath of God but rather to obtain salvation by the King Jehoshua Messiah. This salvation is in context is speaking of the resurrection and translation of the saints at the last day.
Paul actually tells the brethren to comfort one another with the fact that we are not appointed to wrath on the last day but rather salvation on the last day. Some believers today believe we have to go through the wrath of God by being on earth when it is poured out yet Paul says otherwise.
Verses 3 of Revelation 7 further confirms that the saints will be protected from the wrath of God. What will facilitate this protection? Scripture teaches that it is the rapture of the living saints along with the resurrection of the dead saints i.e. the second advent of Jehoshua. Let's continue in the study to further prove this:
Revelation 7:9-10 (KJV)
9After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;10And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Verses 4-8 describe the sealed saints as coming from the 12 tribes of Israel which is the Church (Gal 6:16; James 1:1-2; Ephesians 2).
After the sealing of the living saints right before Jehovah's wrath is poured out we see a great multitude in heaven of all nations which no man can number. Most Christians/Messianics acknowledge this to be the rapture because the great multitude is clearly in heaven during this scene. Those who deny that the rapture is a heavenly destination cannot explain away this verse as the redeemed saints are seen standing before the throne of God and the Lamb. We know that Jehovah's throne room is in heaven not on earth. His tabernacle is New Jerusalem not earthly Jerusalem (Rev 3:12; Rev 21).
Hebrews 8:1 (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;
This verse in Hebrews is one of many that show that the throne of Jehovah and His Lamb are in the heavens not on the earth.
13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.15Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes
The great multitude which includes the 144,000 came out of the great tribulation which ranges John's time (Rev 1:9) to the Messiah's coming (Matt. 24:21,29).
Verse 15 reiterates that the great multitude are before the throne of Jehovah God in the heavenly temple serving Him night and day. There is nowhere in Revelation 7 that even hints that the redeemed saints are in earthly Jerusalem post resurrection and rapture.
Again, the Lamb of God Jehoshua is described as in the midst of the throne (verse 17) which we know is in the heavenly sanctuary not earthly Jerusalem. Verse 16 shows the rest that the redeemed will have in heaven.
A further proof that the great multitude is pictured here in New Jerusalem not the earthly one is found in Revelation 21:
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Whereas Revelation 7:9-17 describes the saints entering New Jerusalem after the second advent, Revelation 21:1-6 describes them in New Jerusalem after the thousand year reign of the Messiah. Looking at the striking similarities of these two passages (Rev 7 and Rev 21), it is safe to conclude that they are talking about the exact same time frame meaning that the second advent is the conclusion of the millennium not the start of it. The second advent and the conclusion of the millennium both result in the saints entrance into New Jerusalem via the rapture.
This supports the Amillennial position meaning that the millennial Kingdom spans the age of the new covenant Church. The similarities in these two passages are striking as they describe almost the exact same thing.
Verse 15 of Rev 7 - Jehovah who sits on the throne will dwell with the saints who are before the throne.
Verse 3 of Rev 21 - the tabernacle of God (New Jerusalem) is with men and He (God) shall be with (dwell) them.
Verse 16 of Rev 7 - the saints will hunger nor thirst anymore nor have the heat of the sun light on them (Rev 22:23-no sun needed in New Jerusalem). Former things are passed away.
Verse 4 of Rev 21 - there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying nor anymore pain. Former things are passed away.
Verse 17 of Rev 7 - the Lamb will lead the saints to living fountains of waters and God will wipe all tears from their eyes.
Verse 4 of Rev 21 - God shall wipe all tears from their eyes.
Verse 6 of Rev 21 - God will give freely unto the saints the fountains of the waters of life freely.
We see that these two passages of scripture, Rev 7 and Rev 21, are talking about the same thing i.e. the redeemed saints in New Jerusalem right after the second advent which concludes the millennium. Not a hint about earthly Jerusalem in these passages. Let's go to Revelation 14 and see what becomes of the 144,000, aka the great multitude aka the Church, after their rapture from the earth:
Revelation 14:1-5 (KJV)
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The 144,000 spoken about in Revelation 7:1-4 are with the Lamb (Jehoshua) in mount Zion. How do we know that this is heavenly Zion and not the earthly one? Because verse 3 says they were redeemed from the earth and we also need to hearken back to Hebrews 12:22 where mount Zion is identified as the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. They are without fault before the throne of God taking us back to the throne room scene of Revelation 7:9-17 which is a post rapture passage showing the saints to be in New Jerusalem not earthly Jerusalem.
The seal of the living God that the 144,000 received in Revelation 7 is shown to be the Father's name in Revelation 14:1. This hearkens back to the Shema of Israel Jehovah our God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4-8; Mark 13:28-34) which the Israelites were supposed to have sealed in their foreheads and right hand.
In verse 3 of Rev 14 the redeemed are singing the song of Moses (Rev 15:3;Ex 15:1-19), which is a song of deliverance. Just as Jehovah used the parting of the red sea to deliver the old testament Hebrews, He will use the rapture to deliver the new covenant Israelites. In both cases the wicked were/will/be destroyed after the saints are out of harms way. In Revelation 15 we will see this scene in chapter 14 repeated which will be another proof of the saints post resurrection/Rapture destination to be New Jerusalem not earthly Jerusalem.
Revelation 15:1-4 (KJV)
1And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.2And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.3And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.4Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
This passage in Revelation 15 shows us some important truths. One of them is that right before the wrath of God is to be poured out on the world the saints are seen in New Jerusalem on the sea of glass mingled with fire. The reference to the sea of glass could only be describing New Jerusalem as that is precisely how the city is described in Revelation 21:18, 21. Revelation 15:1-3 is basically repeating the same scene in Revelation 14:1-5. Both passages reference the song of Moses and both describe the saints as being in New Jerusalem in heaven not on earth. If Revelation 14 isn't conclusive about the saints being in heavenly Zion then Revelation 15 proves it without a shadow of a doubt.
The fact that the saints are seen here in New Jerusalem before the seven last plagues have been poured out proves that the Church will not be here on earth when the wrath of God falls. It also proves that the rapture takes us to heaven not back to earthly Jerusalem. Both in Rev 14 and 15 the saints sing the song of Moses proving these two scenes are the same event and if that is the case then this proves that the Zion that the saints are standing on is the heavenly one as Revelation 15 undoubtedly shows us.
By the time the wrath of Jehovah falls on the earth, the saints will have already overcome the beast, his image, his mark and his name. This overcoming exempts them from experiencing Jehovah's wrath in any way including being on earth when it is executed.
This fact causes the saints to worship Jehovah God Almighty in song and declare that His works are marvelous. In verse 4, the sing that His (Jehovah's) judgments are made manifest by way of the seven last plagues that are about to fall on the earth. The judgments are made manifest (clear, evident) only after the saints are raptured and seen here in New Jerusalem. It is now present tense i.e. when the saints are standing on the sea of glass that Jehovah's judgments against the nations are made evident (manifest).