Jesus is The Gospel of Isaiah (Luke 4) Part 1

  The Gospel writer Luke narrates how Jesus began His ministry with a bang in His hometown:     

Luke 4


16 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 


17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:



18 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,

     because He has anointed Me
     to preach good news to the poor.
     He has sent Me
     to proclaim freedom to the captives
     and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to set free the oppressed,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.


  Jesus knew these Scriptures backwards and forwards. Not only was He able to debate and discuss the Bible from a very young age (Luke 2:41-50), but He never ceased to speak it. As we saw in verse 16 (italics mine):


  "As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read."


  Other translations render the phrase thus:


  "As was His custom..."


  "... according to His custom"


  "... as his custom was"


  But today was different. Today He was doing much more than simply quoting Scripture. Today He was fulfilling centuries-old prophecy. The prophet Isaiah had written the very same words more than 700 years prior:


Isaiah 61


 1 "The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me,

     because the Lord has anointed Me
     to bring good news to the poor.
     He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
     to proclaim liberty to the captives
     and freedom to the prisoners;

 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor..."


  Isaiah had written this about the Jewish Messiah, which in Hebrew is Mashiach, for "Anointed One," and in Greek, "Christos," from which word we get the name "Christ."       
  
  Isaiah tells us that the Messiah will "euaggelizō" or "preach the Good News" to the poor. 

  "Euaggelion" is the Greek word from which we get the word, "evangel," or Gospel. 


  It is the same word from which comes "Injil," the Arabic word for Gospel.


  And what is that "good news," this Gospel that Messiah will bring? 


  Isaiah lists them, and Jesus confirms it. Jesus says He will:


  - heal the brokenhearted

  - proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners, and
  - proclaim the year of the Lord's favor 
        
  But these are not in reference to the romantically unfortunate or to criminals in prison. Rather they are to a mankind that is wallowing in a miserable spiritual state of sinfulness. 

  To the "poor," or those who see their painful inadequacy at living in a way that is truly pleasing to God, the Gospel is good news.


  To the "brokenhearted," or those who are aware that their sins hinder them from a relationship with God, the Gospel is good news.


  To the "captives and prisoners," or those who understand that they are living in bondage to sin and that they can never free themselves from its grip, the Gospel is good news.


  To them, Isaiah says, Messiah will proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. And proclaim grace, mercy and salvation, Jesus did.


  To all of these, Jesus says, "I Am He."


  Jesus is the Good News.


  He is the One Who can enrich the poor. 


  He is the One Who can heal the heartbroken.


  He is the One Who can set completely free all who come to Him.


  If you don't yet know Jesus as your Savior and Messiah, this is the year of the Lord's favor. 


  He stands ready to enrich your life, heal your heart and set you free. All you need to do is ask.




  Go on to Part 2 of this article by clicking here:

  Jesus is The Gospel of Isaiah (Luke 4) Part 2

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/05/jesus-is-gospel-of-isaiah-luke-4-part-2.html

  Thanks to Dr. Michael Brown for giving me the idea for this article through his podcast.  

  See also:

  Isaiah 42:1-9 


Jesus is Malachi's YHWH

Malachi

  In the Old Testament Book of Malachi, the prophet speaks to an embattled and persecuted Israel (text in parentheses mine),    

  "You have wearied the LORD (YHWH) with your words.
   Yet you ask, “How have we wearied Him?”
   When you say, “Everyone who does what is evil is good in the LORD’s (YHWH's) sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?” Malachi 2:17

  Israel is oppressed and losing hope, and so, to the question, “Where is the God (Elohiym) of justice?,” YHWH replies,

  “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the LORD of Hosts." Malachi 3:1 (see also Isaiah 40:3-5)


  Note YHWH's words carefully. He says (italics mine for emphasis),

  "I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me... the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple... He is coming."
  
  And Malachi is crystal clear Who is speaking. It is the Lord (YHWH) of Hosts.

  To give them encouragement and renewed hope, YHWH, the God of justice, told His Chosen People ahead of time that He Himself was coming to earth.   

  Israel would hear no more from YHWH for over 4 centuries. Malachi's words were followed only by silence from heaven. A silence that was finally broken by:


  “... a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord—just as Isaiah the prophet said.” John 1:23 

  The voice of John the Baptist, the messenger of whom Malachi and Isaiah had spoken. How do we know this? Because we have it on the highest possible Authority. Jesus says of John,

  "This is the one it is written about:

   Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; 
   he will prepare Your way before You." Matthew 11:10

   Gospel writer Luke refers to Isaiah 40:3 when he records this event for us,

  "... as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
   A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   Prepare the way for the Lord; 
   make His paths straight!

   Every valley will be filled,

   and every mountain and hill will be made low;
   the crooked will become straight,
   the rough ways smooth,

   and everyone will see the salvation of God." Luke 3:4-6    


John the Baptist

  And prepare the way John the Baptist did, in fulfillment of those very important prophecies, confirming Jesus as the Lord: 

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 

30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 

31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel.” John 1

  Everything that John had done had been done in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. 

  On a side note: John the Baptist was older than Jesus by at least 6 months, and yet in verse 30 he says that Jesus existed before him (Hint: Jesus is God).

  Now, in Malachi 3, YHWH says,

  "I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me." 

  But in Matthew, Jesus rephrases the verse to say:

  "... Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You." Matthew 11:10

  It sure sounds like two Persons are involved here, doesn't it? 

  Not only had Jesus taken the Malachi and Isaiah prophecies about God coming to earth and to His temple and applied it to Himself, meaning He has just said "I am God," but when Jesus rephrased the Malachi verse, He also showed us that this was a conversation between the Father and the Son. 

  Paraphrasing, YHWH the Father said to the Son, 

  "I am sending My messenger, John the Baptist, to prepare the way for You, YHWH."

  Well, that is what the almost 2,000 year old Gospel says so none of this should come as a surprise to you... if you understand that the One True God is a Triune Being.

  In this article, we have seen three messengers named:

  Malachi, whose name actually means "messenger:" he foretold the coming of the Messiah. 

  John the Baptist: he was the forerunner, the messenger who prepared the way for the Messiah. 

  And the most important One of all: Jesus the Christ, the Messenger of the New Covenant and the Messiah. 

  Where the Israelites had been focusing more on their temporal state as they raised their concerns before God, He had His priorities straight, as always. 

  He was going to save souls.

  That is why Jesus brought the New Covenant, one where His blood established the covenant and was "shed for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt 26:28, Romans, and Hebrews 10, for example). 

  Just as Abraham had prophetically assured Isaac on Mount Moriah, The Lord provided a Lamb for the sacrifice (Gen 22). But the death of this Lamb would end the need for further bloodshed and death. This Lamb was the Messenger of the New Covenant: the Covenant which truly and completely sets us free to worship God with all our hearts, all our minds, all our souls and all our strength. 

  Worthy is the Lamb!


Jesus is Isaiah's YHWH (Gospel of John)

  In the Book of Isaiah, the prophet tells of a literally earthshaking encounter with the Living God: 

 1 "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple.

 2 Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 

 3 And one called to another:
    Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts;
    His glory fills the whole earth." 

 4 The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

 5 Then I said:
    Woe is me for I am ruined
    because I am a man of unclean lips
    and live among a people of unclean lips,
    and because my eyes have seen the King,
    the Lord of Hosts." Isaiah 6:1-3

  More than 700 years later, the Apostle John wrote (text in brackets mine):

37 "Even though [Jesus] had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him. 

     ...

41 Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke about Him." John 12

  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had seen the glory of the pre-incarnate Word of God centuries before He came to earth. Perhaps this is why we can learn so much about the Messiah from what Isaiah wrote: he had met the One of Whom he spoke.

  In their excellent book, "Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ," authors Robert Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski, and Darrell L. Bock lay out a solid case for the Divinity of the Christ based on the teaching of the Bible.   

  One example they present is how Jesus' words in the Gospel of John are echoes of YHWH's words in the Old Testament Book of the prophet Isaiah, as seen in the Septuagint, also known as the LXX. 

  (The LXX had been in use more than 300 years before Jesus' birth. As we've mentioned in a previous article, most of the quotations from the Old Testament made by the New Testament writers are from the LXX. Only rarely do they quote from the Hebrew Bible, likely because the Hellenization of the region at the time had greatly reduced the number of Hebrew-speaking Jews.)  

  Bowman, Komoszewski, and Bock point us to these examples of Jesus taking the Divine Name "I Am" ("ego eimi" in the Greek of the LXX), and applying it to Himself in John's Gospel:

Yeshua as YHWH in Yohanan
from "Putting Jesus in His Place: 
The Case for the Deity of Christ"
Kindle edition

  Example 1

  "I am he, the one who is speaking." Isaiah 52:6 LXX 

  "I am, the one who is speaking to you." John 4:26 

  Example 2

  "When you pass through the waters... Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isaiah 43:2, 5 LXX 

  "I am; do not be afraid." John 6:20 

  Example 3

  "... so that you may know and believe and understand that I am... I am God, and beside me there is no one to save... But you have stood in your sins and in your iniquities... I am, I am the one who blots out your transgressions." Isaiah 43:10-11, 24-25 LXX 

  "... for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins... then you will know that I am." John 8:24, 28 

  Example 4

  "... my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe and understand that I am." Isaiah 43:10 LXX 

  "I am not speaking of all of you; I know the ones I have chosen... I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that you may believe when it does occur that I am he." John 13:18-19 

  In our first example, Jesus tells the woman at the well that He is the Divine Messiah for Whom the Jews had been waiting.

  In the second example, Jesus comes to His apostles walking on the water in a storm. He calms them with a verbal assurance that He is YHWH and then demonstrates it with His control over nature.  

  In our third example, He speaks as the Only Savior YHWH.

  While, in our final example, He is the God Who alone can forgive sins. 

  While all the Gospels declare the deity of Christ, John's Gospel is perhaps the most straightforward and unequivocal of them. This means that those who deny Jesus' divinity can only do so by denying the evidence that is right before their eyes. The evidence that...

Jesus is YHWH!

YHWH Yehoshua

  Recommended reading:
  
  Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ 
  by Robert Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski, and Darrell L. Bock

  http://www.amazon.com/Putting-Jesus-His-Place-Christ/dp/0825429838/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1398415236&sr=1-1

  See also:

  The deity of Christ is taught in the opening chapters of the Synoptic Gospels here: 

  Matthew 1:16, 23, Mark 1:1, 11, Luke 1:16-17, 32-33, 35, 76
  
  Where Does Jesus Say, "I Am YHWH (God)" in the Bible?

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2013/12/where-does-jesus-say-i-am-yhwh-god.html



Hear O Israel... Jesus is Lord!

  More than 3,400 years ago, the prophet Moses penned these words:

  “Listen, Israel: 
   The Lord our God, the Lord is One."     
   Deuteronomy 6:4 

  Transliterating from the Hebrew:

  "Shema Yisrael YHWH Elohim (plural) echad (one) YHWH." 

  Or, literally, 

  "Hear, Israel, YHWH our God(s) One YHWH."

  More than 1,400 years later, Jesus was approached by a scribe and asked, 

  “Which command is the most important of all?”

  And Jesus replied, confirming Moses' words:

  “This is the most important... Listen, Israel! 
    The Lord our God, the Lord is One." 
    Mark 12:29

  We have already shown in a previous article how the Hebrew word for "one" in Deuteronomy 6:4 is "echad," which refers, not to a numerical oneness but to a oneness of unity, much like a husband and a wife are one (see link below). This, in contrast to the Hebrew word, "yachid," which refers to a numerical oneness.

  We have also seen how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the unlimited God of complex unity (see link below) Who is always able -- and willing -- to enter into His creation. He is the Almighty YHWH Who can take any form He wishes, even the form of a man. 

  We have also listed in other articles a few of the multiple times that the word "Lord" is applied to Jesus in the very same way it is applied to the God of all creation throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

  In this article, we will take a look at yet another way in which the Bible teaches indisputably that Jesus is the very same God of Whom Moses wrote. 


  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the very same Spirit spoken of in Moses' first book, Genesis, the Apostle Paul writes,

 5 "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”—

 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father.
    All things are from Him,
    and we exist for Him.
    And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.
    All things are through Him,
    and we exist through Him." 1 Corinthians 8

  In this passage, Paul contrasts the false gods worshiped by unbelievers (v. 5) with the One True God (v. 6). But then Paul goes on to describe Who that God is.


  Let us restate the verse to try and make it even simpler to grasp what is being said, 

  "... yet for us there is one God, the Father.


   All things are from the Father,


   and we exist for the Father.

   And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.

   All things are through Jesus,


   and we exist through Jesus."

  This graphic may help to show us what Paul is doing in verse 6:



  The Greek word "kurios" that is used here for "lord" is the same word that is used for God. While it can also mean "master," it is context that helps us to determine how to interpret it.  

  Paul frequently uses the word "God" for the Father and "Lord" for the Son, but context tells us that Paul is not here calling Jesus simply a "master." Take a look at what he said about the Father and the Son once more as we took the liberty of restating it:  


   "... there is one God, the Father.


    All things are from the Father,


    and we exist for the Father.


    And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.


    All things are through Jesus,


    and we exist through Jesus."


  Anyone who believes in God should have no trouble accepting the top verses which state that all things are from God the Father and that we exist for Him. 


  But if Jesus is not God, no one can say what Paul says here about Him. 


  All things cannot have come, as in all creation, through a mere man. 


  We, as in all humanity, cannot have come into existence through a mere man.      


  So Paul states in our passage that Jesus is God, affirming what the Apostle John says in John 1:1-3.

  
  Now, this declaration of Jesus' deity from 1 Corinthians 8:6 alone is powerful enough as it stands, but scholars tell us that Paul is doing something else here which would have most definitely caught the attention of 1st century Jews. 

  Paul has taken the battle cry of the Jew, the Shema, and made a doctrinal statement that expounds further on the true nature of God. Here is the Shema once again: 


  “Listen, Israel: 
   The Lord our God, the Lord is One."     
   Deuteronomy 6:4 

  The writers of the New Testament invariably quoted from the Greek Septuagint, also known as the LXX, and only rarely from the Hebrew texts. And so the statement Paul is making is made most obvious when comparing the two sources. This is how the Shema reads in the LXX, 


  "akoue israêl kurios ho theos hemôn kurios eis estin."


  While 1 Corinthians 8:6 reads:

  "all êmin eis theos ho patêr, ex ou ta panta kai hmeis eis auton, kai eis kurios iêsous xristos, di ou ta panta kai hmeis di autou"

  Let's focus on just four specific phrases:

   Deut 6 "kurios ho Theos hemôn"
               Lord     the  God     our

  1 Cor 8 "eis Theos ho pater"     

               one  God   the Father

   Deut 6  "kurios eis estin"
                 Lord     is   one

  1 Cor 8  "kai eis kurios iEsous christos" 
                and one Lord     Jesus    Christ

  When we put them together, we see what Paul is teaching: 

“... The Lord our God, the Lord is One." 
Deuteronomy 6:4 

"One God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 8:6 (paraphrased)

  Where Deuteronomy 6:4 says "The Lord is our God..." 

  1 Corinthians 8:6 (and elsewhere) says Jesus is Lord, therefore Jesus is God.

  The Father is God. The Lord is our God.

  Jesus is Lord, therefore Jesus is God. 

  Once again, this is the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity, in which the Father and the Son remain distinct Persons, and yet are One YHWH with the Holy Spirit. 

  Paul's critics will note that, through this passage we have also seen that, when Paul wrote, he only affirmed what Jesus had already taught. 

  As Jesus had said in John 5 to some unbelieving Jews,

39 "You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 

40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life." John 5

  If you still don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He waits for you with arms open wide. 

  Come to Him, that you may have life!


  With thanks to Dr James White for mentioning this on his podcast. 


  See also: 


  The Lord Our God Is One


  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-lord-our-god-is-one.html


  The Jewish Concept of the Complex Unity of God

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-jewish-concept-of-complex-unity-of.html



Who is the Good Shepherd?

by Chris Terry

  Jesus gives this answer clearly in John 10:14, 

  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..." 


  The good shepherd of what? 

  Sheep? 

  Wooly animals that are kept in fields? 

  No, people. Us.

  So who is Jesus to call Himself our “Good Shepherd?" 

  He explains this further in the passage: 

 7 “... Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 

 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 

 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture." John 10

  And it was not only for the Israelites Jesus would be Shepherd, as He alludes to further into the passage here (italics mine for emphasis): 

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 

15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 

16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."

  This is the promise made in Isaiah 49 that Gentiles would be cared for by this Shepherd of Israel.

 6 “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
     to restore the tribes of Jacob 
     and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
     I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
     that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

  But where in the Bible was Israel promised a Shepherd to lead the sheep, and why was this promise made? God tells us in Ezekiel 34 that the men He appointed to act in His stead were scattering His flock and destroying them. Simply put, they were failing in their duties as shepherds of Israel. So God in His everlasting love and mercy provides for us by His own hand.

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 

21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 

22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 

23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 

24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken." Ezekiel 34

  How interesting. Yet Jesus states in Matthew 25,

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 

32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 

33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."

  So, we have only one option left. 

  There are not 2 Shepherds. 

  God is the Good Shepherd of Israel, yet Jesus says He is the Good Shepherd of Israel. 

  That leaves only one explanation. 

  Jesus is the God of Israel, Shepherd of His people through the line of David as promised.



Note: all Scriptures quoted are taken from the New International Version (NIV).


Jesus the "Ascender"

  If there's anyone Whose words you always want to read carefully, it's Jesus, because no one knows the truth better than He does. 

  Listen to what He says in John 3:12-13, 


12 "If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven?


13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man." John 3

  There it is, another double whammy from Jesus.



  First here, Jesus claims to have knowledge which no one else has. 

  And when Jesus says, "no one," you know He means no one. No king, no prophet, no messiah... no one. 

  But to continue, let us paraphrase the latter part of verse 13:

  "Only One has descended from heaven, the Son of Man," which is Jesus.


  No mere man can say he descended from heaven. 


  When Jesus says He is the only One who has descended from heaven, think about what He is saying.


  He's saying He didn't just come from His mother, Mary, and His father, Joseph. 


  He didn't just come from Nazareth or Bethlehem.


  He's saying He came from heaven


  This is why He can tell us about "things of heaven." Because He comes to us from there.

  Where you and I can only say that we were nothing until God created us in our mothers' wombs, Jesus is saying He pre-existed the body He had inhabited while on earth. 

  As the rest of the New Testament informs us, the Word of God is eternal. Jesus is saying He was "alive" before He came down to earth. He has always existed. And He just reinforced that for us with this passage.

  But we're not done yet. Jesus' choice of a word for returning to heaven is also quite interesting.

13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man." John 3

  The word Jesus uses for ascend there is the Greek word ἀναβαίνω, recorded as Strong's G305 and transliterated as "anabaino." 

  It means to go up by one's own power. One does not "anabaino" with someone else's assistance. When you "anabaino," you do it on your own. 


  Here are some examples of ἀναβαίνω or "anabaino" as it is used in each of the four Gospels. The italics show which word/s replaced anabaino:

  "After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water." Matthew 3:16a 


  "When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him." Matthew 5:1 


  "Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded..." Mark 6:51


  “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector." Luke 18:10


  "Now some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival." John 12:20


  With His use of the word ἀναβαίνω, not only is Jesus saying in John 3:13 that He was in heaven before He came to earth -- a claim which no human being can make -- but He is also saying He will ascend and return to heaven on His own power, another thing only GOD can do.

  Jesus reiterates this thought in John 6,

  "Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?" John 6:62

  Here again, He speaks not just of ascending, but of returning to a place He had already been to before.  

  Paul's epistle to the Ephesians doesn't just confirm this for us, it also tells us the end result of Jesus' return home, and again shows us that Jesus is God: 

  "The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things." Ephesians 4:10

  The eternal Word of God descended from His lofty throne to take the form of a lowly man that, having fulfilled His mission, He might fill all things with His return.

  In case you're not sure about what "fill all things" means, I have two words for you:

Jesus reigns!



YHWH, Provider of the Lamb

  The question has been asked many, many times:

  Couldn’t God have saved us without sacrificing Jesus?

  Without delving into deep theological issues which are beyond our pay grade anyway, the long and short of it is that God could not compromise His holiness and perfect justice through the use of a punitive shortcut. 

  On the one hand, God's holiness demanded a sinless sacrifice. The full price for the sin of man, yours and mine, had to be paid though a perfectly holy sacrifice. 

  On the other hand, His mercy and love would not leave us damned to Hell for eternity. Since man is not sinless and is therefore incapable of meeting God's standard for that sacrifice, God sent us His One and Only Son to be that Sacrifice.

  Where the First Adam had failed to follow YHWH's orders to the letter, God would send a Second Adam Who would obey Him, no matter the personal cost. 

  Where the First Adam had been unable to resist temptation and live sinlessly, God would send a Second Adam to do it.     

  Where the selfishness of the First Adam brought death into the world, the selfless Second Adam would bring us life in abundance through His sacrifice.

  Jesus put it best when He said,

16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3

  It would cost God dearly, but such is the heart of YHWH that He would spare Himself no pain if it meant restoring His creation to Himself. The Creator God of the universe sought to walk in the Garden with His creations once again devoid of the barrier that sin had forced between us.  

  As we have noted in previous articles, "... the Lord God does nothing without revealing His counsel to His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7

  This coming Perfect Sacrifice was preceded by big hints throughout the millennia, the clearest of which was Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. We find that story related in Genesis 22. The passage has been shortened for brevity. Italics are mine:

 1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”

    “Here I am,” he answered. 


 2 “Take your son,” He said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

    ...


 7 Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.”


    And he replied, “Here I am, my son.”


    Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”


  8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.

 9 When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. 


10 Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.


11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” 


  He replied, “Here I am.”

12 Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.” 

13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 


14 And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.


  As we have already alluded to, under the Old Testament, only a Perfect Sacrifice was allowed for the forgiveness of sins. The sacrifice was not to have a single spot or blemish, a symbol of the perfect sinlessness and holiness of Jesus the Christ. 
  The animal sacrifices were never going to be sufficient because man just kept on sinning day after day. God needed a permanent solution, just as He'd promised to provide in Genesis 3:15. And that is why He sent His Son. 

  Jesus was the Perfect Sacrifice Who permanently defeated Satan, sin and the grave by the blood He sacrificed on the cross. It was done once... and for all. Because of what Jesus did on Calvary, even we, the worst of sinners can find redemption, forgiveness and new life in Him.

  Note the words exchanged between Isaac and his father once again:

 7 ... Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

 8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” 

  Did you see that? 

    “God Himself will provide the lamb..."

  Once more with feeling: 

    “God Himself will provide the lamb..."   

  What happened immediately after God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac? 

  Abraham saw that God had provided a ram whose horns were stuck in a thicket as a sacrifice to replace Isaac. God provided a ram, while Abraham had prophesied that God would provide a lamb.

  Well, the Lamb Who had been prophesied came to earth about 2,000 years later, when John the Baptist saw Jesus and said,

29 “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1

  Could Scripture be any clearer?

  In Abraham, we saw the prototype of what God the Father Himself was going to do. But while He stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, the Father would bear the anguish of seeing His eternal Son take the punishment that you and I deserved on the cross. 

  It was supposed to be me and you on that cross, not the sinless, pure and innocent Jesus, but nonetheless, Jesus went willingly because He is... 

 2  "... the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne." Hebrews 12

  That is why Jesus could say on the cross, "It is finished!" 

  Because He had done all that was needed to restore mankind to our Creator. With His resurrection 3 days later, Jesus fulfilled His mission on earth completely. 

  Jesus was sinless and perfect in every way, and because He died once for all and rose again from the dead, no further sacrifices were necessary. In 70AD, Herod's Temple was totally destroyed and the animal sacrifices stopped. Today, 2,000 years later, the Jews have still not been able to rebuild their Temple and resume their sacrifices.   

  Is the lack of a Temple and the Jews' inability to sacrifice animals for their sins (and the sins of the world) all a coincidence? 

  I don't think so. I think it's because...

  God has already provided a Lamb! 

Abraham Isaac

  Here's a glimpse of what is happening in heaven even at this very moment:

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. 

12 They said with a loud voice:
     The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
     to receive power and riches
     and wisdom and strength
     and honor and glory and blessing!

13 I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:
     Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
     to the One seated on the throne,
     and to the Lamb, forever and ever!

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5 

  Worthy is the Lamb to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!

  But returning to our question at the top of the article:  

  If God had wanted to save us, couldn’t He have done that without sacrificing Jesus?


  Take another look at this verse...

14 And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.

  Transliterating, it could be paraphrased thus:

  "And Abraham named that place 'YHWH Will Provide (or Jehovah Jireh)' so today it is said: “It will be provided on the mountain of YHWH.”

  Abraham did not have to provide.

  Isaac did not have to provide.

  Because YHWH Himself did it.

  YHWH provided. 

  And so to answer the question, we will borrow from the words of YHWH to Abraham in verse 12:

  Now you know that God loves you, since He did not withhold His Only Son from you! 

  With many thanks to Ptr Sam Sade for the ram and lamb part of the story. You are a blessing, sir!



  See also:

  Who Needs Sacrifices to Honor God?

  http://www.apologika.blogspot.com/2014/07/who-needs-sacrifices-to-honor-god.html

  What is the Significance of Mount Moriah in the Bible?

  http://www.gotquestions.org/mount-Moriah.html

  There is Only One God and Savior 

    http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/03/there-is-only-one-god-and-savior.html

  Born to Save: The Ultimate Purpose Driven Life!

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/03/born-to-save-ultimate-purpose-driven.html



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