The Scenes of Life — Lesson 6
The Messiah And The New Testament
In the course of these lessons we have quoted from the New Testament part of the Bible several times, but, inasmuch as there are those who incline to question its validity, some clarification is in order before proceeding with our study of New Testament fulfillment of Messianic prophecies.
The concept for a New Testament lies in the Old Testament prophecies, and the very title which this part of the Bible bears is found in the Hebrew text of Jeremiah 31:31, in the term brith chadasha. In the translations this is NEW COVENANT — a term synonymous to NEW TESTAMENT. It is from this very Scripture passage that the titles Old Testament and New Testament have come into common usage. Turning then to Jeremiah 31:31-33, we read:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers ... which my covenant they brake ... But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel ... I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.
So it is God Himself who said that the days would come that He would make a brith chadasha with Israel and Judah. and it is God Himself who said that this covenant would supplement the covenant they had broken.
No New Law
We hasten to note, however, that this new covenant did not involve the giving of a new law or new laws. Not the giving of a new law, but, a new ministration of the given law. God said, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" (Jeremiah 31:33).
It is noteworthy here that the new Testament too emphasizes the constancy of the law. For instance, in Matthew 5:17,18 we hear Jesus saying, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
In our last lesson we cited a New Testament account of Messiah's conception and the command that His name be called Jesus, and we concluded on a New Testament note regarding the time of His coming. Beginning where we left off, we turn now to the New Testament again, and read the account of Jesus' birth in Luke 2, and Matthew 1:18-25. When reading these passages, one cannot help but notice that all relates to Old Testament prophecies. The whole setting of these verses, in fact, harks back to thing foretold in Moses and the prophets.
The Suffering Servant
Our first observation is that, although Jesus did not parade Himself before the people as being the promised Messiah, He clearly identified Himself with the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. Here we pause to reread this chapter and review what we have said in Lesson 3. Also, to take note of the following excerpts gleaned from its passages:
vs. 4. He hath borne our grief and carried our sorrows.
vs. 5. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.
vs. 6. The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.
vs. 8. For the transgression of my people was he stricken.
vs. 10. Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.
vs. 11. He shall bear their iniquities.
vs. 12. He bare the sin of many.
Turning now to Luke 18:31-33, we read:
Then he (Jesus) took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on. And they shall scourge him and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
So the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus was not an incidental matter. It is not as though He had taken a calculated risk and lost. To Him the end of His course was known from the beginning, and when all was fulfilled, we hear Him say from the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Let none suppose, however, that Jesus perhaps was immune to physical suffering, or that he was perhaps not aware of the pain and agony that awaited Him. One need only read Matthew 26:36-44 to see that Jesus was fully aware of what would befall Him at that time.
Our second observation in this connection is that in the record of Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial, the evidence that Jesus is the one "of whom Moses and the prophets did write" become increasingly clear. Note the following, for example:
1. While Jesus was seated at the Passover table with His twelve disciples, He told them that one of them was about to betray Him (Matthew 26;21). Now unbeknown to the others, Judas, who was one of them, had already agreed to betray Jesus, and had accepted 30 pieces of silver as his hire (Matthew 26:14-16). When Judas later saw the evil of his doings, he returned the silver, and with this was purchased a potter's field (Matthew 27:3-7). Now see how this on the one hand harks back to Psalm 41:9, and on the other to Zechariah 11:12,13. The first reads: "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." The second: "So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord."
2. After the Passover supper Jesus further told His disciples that they would all forsake Him that very night. Although this seemed incredible to them, forsake Him they did (Matthew 26:56). Does not this harken back to the words of Zechariah 13:7, namely these? "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered...."
3. Next we see Jesus before the chief priests and elders, where there is a casting about for damaging witnesses, and some evidence of perjured testimony (Matthew 26:59-62). In this connection see how David, in Messianic strains, wrote, "False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not" (Psalm 35:11).
4. Hereupon Jesus was put under oath to tell them whether He is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, (Matthew 26:63). To this Jesus answered in the affirmative (26:64), and added, "I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." This, in the first place, harks back to these words in Psalm 110:1, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." In this connection, review what we said in Lesson 3 about "Messiah's Royal Seat." Secondly, the last part of verse 64 harks back to Daniel 7:13-14, a prophecy which relates to the second coming of Messiah. Note these words, "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven... And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages, should serve him."
5. Now read Matthew 26:67,68 and Matthew 27:27-31 and see how these passages strongly reflect Isaiah 50:6, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting."
6. Further Matthew 27:12,14 tells us that Jesus remained silent before His accusers, and, respecting this, consider what is written in Isaiah 53:7, "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.:
7. In Matthew 27:35 we read that the men who crucified Jesus divided his garments among them, and cast lots to see who would get his robe. See how this harks back to Psalm 22:18, which reads, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."
8. "Then there were two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left." So Matthew 27:38 reads, while Isaiah 53:12 speaks of Messiah as "numbered with the transgressors."
9. To quench His thirst they gave Jesus vinegar to drink, (Matthew 27:48), and in prophetic strains the writer of Psalm 69 wrote "In my thirst the gave me vinegar to drink" (Psalm 69:21).
10. That Jesus upon the cross was suffering the torments of God's judgment upon sin we gather from the fact that He uttered the cry recorded in Psalm 22:1, "Eli, Eli, lama azabthani," translated, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
11. The last reflective instance to which we call attention concerns Jesus' burial. Read the account in Matthew 27:57-60, and note that in Isaiah 53:9 we are told that Messiah would make his grave with the rich in his death.
Thus Jesus walked the Messianic road that was mapped out in Moses and the prophets, and identified Himself therewith every step of the way. Early in His ministry He had told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and there be betrayed, manhandled and put to death, for thus it had been written concerning Him in Moses and the prophets, but He had added that the third day He would rise again (Luke 18:31-33). Now when all was said and done, we once more hear Jesus speaking these words from the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30).
The Turning Point
This for Jesus was not the end of the road, but the turning point. Whenever Jesus had spoken of his pending death, He had added that He would arise on the third day, and this He did. Just how this took place on the morning of the third day, no human eye has witnessed. It is best here to read the accounts given in Matthew 28:1-18, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-9, John 20:1-9. also Acts 1:1-3, namely "... he (Jesus) shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Of these appearances Matthew records three, namely 28:1,9,17: Mark also three, 24:10,13,36 and John , four, 20:1,19,26 and 21:1.
As we read the accounts of these appearances, we note that all was at first not clear to Jesus's disciples. Some at first doubted the truth of what they heard and saw. For this Jesus upbraided the, saying: "O slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; Ought not Christ (Messiah) to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:25,26). Then, in addressing the disciples further, Jesus continued: "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ (Messiah) to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day" (Luke 24:44-46).
Upon the expiration of these forty days there followed a most significant event, His coronation and enthronement. What took place is best viewed in light of Psalms 24:7-10 and 110:1. In this connection review our discussion of these passages under the sub-headings "Messiah's Royal Seat" and "A Coronation Setting" of Lesson 4. Now turning to Acts 1:9, note, and ponder, these words. "And when He (Jesus) had spoken these things, while they (the disciples) beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
What follows upon Acts 1:9 is also of great significance. Note what we read in Acts 1:10,11. "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." This too harks back to Old Testament prophecy, especially two passages in Daniel.
The first reads, "I saw in the night visions, and , behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, ... And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13,14).
The second reads, "At that time ... there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:1,2).
Now having read these passages, note further what Jesus Himself had said during the days of his public ministry about His coming again. For this we turn to Matthew 25 and note verses 31, 32, 33 and 46.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left .... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Jesus walked the full length of the Messianic road mapped out in Moses and the prophets, in full compliance with the "suffering servant pattern" of Isaiah 53, the "coronation pattern" of Psalm 24:7-10, and the "enthronement pattern" of Psalm 110:1. He therefore stands identified with the prophecies of Daniel 7:13,14 and 12:1,2 regarding His second coming, and its decisiveness respecting our eternal weal or our eternal woe.
A Final Note
When Jesus' disciples were troubled at these things, He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. 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" (John 14:1-3).
Blessed are they who with troubled hearts can appropriate these words unto themselves and act upon them.
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