LIFE OF THE MESSIAH – 003
DR. ARNOLD G. FRUCHTENBAUM
THE INTRODUCTION OF THE KING - Paragraphs 17-25
b. His Boyhood – Luke 2:40
Now yesterday as we finished up with paragraph 14-16 we noted that he quoted the Old Testament several ways, several times, and I want to discuss now the four different ways the New Testament quotes the Old. This is the way the Jewish people back then themselves would have quoted the Scriptures. These same four categories are common in rabbinic writings; it goes by a formula that I’ll explain in just a moment. But go back to in your Harmony to paragraph 14 and in Matthew 2:5-6 notice he quotes Micah 5:2.
Now this first category is called literal prophecy plus literal fulfillment. And the passage records Micah 5:2 and if you go back to Micah 5:2 and look at the context the literal meaning of Micah 5:2 was that whenever the Messiah was born He will be born in the town of Bethlehem. Furthermore, he specifies not the Bethlehem of the Galilee but the Bethlehem of Judah. Being you have a literal fulfillment of a literal prophecy the verse is quoted as it here in verses 5 and 6. This literal prophecy is Messiah will be born in Bethlehem; the literal fulfillment was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem; and that’s a point for point fulfillment.
The second category is called literal plus typical, meaning typology. Go down to paragraph 15 and look at verse 15; he recalls Hosea 11:1 which says “out of Egypt did I call my son.” If you go back to the prophecy as found in the book of Hosea 11:1 we’ll notice in the context it’s not really a prophecy, it’s referring to something that was long in history; he is referring to the time of the Exodus. Now Israel as a nation is the national son of God according to Exodus 4:22-23. So when God brought Israel out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus He called His son Israel out of Egypt. And so the literal meaning of Hosea 11:1 is referring to the Exodus which was already a long historical event by the time Hosea writes his book. Both (?) what you have in the Old Testament is elements which are historical or elements which refer to things, like the things of the tabernacle, and they become typologies of something future. Now we have, in this passage, God calling His unique Son, His Messianic Son out of Egypt and so the verse is quoted, not as a fulfillment, it was not a prophecy to begin with; it is quoted as a type. And the Exodus out of Egypt by Israel is a type of the Messianic Son also coming out of Egypt. And that is a literal plus typical.
The third category is literal plus application. This you’ll see in the same paragraph, paragraph 15, down to Matthew 2:17-18 where he quotes Jeremiah 31:15. When we go back to Jeremiah 31:15 and look at the context it’s not dealing with a prophecy per se nor is it a long history, as it was with Hosea 11, it’s a current event of Jeremiah’s own time. And what he’s referring to is the event that occurred as the Jewish young men were being taken into Babylonian captivity. The fighting had already ended and now all of the POW’s were being taken off to Babylon. As they go north from Jerusalem they go by the town of Ramah; Ramah is where Rachel was buried. If you go to Israel today they take you to Bethlehem to show Rachel’s tomb; that, however, is an incorrect location, she’s actually buried near the town of Ramah. Rachel in the Old Testament also became the symbol of Jewish motherhood. And the Jewish mothers of Ramah came out weeping for sons they will never see again. And Jeremiah observed the scene of weeping Jewish mothers for sons they will never see again he makes that statement, the grieving mother “Rachel, weeping for her children and would not be comforted, because they’re not.” So again the literal meaning of Jeremiah 31:15 refers to young men being taken to captivity while the mothers of Ramah were simply weeping for sons they will never see again.
What you often have in the New Testament is simply one point of similarity and because of that one point of similarity the verse is quoted as an application. And the point of similarity here is that once again you have Jewish mothers weeping for sons they will never see again. Everything else is quite different. What happens with Jeremiah happens in Ramah, north of Jerusalem. What happens in Matthew is south of Jerusalem in Bethlehem. Furthermore, in Jeremiah’s time these sons are not dead, they’re merely taken into captivity, whereas in Bethlehem the sons are dead. Furthermore, the sons of Jeremiah were young men who were POWs; they were formerly fighting men, whereas the sons in Bethlehem were from two years old and under. Everything is quite radically different but you have the one point of similarity; Jewish mothers weeping for sons they will never see again and the verses therefore quoted as an application. Literal plus application.
That’s, by the way, how the Joel 2 passage and the Acts 2 passage fit because look at the Joel prophecy of Joel 2, whatever Joel prophesied not one thing happened of his prophecy in Acts 2. (?) happened in Acts 2 of the coming of the Spirit resulting of the speaking in languages and tongues Joel did not even mention. The one point of similarity between Joel and Acts 2 is an outpouring of the Spirit resulting in an unusual manifestation, but the manifestations of Joel are different than those of Acts 2. So again what happened in Acts 2 Joel did not mention and what Joel did mention is not happening in Acts 2. And furthermore, Joel says this will be spread upon flesh and in that context all Jewish flesh, but in Acts 2 only 12 men, at the most 120 people, but no more than that, which hardly fulfills the necessity of “all flesh.” And so the fulfillment of Joel 2 is still future, waiting for Israel’s national salvation when these events occur. But you have one point of similarity again; an outpouring of the Spirit resulting in an unusual manifestation and the text does quote it as an application. Literal plus application.
We come to a fourth category called summation and summary. That’s what’s found in paragraph 16 at the end of Matthew 2:23, spoken by the prophets, that He shall be called a Nazarene. You can hunt every single page, every single phrase in the Old Testament and you’ll find no such prophecy. And those who want to point to Isaiah 11:1, there’s actually only one word that has a similarity, otherwise there is no point of similarity at all between Isaiah 11:1 and Matthew 2:23. Now when you have a situation “which was spoken of by the prophets,” you don’t have an exact quotation, it fits into a fourth category. He’s not trying to quote what a specific prophet said; he’s simply summarizing what the prophets had to say. And normally this will not be true in every specific case, it will be true in most cases, it’s when the word “prophet” switches from singular to plural.
Now go back to paragraph 14 and notice Matthew 2:5, “written by the prophet,” singular. Then paragraph 15, Matthew 2:15, “by the Lord through a prophet,” singular. Matthew 2:17, “by Jeremiah, the prophet,” singular. When you come to paragraph 16 and Matthew 2:23, “spoken by the prophets,” plural. So again here he says by using the prophets he’s not trying to quote a single prophet as he has up until now, he’s simply summarizing what the prophets have to say.
What was a Nazarene in the first century Jewish context? A Nazarene was someone that was despised and rejected, and as I mentioned previously, people that were living in Nazareth always had to live with this stumbling block because while Judeans looked down upon Galileans, Galileans looked down upon people of Nazareth, and the saying “what good thing can come out of Nazareth” was a common saying of that day. And Jesus was indeed just that. In fact, they used to tell Nazarene jokes back then in place of other types of ethnic jokes that we do today. And so was Jesus a Nazarene in that sense? And according to the prophets, like Isaiah 53, Isaiah 49, Psalms 22, among others, He was a despised, rejected individual, and therefore that’s capsulized in the term, the “Nazarene.”
So when you see the New Testament quoting the Old Testament, what you have to do first of all is go back to the Old Testament original and see what the verse means in the Old Testament context. You can see whether it’s a literal prophecy followed by literal fulfillment, whether it’s a literal event or thing and then (?) typology and I might have mentioned that a major part of typology in the book of Hebrews, where he talks about the Aaronic priesthood, the Melchizedekian priesthood, the Kadesh-barnea incident, the tabernacle, the temple, the blood sacrifices, those he does not deny there was an Aaron, there was a Melchizedek, there was a tabernacle, there were sacrifices but the point he makes of these is they are all types of a New Testament event, so you have literal plus typical. If you have only one point of similarity then it is an application of that passage and in fact that’s the most common way pastors operate today; if they are expositors they will first of all explain what the passage means in that context and then they will give an application to a modern day situation, not implying that that’s what the prophet was speaking about; it’s only based upon a point of similarity. And then fourthly, if you cannot find such (?) that’s a good indication that it is a summary. And so that’s the way that you can determine how these various passages fit.
Now as I mentioned, these were common rabbinic concepts and there’s a term the rabbis used PRDS (?) using the Hebrew letters of Peh, Resh, Dalet, Samek (?) for PRDS, it’s an acronym, PRDS (?), and the P stands for the Hebrew word pshat (?), and pshat is the simple basic meaning of the text and that would fit the literal prophecy plus literal fulfillment. The word ramez (?), R stands for ramez, means a hint, a hint, and there you go from literal plus typical. The Dalet, the D stands for drush (?) which is exposition and that’s where the application comes in. And the letter S stands for the Hebrew word sought (?) which means secret and that is the summation. And so again these were not just uniquely with the New Testament writers, the Jewish rabbis also quoted the Old Testament using these same four categories; they even had a technical term for their system, which is the term PRDS (?).
d. His Boyhood – Paragraphs 17-19
(1) His Growth – Paragraph 17, Luke 2:40
In your outline we come to the next segment, which is small “d”, His Boyhood, comprising paragraph 17-19, with paragraph 17 dealing with His boyhood and His growth. Now Luke is focusing on the humanity of Jesus, the only one that gives us the summary statement about His human development from the age of four, approximately, until the age of twelve, Luke 2:40, “And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” Not much detail, but it summarizes His human development from about the age of four until the age of twelve.
What else we want to know about His human development we have to look at other sources. There are (?) rabbinical passages, for example, that He grew up in a Jewish home that was comprised of parents that were Bible believing parents, who were faithful to obey the Mosaic Law. So He grew up not only in a Jewish home, He grew up in a spiritual Jewish home of that day. Now the way Jewish boys were trained in those days, at the age of five they began the study of the Scriptures in the Jewish schools. At the age of ten they would then begin studying the rabbinic traditions, what is called the oral law; I’ll explain that a bit later. At the age of twelve they would then be apprentice to a specific profession.
Now if they were going to follow their own father’s profession they would stay home; if they were going to learn a brand new profession they’d be sent away to live with someone that would train them with this new profession, but the age of twelve is when they would begin learning a specific profession. If, however, they would want to continue to study Scripture and become rabbis they would be sent to a specific rabbi, he would train for the rabbinate; that would begin from about the age of twelve and go to around the age of thirty is when they would be ordained.
No doubt Jesus underwent the basic training, at the age of five He would begin the study of Scriptures; at the age of ten He’d begin the study of rabbinic traditions, and at the age of twelve He would make a decision concerning his occupation. That alone does not explain why He knows all that He knows by the age of twelve.
There’s one example we can learn some things about the Messiah from the Old Testament not revealed by the New. Turn to Isaiah 50. Isaiah’s favorite title for the Messiah is “the servant of Jehovah,” or “the servant of the Lord.” He has several “servant of Jehovah” passages that run throughout the book and the one that’s relevant to us right now is what he says in chapter 50. The entire passage is Isaiah 50:4-9. It begins at verse 4, “Then the Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary; he wakened morning by morning; he wakened mine ear to hear as they that are taught.  The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward.  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,” and so on, to the end of verse 9.
But the key verse here is verse 4, that as He was growing up, morning by morning, in the wee hours of the morning, He was wakened by God the Father, taken aside to be personally, individually, trained for His Messianic mission. He sort of was discipled by God the Father individually on a daily basis. Then in verse 5, even when He got to learn that His mission included a great deal of physical sufferings He did not rebel against what was being taught. And then verse 6, when that day came He says, “I gave my back to smiters,” He didn’t try to shield His back from the whipping scourge, nor did He try to shield His face nor hide His face from those who were spitting into it and pulling out His beard because He was unusually trained for this mission.
Keep in mind that with Jesus we have one person with two distinct natures, a human nature and a divine nature. As to His divine nature He was always omniscient and knew everything. As to His human He had to undergo the same living experience that we undergo. He had the unique experience of being trained by God the Father so by the age of twelve He clearly understood His Sonship relationship with God the Father.
(2) The Visit to Jerusalem
Paragraph 18 – Luke 2:41-50
That brings us to paragraph 18, the visit to Jerusalem. Now sometimes you have people saying this was in preparation for His Bar Mitzvah, however, Bar Mitzvah occurs at the age of thirteen, not at the age of twelve. But they are following a basic tradition of that day. Notice it says in Luke 2:41, “His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of Passover,” which again shows their clear obedience to the Mosaic Law. There are three festivals out of seven they could not observe at home, but Passover, Weeks and Tabernacles had to be observed wherever the tabernacle or temple stood, ultimately that became Jerusalem. And the parents went every year to the festival, showing their obedience to the Mosaic Law.
And it was a tradition that once a son reached the twelfth birthday, the Passover that comes after his twelfth birthday, in preparation for the Bar Mitzvah that will happen at the age of thirteen, he’s to be taken to Jerusalem at the observance of the Passover. And this they do. And when you traveled in those days you traveled in groups so when they left the city they made the assumption that Jesus was with the group; after traveling a whole day and coming to the first night’s lodging campsite they realized He was missing. It would take a whole day for them to get back to Jerusalem. And once they returned they also took three more days before they finally found Him.
And in Luke 2:46 we read, “And it came to pass after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors,” the word “doctor” here refers to those who were expertise in the interpretation of the Mosaic Law. He was sitting with those who were expertise in the Mosaic Law, “both hearing,” in the sense He understood what they were saying, “also asking them questions.” And verse 47 says, “All that heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” Normally at the age of twelve you would not be able to understand these things or raise the right questions and furthermore they all knew that Nazareth’s school system was not all that good anyway. But it was the result of His special training by God the Father on a day by day basis.
And when His mother finally sees Him, of course, she is greatly relieved but she temporally forgets who He is. And she says to Him in a typical Jewish mother’s way, Matthew 2:49, “Son, why have you thus dealt us in this way?” Now if you know the Jewish community well you know the tendency of Jewish mothers is to try to control their kids by laying guilt trips upon them. And that’s a common aspect. In fact, I was once told the difference between an Italian mother and a Jewish mother, the Italian mother says to her kids if you don’t finish your food I will kill you; a Jewish mother says if you don’t finish your food I’ll kill myself. And this was typical of the way Jewish mothers make their sons feel guilty. The story of how many Jewish mothers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Just one (?) says that’s all right children, I’ll just sit here in the dark. And if a mother buys her son two shirts for Hanukah or something, he puts one on, she’ll say to him, you didn’t like the other one?
And notice that mother Mary, mother Miriam here does the same thing, why did you do this to us? Didn’t you know that your father and I were looking for you sorrowing, trying to lay a quilt trip on Him. His answer in verse 50 is, “How is it that you sought Me? Wist you not that I must be about My Father’s house?” Now first of all He reminds her that His real Father is not Joseph; His real Father is the heavenly Father, therefore she, knowing that, should have known exactly where to look for Him in the temple compound, in the house of His Father.
Now notice that point two in your Harmony, the footnote under point two gives you a more literal Greek rendering about “My Father’s business” or occupation. Did you not realize that I must be about My Father’s business, or about My Father’s occupation? Remember He is twelve years old. That’s when a Jewish son chose the specific occupation he would pursue and the point he makes to her is this: she should have known where to look for Him, in the house of His Father because He will follow His Father’s occupation. So on one hand He did follow His foster father’s occupation, He became a carpenter. But secondly He also followed His heavenly Father’s occupation and that’s why He would be in the temple compound. So the events of Isaiah 50:4-9 shows what happens here; what we see is the results of His training in Isaiah 50 and He clearly recognizes by the age of twelve His Sonship relationship with God the Father.
(3) His Development
Paragraph 19 – Luke 2:51-52
Now paragraph 19 we come to His development. Notice two things here, in Luke 2:51, “He went down with them, and He came to Nazareth, He was subject unto them; His mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” Here we have a good verse that shows subjection is not an issue of superiority or inferiority. It’s a matter of divine order because what you have in verse 51 here is a superior, the sinless God-man subjecting Himself to two sinful inferiors, two sinful human beings, because subjection is a matter of divine order. In the husband/wife relationship it is one co-equal subjecting herself to another co-equal because it’s a matter of divine order.
Secondly in Luke 2:52, notice He develops in the same four areas of human development all of us have to develop. And the four specific areas that He mentions, first of all, He develops mentally, He advanced in wisdom. Secondly, He developed physically, He advanced in stature; He grew up to be five foot four. [Laughter]. Thirdly, He grew up socially, advanced in favor with God. And then fourthly, advanced socially, advanced in favor with men. These are the same areas we must develop as we grow up: mentally, physically, spiritually, socially we must also grow up in these same four areas. And that summarizes human development from the age of twelve until about the age of thirty or more.
B. The Herald of the King
1. The Message to John – Paragraph 20, Mark 1:1; Luke 3:1-2
On your outline we come to capital B which is The Herald of the King, comprising paragraphs 20-23. In paragraph 20 we have the message to John. Now the different elements Luke presents, notice Luke’s historical concerns, so while he could be (?) who was well (?) aware of this point of time, and based upon all of the information he gives us it would now be the year AD 26; AD 26 would be the actual year. At the end of Luke 3:2 it says “And the Word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.” The term in Greek is different than what we saw earlier in the term logos. The word he uses here is the word rhema, rhema is the spoken word and he hears the spoken Word of God telling him to begin the mission for which he was born. Logos is the much wider word; it can refer to the written word, the spoken word, the (?) word. And rhema is a segment of logos, logos is the wide term, by context we can tell whether it’s the spoken word, written word, or (?) word. And rhema would be the spoken element of logos.
I minister periodically in Honolulu Bible College, I jaunt there about every two years, and Honolulu has two Christian book stores, one which is called The Logos Bookstore; the second one is called The Rhema Bookstore. It’s obvious that the second bookstore owner did not understand Greek very well because if it’s in book form it’s not rhema; the logos term fits, the rhema doesn’t quite fit there.
2. The Message by John
Paragraph 21 – Mark 1:2-6; Matthew 3:1-6; Luke 3:3-6
Now paragraph 21, we have the message by John. In your Harmony notes you now begin, for the first time, to have these columns and A. T. Robertson who held to a Markan priority put the first column as Mark, second column Matthew, third column Luke, and the fourth column when it comes in will be John. I hold to Matthew priority but A. T. Robertson held to Markan priority, that’s why it’s set up in that order. Evidently Mark’s particular concern is to present the Messiah as the servant of Jehovah, and therefore we have him making reference to Isaiah, notice, because that will be the background out of which he will write concerning the ideal servant.
And the content of John’s message is three things: first of all, repentance, “Repent ye” in Matthew 3:2, he presents the back-to-God movement. Secondly, his teaching is Kingdom centered, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” it’s Kingdom centered. And thirdly, those who respond to John’s message undergo a baptism of repentance. Entirely what baptism means in a Jewish context we’ll discuss a bit later tonight when we get to paragraph 24 so I won’t discuss it here, just keep in mind that baptism was a very common Jewish practice long before it became a church practice. Not that it began, necessarily, with John; baptism was a common practice in Judaism for centuries before the time of John.
We’re also told in Matthew’s account, verse 4, that he dresses like Elijah. Earlier we were told he came in the spirit and power of Elijah and now we’re told he also dresses like Elijah. We’ll see more references between Elijah a little bit later. And he immediately gets a lot of attention, and Mark says in Mark 3:5, “all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem; were baptized of him in the river Jordan, and confessing their sins.” So his message, although he’s in the desert area, and the Jordan River, just north of the Dead Sea, he gets quite a following rather quickly. And the fact he’s proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven has Messianic overtones.
3. The Explanation by John
Paragraph 22 – Paragraph 22, Matthew 3:7-10; Luke 3:7-14
And that leads us to paragraph 22, the explanation by John. Now as we find in the New Testament the New Testament often represents what was common in first century Israel. What you find the New Testament presenting is that in first century Israel whenever there was any kind of national movement of significance it had to be investigated in two separate stages. Now the first stage was called the stage of observation. In the first stage a delegation was sent out to do nothing but observe. At this stage they could ask no questions, they could raise no objections, they could only observe what was being said, taught and done but nothing could be verbalized out loud. And after a period of observation they would go back to Jerusalem and give a report and issue a verdict; the verdict was to be is the movement significant or is insignificant? If it is determined the movement was insignificant the matter was dropped but if they said it was significant then came the second stage, the stage of interrogation. And now a second delegation was sent out but this time they would raise questions, raise objections, to give a basis to accept or reject a person’s claims.
Now again, because John came preaching the cause of the Kingdom which had Messianic overtones, what happens in paragraph 22 is the first of these two stages. Now Matthew 3:7 says that “when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism,” but not coming to be baptized by him; that’s going to come out in paragraph 57 and paragraph 57 will point out when they came to the baptism of John it was not for the purpose of being baptized by John; this is the observation state of observing what he is claiming, what he is saying, what he is doing. And to them John says in Luke’s account, Luke 3:7, “He said therefore to the multitude that went out to be baptized, Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore, fruits worthy of repentance; and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father.” What that phrase refers to is the common teaching of rabbis was that all Jews will enter the Messianic Kingdom; when Messiah comes all Jews will be resurrected and all will enter the Messianic Kingdom. And similarly being a descendant of Abraham will qualify you for the Kingdom and John warns them against relying on this issue.
And what these Pharisees and Sadducees who are members of the Sanhedrin begin to observe is John instructing people to do what goes contrary to their nature, that goes contrary to their office. For example, in Luke’s account, verse 10, he tells the multitudes, when they asked him, What shall we do? He says if you have two coats give one away. Whatever you have double of, share it with others. There is a tendency of people wanting to horde and to collect their things and he tells them to keep what is essential for them to meet their needs, but what they have leftover should be given away.
Luke 3:12, concerning the publicans, these were tax collectors, I’ll say more about them in a different context, but for now enough to say the publicans got their job because, in spite of the ostracization (?) they would feel, they would be ostracized in the community, they chose to take the job because of what it allowed them to get away with in collecting more funds than were necessary. And now he tells them in verse 13, “Extort no more than that which is appointed to you,” and so the very reason that they entered the job of publican is (?) now to be rejected. They can continue to be publicans but not to collect more than what’s allotted by the authorities.
As for the soldiers in verse 14, now why would Jewish soldiers become mercenaries in the Roman army? Because if they were part of an occupying army they could also become rather wealthy by taking spoil, and now he tells them to “Do no violence to any man,” and not to practice what they became soldiers for. This is not dealing with defending the country; it’s dealing with becoming wealthy through spoils of war. And so John is telling the people to do things that went contrary to their nature and contrary to their office. And when this group came back to report to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, as we will see later, the movement of Jesus of Nazareth is significant. But this point (?) underwent the stage of observation and what happens to the herald will happen to the king.
4. The Promise by John
Paragraph 23 – Mark 1:7-8; Matthew 3:11-12; Luke 3:15-18
Now paragraph 23 we have the promise by John. We now have the basic content of John’s message. He points out in Matthew’s account, in Matthew 3:11 that while he’s baptizing with water, the one coming after him will do two types of baptism; those who believe by the Spirit, those who don’t believe by fire. And the construction that he gives here he focuses on the concept of a different kind of baptism the Messiah will do. He points that, unlike John, this one will perform a baptism of fire, he will also perform a baptism of the Holy Spirit. And everybody will be baptized one way or the other. Now those who are baptized by the fire will be the chaff and the chaff in Matthew’s Gospel focuses on those who never believe. And these are the ones who will be thrown into the place of unquenchable fire; notice at the end of Matthew 3:12, the place of unquenchable fire is the lake of fire.
And so the first kind of baptism which will be applied to unbelievers is the baptism of fire. But for those that will be baptized by the Spirit is the wheat, which represents believers and they will be gathered into the barn. Now some interpret the barn to be heaven what’s in Matthew’s Gospel (?) interpret it as being the Messianic Kingdom, which much of Matthew’s focus is on, the Messianic Kingdom. There is no middle ground, there is no purgatory; everybody is baptized either by one way or the other. And for those who believe on the Messiah we have the baptism of the Spirit and those who reject the Messiah will be baptized by the fire of unquenchable fire, the lake of fire.
In Luke 3:18 Luke says, “With many other exhortations did he peach the good tidings unto the people.” And so while this was the content of his message in summary form, he had many other things to say, but that was the main element of his message, in the focus on the coming of the Messiah.
C. The Approval of the King – Paragraphs 24-27
1. At His Baptism – Paragraph 24, Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:1-23
So we come to capital C on your outline, which is The Approval of the King, comprising paragraphs 24-27. In paragraph 24 we come to His baptism. The baptism of Jesus marks the last act of His private life and the first act of His public life. He’ll discuss what the baptism was among the Jewish people because it’s picked up by the Church and in subsequent centuries the Church lost its vision of what baptism was about.
Let me deal with some of the key words that deal with the baptism, both from Hebrew and English. The word “mikveh” is the word that means the place of immersion; you’ll find often in Messianic circles when they talk about baptism they’ll say mikveh because most Americans Jews don’t know Hebrew and that’s especially true of Messianic Jews. But the word mikveh is not the baptism; it is simply the place where the baptism or the immersion occurred. And the correct Hebrew word for baptism is the word tevilah and tevilah means immersion. And in Jewish circles immersion was the only practice and to this day it’s the only practice. And so when a Gentile converts to Judaism he undergoes a process of immersion. In the Jewish circles there is no sprinkling, there is no pouring; only immersion is practiced in Jewish circles. When you go from Hebrew to Greek there are two words involved. The first word is bapto and bapto means to dip or to die. It was used of a piece of cloth dipped into die; when you pulled it out it changed its color, it changes identification. And then you have the more intensive form, baptizo, it comes from this word baptism which is to immerse, and baptizo is the Greek equivalent to tevilah.
Now the meaning of the word in both Hebrew and Greek is immersion. But the meaning of the act or ritual is identification. Again, the meaning of the word is immersion; the mean of the act or ritual is identification. So when a person underwent a baptism or immersion he identified himself with a person and/or message and/or group. That’s what baptism meant. And (?) identifying one’s self either to a message and/or person and/or group. And the new identification always meant a break with the old identification. And so, for example, when a Gentile committed to Judaism he was breaking away from his pagan Gentile idolatry and now identifying himself with the God of Israel and the Jewish people. A new identification always meant a separation from the old identification. And to this day when Jewish people baptize Gentile converts they identify themselves with the Jewish people.
And when John came doing his baptism those identified by being baptized by John identified themselves with John’s message. They’re making a commitment; whomever John points out the Messiah to be, upon Him they will believe. And it’s the identification of John’s baptism. For Christian baptism, or more correct our believer’s baptism, we identify ourselves with the death, and burial and resurrection of the Messiah. The meaning of all baptisms is identification; what differs from one baptism to another is who or what you identify yourself with. And therefore in the New Testament the only kind of baptism that is practiced is immersion, you don’t have anybody being sprinkled, anybody having water poured upon him. And furthermore in the New Testament you only find baptism among those that already have believed. There’s not one case of infant baptism anywhere in the New Testament. It would not be a Jewish practice among Jewish believers anyway.
Now when Jesus comes to be baptized by John, Matthew’s account, verse 14, says “John would have hindered Him,” because he recognized this One has no need for repentance and so on, yet Jesus insists on the going (?) of the ritual. And the question is why did Jesus subject Himself to baptism. Let me give you six basic reasons for the baptism of Jesus, four of which come out of the context of the baptism and two come from other passages.
The first reason that you see, for example, in Matthew 3:15, “to fulfill all righteousness,” to be identified with righteousness, specifically the righteousness of the Law in that He will fulfill all the required demands of the Mosaic Law.
Secondly, to identify with the preaching of the Kingdom, John’s message. He identifies Himself with the message; John’s message is the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore His baptism by John will identify Him with John’s Kingdom message.
He also identifies Himself with a group in baptism and this would identify Himself with the believing remnant being prepared by John. Let’s discuss what we mean by the concept of remnant; it’s a technical term in the Scriptures. And you first of all have all Israel, all Jews, all who are descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now within the larger Israel we always had a smaller Israel which the prophets called the remnant of Israel; these were the Jews who actually believed, what God had revealed to Moses and the prophets. Isaiah talks about the Remnant, in Isaiah 8, for example, he says what distinguishes the remnant from the non-remnant; the remnant believes in what God had revealed through Moses and the prophets, while the non-remnant rejects it and pursues idolatry and occult practices.
Isaiah 8 also points out another point. When Immanuel comes He will become the new point of division between the remnant and the non-remnant; He will become the new point of division. And for the remnant He will be a sanctuary, something precious; for the non-remnant He will be the stone of stumbling and rock of offense. The remnant was sometimes rather small, in Elijah’s day in the Northern Kingdom only 7,000 people were members of the believing remnant; the vast majority were idolaters. And it continues to the New Testament times, now the remnant is being comprised of those who will be responding to John’s message. And by undergoing the baptism of John He identifies Himself with this group, the remnant of Israel, being prepared by John at this point of time.
Now fourthly, to be made publicly known to Israel, I’ll come back to that momentarily. But these first four come from the context of the baptism. Now the fifth reason for His baptism, based upon 2 Corinthians 5:21, to be identified with sinners. “He who knew no sin was made like unto sin for our behalf,” to be identified with sinners. The sixth reason is to receive His anointing by the Holy Spirit. This is Acts 10:38, to receive His anointing by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s go back to the fourth reason, to be publicly known to Israel. Now in the context of the baptism, the whole Triune God makes His appearance. The Son is the person of the Messiah, Jesus, who is in the water undergoing the immersion. The Holy Spirit comes in visible form, in the form of a dove. Notice what Matthew 16:16, the second half of the verse 16, “the Spirit of God descending as a dove, coming upon Him.” And to make sure we understand that’s not merely a ghostly form that had the mere appearance of dove, Luke is a bit more specific, Luke says in verse 22, “the Spirit descended in bodily form, as a dove.”
Now the question is, why did the Spirit take on the form of a bird and why the specific bird of a dove? There’s a Jewish background here. The first time the Spirit is mentioned is in Genesis 1:2; in Genesis 1:2 it says “the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters,” and the Hebrew word used is [sounds like: merihephet (?)] and the Hebrew word merihephet (?) is used of a mother bird hovering over her eggs just before they hatch. It’s used of a mother bird hovering over the eggs just shortly before they hatch and so Moses presents the Spirit of God hovering over the waters just before the hatching of the dry land. And so as far as the Genesis account is concerned, by using the word merihephet (?) he pictures the Spirit doing the work of a bird. But in the Midrashim, a collection of rabbinic writings, it was the rabbis who specify what kind of bird it was; it was a dove…it was a dove! And so the Jewish mindset of that day, when the (?) and not just with a bird in general but specifically a dove, and for that reason He comes in the form of a dove in bodily form and descends upon the Son.
Now while the Son and the Spirit are visible in some form, God the Father is only present by His voice. In Matthew 3:17, “a voice out of heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And that’s the way God the Father chose to make Himself known, identifying His Son in connection with the Messianic Son of Psalm 2. Now why did He do it this way? Here again there was something involved in the Jewish mindset. Again, merihephet (?), the mother bird hovering over her eggs before they hatch and therefore… (?) specific bird was that of a dove. What we have here is known as about call; literally about call means the daughter of her voice…the daughter of her voice, it became a technical term for God’s voice when He spoke out of heaven.
Now in Jewish theology the prophetic voice ceased with Malachi and God no longer spoke through prophets as of Malachi. The next prophet that would arrive on the scene would be Elijah the prophet who will tell the Jewish people about the coming of the Messiah. Between Malachi and Elijah’s second coming there will be no prophet. But this does not mean that God was silent for periodically God will simply speak out of heaven, but not give a long discourse. What He would say would be one or two sentences and no more. In rabbinic writings you have lot of about calls, you have a lot of voices from heaven making a simple declaration and so this in the Jewish mindset would fit quite well. And the Father speaks out of heaven, saying “this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And so everything fits the Jewish context of that day with the Spirit as the bird as a dove, and the Father’s voice heard from heaven.
So what happened at the baptism of Jesus was two things: first of all, He was identified by God the Father to be the Messianic Son, and secondly, He was anointed by the Holy Spirit for service. Luke points out at the end of Luke 3:23, He was “about thirty years of age” and people always often skip the word “about.” He was not exactly thirty; He “was about thirty.” At this (?) age He was closer to about 32 or 33 already, He “was about thirty,” not exactly thirty.
2. Through the Temptation
Paragraph 25 – Mark 1:12-13; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13
Now paragraph 25, the approval through His temptation. Now the correlation between paragraph 24 and paragraph 25 should not be missed. In paragraph 24 He was declared to be the Son of God. In paragraph 25 He will be told to prove He’s the Son of God. In paragraph 24 He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness; now in paragraph 25 that righteousness is going to be tested. And all three Gospel accounts note this is part of a divine plan. Mark 1:12 says, “straightway the Spirit drives Him.” Matthew 4:1 says He was “let up of the Spirit.” Luke says in 4:1, twice, He was “full of the Holy Spirit,” He “was led by the Spirit,” it was very much part of the divine plan. Mark simply tells us he was in the wilderness for forty days, He was tempted by Satan, but he provides no details. The details are given only by Matthew and Luke.
If you take the time to read the two accounts you’ll notice that the order of the temptations is different between Matthew and Luke. And so we have to figure out what the chronology was; we follow Luke’s order because Luke alone claims to put his material in chronological sequence. Matthew simply follows his theme and because his theme is the kingship and Kingdom he saves the temptation about the King of the (?) Kingdoms of the world for last. But Luke’s actually puts it in the correct order as these temptations occurred.
Now as far as the purpose of the temptation, from God’s perspective it’s to prove the sinlessness of the Son. Satan’s purpose is to cause Him to sin in order to disqualify Him from making the atonement; to cause Him to sin for the purpose of disqualifying Him for making the atonement. Now in this temptation everybody recognizes He plays a representative role with believers. (?) to separate representative roles. First of all, He plays representatives role with Israel, to show where Israel failed as well as why Israel did not fail. And secondly He will play a representative role with believers in general to show how we should deal with the issue of temptation.
Let’s take these individually. He first of all plays a representative role with Israel to show Israel as a nation failed as well as why Israel did not fail. And we see this in five ways.
First of all, He uses the term Son of God; Israel was the Son of God as a nation according to Exodus 4:22-23 and here in the temptations He is called the Son of God.
Secondly, both testings occur in the wilderness; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 points out that the journey of Israel in the wilderness was a time of testing and temptation. Now He is being tested and tempted in the wilderness, or desert.
Thirdly is the figure forty; for Israel it was forty years, for Jesus it was forty days, in Mark’s account, Mark 1:13; so the figure forty plays a role in both places.
Fourthly, the presence of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah 63:7-14 points out the Spirit was present with Israel in the wilderness. And the first verse of each of these Gospel accounts, notice, points out the Spirit was with Him in the wilderness; in both cases the presence of the Spirit.
And fifthly, when (?) quotes the Old Testament He only quotes from one book, the third book of Moses, the book of Deuteronomy. Now most people have read Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, they read the book of Deuteronomy and what they often conclude is the book of Deuteronomy seems to repeat much of the history and many of the laws of the previous three books. And that’s why in Greek the name of the book became know as Deuteros nomos, two Greek words which make up the English word Deuteronomy, which means a repetition of the Law. That’s not the Hebrew name for the book; that is the Greek name for the book which does not follow the Hebrew name but the Greek name.
If all we’re seeing is here that he’s merely repeating what was said previously we’re missing the point that Moses was making. What Moses does in the fifth book is to take the history and the many commandments and rearrange them in a specific chronological order, not chronological order, a specific covenantal order. These are called suzerain vassal treaties… suzerain vassal treaties. We’ve discovered several of these in archeology; they all have the same five or six point outline. The book of Deuteronomy follows the same five to six point outline of a ancient suzerain treaty, with God being the suzerain and Israel being the vassal. So Deuteronomy is not merely repeating but it is actually God’s covenant book with Israel. It’s a covenantal arrangement. And because He represents Israel in these temptations He quotes only from the book of Deuteronomy. And so in these five ways He plays a representative role with Israel to show that where Israel as a people failed, this One did not fail.
He also plays a representative role with all believers. This we see from Hebrews 4:15 that says He suffered temptation in all points as we do, “yet without sin.” When Hebrews says He suffered the temptation in all points as we do here’s what it does not mean? It does not mean He suffered every type of temptation that we do any more than we suffer every type of temptation that He did. For example, I have never in my whole life been tempted to change stones into bread. I never will be tempted to do that because Satan won’t waste his time tempting me to do something I can’t do anyway. I can always get through those temptations with flying colors and always have victory 100%. Suppose I would try to impress you with my spiritual achievements and say this: Before coming to service tonight what I did was go through a rock garden and I resisted every temptation to change any stone into bread. Now would you be impressed with my accomplishments? Obviously not, you know I can’t do it anyway, so to me that’s not a real temptation. For Him it is a real temptation, He could change stones into bread.
On the other hand, He was not tempted to waste His whole day watching soap operas on television; never tempted to do that. So again, the word does not mean He suffered every type of temptation that we do any more than we suffer every type of temptation that He did. Rather the word “points” means areas and in 1 John 2:16 there are three areas of temptation, and the first area is the lust of the flesh. It (?) verses 2-4 you have the temptation to change stones into bread; this is the event that occurred at the end of the forty day fast. At this point His flesh was hungry and (?) the satisfaction of food. And it was the will of God the Father to be fed (?) at this point of time was not the will of God the Father to use His Messianic power for self-gratification; this was in the temptation area of the lust of the flesh.
The second area is the lust of the eyes, that’s in verses 5-8 where He is shown the satanic vision, He could see all of the kingdoms of the world and Satan says I will give you my authority over all these kingdoms if you’ll worship me. Of course, this is the will of God the Father for the Son, to rule the kingdoms of this world, but the means of attaining authority would be by means of the cross, not by means of offering by worshiping Satan and Satan was using a shortcut to His Messianic goal, for example, an illegitimate means to attain legitimate ends.
And the third temptation deals with the pride of life, that’s in verses 9-12, He’s taken to the pinnacle of the temple, the southeast corner, the highest point between top to bottom and Satan says if you really are the Son of God, prove it to me by jumping off. And of course if He jumped off and floated down people would declare Him to be the Messiah, so prove to me You are the Son of God by jumping off because Psalm 91 does say that if the Most Highest stumbles the angels will catch Him so He cannot be hurt before His time; this is another temptation area of the pride of life.
So He did suffer in the same three areas that we suffer temptation, but in His case without sin. And so He plays a representative role for all believers. Look at verse 13 says “And when the devil had completed every temptation,” meaning in all three areas, “he departed from Him,” (?) that illustration of the teaching that if we will resist Satan he will flee from us. But it also points out every victory is temporary. Notice the last phrase, “for a season.” Eventually he will come back and tempt us again. And the experiential warfare is not a one-time battle, it’s a life-long conflict.
And at least from this account we learn the proper way to deal with temptation. Notice what He does not do. He does not practice any of the practices that you see on TBN; He doesn’t call Satan any names, He doesn’t renounce him, He doesn’t bind him, doesn’t walk around him seven times, He simply quotes Scripture and without issue. And the spiritual warfare can be won by those two elements: first of all, we have to study the Word of God and secondly apply it. Knowledge alone can puff up; unless we apply what we learn from the Word we have not won the victory; we cannot apply what we do not know, the two have to work together—a studying followed by application.