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The Christian Counter

     
WHO IS JESUS?

Lesson 3

Introduction

The Bible begins by saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 The first chapter of the Bible introduces the creation of the world but says very little about its Creator.  Who is God?  What is He like?  What were His plans?

Unlike all other literature, the Bible was written to inform man of his Creator.  The problem with literature is an infinite and omnipotent God can’t be described on paper.

For example, write a description of a friend’s face so that a stranger could quickly identify your friend in a crowd!  So God chose to reveal Himself over time – to various generations of people – in little segments of truth.  In this manner, those wanting to know Him would become acquainted with Him by understanding his actions!

Because man can only understand God through His actions, it is important that God is consistent.  “I the Lord do not change.”  Malachi 3:6 He is consistent.  Paul says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

Man learns about God

From time to time, and in various ways, God has revealed Himself to men and women.  Paul encouraged Timothy to take heed to the scriptures saying,  “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16,17 The term “God breathed” is further explained by Peter.  “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  II Peter 1:21 In effect, the Bible offers us more than just human speculation about God.  Bible writers received special information or revelations of God through the Holy Spirit.  The Bible says,  “When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.” Numbers 12:6

The library

The Bible is actually a library consisting of 66 books written by 40 authors over a period of about 15 centuries.  There are 39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books.  The Old Testament was completed with Malachi’s book about 350 years before Christ, and the New Testament was assembled about 350 years after Christ.

Coming to terms with terms

We must understand a very simple but important matter regarding the Bible.  First, the terms “Old Testament” and  “New Testament are terms we use today but were not used during the days of Jesus nor after the ascension of Jesus!  The 39 books we call the Old Testament today were simply called the Scriptures by Jews and Christians.  As the Christian movement grew in size, a church council was called about 350 A.D. to collect and assemble the writings of the apostles (and others).  Even though a number of books by various authors were considered, 27 were ultimately selected and this collection became known as the “New Testament” while the older collection of Scriptures became known as the “Old Testament.”

Some people misunderstood the importance of the Old Testament.  They say the Old Testament has no value or meaning for the Christian Church today.  This is unfortunate.

Notice what Paul wrote to Timothy around 65 A.D.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the men of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16,17 What is Paul referring to as Scripture?  The only Scripture that existed at the time of Paul’s writing is what we call the Old Testament!

In the days of Jesus, the Scriptures were divided into three parts:  The Law (the 5 books of Moses), The Psalms (Proverbs, Song of Solomon) and the Prophets.  When Jesus gave His famous sermon on the mount, he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”  Matthew 5:17 Notice how Jesus was referring to the Scriptures!  Again, at the close of His ministry Jesus said to his disciples,  “This is what I told you while I was still with you:  Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”  Luke 24:44,45

Same God in Old as in New

The Old and New Testament are inspired by the same Holy Spirit, have the same authority and reveal the same God!  John says, “{1} In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  {2} He was with God in the beginning.  {3} Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that had been made.  {4} In him was life, and that life was the light of men… {10} He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

{11} He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  {12} Yet to all that received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – {13} children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  {14} The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Selections from John 1:1-14

Some have found this thought helpful with the verses above.  Think of the name “God” as a last name.  There is Father God, Son God, and Holy Spirit God.  These three have the same last name, are equals in every way but have different roles.  (See also Matthew 28: 19, John 15:26)  See if you can find the actual verses above that support the following conclusions:

Verse _____ The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Verse _____ The Word was with the Father before the world began.

Verse _____ The Word made the world.

Verse _____ The Word existed before the world was made.

Verse _____ The Word is Jesus.

Verse _____ Jesus is one of the Godhead.

If you will reread these verses from John 1 carefully, you will discover they are packed with valuable information about Jesus.  Interpolating verse 14, we can exchange some words.  Whenever “Word” is used, replace it with “Jesus” and notice the meaning!

The God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New Testament:  Jesus!

The Bible is very clear that Jesus was in heaven before the world was created.  Although we do not refer to “Jesus” by this earthy name in the Old Testament, the fact is that nearly all references to God in the Old Testament are references to the person we call Jesus!  Here’s the conclusive evidence:

Jesus asks for His previous glory in Gethsemane:  “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”  John 17:5

Jesus told the Pharisees that the Scriptures focus on Him:  “And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me.  (The Father spoke at the baptism of Jesus saying, “This is my Son,”)  You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.  You diligently study the Scriptures (Old Testament) because you think by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”  John 5:37-40

Jesus the Creator

Paul tells us that Jesus is the creative agent within the Godhead.  He writes,  “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”  Hebrews 1:1,2

Notice this statement by Paul affirming that Jesus is the creative agent within the Godhead,  “For by Him (Christ) all things in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:16,17

Jesus is as much God as the Father.  In fact the book of Revelation is primarily focused on the revelation of who Jesus really is!

The Bible gives us harmonious information on which Jesus really is:  Paul says,  “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…that is head over every power and authority.”  Colossians 2:9,10 In Revelation Jesus said to John,  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8  

John, as mentioned earlier says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”  John 1:1-3

Peter says,  “He  (Jesus) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”  I Peter 1:20

Isaiah quotes the Lord, saying, “Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together…This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”  Isaiah 48:12,13,16,17

Philip, one of the first disciples of Jesus, told his brother,  “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  John 1:45

Jesus said to Abraham, “…I am God Almighty; walk before me be blameless.”  Genesis 17:1 The Jews argued with Jesus because He claimed to be preeminent over Abraham but Jesus said,  “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”  The Jews sneered back, “You are not yet fifty years old… and you have seen Abraham!  I tell you the truth, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am!”  John 8:56-58

So, who is Jesus?

  • Jesus is Jehovah.  Exodus 6:3
  • Jesus is the Lord God.  Isaiah 48
  • Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Revelation 19:16
  • Jesus is Almighty God. Genesis 17:1
  • Jesus is our Creator.  John 1:10
  • Jesus is our Redeemer.  Isaiah 48
  • Jesus is our Friend.  John 15:13-15

Jesus said, “Do not your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  John 14:1-4

VIP – Very interesting point

The role and identity of Jesus has not only been a mystery to human beings, but to angels also!  Before coming to earth as a baby boy, Jesus lived in heaven as an angel.  The angels called Him  “Michael” who means “One who is like God”.  Four times in the Bible the name “Michael” is used.  In Jude 9, Michael is called the archangel.  In Daniel 10:13, Michael is called “One of the chief princes”.  In Daniel 12:1, the Great Tribulation begins when Michael (who is presently seated at the right hand of the Father) stands up.

Daniel appropriately calls Jesus “Michael” for he writes about 600 years before “Michael” becomes baby Jesus.

In Revelation 12:7 we find Michael and His angels fighting Satan and his angels. Both Michael and Satan were angel kings before the creation of the world.  Michael is the archangel over the faithful angels, and Satan is ruler over his angel followers.  Thus the great controversy between Christ and Satan began before the world was created.  Each time the name Michael is used in the Bible, there is a conflict between Satan and Jesus.

The beauty of knowing that Michael is Jesus is that the creative agent of the Godhead lives as one of his own creation!  He lived many years as an angel, and stooped lower to become a man.  What divine love!

Satan’s problems with Michael stemmed from the fact that he would not bow to another “angel”.  Satan came to feel in his heart that he was greater than Michael.  (See Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.)  The same problem also occurred upon earth.  Many only saw Jesus as a man and accused him of blasphemy when he said that he “came from God”.

In the Old Testament, Jesus is often called or referred to as “the angel of the Lord.”  Two excellent examples are provided. When Abraham was about to offer up Isaac the Bible says,  “But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said.  The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said…’I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”  Selections from Genesis 22:11-18

The second example is even more convincing that Jesus is sometimes called the “angel of the Lord.”  One day when Moses was tending his sheep he discovered a burning bush.  The Bible says, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the flames of fire from within the bush.  Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.’  When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!  And Moses said ‘Here I am.’  Do not come any closer,’ God said.  ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’  Then he said ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’” Exodus 3:2-6

The Bible leads us in small steps to understand who Jesus really is.  When Jesus came to earth, He stooped even lower.  Paul says,  “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet… But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”  Hebrews 2: 6-9

The story of Revelation is devoted to the singular point of revealing who Jesus is.  This is why the book is called  “The Revelation of Jesus.”  When the last of the seven seals has been broken, then all the angels in heaven, the evil angels on earth, the wicked of earth and the redeemed will behold the fullness of who Jesus really is.  At that time the revelation of who Jesus really is will be complete!

One final and glorious point.  At the end of the millennium – when Jesus is fully revealed, He does a very beautiful thing. Paul says,  “Then the end will come, when he (Jesus) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power… When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”  I Corthinians 15: 24,28

What a wonder Savior is Jesus!  Think of it.  Michael, the Son of God, was humble enough to live as an angel.  Then, he stooped even lower to live as a man.  Even more, he willingly died on Calvary to pay the penalty for sin.  Is it any wonder that Jesus said,  “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whosoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28

Thought questions:

One of the most touching verses in the Bible is found in John 1:11.  John says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”  Reflect for a moment that Jesus was literally the One who chose Israel, the One who delivered Israel from bondage, the One who fed Israel with manna from heaven, the One who cared for and blessed Israel, the One who sought the affections of Israel – and He was the One rejected and crucified by Israel.

How do you receive Jesus?  Do you know Jesus well enough that you want to live with Him for eternity? Do you really want to live with Jesus?  Are you willing to be His servant for eternity?  Are you willing to do what He asks? Are you willing to become what He wants you to be?  Are you willing to go where He commands? If not now – when?  If you are willing now, you know the way to heaven.  Take a few minutes and read John 1:14-17 from your Bible.  You’ll be glad you did.

Quiz

  1. How many books are there in the Bible?

The Old Testament:

The New Testament:

  1. How was the information written in the Bible written?
  1. Name the three divisions of the Old Testament:
  1. Who created all things?
  1. What evidence suggests the Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead?
  1. Jesus has promised to return to earth.  Why?

Memory Verse

John 1:11  “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

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