The Blasphemy of a Messiah

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.   Acts 9:20

How much significance should be placed on this point that Paul immediately began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  First, consider the facts that came out at the trial of Jesus Christ.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.  The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.           John 19:5-7.

At a public trial, the testimony of His accusers was that Jesus must die for claiming to be the Son of God. Now the man who was previously persecuting the church, one of high esteem among the religious leadership, was preaching this very thing! This is an extraordinary turn of events, that the one who was identified and accepted by the original disciples as the “apostle to the gentiles”, would first boldly preach in the synagogues of every place he visited.

For many have come before and after claiming to be a messiah, a fact of which is much attested. For messianic Jews to simply proclaim Yeshua haMashiach in Israel or anywhere in the world in nothing new under the sun.  If you want to stir up the status quo, preach the Son of God. 

Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.  For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.  Acts 5:34-39.

It is noteworthy that this same Gamaliel was the headmaster of the school of the Pharisees where Saul trained. (Acts 22:3). And who was the one man that disregarded this advice and set off on a murderous rampage against the church?  Irony!

Before appearing at the judgment seat of Pilate, Jesus was examined by the High Priest, along with the scribes and elders. Many false witnesses came forward to accuse Jesus, but none of the charges held. Then the High Priest played his trump card:

But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless 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. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Matthew 26:63-66.

And so the religious authorities found Jesus guilty of blasphemy and worthy of death for claiming to be the Son of God. Then Saul, upon his conversion immediately preached this in the synagogues, thereby, bringing the same charge against himself. Then he gave this testimony of himself before his conversion..

Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.   1 Tim 1:13.

This is his conversion, to embrace what was called blasphemy, and reject what was before:

I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamalieland taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.  Acts 22:3.

The Lord Jesus Christ expects us to preach His Blasphemy, for this is the most excellent glory that He received:

For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.              2 Peter 1:17.

do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?   John 10:36.

Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth

Jesus told the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is their doctrines. The Lord regularly spoke against the traditions of men displacing God’s word as their memorials. This people draw near unto me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, but in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the ordinances of man. Matthew 15:8; Is 29:13.

If talk of firstborn sons, unleavened bread and the Torah given to Moses as the Memorials we maintain before God strikes you as odd, your “bread” may have been leavened by the doctrines of men. Much of Paul’s teaching in regards to the Law has been greatly misconstrued. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, “the law of commandments contained in ordinances”…this expression in the Greek nomos entole en dogma refers to the place given to commentary. Dogma in English comes directly from the Greek dogma and refers to the opinion of “experts”. Someone is dogmatic when they are devoted to the teachings of a preferred teacher, preacher or guru.

Therefore let us keep the feast not with old leaven neither with leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Co 5:8.

Paul gave this testimony of himself at Jerusalem in Acts 22:3,” I am verily a man who is a Jew born in Tarsus in Cilicia yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers,” This manner of the law of the fathers went way beyond the study of the law and the prophets, but was thorough in considering the commentaries of experts, known as sages who often interpreted passages in contrary ways.  

Paul is even more direct in writing; blotting out the “handwriting” of ordinances (dogma), which was against us (as a testimony to the doctrines of men), which was contrary to us and took it out of the way, nailing it to His stake. Colossians 2:15.  This is only evident when we are circumcised by the circumcision of Christ (without hands, in the Spirit not the flesh). That you be not spoiled by the philosophy and tradition of men, which is vain deceit (and conceit), and worldly principles (degrees) which are perishing. Colossians chapter 2 (essential!).

When Paul wrote in Romans 8:3; for what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; the issue is clearly the weakness of the flesh, not the inadequacy of the Law. This was preceded by these key verses in Romans chapter 7. Wherefore the Law is holy and the commandment holy and just and good. Verse 12. For we know that the Law is spiritual but I am carnal, sold under sin. Verse 14. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man. Verse 22. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Verse 23. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Verse 25.    In neglecting a correct understanding of Romans 7, many believe that when Paul wrote in Romans 8:2 for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death; that he is somehow referring to the law of Moses! Our carnal man must die for us to fulfill the good and perfect and acceptable Will of God, as expressed by His Torah. Do we then make void the Law through faith? God Forbid! Yea, we establish the Law! Romans 3:31.

For our rejoicing  is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have had our conversation in the world. 2 Co 1:12.

For we are not as many which corrupt the Word of God, but as of sincerity but as of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Co 2:17.

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14.

 

Memorial of the Firstborn

The Lord spoke unto Moses; sanctify unto me all the firstborn…remember this day you came out of Egypt, for the Lord brought you out with a strong hand, therefore you shall not eat with leaven….for seven days…and you shall tell your son in that day “This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when he brought me out of Egypt.       Exodus 13:1-8, abbrev.

And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand and for a memorial before your eyes that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. Exodus 13:9. 

After destroying all the firstborn males of Egypt and sparing Israel, both of man and beast, the Lord claims all the firstborn males who open the womb as His own possession. To eat bread without leaven for seven days is to acknowledge what God sanctifies unto Himself as an ordinance forever.  These commandments are for a memorial to the strong hand of the Lord in our life, to direct our actions in accordance with His ways, not our own ability.

And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, what is this?  You shall say unto him, with a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the house of slavery…..therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every male that opens the womb but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. Exodus 13:14, 15. The Lord displays His strong hand in judgment against the strength of man as a display of sovereignty. “For the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Co 1:25. This perception of man invested in the first born male is clearly understood in the words of Jacob in his final blessing upon his sons in Genesis 49.

Reuben you my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Gen 49:3. The might of man is restricted by the curse of Cain. So much emphasis is placed on diet to maximize the might (koakh) of man, but the earth itself sets a bound. “When you till the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto you her strength (koakh), a fugitive and a vagabond shall you be in earth.”   Genesis 4:12.

“The beginning of my strength” is the expression of a man’s virility. He smote all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength. Psalm 105:36.

On the other hand, God displays His might and the beginning of His strength in creation. Lift up your eyes on high and behold who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power, not one fails. Isaiah 40:26.

Moreover, this perception of the firstborn male is an expression of the pride of man. In this context, the Lord invests Israel before the witness of Pharaoh (the false man-god) with a severe warning: And you shall say unto Pharaoh, thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn, and I say unto you; let my son go that he may serve me, and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, your firstborn. Exodus 4:22&23.

The priesthood had become exclusive to the tribe of Levi after the golden calf incident, and as a result, they took the place of the firstborn redeemed of the Lord in Numbers chapter 3. Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that opens the womb from among the children of Israel, therefore the Levites shall be mine because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast, mine shall they be: I am the Lord. Numbers 3:12 & 13. The census established the number of Levite males qualified to serve with Aaron in the priesthood, the sons of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.  The census of the firstborn males totaled 273 souls above that of the qualified Levite males, and these were redeemed by a five shekel per man redemption price.

Take heed to understand that the church is not exclusive to firstborn males of natural childbirth, but the number establishes a limit to the fullness. God has taken for Himself the firstborn as a reflection of the fact that the Son of God is the firstborn of all creation. Thus Hebrews 12:23 refers to the general assembly and church of the firstborn.

In modern day Israel, the government mints a five shekel commemorative coin that can be purchased for a family who has a son as the firstborn, by natural childbirth. Family restrictions in some countries, birth control, abortion and cesarean birth all restrict the number of firstborn males who open the womb, and the church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23). For Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the gentiles until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled. Luke 21:24. As well the blindness of Israel shall only continue until the fullness of the gentiles be come in. Romans 11:25. Anyone who has been a faithful steward of the mysteries of God is well aware of this from the scriptures.

To what end is all of this concern for the firstborn, what is the Logos of God revealed to us? The Father has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN OF EVERY CREATURE, for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him and He is before all things and by Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the body, the church who is the beginning the FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Even the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:12-27.

One of the clearest statements of what it means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God is The Logos from the foundation of the cosmos. 

We have now listed two of the mysteries of God which Paul speaks, and we are to be faithful stewards. As to the Christ being the Logos, compare Colossians 1 to the witness of the elders in heaven speaking in Revelation 4:11; You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, for you have created all things and for your pleasure they are and were created.