- THE CHRIST – SON OF GOD
- WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REVEAL?
- THE ORIGINAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE MESSIAH, SON OF GOD
- THE BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MESSIAH, SON OF GOD
- THE SIGN OF THE LAST MESSIAH
- DISPUTABLE ISSUES
- THE CHRIST, REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD AND MEN
- MOSES – CHRIST, SON OF GOD
- SON OF GOD – CONTINUES HIS ROLE
- KINGS – SONS OF GOD
- SON OF GOD – IN DANGER
- CHRIST, SON OF GOD – PART 2
- WHAT THE ANGEL GABRIEL SAID ABOUT THE SON OF GOD
- WHAT GOD SAID ABOUT HIS SON
- WHAT JESUS CLAIMED FOR HIMSELF
- WHAT DID THE APOSTLES SAY ABOUT JESUS?
- WHAT THE WICKED ANGELS SAID ABOUT JESUS
- WHAT OPPONENTS SAID ABOUT JESUS
- JESUS DEFENDS HIS STATUS AS THE SON OF GOD
- WHAT THE ROMANS SAID ABOUT JESUS
- MY FATHER
- ALL PAGES
Page 1 of 21
THE CHRIST, SON OF GOD
Jesus is the Son of God. This is claimed by all Christians, although their views differ. This term is generally thought to refer to Jesus’ celestial status of the Son in relation to God as his Father, with whom, since eternal times, he has shared the highest position with respect to all heavenly and earthly creatures. But there are those Christians who believe that it is a man who is appointed to be the Son of God. To clarify this dilemma, we must take a good look at the historical background on which all Jews regarded their Messiah as the Son of God in a unique sense.
Here I am going to present some completely new facts that may delight you, as well as I was delighted as I wrote this article. Some of the information in this article come to light for the first time. I tried to answer all the questions that any of you might ask about this topic.
You probably know that the Bible mentions two groups called ‘sons of God’:
The sons of God
- celestial beings
“And the day came, which was appointed, that the sons of Jehovah, the true God should stand before him …” (Job 1: 6)
- earthly beings
“You (sons of Israel) are the sons of Jehovah your God.” (Deuteronomy 14: 1)
We must take into account that every single person in both groups is a son of God (lowercase ‘s‘). However, there are more prominent sons in each group as senior and supreme princes or elders who govern over the celestial or earthly group and their number depends on the existing organization. Given that Yehoshua (Joshua, son of Joseph; Greek, Jesus) is the foremost Son (capital ‘S’), we are interested in which group he belongs to, whether heavenly or earthly. What should open our minds to accept the truth about Jesus is that
- The Bible contains statements from the apostles and Jesus himself, that relate his sonship to the scriptures related to just one of these groups
- In one of these two groups we find such a prominent firstborn “Son”, while in the other group there is no such “Son”.
Which group is that? Before revealing this, we need to consider the sense and the meaning of the term ‘Son of God’, in reference to Jesus. It is evident that, at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus did not personally claim to be the Son of God. He never explained to people what this term should mean for him. He often presented himself as ‘the son of man’, that is, the son of a man. Hence, his disciples considered him to be ‘the son of Joseph’ (John 1:45). Before personally claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God, this was claimed by those who became conscious of his messiahship, such as John the Baptist, Nathaniel, Peter, and some others. However, what did these Jews mean by this term if Jesus did not speak about it? The term seemed to be well known to them, so it did not need to be specifically explained. After he began to speak publicly for himself that he was the Christ, the Son of God, then his opponents also sought to refute his messianic role because they also knew who could claim to be the Messiah. All of them had in common that they clearly knew from Scripture what the term Son of God meant and to whom it referred. There was one view back then and there are several today. Which of the following was one that the Jews of that time could clearly and unambiguously use for their Messiah, whom they awaited in their day:
The Son of God is…
- appointed the Son by God (a human)
- the first to be created by God (an angel)
- one of the angels of God (the chosen angel)
- literally born of God (deity)
- second person of the triune God (God)
- one manifestation of the triune God (God)
- Yahweh God in the body of man (God)
One of these views claims that the term ‘Son of God’ refers to a man, while all other views claim to be a term that describes the foremost heavenly being as God or his first, only and unique Son. Let’s ask ourselves:
- If the Jews, when reading the Scriptures, could have had only one view that they have maintained to this day, how is it possible that Christians have created so many different views?
- If, however, it was possible to create so many points of view from the Hebrew scriptures, could the Jews have as many versions over which they would dispute?
- If there was more than one version, did Jesus need to clarify this so that they would know who he was and what the Scriptures were saying about him in that sense?
- If Jesus did not clarify this concept, could Nathaniel, for example, have one view, Peter the other, the Pharisees again, the third, the Sadducees the fourth, and the Essenes the fifth view?
From the four Gospels we learn that all, even Jesus himself, used the term ‘Son of God’ for the Messiah in only one original sense. This tells us that some Christian teachers have neglected the original, true, point of view and succeeded in imposing their own. To separate the truth from the fallacy, we will consider only the two points of view mentioned previously, which claim that the term ‘Son of God’ refers to a celestial being and see if at least one of them can be supported by actual biblical and historical facts. Consider these two contemporary views about the heavenly Son:
The view of Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Bible calls Jesus the “Son of God” because he was (directly) created by God Himself, and therefore has the same attributes as his Father … so he (the first angel) can rightly be called “the only begotten” and “the firstborn of all creation” (Awake!, 2006/3 p.12; 2013/12 p.11; Watchtower, 2010/4/1 p.5)
Adventist Viewpoint – SDA (Non-Trinitarian branch)
The Bible is unequivocal in saying that Jesus is the literal, only-begotten Son of God – the only one who is literally born of God (divinity, God) because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” – not the Son of creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, such as a sinner to whom forgiveness was granted, but the Son born in the perfect form of the Father, and in all the splendor of His majesty and glory, equal to God in authority, dignity and divine perfection. In him resided all the fullness of the Go bodily.” (E. G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895, Chap. 3)
These two views share a common belief that Jesus’ sonship is tied to the heavenly nature of existence. If they cannot be confirmed, then other similar viewpoints based on Jesus’ premise fall into the water, so that only the viewpoint that should be based on the Bible in every detail remains. This view would be exactly the original that the Jews used for their Messiah (Christ). If we know the Bible well, let us ask ourselves whether Jews who, like those of Berea, have thoroughly studied the Hebrew Scriptures, could have obtained the above interpretations from the Scriptures? Where would they read and find out…
- that God gave birth to / created a unique being
- that this being is literally the firstborn / first-created
- that this being will be incarnated and born on earth
Given that there are no such statements in the Hebrew section of the Bible, neither did Jesus explain in what sense he was the ‘Son of God’, how is it possible that some Jews, such as Nathanael and Peter, had acquired such a belief in the heavenly Messiah, and even at the beginning of Jesus’ the ministry confidently said to Jesus:
“You are the Son of God” (John 1:49; Matthew 14:33; 16:16)
Since they could not have in mind a completely clear and unambiguous picture of the existence of a unique heavenly Son, it is normal to ask: What did they and other Jews mean by the term ‘Son of God’, which they associated with their Messiah? To find out again, let’s take a look at the Hebrew scriptures. What do we see there?
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WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REVEAL?
The Hebrew scriptures speak of God as the Creator of all living things, but nowhere do they mention that God first created the first Son and, through him, the other sons. The scriptures do not mention that God is procreating and that he literally, physically gave birth to a single, unique divine being. If he has literally given birth to one son, then he has the ability to give birth to more of them, so even the angels who are referred to in the Bible as ‘sons of God’ could be said to have been born literally, or formed or created in the body of God before birth. Similarly, the angel-cherubim who was set up in Eden is said to have been ‘created’ or ‘formed’ (Heb. ‘bara’), because it would imply that he was born afterwards (Ezekiel 28:13,15). It would also imply that every celestial ‘son’, because of such a birth, is identical with the Father and has the ability to have identical children, but there is no word of such literal birth in the Bible.
If various angelic beings (‘sons of God’) are seen in prophetic visions as standing around God, then that distinguished Son, as a literal firstborn / only begotten, would be especially distinguished. However, none of the prophets saw him in visions as standing or sitting next to God, nor spoke of him in the prophetic revelations (see 1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:4-28; Daniel 7:9,10).
If God revealed His name YHWH (Yahweh, Jehovah) to His chosen people, then would He also announce the name of His distinguished Son, if he were the key figure who was in all things related to man and God’s people? But there is no mention of him, for none of the sons of heaven had any resemblance to God, for it says:
“Who is in the clouds equal to Yahweh? Who is like Yahweh among the sons of God? To a God who is fearful in the council of the saints, exalted above all around him” (Ps 89: 6,7)
If there were a distinguished Son in heaven appointed by God to direct and lead the “council of holy” angels and all things created in God’s name, then the psalmist would have singled him out and asked if anyone was equal to that Son of God, not God, to that Son , because it goes without saying that no one can be equated with God. That is why some theologians have concluded that the Yahweh God himself played the role of the Son in the flesh, because they did not find any “Son”, a unique being born to God, in the Hebrew scriptures. It is obvious that the Jews were not able to clearly and unambiguously understand from the Scriptures that there was one unique Son in heaven, so the question remains – why did they use that term for Jesus?
Some claim him to be the ‘angel of Yahweh’, often referred to in the Bible. However, this angel, whose name is not mentioned, is only one of those nameless who is referred to as angels of God or of Yahweh (Genesis 28:12; Ps 91:11; 103:20). Others claim that he was the one the king of Babylon saw in the furnace with the three Hebrews whom he said looked like a “son of God.” How could he know that there was one unique son of God and that is exactly what he looks like? Obviously, it is an angel because that angel is only one of the ‘sons of God’ who can be sent as protection (Dan 3:25; Job 2: 1). Others claim it to be the archangel Michael, but the fact is that the Jews at the time did not view him as the only archangel or their Messiah, because then at least some of them would ask ‘is Jesus actually the promised Michael, the Son of God’ as some have said that Jesus was …
“… John the Baptist; the second being Elijah; the third again being Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Matthew 16: 13,14)
Some even thought that David was the Messiah who once was and will come again, so Peter explained to the people that he was a descendant of David (Acts 2: 29-36; see Jeremiah 30: 9; Ezekiel 34: 23,24). It never occurred to them to associate Jesus with any heavenly ‘son’ because God did not reveal it to them through the prophets at all. The first to announce the existence of this distinguished heavenly Son or ‘angel of the Lord’ was the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria. However, he did not see this “Son” as a human Messiah because, to him, the Messiah was to be a human being. However, the proponents of Christian Gnosticism identified the “angel of the Lord” with Jesus Christ in the second half of the 1st century, which led to the development of different theories of Jesus Christ.
Without the clear revelations of God, it is impossible to claim that before the creation of living beings, God literally gave birth or created a divine being who is, therefore, His first or only son. If it is not clearly identified and defined in the Hebrew scriptures, then it is even more questionable to claim that this heavenly Son was to be the Messiah in human form and that the Jews identified him with Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph). If all this is questionable and impossible to extract from the Hebrew part of Scripture, then why did all the Jews of the time then easily use the term ‘Son of God’ without any conflict about its meaning? This term obviously has a special and unique meaning that all those who said to Jesus had in their minds:
“You are the Son of God”
What is the meaning of this term? The fact is that none of the Jews were wondering if Jesus was the heavenly Son, but they were asking if this man, of the lineage of David, was the awaited Anointed King (Christ, Son of God), as described in the Scriptures. Apparently, the term “Son of God” referred to a prominent human. If this is true, then it would have to be easily proven by the Bible. Let’s see!
Page 3 of 21
THE ORIGINAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE MESSIAH, SON OF GOD
Every man who was ordained and anointed by God as prophet, judge, king, and priest was the ‘anointed one’ (messiah or christ). This is common knowledge. However, what is still hidden from many and may come as a surprise to them is the following: In the history of God’s people, the title ‘Christ, the Son of God’ could be applied to several individuals, not just one. All until the final Messiah or Christ, Joshua (Jesus) got appointed to the highest place, as the first heir to the Kingdom of God, in the 1st century CE. This is the basic reason why the Jews had a unique view of the term, and its meaning was well known to them. Accordingly, the term
- Christ, the Son of God – does not apply to just one, single human
Such a revelation, which we will explain here, completely undermines the claim that the term ‘Son of God’, in connection with Jesus Christ, refers to a heavenly being. We can learn this fact from John the Baptist himself, who can explain it firsthand. At the time he began to preach and baptize, he knew Jesus only as the son of Joseph, so he said:
“I did not know him (as the Son of God), but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Whom you see the spirit descend upon and abide in, it is he who baptizes with the holy spirit. I saw it and I testify that he is the Son of God. ” (John 1: 33,34)
Did John thus announce that Jesus was the literal, heavenly Son of God? How did his disciples understand him? If Jesus were a heavenly Son, then John should have clearly named him, so that there would be no confusion as to whether he was the God Yahweh himself or perhaps the angel Michael, Gabriel, or some other angel of Yahweh. Since there is no mention of such a thing and none of those present asked what the Son of Heaven was referring to, then it is obvious that, by the Scriptures, everyone knew that this title referred to the man with the highest authority. This is important to note because those who do not accept this claim say that the Jews knew that God had a literal heavenly Son, whom He had begotten, so they quote the words written by Agur, where he asks the question:
“Who ascended into heaven and went down again? Who caught the wind in his hands? Who tied the waters in one garment? Who founded all corners of the earth? What is his name and his son’s name? Do you know?” (Proverbs 30: 4)
Does this verse speak about God and his Son? No, because the first part of the sentence determines the meaning. Namely, Agur does not ask about who came down from heaven and ascended into heaven, but asks if there is one who ascended from earth to heaven and then went down and what is his name. In order to first ascend (from earth to heaven) he had to be born on earth as a man. In addition, when the preceding paragraphs (1-3) are taken into account, it is obvious that the writer speaks of a man and his humbleness, which, because of his limited knowledge and abilities, cannot be compared to God.
If there had been such a man by then, he would have been known in the world by name, and he would not have fallen into oblivion because his sons and descendants could be proud of their father whose name they bore, but no one could point a finger at such a man, because at that time did not exist. Today, however, one might say that man has been able to ascend into heaven and come down again, but even this cannot equate him to God, because the writer mentions other things that are beyond human power at the time and even today.
Accordingly, Agur did not wonder what the name of God was and what his son was called. If the Jews knew that the only God named YHWH (Yahweh, Jehovah) had a unique Son, then they would obviously know the name of that Son, and they would wonder if Jesus was the one called in heaven by that name, but no one even asked such a question, not even to John who said that Jesus was the Son of God. When he saw Jesus coming to him on the Jordan River, John told his disciples:
“This is the one for whom I said, ‘There comes after me a man who is before me (in front of me) …'” (John 1:30)
In addition to considering him human, he never claimed Jesus to be the literal incarnate son of God, because then all of John’s disciples would automatically follow Jesus as a heavenly deity, since this would be the most significant difference to John and the other human prophets. We know, however, that many remained with John until his death, which indicates that they viewed Jesus as John, that is, as a man, a servant of God and a Christ (Matthew 9:14; Luke 7: 16-18; John 3: 22- 27). So, we wonder why some stayed with John even after John testified to them that Jesus was the Son of God?
It is known that at that time some Jews expected two Messiahs, but not from heaven, but one from the tribe of Judah, and another from the tribe of Levi, modeled after the past, when God presented, through the prophet Zechariah, a prophetic image of two Anointed Ones (Christs).
[two olive trees]
are the two anointed ones (Messiahs, Christs) standing before the Lord of all the earth as servants.” (Zech. 4:14)
According to this image, Zorobabel of the tribe of Judah and Joshua (Jesus) the son of Jozadak of the tribe of Levi, present the two Anointed Ones that they should wait for, since John the son of Zechariah was of the tribe of Levi and Joshua (Jesus) the son of Joseph of the tribe of Judah, they probably expected that this would happen again and that John would be appointed the other Christ, so they stayed with him.
“The people were in tension. Everybody thought to themselves that John might not be the Christ? ” (Luke 3:15)
Why did they think so if John was not of the tribe of Judah? They knew that after the exodus of Israel from Babylon, Joshua, the son of Jozadak of the tribe of Levi, for a certain reason, was crowned and placed before Zorobabel, a descendant of David from the tribe of Judah. So, they thought it would happen again. However, John considered something else and said:
“A man comes after me, who is before me (in front of me) because he was before (in front of) me.” (John 1:30)
In what sense was Jesus ahead of John? It should be borne in mind that at that time, John and Jesus were two Prophets from the two leading tribes of Israel on which God founded the royal priesthood. John knew that the previous Joshua (Jesus) of the tribe of Levi had to leave the crown in the temple, probably because, according to God’s original ordinance, an elected representative from the tribe of Judah was entitled to it (Zech. 6:14). That is why Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph) was already “before him” by this ordinance, because from the very beginning the family of David, from whom Jesus came, was placed in front of the family of Levi from which John came. Knowing this, John tells the Jews that he is followed by the man who is ‘in front of him’, which, after several centuries, restores Levi’s family to another position, so now this deliberate mistake from the past has been corrected because Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph of Judah tribes), placed in front of John, (the son of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi), and this is emphasized by the fact that John was told that Jesus, unlike him, would “baptize with the holy spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11). This was something new and significant because such an assignment had not been given to any of the anointed ones (or christs). But it was not yet known what would happen to John and Jesus.
Since Jesus was not yet baptizing with the holy spirit but only with water like John, then this left room for those claims of another Messiah (Christ, Son of God) who would be of the tribe of Levi and who would co-operate with Jesus of Judah as a high priest when the time comes to baptize with the holy spirit, as Aaron did with Moses and Zorobabel with Joshua (John 3: 22,23). He even writes that there will be harmony between these two services – of the king and of the priest (Zech. 6:13).
However, John did not comment on the matter. When asked “is he the Christ,” then they asked this question because they knew that the last Christ (Joshua, Jesus the son of Jozedek) was from the tribe of Levi as was John (John 1: 19.20). John said that he was not that ‘Christ, King’ because he had neither received that calling from God nor the testimony of the spirit. In essence, he, as Prophet and Nazirite, was God’s Anointed One (Christ), but not the supreme ‘Christ, the King’, whom Jews were interested in, because without the one who would bear the crown there was no other Anointed One who would be a priest.
Although John proclaimed that Jesus was appointed ‘Christ, Son of God’, still he and some of those who remained with him were not sure that Jesus was the ‘Son of God’ whom God had ordained to sit on the throne of David forever. He proclaimed him to be the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” through baptism of spirit and fire, but we do not read anywhere that he revealed it as the last Messiah to be expected (John 1:29, 36). The reason may be that they were expecting developments that would determine Jesus’ temporary or permanent role.
If there were one unique literal heavenly Son in their minds, then he and his disciples would immediately accept Jesus as Christ without any dilemma, especially after he revealed him as the ‘Son of God’, and would not expect another Son, nor would John mention the other because we read that he sent some of his disciples out of prison to ask Jesus:
“Are you the one (Christ, the Son of God) to come, or are we waiting for the other (Son of God)?” (Matthew 11: 3)
He did not doubt Jesus’ mission because he knew that Jesus was the ‘Christ the Son of God’ who would baptize with the holy spirit, and he testified that before others, but he was obviously not sure that he was the ultimate Messiah (Christ, King) to come at the end. He probably knew that he and Jesus had been announced to their parents by the angel Gabriel, and that they were both conceived under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, but even that was not enough to know the full truth. What does that tell us? This tells us that he and other Jews knew that in their rich past, the Israelites had several prominent Messiahs whom they regarded as the ‘Son of God’, so that previous generations, with the existing Messiah, had to wait for the other. John thus reveals to us the fact that even before Jesus, certain anointed men fulfilled in their day the essential characteristics by which they could be considered the distinguished ‘Son of God’, but with different roles.
Specifically, in the past, there were those who were anointed by God as Kings and appointed Sons, such as David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Joshua. But none of them was witnessed as the ultimate one they expected. That is why the Israelites from time to time hoped for those whom God had appointed their Son to lead them in their time, but at first, they probably, like John, wondered if they should wait for another. Even if it was not the last, they must have listened to him as the Son of God, the representative of God, because Moses also warned them about this (Deuteronomy 18: 15,18). This means that Jesus, in John’s eyes, was as ‘Christ the Son of God’ as those Messiahs before him, so he was interested in whether he was the Promised One or not. But Jesus only confirmed to John that he was the one and gave no indication of one more to await (Mat 11: 4-6).
This only proves that, in the minds of the Jews, the term ‘Christ, the Son of God’ referred to man, which rejects the claim that they ever spoke of Christ as one unique heavenly being close to God, so that even John the Baptist did not view and present Jesus as the incarnate heavenly deity but as a human being, a man of God from David’s royal family. Therefore, the term ‘Son of God’ does not refer to the natural heavenly Son, but rather to the special position and status of that man who is separated from his brothers (sons of God) and placed in the first place, as the following classification can show us from the Bible:
- Israel – the collective son of God
- People – children of God, sons and daughters of God
- Anointed Ones – prominent Sons of God
- The Anointed One – one of God’s sons
- The Anointed One, king – Son of God, the firstborn
We need to know this classification, because we have found out that, apart from the king and the high priest, every Levitical priest was an anointed one (messiah, christ), and since they were all called ‘sons of God’, then each of them could be said to be an anointed one or christ, but only as one of the sons of God of the same position (see Exodus 14: 1; 30:30). However, although this was implied in the spirit of the word of God, only one of them could bear the highest name or name ‘Christ the Son of God’, who designated such anointed God as ‘the firstborn’ – the first Son of God ‘among his brethren’ (Romans 8:29). Therefore, in this title, by which they referred to Jesus, the Jews could not in any way point to the one who was first created in heaven or the one who was only naturally born of God, let alone God. Such a thing could not have occurred to them at all, and they never believed in it.
John the Baptist and other Jews therefore called Jesus the “Son of God” because they could associate or compare him to the prominent “sons of God” within the nation of Israel who, before Jesus, already had several Messiahs, that is, anointed leaders who were appointed him to be ‘Christ the Son of God’ – the firstborn. This title is not mentioned as such in Scripture, but can discern it in the terms ‘anointed one’ (messiah, christ) and ‘Son‘, which are referred to in the Hebrew scriptures in a common context, and were also used in this context for the prominent Messiah. In addition, the Jews knew the basic characteristics of the Messiah as the distinguished ‘Son of God’. What are these characteristics?
Page 4 of 21
The basic characteristics of the Messiah, Son of God
The Bible reveals to us all the details of the Messiah that have been supplemented over time, but all of the Messiahs have fulfilled several basic characteristics, namely:
- descendant of a woman (human being, son of man)
- chosen and appointed by God
- leader (king and / or priest)
- God’s representative
The main and fundamental characteristic of the One who could have been the Messiah, the Son of God is stated in the first prophecy in which God addresses one of his distinguished sons of heaven, and which says:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He (it) will break your head, and you will wound his (its) heel. ” (Genesis 3:15).
Most of the translations translate the Hebrew word הוּא (he, it) as ‘he’ (singular), although, in the text, ‘offspring’ of the woman and ‘offspring’ of the Serpent (Satan) are mentioned in the plural, because it is about the people among whom will be the leaders of that conflicts that will last for centuries. Just as the ‘offspring of the serpent’ is not one person but many who will stand on his side (many antichrists), so also the ‘offspring of the woman’ is not one person or one Christ, but more than one, of whom the last Anointed One will give the death blow to the Serpent. Just as there is that last Christ, so there is probably the last Antichrist who will be made public at the end of the conflict. Therefore, only in this sense can the word ‘he’ be used to designate that one chosen collective ‘offspring of a woman’ as Christ (the Anointed One) with his principal advocate, who will oppose Satan, as one entire nation ‘Israel’ calls God in the singular ‘My firstborn Son’ (2Mo. 4:22). And what is important to note is that this Son (the people of Israel) was ‘Christ’ and therefore ‘servant of God’ because we read:
“Thus says Yahweh, ‘Israel is my firstborn Son’” (Exodus 4:22)
“And you, O Israel, are my servant” (Isaiah 41: 8).
“You go out (Yahweh) to help your people to save your anointed one (Christ).” (Habakkuk 3:13)
- Israel, the firstborn son of God (Christ, Servant)
This one ‘Son’ includes many sons of God in its name, as the ‘offspring of a woman’, of which Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph), played a key role.
- Israel – Son of God, firstborn
- Christ – Son of God, firstborn
Interestingly, in this first prophecy, God did not mention ‘his offspring’ (singular) but the offspring of a woman (plural). This fact alone must be of interest to those who claim that God has his literal descendant (son) who would be different from other descendants of a woman.
Some might wonder why then did God not mention that ‘his (God’s) offspring’ would oppose the offspring of the Serpent? In fact, God did not mention it in a direct way, but it goes without saying, because it is really about the offspring of God through ‘woman’. But why through ‘woman’ and not through man? Because God couldn’t have his offspring on earth if he didn’t have his own man to represent him. Where, then, are man and his offspring in this prophecy? Man is not directly mentioned here either, but is implied. In what sense?
Namely, it was Adam, as the Son of God – the firstborn, who was supposed to represent God, the Father, and not his wife by the means of which God was to create the offspring (children of God) over whom he would rule.
“Adam named his wife Eve; because she would become the mother of all the living. ” (Genesis 3:20)
Therefore Eve, who conceived with Adam and bore a son named Cain, said:
“I have acquired a male child with the help of Yahweh!” (Genesis 4:1)
Thus, God, in union with His chosen earthly sons, was to acquire His seed through the ‘woman’. That is why the ‘offspring of a woman’ is also the ‘offspring of God’ because his wife, whose chosen husband is God’s representative, should give birth to his children – sons and daughters. Paul quotes one poet as saying:
“Because we are (his) kind.” (Acts 17:28)
- Man (husband) (representative of God, Father)
- Woman (wife) (assistant to man/husband)
- Children of God (the offspring of a woman)
The children of God are ‘children from God’, obtained by the human woman, so we can say that ‘the offspring of God’ or ‘the offspring of the woman’ are human mortal beings created by other humans.
“A man born of a woman is short lived and full of restlessness.” (Job 14: 1)
Regardless of their mortality, God placed His chosen sons in the status of firstborn (first Son) with His holy spirit. Therefore Jesus, as the offspring of God, was also ‘born of a woman’, and as a ‘son of David’ and of Joseph, was conceived by a man in an indirect way with the help of the holy spirit (Gal. 4: 4).
“But when the time came, God (anointed and) sent his Son, born of a woman.” (Gal 4: 4)
On the other hand, no husband (son of man) was supposed to represent Satan as Father so that Satan did not own the offspring of the woman. Hence, his posterity comes to deceive and lie, forcing people to reject God as their Father and his Son (agent). When we have God’s children on earth who came into the world through ‘the woman’, then it is understood that these children are created by God’s earthly ‘sons’ who were to be subject to the firstborn Son of God, because only one of these sons could be God’s principal representative and the mediator so that from the very beginning God’s provision had to be obeyed:
“… that every man is the head of Christ (the Anointed One), and the husband is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ (the Anointed One).” (1 Corinthians 11: 3)
Each time Satan attacked God’s collective ‘Son’ (Israel), God would have or would raise a descendant of a woman and set him up as his Anointed One, the Firstborn, through which he would tread on the serpent’s head. Satan and demons could do nothing against him as long as he was obedient to God, but they expressed their enmity through the ‘offspring of the serpent’, especially those of Israel who disobeyed God and sided with the Serpent by their disobedience. Such ones were especially active in the time of Jesus and John, who revealed them to be Satan’s offspring, “venomous serpents” (Matthew 3: 7; 12:34). To one of them Paul said, “Son of the Devil!” (Acts 13: 8-10). The term ‘son’ meant ‘servant’. Satan, through his servants (the ‘serpents’), was inflicting bites to the Son of God (Israel, the Servant of God). This was foreshadowed by an event in the wilderness when many died of the bites of literal serpents as they rebelled against
God and Christ (Father and Son)
In order to heal from the mortal bite, they had to look at the brass serpent, which portrayed the serpent antidote (anti-death) and faith-based life. Therefore, they also had to believe in Moses (Christ, the Son of God), whom God raised to guide them because he prayed to God for them and at God’s command raised that ‘serpent’ that produced in them the power of life, which nullifies the power of death. Thus, God showed that they, as children of God, should not grumble at their heavenly Father, nor at his Son back then, or his Servant, through whom he led them to the Promised Land, but should believe in them to experience blessings (Numbers 21: 8, 9). This image was used by Jesus to say that God raised the Son this time, and with him the cure for death, so that all who with the eyes of faith look and believe on him may have eternal life (John 3:14; 11:26).
In the past, God allowed Satan to give them bites that they deserved, and he said:
“See, I will
send venomous snakes among you,
vipers that cannot be charmed,
and they will bite you,”
declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 8:17)
Through his offspring (brood of vipers), Satan would often inflict bites on the Son of God (Israel) by defying the anointed Sons of God (kings and priests) and killing the prophets of God who also represented that Son, causing the whole nation to suffer mortal pain as long as they God did not heal them and again raise up another Son to guide them. They were aware of this and said:
“Come, let us
return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6: 1,2).
For years they suffered bruises and wounds for their sin, hoping that after they had all returned to their God, they would be healed and raised to life on the third day of their repentance. God allowed Israel to receive a mortal wound, but he gave them hope that they would be revived on the third day. That fact clearly states that all Israel, Son of God, died with Jesus, Son of God, and that on the third day a new Israel, Son of God, was resurrected. Paul wrote about that, saying:
“… You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him (on the third day) through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead [in] transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” (Col. 2: 12,13)
“For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel (Son) of God. ” (Gal 6: 15,16)
Now that we return to the history of Israel, we can see Israel, the Christ (the Anointed One of God), Son of God, represented by the anointed Sons of God. These Sons fulfilled the basic characteristics of the Messiah. All of them, as the offspring of the woman, were to be human beings. However, Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph), during his life, met also the requirements that were set exclusively for him.
- Israel, Son of God – human beings
- Christ, Son of God – human being
Before Israel was formed, these basic characteristics were fulfilled by Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. In some respects, they were remotely like the Christ, Son of God, who was about to tread on the serpent’s head once and for all. Melchizedek was appointed by God to be king and priest in the city of Salem, in which God intended to establish his earthly throne, and as such, conformed to the characteristics of the Son of God, because only as a ‘Son’ could he represent God before Abraham (Genesis 14:18; Heb. 7: 1-3). The moment God made a covenant with Abraham, there was a ‘conception‘ of Israel, the Son of God, who came by the promise shown by the birth of Isaac (firstborn son), and the son of Isaac, Jacob (the firstborn), who redeemed his birthright from his brother Esau (see Gal 4:23; Rom 9: 9-13). They thus determined the role of Israel, the Son of God, before he was born on his departure from Egypt. Before Israel was born, God sanctified him in the same way as his prophets, as he said of one prophet:
“Before I formed you in the womb of your mother, I knew you. Before you came out of her womb, I dedicated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. ” (Jeremiah 1: 5)
Before Israel was formed and born, it was decreed that certain sons, though the smallest of their brethren, be appointed leaders and saviors. This was revealed to Joseph the son of Jacob, when God announced to him in a dream that everyone in the lineage of Abraham, his brothers and even his father, would bow down to him (Genesis 37: 5-10). When the time came the dream came true and he became Lord (Adoni) to everyone. Although he was not the firstborn in the flesh, God made him his firstborn Son, so in this we read:
“The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel. (Reuben was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled the couch of his father his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, son of Israel, so that he is not listed in the family records according to his birthright. Judah, in fact, became powerful among his brothers, so that the ruler came from him, though the birthright had been Joseph’s.) “(1 Chronicles 5: 1,2)
Joseph obtained the birthright by receiving a double portion of his inheritance through his sons and becoming the father of two tribes – Ephraim and Manasseh (Deut. 21:17). To confirm this, Jacob placed Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph, in front of Manasseh, who was the firstborn, so that the name ‘Ephraim’ was used for Israel (Genesis 48: 17-20; Isa. 7:17; 11: 13). Therefore, from then on God could say:
“I am a father to Israel. Ephraim is my firstborn son. ” (Jer. 31: 9)
“Is not Ephraim my beloved son …” (Jer. 31:20)
God thus designated Israel, even before he was born, as his ‘firstborn‘ Son by the fact that he considered him ‘beloved‘ (only-begotten). Regardless of the honor that Joseph received, Jacob, as the father of the 12 tribes, did not give him the scepter to rule, but to the descendants of Judah when he said under inspiration:
“The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” (Gen. 49:10)
Thus, after Joseph the son of Jacob, an additional feature was introduced for the Anointed one (Messiah), which is:
- that he is of the tribe of Judah
- that he was made a firstborn
All who needed to carry a scepter and a ruler’s rod were to be firstborn in the flesh or could be made firstborn like Joseph. Some were able to redeem the birthright by deception like Jacob. I also happened when Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph) imposed himself as king of the ten-tribe Israel that was separated from Judah.
Before ‘the one to whom the nations would obey’ came, God announced in the foregoing prophecy that He would raise up kings from the tribe of Judah as His foremost Sons, through whom He was to reign over His people Israel (i.e. over the sons of God), because He was their king and he told them:
“I am Yahweh, your saint, the creator of Israel, your king!” (Isaiah 43:15)
The fact is that God in Israel appointed individuals to be kings who ruled over the people “for God” because they represented him as the “king”. Hence, we read:
“Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.” (2 Chronicles 9: 8)
Therefore, in order for God to reign over his people through his earthly sons, they had to be:
- chosen from among the people as “Sons of God”
- appointed firstborn ‘Son of God’
Before they entered the scene, God apparently neglected the tribe of Judah throughout the initial period and fulfilled the basic requirements for the Messiah through Moses, who was not from the tribe of Judah but from Levi, probably because the tribe of Levi was predetermined to represent the Israelites before God as a priest (see Heb. 7: 9,10). Thus, God placed the tribe of Levi before the tribe of Judah, as in the case already mentioned.
What was expected of the Messiah (Christ) were the tasks that were back then, and in the centuries to come, set before him/them:
- doing God’s will
- care for the God’s people
- introduction and / or law enforcement
- the introduction or renewal of true worship,
- the establishment or renewal of God’s rule
- war, peacekeeping, or liberation from slavery
These characteristics depended on God and his will for that man for a certain period of time, and were foretold and as such should have been fulfilled on that Anointed One, but they could also have been the foreshadowing of what pertained to the next, and especially to the last The anointed that the nations will obey.
Therefore, every God-chosen man who fulfilled the basic characteristics was the Messiah (Christ, the Anointed) in his day, who might claim that God would consider him to be his firstborn Son, because he was separated from his brothers – the ‘sons of God’ by this representative role. As such, they were singled out and appointed to be the first Son by representing God before others. In doing so, they represented Israel, who was called ‘God’s firstborn Son’. This nation was selected as God’s representative before other nations.
When we look into the centuries-old history of this ‘Israel, Son of God’, we can get to know him by his distinguished ‘Sons’ who led the nation from its birth, growing up in exile, living in his land, his exile caused by the sinners, and his death and resurrection that followed the last Son of God. Israel went through all of this as the Anointed One of God, and together with him, those sons of God who represented him. Accordingly, Israel, the ‘Son of the firstborn’ was represented by one of his brothers who was appointed God’s ‘Firstborn Son’.
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THE SIGN OF THE LAST MESSIAH, SON OF GOD
It is obvious that the Jews could not have expected the Messiah to be a unique heavenly being, since they could only use the term “Son of God” for a prominent human. It didn’t even matter whether Jesus was conceived naturally or not. Namely, although they called him the ‘Son of God’, they regarded him as ‘son of Joseph’ without needing to think of his miraculous conception. No one ever wondered how he came into the world or had any debate about it. This detail was not crucial to consider Jesus the ‘Son of God’. Some Gospels do not include this in their texts nor it is spoken of in the epistles. It only confirms to us that it was perfectly normal for any anointed man from David’s lineage to be called Son of God, and not only Jesus, son of Joseph. (Luke 3:23; 4:22; John 1:45; 6:42).
One might now say that the last Messiah was to be a heavenly being after all, and that it was prophesied and made possible through the virgin birth. However, there is no such prophecy. There is only a misinterpretation of one prophecy that was fulfilled on another child, not Jesus, which reads:
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign, saying, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and call his name Emanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14; Greek translation – Septuagint)
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign, saying, Behold, the girl is pregnant, and she shall bear a son, and shall call his name Emanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14; Hebrew translation)
This prophecy was fulfilled at the time of the prophet Isaiah. This child was a sign from God to the Jews. During the pregnancy of this young woman, God became involved in the events, and promised to be with his people and deliver the royal lineage of David from destruction, before the child learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Emanuel was supposed to be born by a young girl (Hebr. ‘Alma’) who had her legal husband, but that didn’t mean she gave birth as a virgin because in Hebrew the word ‘betula’ was used for virgin. The prophecy could only be fulfilled by a young woman married to a distinguished husband, and giving birth to his son they would name Emanuel as a sign to the Israelites. It is possible that this was precisely the prophet Isaiah, who after the birth of Emanuel had another son who also had to serve as a sign of confirmation and was called Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 7: 3; 8: 8). When his wife was about to conceive with this other prophetic child, it says that Isaiah “approached the prophetess” who bore him this son (Isaiah 8: 3). This could mean that his young wife was called a ‘prophetess’ because she had earlier served as a means of birth for the child Emanuel by which God had proclaimed his prophetic word as a sign. Isaiah later wrote:
“Look! I and the children (plural) that the LORD has given me are a sign and wonder in Israel of the LORD of hosts. ” (Isaiah 8:18)
We see that at least two of his sons, of the three men mentioned, were born as a sign, so Emanuel is clearly one of his sons (Isaiah 7: 3). Therefore, there is no mention of conception without the involvement of the husband, since it would be difficult to prove as a sign anyway, so Matthew could only take into account in his gospel that Mary was also a young girl (virgin) who had not yet met her husband, and who, even before she was married, was a virgin chosen to give birth to a son through whom God would be with his people. Unlike Mary, Elizabeth was told that she would give birth to John at a time when she was already married. Mary was told this when she was not yet married to Joseph. This is why Isaiah does not prophesy about Jesus, but this prophecy could only partially be applied to Jesus in one sense, because God also through his time went to and with his people, which is also the meaning of the name ‘Emanu-el’ (” God is with us ”). However, Matthew clearly could not associate the birth of Jesus with the supernatural virgin birth because neither Emanuel was to be conceived and be born supernaturally as a celestial incarnate being, nor did the Jews expect the heavenly Messiah in anticipation of the new Emanuel (see Mt 1:21). But when we read Matthew’s account of the conception of Jesus, then he wrote something that did not fit the true facts, because there we read:
“And all this (about conception) happened in fulfillment of what the Lord said through his prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall be called Emanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’ (Matthew 1: 22,23)
Why did Matthew indicate that this prophecy was primarily fulfilled on Jesus if God did not say that at all, or describe a way that would involve conceiving a child without a biological father? Since we do not have the original manuscripts, then we cannot claim that this text on the conception of Jesus was subsequently inserted, but obviously some parts of this text do not fit into the biblical context.
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If the Jews considered the Promised Messiah (Christ) to be the incarnated Heavenly Son, then there would be two options. According to the first option, people would wonder if Jesus materialized as the angels did; the second option of His incarnation through birth as a human would be even more unimaginable. Such an option, which the Bible does not talk about, would lead to many debatable questions, which obviously did not exist back then. However, there are questions today, such as:
- where was his own consciousness as he developed as a baby?
- What did he remember from the previous life?
- What he did in heaven?
- did he communicate with any of the prophets?
For instance, no one objected to Jesus and said to him:
“You cannot be the Christ because you are not the incarnate son of God (divine being).”
No one questioned his claim to be the son of God by asking:
“If you are a son of God, tell us what authority you had in heaven and how did you become a man? Is your body real or apparent? Can you die or are you as immortal as the angels?”
Such and many other similar questions were never asked by his disciples or other Jews, even by his opponents, because they did not even view him as an incarnate deity. Even Jesus never made personal association with any event in the Bible’s past. Why isn’t there a single word about it? And nowadays when a child or a man says that he remembers some things from a previous life, then they become the main topic that captures the imagination of many, especially the proponents of reincarnation, who write books about such cases. But no one had brought Jesus in touch with his alleged previous life. Therefore, one should take good care of what is being said when it comes to the terms and words that the Bible often relates to figurative expression.
In order to be accepted as Christ, Son of God, the Jews needed to first become aware of those basic characteristics that some Messiahs had before him. Since he was born in Bethlehem, then they would have a special hope in him that he is the one who will fulfill those messianic characteristics that have not been realized before. But the question remained whether Jesus was the ‘Christ, the Son of God’ or should he wait for another. They knew that Solomon also sat on the throne of David as the Son of God without being the last one, so some Jews sought a sign from Jesus to confirm this. Jesus never mentioned his supernatural birth, nor was it to be a sign or proof that he was the ‘Shiloh’ to whom the scepter and the ruler’s rod belonged. Instead, the ‘sign of Jonah’ was key to accepting Jesus as the last and only Son of God (Matthew 12:39). John could not see that sign because he was threatened with death, so Jesus only mentioned to him what God was currently doing through him as a sign. Neither did he mention his miraculous birth as a sign. What many Jews did not yet know was the will of God with that Joshua (Jesus), the new Messiah from whom they first expected the restoration of the kingdom in Israel, because this was emphasized by all Jewish teachers.
During the occupation of Judea and Jerusalem by the Roman authorities, according to the prophecies of the prophet Daniel, another Messiah, the Son of God, was to be appointed so that everyone expected him to liberate them first of all from Roman oppression and restore the kingdom in Israel. There were false Messianic leaders at the time, such as Theuda and Judas the Galilean, who were killed, so this true Messiah (Christ), for the Jews, should be the descendant of David who, like David, with the help of the angels of God, would defeat your enemies and sit on the throne (Acts 5: 36,37). This would be the key role of the Messiah, the Son of God, and for many of them a true sign that he was the one to be accepted as the ‘Son of God’.
Namely, if that Messiah (Christ, Son of God) also fulfilled those characteristics that would make him the last through whom God would rule Israel and the whole world forever, then his messiahship would be the final characteristic of God’s theocratic rule on earth. Because Jesus did not fulfill this because, until his death, he avoided being made King, he was dismissed by many as the Messiah, and they did not take into account the sign of Jonah, but continued to wait for the long Messiah, and they completely disfigured this one.
The apostle of Judas did not wait for this sign, so according to some claims he wanted to challenge the situation by making Jesus clearly show, is he really the Messiah who would by force and with the help of God take the crown that was still waiting for his true Messiah. When, after his betrayal, he saw that things were going in the other direction, he killed himself because he realized that he had made a great mistake that he could not accept. The question is what would have happened to him had he not killed himself and seen the sign of Jonah. We know that the other apostles experienced great disappointment when Jesus was killed. Only when they saw the sign of Jonah did they accept him as the last Messiah after the resurrection. So they asked him with full conviction:
“Lord, will you at this time raise up (restore) the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1: 6)
This question alone is enough to see Jesus as the man who should have been seated on the throne in Jerusalem, for this is exactly what the apostles concluded after he had continually spoken to them about the kingdom of Israel for the last 40 days (see Acts 1: 3).
We will see in a later discussion that some of the previous Messiahs, were also, as Jesus was, announced before their birth, and that each was appointed differently from God in the role of His Son through whom He ruled Israel. Before we learn more about these men who bore the title ‘Christ the Son of God’, we need to determine what the term ‘Christ’ has to do with the term ‘Son of God’ because we can see that these terms are sometimes used together for Jesus and sometimes separately.
- Son of God
- Christ, the King
- Christ, Son of God
Let us examine these concepts to see how the human nature of Jesus was revealed through them, which was the basic prerequisite for the Messiah.
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THE CHRIST – REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD AND MEN
“On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Others said, “He is the Messiah.” (Jn 7: 40,41)
For the Jews, Jesus was either a Prophet or the Christ. Peter was among those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ) because he said to Jesus:
“You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29)
What did they mean by the term ‘Christ’? The term ‘Christ’ (the Anointed One) in its original context did not refer to someone who is greater in nature than man, but to the man of God who is greater in function than other prophets and priests (Anointed), or to one who would, like Moses, be a prominent Prophet with the function of leader and priest representing both God and the people.
The term ‘Christ’ could refer to someone who was anointed by God from among his earthly sons as his representative, such as prophets, leaders, kings, judges, and priests. However, in the context of the main Son it was used as a name or functional name implying the dual position of the Anointed One:
- King and priest (representing the people before God – servant to the people)
- Son of God (representing God before the people – servant to God)
This dual and mutual representation or mediation did not require two persons, one earthly, the other heavenly, but could be carried out by one man as Prophet, King and Priest. The King could become a Priest and a Priest could be appointed for the King, which we shall see later. In other situations, this representation could have been exercised by two or even three elect, with one being the King and the other a Priest and the third a Prophet. All who were placed in these principal roles were prominent Anointed Ones (Christs), Sons of God, with Jesus as the first to be a Prophet, then King and the Priest. To prove this, let’s go back to the history of Israel to see where the term “Christ, the Son of God”, comes from.
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MOSES – THE CHRIST, SON OF GOD
In Egypt, the Israelites were formed on the basis of predetermined characteristics, which, like a ‘genome’, determined how they would function during their existence. We can find out more about them on the basis of what Jacob (Israel) prophesied about each of his sons, who were supposed to be the fathers of the 12 tribes (Genesis 48). In order to bless all nations through Israel as Abraham’s offspring, one of his chosen sons had to take their sin upon himself, that was to die with him. But Israel had to be born first by means of another Son of God.
In the final period, while Israel was in the womb of Egypt as a foreign body, painful birth pangs began, but also the danger that Israel would not be born, because, by the decree of the Pharaoh, Israel should have died before his birth (Exodus 1: 15,16). Egypt is a symbol of exile, since Adam, the Son of God, was banished from the Garden of Eden. But God wanted to bring His Son, and his other children with him, back to their own country. Then God, through his Chosen One, Moses, brought his Son out of Egypt, whereby Israel was born and taken to the holy place, Mount Sinai, where he was sanctified.
The Bible says that Moses was a ‘man of God’, that is, a man raised or appointed (anointed by the holy spirit) by God to be his representative, and thus he was made Anointed One (Christ) (Deut. 33: 1; 14: 6). There are some phrases in the Bible that do not use the term ‘Son’, however it is implied that it’s about the earthly ‘sons of God’. For example:
- Man (Son) of God
- The Anointed One (Son) of God
- Israel (Son) of God
Moses was a man commissioned by God. God appointed him to be a god to Pharaoh. and to his entire nation, to whom he was the leader and judge (Exodus 7: 1; Deuteronomy 33: 1). As such, he was designated the ‘Son of God’, because being ‘god’ at that time meant being the ‘Son of God’, referring to the judges and chosen kings (see Ps 82: 6). Moses was ‘god’ (king, leader) in relation to the people to whom he was superior, and ‘Son of God’ in relation to the God to whom he was subordinate.
- A god – in relation to humans
- Son of God – in relation to God
Being a leader, he was not only one of the sons of the same position, but the first Son (firstborn) with all the rights and responsibilities of such a position. As such, he fulfilled all the characteristics of the Messiah.
Moses had Aaron as his helper, whom he anointed as high priest, who was thus appointed by God to be the first Son, as Moses, but in another capacity. Thus, from that moment on, the Israelites were led by two Anointed men, Moses and Aaron, through whom God ruled and reigned over his people. The role of the king demanded justice and power, and the role of the priest demanded wisdom and love, which were at the same time the four principal attributes of God. Therefore, the Anointed One (Christ) was to reflect divine qualities and give glory to God, whom they represented.
- King – ruler (power) judge (justice)
- Priest – saint (love) teacher (wisdom)
Although these qualities had to be manifested by both men, some of the qualities were especially emphasized through their services as king and priest (Deut. 17: 9; 2: 7). Moses was the image of the future Christ as a King, and Aaron, with the Levitical priests, represented Christ as High priest with his ‘bride’ as a helper. In essence, they are one Christ and one body, and the nation is part of that body from which they came forth when the assembly of Israel was anointed.
After Aaron died, Moses announced to the Israelites that he too would die before they entered the Promised Land, and told them:
“A prophet like myself, from your midst, from your brethren, the LORD your God will raise up for you: listen to him!” (Deut. 18:15)
Many are taught to think that Moses here foretold the coming of Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph) as that messianic prophet, and they ignore the historical background that speaks of several of them who played the role of that Prophet before Jesus. Of course, Jesus had to fulfill this condition in order to be accepted for the Messiah, but he is not the only ‘descendant of the woman’ who fulfilled this pre-requisite. It would be unreasonable to think that the Israelites must have waited for centuries for this Prophet whom they should have obeyed as they had obeyed Moses.
Did Moses say that they should listen to God only if God sent them his literal Son from heaven one day? Not. Not just that. He did not even tell them that they would have to obey God only if that next prophet and leader was from the tribe of Judah because he, as the Prophet, was from the tribe of Levi.
Every Israelite who heard these words knew that after the death of Moses, God would raise up for them, that is, appoint, another representative from among their brothers to cooperate with the high priest of Aaron’s family. Even Moses could not conclude that it was about a single prophet, because from what God had revealed to him, he had in mind many generations over which God should reign through his prophets as representatives, who would be set over them. Every time God appointed this prophet like Moses, they were to obey him. Therefore, in the words above, Moses pointed out only those main characteristics of the anointed prophet who should have been:
- Set up by God (Messiah, Christ)
- Leader and representative (like Moses)
These characteristics were possessed by some prominent sons of Israel (sons of God) before Jesus was appointed such a Prophet. One of the hallmarks of God’s advocate is that he speaks for God, because this was said about that Prophet:
“I will put my words in his mouth, that he may tell them all that I command him.” (Deut. 18:18)
It is a fact that God spoke in various ways by the prophets, with some Messiahs, or anointed leaders, kings, and priests also being prophets through whom the Bible, the Word of God, was written. Paul tells us that:
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors 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.” (Heb 1: 1,2)
Paul did not say here that Jesus was the only one who was called the Son of God, but that he was the only ‘Son’ whom God appointed to be the first heir at the appointed time. Others who were once the first sons lost that right when they died, while Jesus retained that right with his resurrection, thus remaining that last Son, the Firstborn, the Son through whom God spoke in these last days.
Before Joshua (Jesus), the son of Joseph, God had to have his chosen man throughout the whole period, whom he could, by the act of anointing, appoint as his first Son through whom he would exercise his authority. Hence, he said:
“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it (…) be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses.” (Deut. 17:14, 15)
The kings of the surrounding nations who were not ordained by God only had the role of ruling over man, so they only bore the title of ‘king’. However, when men choose the man whom God chose to be their king, then his function is not only to be the king over men, but also to be a Son to God, who selected him from among of God’s sons and Moses’ brothers. Moses had this dual role, but he knew that he was not the last one.
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SON OF GOD – CONTINUES HIS ROLE
Consider that all the sons of Israel, and especially the firstborn, whom God redeemed and took to Himself, are called ‘sons of God’. The one whom God separated and placed in the first place as His representative was the Firstborn, Son of God. That chosen king was supposed to be above all human kings and people could consider him a ‘god’ (elohim – powerful, mighty). Since he needed to rule and judge instead of God and sit on God’s throne, then God considered such a man his foremost ‘Son’ and the Israelites knew it.
Moses was the first of the sons of Israel after the ‘birth of Israel’ (the son of God), which we have already confirmed, at a time when God had not yet given authority to the tribe of Judah to rule. He was succeeded by Joshua (Jesus) the son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7: 20,27), concerning which we read:
“And to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses called Joshua (Jesus).” (Numbers 13: 16)
“So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.” (Numbers 27: 18-20)
“The Lord said to Moses, “Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, where I will commission him.” So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the tent of meeting. Then the Lord appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood over the entrance to the tent. The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.” (Deut. 31: 14,15,23)
Joshua did not have all that honor as Moses, because he no longer had to repeat the miraculous deliverance and mediate the passing of the Law and covenant with God, which belonged to Moses, but he fulfilled those basic characteristics of the anointed leader who was to represent God as the ‘Son of God’ before the people in new tasks:
- Set by God
- Leader (like Moses)
God had miraculously brought His people into the Promised Land under the guidance of Joshua, the son of Nun. He continued Moses’ assignment, indicating that he was his substitute, and could receive the honor of being considered a prominent Son, like Moses. The nation had to obey him as they obeyed Moses. His authority as a leader was divided with the high priest, following the model of Moses and Aaron, so that the honor of representing God was not given to one but two Anointed ones. Thus, Israel had “offspring of the woman” within the nation, selected and placed in this honorable role by God.
After Joshua’s death until they got a king, God reigned over the nation through the high priest from Aaron’s family, who was the highest anointed authority (Christ) and could be considered the prominent Son of God, the firstborn, because the tribe of Levi assumed the role of the firstborn of Israel of whom the high priest was first and foremost (Deuteronomy 17: 9, 11-13; Zech. 6: 11-13). They were not leaders or kings like Melchizedek and Moses, so after the rule of Joshua, the son of Nun, God raised them “Judges” (prophets) as leaders, to protect Israel from surrounding nations and wage war against enemies (Judges 2:18). They continued to serve God as His Son, like Joshua the son of Nun, but with different tasks. Each of them was anointed with the holy spirit as seen in the example of Othniel:
“But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war.” (Judges 3: 9, 10)
Thus, these Judges, together with the high priest, formed a harmonious leadership as one Messiah with two services of the anointed. One of these judges was Samuel, who was dedicated to Jehovah from birth to serve as a priest, and was later appointed prophet and judge. So we read:
“And the boy Samuel served before Jehovah, bound with a linen apron. And Samuel grew, and Jehovah was with him, and did not allow his word to be fulfilled. And all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was appointed prophet of Jehovah. “(…)” And Samuel transmitted the words of God to all Israel. (…) “And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.” (1 Sam. 2:18; 3: 19,20; 4: 1; 7:15)
Samuel also fulfilled basic characteristics of the Messiah (the Anointed One) while serving as a judge and priest in conjunction with the high priest. After him, Israel received his first King, Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin. Samuel continued serving as a prophet, but his service as judge and priest happened in submission to the King and High Priest, representing God and the nation. Since then, kings and priests have maintained their messianic role with the help of the prophets who admonished them and communicated God’s messages to them.
Page 10 of 21
KINGS – SONS OF GOD
Saul was just one of the prominent sons of God at the time when Samuel was still serving as a Prophet. He was appointed by God to be the King, the “firstborn” of the nation, at the request of the people who rejected the authority of God. He had to fulfill the demands placed on the Anointed, though (1 Sam 24: 7). God soon rejected him as his distinguished Son and appointed David in his place, for whom he said:
“And I will appoint him to be my firstborn (Son), the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 89:27)
David was not the first to be made a firstborn. If we read the whole Psalm 89, then we would see that it describes a situation when God choose a young man from among the people to be his servant and places him in that superior role which, as such, belonged only to the distinguished Anointed Ones of God. God thus established his earthly throne upon David from the tribe of Judah and his family lineage, as announced beforehand. Hence, David was the highest of all the kings of the time (2 Chronicles 13: 5). The very fact that God made him his firstborn indicates that he could, like Moses, serve as a priest as well. In what sense?
It is a fact that all the firstborns of Israel were saved from death in Egypt by the blood of the lamb that represented their death and resurrection. Therefore, they belonged to the God who saved them from death and could require that all of them serve as priests. However, instead, God designated the tribe of Levi as the priests by sanctifying and redeeming each firstborn from the other tribes. Thereby other tribes were freed from the priestly ministry (Exodus 13:13; Numbers 18:15). According to this decree, every Levite was functionally made a firstborn, which is why all the men as priests belonged to the ‘assembly of the firstborn’, among whom Aaron held the highest position as High priest. Since Moses was also a Levite, he was also made a ‘firstborn’ and thus a ‘priest’ in that he was granted this status before all the other Levites. God then consecrated him as their representative and as such he had access to the holy place.
Because David was made a ‘firstborn‘, he as such was no longer freed from priestly ministry because he belonged to God and was therefore made a priest. That is why sometimes he dressed as the priest, like Samuel did, and entered the temple. Therefore, in the manner of Melchizedek he actually served as “king and priest” (See Ps. 110: 4; 2 Sam. 6: 13,17,18; 1 Chron. 15: 27). It is probably because of this that his sons also served as ‘priests’ (2 Sam. 8:18; 1 Chron. 8: 62,64; 9:25; 1 Chron. 23:13).
Paul said that Melchizedek (by his function in relation to God) was made to be like (Jesus Christ) the Son of God (Heb 7: 3). Apart from Melchizedek, Moses, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Joshua had the greatest resemblance to Jesus, and they all fulfilled the dual representation between God and the people so that each was considered to be ‘Christ, the Son of God’. For some of them, this can be inferred from the statements themselves, while for others it is implied without writing it, so it was no wonder that they called Jesus that way, and that some of them, as John the Baptist, were not sure if Jesus was the last should come.
The term ‘first-born’ did not refer to one who was literally or spiritually first born / created by God, but to that man, as in the case of David, who was the first to God of all the earthly sons of God because God ascribed hit the function of the firstborn Son. Likewise, the term “only-begotten” (the only son) refers to one who, like Isaac, was the “only son” according to the promise, even though Abraham still had sons (Genesis 22: 12,16; Heb. 11:17; Gal. 4: 22.23) This term was also used for Solomon the “only son of his mother”, even though his mother had four sons (Proverbs 4: 3; 1 Chron. 3: 5). Solomon was, out of all David’s sons, the “only” son whom God had promised to David before he was born. This is what God said:
“Look, a son will be born to you; … his name will be Solomon …. He will be my Son (God’s Son, Son of God) and I will be his Father. I will establish his royal throne forever over Israel. ” (1 Chronicles 22: 9,10; 28: 6)
Solomon was then, according to the promise, the “only one” of the Israelites (sons of God) and the “only one” of the sons of David, whom God had chosen before his birth. By anointing him as king, God made him his Son. Therefore, in the spirit of God’s word, he was God’s Only son (the Only-begotten, that is, the Beloved), and was made the ‘firstborn Son’ (1 Chronicles 29: 1). As such, God made him Lord (Adoni), like Jesus was. The same terms: ‘Firstborn’ and ‘Only-begotten’ (Beloved) are also used in reference to Jesus.
“So Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king in place of his father David. He prospered and all Israel obeyed him. ” (1 Chronicles 29:23)
Jesus had all this in mind when he asked the Pharisees:
“What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” (Matthew 22: 42-45)
Jesus’ question required knowledge of certain facts. The Jews needed to know about
- the term ‘Christ’, which, in this context, also included the term ‘Son of God’ (firstborn)
- King David and his son (descendant, heir to the throne).
First, Jesus asks, “Whose son is the Messiah”? The answer was contained in that very title ‘Messiah (Christ)’. They needed to know how to relate it. However, they said that Christ was the son of David (Matthew 22:42; Mark 12:35). But the answer should have been ‘Son of God’ because God anointed such a man from among God’s other earthly ‘sons’ and made him his firstborn Son. Others knew this because they linked the two concepts, saying: ‘Christ the Son of God’; and not: ‘Christ the son of David’. Namely, ‘the Messiah’ is not born in the flesh, but by the spirit of God, and can only be the son of God.
Second, David sat on the throne of God because God anointed him as king and sat him on his right hand to rule on His behalf. He was the Lord of the nation and was addressed as such by all of the people, including his wife and sons (1 Chronicles 1: 11,17,18).
God had announced to David the birth of his son, Solomon, who became king during David’s lifetime. What David was told of Solomon was much greater and more glorious than David’s messianic role (1 Chron. 22: 9,10; 2 Sam. 7:14). David saw in his son Solomon, even before he was born, the one whom God would make his ‘Son’. He saw that his throne would be more glorious, and therefore he could regard him as greater than himself. When he appointed him to the throne in place of himself, then David was no longer king from that moment. That is when Solomon became his Master and God’s firstborn Son. That is why David could write in the spirit that the Lord had told his Lord (Solomon) to sit (instead of him) with God at his right hand (Ps. 110: 2). He probably wrote the words written in Psalm 2 during the anointing of Solomon, where this Anointed One (his son, the descendant) says:
“I will proclaim the Lord’s decree
He said to
me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.’ (Ps 2:7)
Some sources say that these words and the entire 2nd Psalm were read at the appointment of kings. All those who sat on the throne of David were involved in the promise God had made to David, as it says:
“The kingdom of the LORD is in the hands of the sons of David.” (2 Chronicles 13: 5,8)
For one man to sit on David’s, and at the same time, God’s throne, he had to be:
- Son of David – on the throne of David
- Son of God – on the throne of God
This is another reason why the Messiah (Christ) is called the ‘Son of God’ because only such a man can sit on the throne of God. In this sense, Solomon’s son David was made a Son of God, Lord and Christ. Centuries later, everyone who believed in the messianic role of Jesus was aware of this. Hence, they called him “Jesus the Son of David” and also “Christ the Son of God” (Mt 15:22; 20: 30,31; Mark 10: 47).
- Jesus the son of David – the title according to flesh
- Christ, Son of God –
the title by the Holy Spirit
- Jesus – Christ
In Jesus’ case, this meant that he was appointed by God as their Lord and Christ (King), and therefore as the Son of God, who would sit on David’s, and therefore on God’s throne. The Apostle Peter said:
“Therefore, let all Israel know confidently that God made him (Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him) both Lord and Christ, that Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2: 22,36)
Jesus repeatedly told the Jews indirectly that he was that son of David (descendant, heir to the throne) and Lord, and therefore their Lord and Christ (the Anointed One) whom God had appointed as his Son.
Consider that Jesus compares his role of Son and Lord to that of King Solomon, the Son of God. Why didn’t he quote the Scriptures mentioning ‘sons of heaven’ or those quotes that refer to one of the angels of God? If Jesus was the Son of Heaven, he would have done so, so the term ‘Son of God’ would indicate the nature of existence, not the functional name God gives to man. It was not unusual, therefore, that the Jews always, especially in Jesus’ time, used the name ‘Son of God’ to refer to a man who was to be their Messiah (Christ, Son of God), and who in relation to them as children of God (sons and daughters) the Son is the firstborn, and for God, the Son is the “the only Son” (beloved, only-begotten).
Since the time God said that the man whom he would appoint to sit on his throne in Jerusalem would be made his ‘Son’, the terms Father and Son have been used for a special functional and intimate relationship between God (in heaven ) and one special man (on earth) who was to be Christ, the King – Son of God.
Page 11 of 21
SON OF GOD – IN DANGER
Israel, the Son of God, was sanctified and anointed by God’s holy spirit, but often struggled with a sinful body. Specifically, he had spiritual and physical children within him. Even the prominent sons, on occasion, rejected spiritual guidance and went after the body, sinning against their heavenly Father, for which they bore the consequences. As a result, the kingdom of Israel fell apart, so that after Solomon, the sons of David reigned only over the two tribes of Judah. At one critical moment, Judah could remain without a king. At that moment, the king of Israel made an alliance with Assyria to enter Jerusalem and appoint a king on the throne of David who would not be of the lineage of David. The threat could have been realized because Judah was then ruled by King Ahaz (son of David, a descendant) who was so wicked that he could not count on God’s protection, but God temporarily protected him, so that the hope of all Israel rested on the next king, his son, whom God will make his Son, and to establish him in the throne of David. He was born at the time of the prophet Isaiah who wrote:
us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever. (Isaiah 9: 6,7)
Most Christians are taught to see Jesus in these words. However, these words have a messianic content because they refer to the Messiah (Christ, Son of God) in the person of King Hezekiah, whose name (Heb. Jechezek-el) means “the Power of God,” which corresponds to the name ‘Powerful God’ stated by the prophet Isaiah. He is only one of the sons of David on whom the throne of David was to be established, not in the distant future, but as Isaiah says – “ from that time.” When he says “from that time,” then he is clearly referring to Hezekiah, who was then appointed king.
Consider the first two statements:
- “To us a child is born”
- “to us a son is given”
When a child is born to a king, the people perceive him as their child, that is, through their king, a child (offspring of the woman) was born to them, but only if that son will be the heir to the throne and their future king. However, given that the text uses the present time by which this son has already been given authority, then the statement “We have received the Son” may indicate that they received the Son from God (the son of God, the offspring of the woman), and so the Israelites saw in Hezekiah this Son from God (Son of God). As they rejoiced at his birth, so did they rejoice in his taking over the crown, especially at the time of reading Psalm 2, in which God says to the Son of David, “You are my Son.”
Let’s see how the Bible relates this king to Moses and David:
“He (Hezekiah) did what was right in the Lord’s sight, just as David his father had done (…)He put his trust in the Lord, the God of Israel; and neither before nor after him was there anyone like him among all the kings of Judah. Hezekiah held fast to the Lord and never turned away from following him, but observed the commandments the Lord had given Moses.” (2 Kings 18: 3-6)
The lineage of the Prophets (kings and priests) like Moses was bound to the name of king David and of Solomon. The lineage then proceeded to Hezekiah, the great king, who had no equal before or after him among the kings of Judah (2 Kings 18: 5). Like Solomon, he succumbed to temptation but did not turn away from God. The princely authority was placed on his “shoulders” because he was a king at a critical period. He was a “wonderful counselor” because he called Isaiah for the counsel to Israel when the Israelites were attacked and besieged by the king of Assyria, and with his counsel he gave encouragement to the people of God so that they would not fear the enemy (2 Kings 19: 2). He was the “prince of peace” because he overthrew the yoke of the king of Assyria, to whom Judah and Jerusalem were no longer subject, and God gave him and Israel peace during his reign (2 Kings 18: 7). His ‘name’ (authority) included God and the Father, and he was called ‘the mighty God’ because he represented the power of God by which God, in one night destroyed the Assyrian army that threatened him. He was also called the ‘Eternal Father’ because he represented his heavenly Father, who promised that the throne of David would be eternal.
What David and all of his descendants who came after him had in common was the city of Bethlehem, ‘root and sprout’ of David’s family lineage. The prophet Micah said:
least among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
This only confirmed that the Messiah would come from the family of David, that is, from Bethlehem from which David originated. This was important at the time when the people of God were ruled by two kings; ten tribes of Israel were ruled by the descendants of Ephraim’s tribe, who could not, according to this prophecy, impersonate the Messiah, the king through whom God would continue to rule Israel.
This prophecy is directly linked to Jesus by many, although it had its fulfillment in King Hezekiah, because the prophecy later mentions “the one who will give birth” and “peace at the time of Assyria”, which could only be achieved by one who was born and lived as king at that particular time. That king was to be called the ‘prince of peace’ (Micah 5:3-12). Because at the time of the prophet Micah Judah was ruled by Ahaz, one of the worst kings, he was to be succeeded by his son Hezekiah, who was to be born and rule Israel. Hezekiah was probably born in Jerusalem, which is why he, as a son of man, originated from that city of David, but his royal descent came from Bethlehem, where the root and shoots of David’s family tree originated.
According to the prophet Micah, Hezekiah’s “beginning” was a long time ago in King David, whose throne was to last forever or forever. The Hebrew word ‘olam’ translated from ‘eternally’ is used for times that extend over a very long period into the past or the future. This period began with David and will end with his descendant, who will reign forever, that is, until the end of the time of the Restoration. No matter when that last descendant will come, its ‘beginning’ and ‘beginning’ of all the anointed kings is in David of Bethlehem, where the root of the royal messianic lineage originated.
Since several generations of David’s royal descendants who ruled Judah had already passed by the time of the prophet Micah, then this “beginning” was indeed “from ancient times”, so to speak, “from the day of eternity”, and now it is from Bethlehem, i.e. from the family of David, that the one who would rule Israel should come out. Was this fulfilled at that time on King Hezekiah?
In his prophecy, the prophet Micah emphasized the appearance of a new offspring, the son of David of Bethlehem, that is, the man who has a legitimate right to take power over all Israel. Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, regardless of the fact that ten tribes separated from the royal tribe of Judah. Members of all tribes lived in Judah, and also some families who immigrated to Judea from those ten outcast tribes because they recognized only the king of the lineage of David and the high priests from the tribe of Levi.
The prophecy says that the one who will be “ruler in Israel” will emerge from Bethlehem. Five years after the nation of Israel received its Son, Hezekiah, who became king in Jerusalem, the ten tribes of Israel were enslaved by Assyria and taken from their land. Hence, Hezekiah really remained the only legitimate king or “ruler in Israel.” Micah wrote about it, and it was fulfilled on Hezekiah, who lived in his time. The final fulfillment of the prophecy came with Joshua (Jesus, son of Joseph), whose ‘beginning’ is, not only in David but above all in God who promised him before the world was created according to Adam. In fact, the beginning of all the anointed sons of God was at the moment when God announced the appearance of his offspring, that is, the ‘offspring of the woman’.
Some translations state that his ‘exits’ (plural) are from ancient times, and some interpret that the same Christ repeatedly came from God, which Micah did not mean to say because this refers to the descendants of David, each of whom was individually descended from David’s family from Bethlehem, of which Hezekiah was the most significant at the time. We read about him:
“He [Hezekiah] did what was right in the sight of the LORD, quite like his father David.” (2 Kings 18: 3)
Because his ‘father David’ could automatically be considered his ‘son of David’, who descended from Bethlehem. But Hezekiah eventually died, and the Jews were later enslaved and taken into captivity in Babylon for their sins, so that no more of David’s descendants sat on the throne. This is why the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel announced another David (son of David) in their prophecies:
“They shall serve the Lord, their God, and David, their king, whom I will raise up for them.” (Jer. 30: 9; see Ezekiel 34: 23,24)
How would David (Christ, the Son of God) be raised to them if he were dead? It is obvious that the name of David indicates all heirs to the throne of David. In that sense, David was not dead. All anointed kings are essentially either one David or one Messiah, the Son of God, and every heir to the throne was the son of David who was entitled to be the anointed king-Messiah. After the cessation of royal service, a new beginning and the Branch was expected to emerge from Bethlehem. When we extend this to Micah 5: 2, then we see that it is the second, or greater, David, who is yet to be raised in the future after leaving Babylon’s captivity, and who had his real beginning before long ago in his father David, so he will be the son of David who will inherit the throne of David and be called the Son of the Most High – the firstborn.
Before he was raised to the throne, after deliverance from Babylonian captivity, someone who did not conform to the prophecy was called Joshua (Jesus). Let’s see what God said about him by Zechariah:
“You will take silver and gold, and make crowns; place one on the head of Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And say to him: Thus says the Lord of hosts: There is a man whose name is Branch—and from his place he will branch out and he will build the temple of the Lord.He will build the temple of the Lord, and taking up the royal insignia, he will sit as ruler upon his throne. The priest will be at his right hand, and between the two of them there will be peaceful understanding (between the two services).” (Zech. 6: 11-13)
- the king and high priest – the representative of the people
- the name ‘Branch’ (Son of God) – the representative of God
Zechariah was not to crown the head of Zorobabel, who was a member of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of David, which probably astonished the Jews, but put it on the head of the high priest, Joshua, who was thus put before David’s successor.
Therefore, when we compare this with Isaiah 11: 1-10 and Jeremiah 23: 5, which prophesy the authority of him who is to be the Branch (king and priest), then the Israelites could recognize the Anointed One, or the Messiah, the Son of God in Joshua. The High priests had the status of the firstborn Son within the separate assembly of the firstborn that belonged to God. The coronation of Joshua, the high priest, had a prophetic meaning because the crown was to be left in the temple until that Anointed One (Messiah, Christ), who was to be king and priest forever, would be called the Branch like Joshua. This is because God prophesied that after the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, the crown would be worn only by the One to whom it belonged. Zorobabel was not that last Messiah. This prevented David’s heirs from seizing power on their own initiative and creating false expectations. Therefore, since then, the high priests have taken power. One of them, Caiaphas sentenced Jesus to death.
In September 140 BC, an important decision was made in Jerusalem, which was inscribed on bronze plates in Greek:
[to Simon Maccabeus the priest]
King Demetrius [the Greek Seleucid ruler] confirmed to him the high priesthood, raised him to the rank of his friends and surrounded him with great splendor. (…) The Jews and the priests decided that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever until a credible Prophet rose up.” (1 Maccabees 14: 38-41; a historical apocryphal book).
This Simon was not the ‘anointed (Son) of God’ because he did not fulfill the basic characteristics for this function. Although he was a leader and high priest, he could not represent God as Joshua did. The Jews knew this, and could no longer considered anyone to be God’s Son, until a credible Prophet came. However, their credibility depended on the political agendas and expectations that Prophet had to fulfill.
This image concerning the high priest Joshua and Zorobabel was probably in the mind of John the Baptist when he asked Jesus if he was the one to come or they should wait for another Son of God.
What is also interesting is that this Messiah should also be called Joshua or Jesus, as well as the one who succeeded Moses (Isaiah 11: 1; Matthew 2:23), so we have three Messiahs of the same name:
- Joshua the son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim
- Joshua the son of Josedech of the tribe of Levi
- Joshua the son of Joseph of the tribe of Judah
In the end, Joshua (Jesus, the Son of Joseph) took the crown, held before him by the high priest Joshua (Jesus, the son of Josedech), so that Jesus automatically became a full king and priest, thus placing the tribe of Judah again in front of Levi. Let’s look at one more thing.
- Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim – prophet and leader of his people
- Joshua of the tribe of Levi – high priest (temple building)
- Joshua of the tribe of Judah – king of all nations
In this order, Jesus was first to be a Prophet and leader like Moses, then after the sacrificial death and resurrection he was to serve as High Priest and head of his congregation, and then as a King who would rule all nations when he returns to Earth. Now, as a high priest, he is separated from the people and cannot be seen as long as he is bound to the Holy of Holies, but just as Joshua sat next to the second priest, so does the third Joshua (Jesus) have a ‘priest’ – his steward – through whom he executes his spiritual mastery over the congregation. He will build the third temple on earth when he returns in royal glory.
Zechariah says that the “Branch” will be “a priest on his throne,” as evidenced by the words of the apostle Paul, who said that “Jesus (…) forever became a high priest like Melchizedek” and “sat to the right of the throne of Majesty in heaven ”(Zech. 6:12, 13; Heb. 6:20; 8: 1). Thus, with the resurrection of Jesus and the ascension into heaven, there was no longer any need to wait for the One who would forever sit on the throne of God (or David’s). The last “Branch” to become High Priest and King was Jesus (Joshua) himself. In order not to expect another Messiah, the sign of Jonah was provided to them. Despite that he did not sit on the throne of David back then, this sign was given to them, that after his death, resurrection and ascension, they would wait for him and no one else again, neither from the tribe of Judah nor from Levi. Only false messiahs could appear after him, which meant the false Sons of God.
Herewith ends Part 1 of this review of historical background about Christ, the Son of God. This title referred to Israel and its distinguished sons, chosen by God from among their brethren and appointed as their first Son. In this light, we will consider below all that we can learn from the Gospels about Joshua (Jesus, the son of Joseph) who was appointed to be the last Son of God, and additionally receive confirmation that such a unique Son never pre-existed in heaven.
Page 12 of 21
CHRIST THE SON OF GOD (PART 2)
Throughout the history, the people of Israel had Christ, the king, and the priest, who represented them before God. God had his Son, the Christ, who represented him before the people. Hence, the term ‘Son of God’ was deeply anchored in the minds of all Jews who were expecting the Messiah (Christ). He was to be king to them, and to God, he was the Firstborn and the Only Son.
|God’s people||King /// Son of God||God, Father|
This fact must by no means be neglected because it defines the meaning of the term ‘Son of God’ used in the spirit of God’s expression by David, Jesus, the apostles and other Jews without any thought of the divine heavenly being. If the literal meaning of the name existed at the time, then it would have been debated, but there is no indication and debate about it in the Bible.
Let’s look at similarities in the various conceptual relationships that are mentioned in the Bible:
|Holy people||King and priest||God|
|God’s children||Son of God||Father|
|sons and daughters||The firstborn son||Father|
It is God who, in His word, established this relationship between heaven and earth, between Himself as the ‘Father’ in heaven, and His firstborn ‘Son’ on earth, who was to be the agent and mediator of heaven and earth. Hence, at that time no one looked or needed to look at Jesus beyond his human nature. This image of the Son of God runs throughout the Bible and especially in the Gospels. This is first seen in the words of some of Jesus’ disciples:
“We found the one whom Moses wrote in the Law and the Prophets: Jesus, the son of Joseph, of Nazareth.” (John 1:45)
“Then Nathanael said unto him, Master, thou art the Son of God; thou art the king of Israel.” (John 1:49)
- Jesus, Son of Joseph – Son of God, King of Israel
“But some said,” Is Christ coming from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that Christ comes from the seed of David and from Bethlehem (…)” (Jn 7:42, 43).
The origin of Christ, according to Scripture and as understood by the Jews, is not from heaven but from Bethlehem. He is not a literal descendant of God, but originated in David as a descendant of the family of David. Therefore, the very name ‘Son of God’ in Jesus’ case was from the very beginning related to a man, not to a heavenly being. We see this in the following statements, which are complementary:
“We found this man (Jesus) misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Messiah, a king.” (Luke 23: 2)
“We have the law, and according to that law (Jesus) ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” (he made himself god, as anointed king) (John 19: 7)
“And [Saul] began at one to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God … proving that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ).” (Acts 9: 20,22)
These statements use two terms that are complementary because they have the same meaning in Scripture. Therefore, some related Jesus to Christ, the king, and others to the Son of God.
- Christ = Son of God (King)
The term ‘Christ’ is generic, but when used in the context of the Promised King, a descendant of the lineage of David, then it is an alternative title for ‘Son of God’ (firstborn), because both names were used for the man anointed as king.
- Christ, king – King appointed by God
- Christ, Son of God – Son appointed by God
As we have seen from the Bible, Christ represents the function of king to humans. To God, he is the Son. Hence, the two complementary expressions were used. When we look at the history of the Gentile kings, then none of them was the ‘Son of God’. Neither the kings of the tribe of Israel nor Herod, who ruled Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth, had this status, since they did not meet the basic conditions for this divine function, except those we have stated so far. However, Jesus was predestined for this function, so the Magi from the East came to Jerusalem and asked:
“Where is the newborn King of the Jews? (…)” When King Herod heard this, he and all Jerusalem were afraid. He gathered all the chief priests and national scribes and asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ” (Matthew 2: 1-3)
- Christ – King of the Jews
The term ‘Son of God’ is not mentioned here, but it is implied, because in the spirit of Scripture, it is related to the term ‘Christ the King’.
Christ <> King of the Jews <> Son of God
According to Herod’s words, “Christ was to be born”. How could the Christ be born, if he already was the Christ, Son of God, before his birth? Such argumentation does not make sense, because then it would mean that, according to the Magi, the boy who was born was already ‘King of the Jews’ before he was born. Anyone who reads the Scriptures knows that everyone had in mind the prophecies that indicated the birth of a child who was predestined to be anointed by God to become the King. The priests told Herod that Christ (i.e. the one who will be anointed for the King), should be born in Bethlehem, the land of Judah, because in the prophecy of Micah says:
“… a prince shall come out of you, who shall rule over my people Israel.” (Mt 2: 5,6; Micah 5:2)
We saw that all the kings in the lineage of David indirectly descended from Bethlehem, where their root was located. However, that line of kings was broken when the Babylonians removed the last king, Zedekiah. From then on, a new Jewish king was being awaited to rebuild the kingdom in Israel. According to Daniel’s prophecy, a certain time had to elapse. We also saw that the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied the coming of ‘David’ so that Micah’s earlier prophecy became even more significant, because David was born in Bethlehem. Hence, the latter, i.e. the greater David, had also to “come out” and be born in Bethlehem, so that what was fulfilled on Hezekiah should also have a final fulfillment.
Historical records explain the term ‘Son of God’ was used for the Messiah (Christ, King) long before Jesus was born. If we neglect this historical fact or do not learn from history, then we are destined to repeat the historical mistakes that arose when non-Jewish teachers began to practice their Christology based on the heavenly sonship of Jesus, thus concealing the true meaning and role of the Son of God, selected from among the earthly sons of God.
Let us now try to see whether their Christology could be applied in the case of Jesus, by considering what God, angels, Jesus himself, and his disciples and opponents meant by the term ‘Son of God’.