What Scripture Says About Salvation
A Bible Study by Fred Kenison
Monograph 29: The Power of God Portrayed
Although we turn here to studying the christ, we are actually considering the final work of the holy spirit. In this monograph, we will also be looking at the struggle between two powers, and tracing the source of the power for good and the power for evil.
I Corinthians 1:24 says,
"But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Here, the word power comes from dynamis.
Revelation 13:4 says,
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
In this verse, the word power comes from exousia, which would be better translated as authority.
These two scriptures point out the two elements of power. One, the christ, derives power (dynamis) from God. The other, the beast, receives a weaker form of power (exousia) from the dragon. The beast's power is more like authority, or the right to act. Christ's power comes directly from God, which assures him the victory in an unequal battle. [See our book, The Apocalypse of Revelation for a thorough discussion of the clash between these two powers.]
We will begin our study in Genesis to find the source of these powers, and then follow the trail of both these completely opposed elements of power. How do they interrelate through the scriptures? How did the serpent of Genesis become the dragon of Revelation? What was the source of the dragon's power? Did the serpent have as much power as the dragon? These questions will be addressed as this study progresses.
This duality of power has often been understood as a battle between two adversaries of nearly equal strength: God and Satan. Part of this misunderstanding springs from the error propagated by translators who capitalized the word "satan," even though it is not capitalized in the Greek manuscripts. This helps promote the idea that satan is a person, or perhaps even a god.
Concerning the power of God, Psalms 62:11 says,
God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
The source of God's power is from himself. Where does the christ receive power? It is given by God.
The word christ means "anointed one." Thayer (p. 672) says that,
"Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests (Ex.28:37, 40:13; Lev.6:22, Num. 35:25), kings (l Sam 9:16; 10:1; 15:1; 16:3, 13), and also sometimes prophets (l Kgs 19:16, cf. Is. 61:1), and by it they were regarded as endued with the holy spirit and divine gifts (l Sam. 16:13; Is. 61:1)."
Therefore, the word "anointed" can be used to trace the course of God's power through the Bible.
Those who were anointed were the ones chosen to exhibit the power and authority of God. Anointing was an overt demonstration of God's gift of holy spirit. This spirit provided the power to do good, as well as the power to oppose the evil which was constantly erupting in the world.
Genesis 1:1‑2 says that God created the heaven and the earth, and that the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. This was the movement which brought order out of the chaos. When the power of God is evident, the spirit of God is also found. This is the foundation for what is later demonstrated by the ritual of anointing.
Genesis 2 describes man in the garden of Eden by the grace of God (yehovah elohiym). In verse 2:9, two trees are mentioned: one is the tree of life, or immortality; the other is the tree of knowledge of good and evil, or death. The only instruction Adam received was to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as it would cause his death.
These two trees signified a possible division of power: one, of God, unto life or immortality, and the other, a power of man to cause his own death. Paul spoke of this in I Corinthians 15:21‑22:
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Adam chose to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and by this simple act of using his will to oppose God he brought death unto all mankind. This aberration of faith lays the foundation of all sin-unbelief of God. It also lays the foundation for the division of power, which from this point forward, progresses in two distinct dimensions: that of God and that of man.
In Genesis 3, the serpent becomes the symbol of the temptation for both Adam and Eve. Both had a will of their own with which they could oppose God. When they succumbed to the temptation to disobey God, worldliness was born! Whenever anyone considers whether or not to obey the known will of God, that old serpent, the will of man to oppose God, rears its head.
There are now two lines of power running opposite to each other, one from God and one from mankind.
Genesis 3:7 describes the virtual birth of religion, threskia, an outer form or covering.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Adam and Eve were trying to cover themselves before God. When God made coats for them (Genesis 3:21), he was saying, in essence, that they could never do anything which would cover their sin and the knowledge of it. Therefore, God clothed them.
Whether he realized it or not, Adam, by his act of defiance to God, took over the responsibility of providing all the good things (such as food, shelter, and clothing) for himself rather than relying on God. He would also have to cope with the morass of evil, such as sickness and war and many other calamities which would befall mankind.
Adam now knew good and evil, but he did not see it in the same manner as God did. Therefore, God told Adam and Eve to leave the Garden of Eden, or the place which he had prepared to care for them (Genesis 3:23). They would now have to earn their living by the sweat of their brows. Of course, God was actually still providing the food and necessities of their lives, but they would have to return in faith before they would understand this.
Even today, many people still think they provide all the good things for themselves! What nonsense. Like Adam, they simply do not understand, or refuse to acknowledge, that it is God who loves and provides for them.
Genesis 4 tells the story of Cain, who tilled the ground, and Abel, who herded sheep. They both brought offerings to the Lord, but Abel's offering was acceptable, while Cain's was not. This made Cain angry and jealous, and he murdered his brother, Abel.
Hebrews 11:4 explained why Jehovah accepted Abel's offering, but not Cain's.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Abel displayed faith, while Cain did not. Cain may have gone through the motions of an outward religion, but Abel had inner faith, or true belief. Abel had returned to God in faith, while Cain had not.
First, we saw that God was the source of all power. Then, Adam perverted the power given to him for obedience to do his own will. This resulted in the beginning of religion as Adam sought to cover his nakedness with fig leaves. Then we see an example of true religion, based upon the faith of God as shown by Abel, and false religion, based on outward form as shown by Cain. The power of God was exhibited through Abel, while the power of man, or the world, was shown through Cain.
Please note this division of religion and its accompanying division of power. One is sustained by the power of God through faith, and the other is sustained through the perversion of God's power by those involved in false religion. The latter has the outward form but lacks the inward power of God, sustained by faith in him. God's power has been perverted to a religion of works, or man seeking to secure his own salvation through his works (even if they may be based upon keeping the law).
Genesis 4 reports that after Cain killed Abel, the Lord rebuked him, and told him that he would be a fugitive and a vagabond, and that the earth would no longer yield its strength to him when he tilled it. In response to the Lord's rebuke, Cain said that he would be killed by anyone who found him, so the Lord said,
Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him (Genesis 4:15).
The mark signified that Cain was still God's property even if he did not want to acknowledge this by an act of faith. Granting this mark also showed that God's covenant was one of grace, because Cain was completely undeserving.
Genesis 5:3 describes the birth of Seth after the death of Abel. Seth means substitution, and Seth will be the one to exhibit the line of power through faith in God. In the descendants of Adam listed in Genesis 5, Cain and Abel are not even mentioned.
Once started, men continued to pervert God's power, what the Bible refers to as ungodliness. In Genesis 6:3, the Lord, warns that
My spirit shall not always strive with man.
This is the first mention that the spirit is the way the Lord strives with people, or tries to win them to faith and obedience. This is quite interesting since later scriptures show that the spirit given to men is the power to be what God desires them to be.
In Genesis 6:5-6, Jehovah noted the total wickedness of man and repented that he had made man. Genesis 6:7 notes that Jehovah said he would destroy man and everything he had created from the face of the earth. However, Genesis 6:8 notes that one man prevented this from happening:
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Only Noah demonstrated the power of God through proper faith. Everyone else had perverted the power of God for their own use, or religion. Genesis 7:1 says,
And the Lord (Jehovah) said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Noah's family was included in those who entered the ark he was instructed to build, but the scriptures do not say why they were included. Perhaps, it was only because of Noah's faith.
God instructed Noah to build an ark (Genesis 6:13). Even though it had not yet rained on the earth, Noah was told that a flood was coming. Imagine the ridicule he and his sons must have endured while building a boat. And what a strange boat it was, made to float, but unable to be steered. They could not even see where they were going because the only window looked upward.
Noah must have trusted that God would guide the ark and keep it afloat. In Genesis 6:18, God told Noah,
ABut with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
The power to witness for God was passed to Noah and his descendants. But, since these were the only people left, where will the opposition to God come from? Who is it that will not trust God? After years spent building the ark, and after being brought through the flood, why would any of them ever doubt God?
Genesis 9:9‑10 says that God made a covenant with Noah:
And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
An aspect of this covenant which is seldom mentioned, or perhaps even noticed, is the phrase in verse 10:
"And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth."
God cares not only for the people he created, but also all the creatures he created.
Genesis 9:15 also reinforced this aspect of the covenant, when God said,
"I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh."
Paul knew this, for he wrote in Romans 8:22 that,
"the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."
Why? The creation is awaiting the adoption, or the redemption of our bodies. When this adoption occurs, the whole of creation will be included in the renewal.
Genesis 9 reports the re-birth of opposition to God. Noah became drunk from the wine he made, and Ham saw his father's nakedness. Japheth and Shem walked backward to cover their father with a blanket. But, when Noah found out what Ham had done to him, he said,
"Cursed be Canaan (one of Ham's sons); a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren...Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant" (Genesis 9:25-27).
It was much later that the Israelites, who were following Jehovah, invaded the land of Canaan, whose people worshiped false gods. The re-birth of opposition to God arose within the ranks of Noah's own family. It had to be so, since they were the only ones to survive the flood.
So far, we have traced the line of obedience and disobedience from Adam and Eve, who were dissatisfied with God's perfect provisions for them in the Garden of Eden; to Abel, who followed God in faith; and Cain, who followed after works, not God; to Noah, who followed God when all the rest of mankind had deserted and disobeyed him; to Ham, who decided to go against the power of God, and who became the forefather of the Canaanites who opposed the Israelites and their God.
The name Noah, which means rest, is derived from the same Hebrew word which means comfort, or repentance. From Shem came the Semites, or the Hebrews who would be chosen as God's elect people. From Ham, came the Canaanites and the Egyptians, among others. Psalms 78:51 says the Holy One of Israel,
"smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham."
Also from Ham came the Cushites, Canaanites, Jebusites, Hivites, Arkites, and the Sinites, tribes which opposed the Israelites as they came into the promised land. All these tribes were included under the name of Canaanites. The land in which they dwelled is described in Genesis 10:19 as,
"And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha."
Genesis 11:2 refers to the descendants of Nimrod, also a descendant of Ham, who migrated further.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
This was the region around Babylon. Here they attempted to,
build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4).
Jehovah, discerning the real purpose, confounded their language and scattered them abroad, and the place was called Babel. Their desire to "make us a name" meant they wanted to become so strong they would not need anything from anyone, not even God.
The line of opposition to God is clearly defined in the lineage of Ham. On the other hand, Genesis 11:10‑32 provides a list of the descendants of Shem. Many of these names are listed in the genealogy of Jesus given in Luke 3: Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Terah (the father of Abram), and Abraham. This is the lineage through whom the power of God was demonstrated from this point forward. They become the chosen people of God, not for privilege as they later came to believe, but for a responsibility which they often failed to perform.
Abram appears on the scene in Genesis 11, and the power of God will be portrayed through him. Genesis 12:1-3 says,
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Several things are noteworthy in this scripture. First, Abram was asked to leave his kindred and his father's house. Second, Jehovah revealed that he would be the one to lead Abram; he, Jehovah, would show the land to Abram. Third, Jehovah would make a great nation out of Abram. Fourth, Jehovah would bless Abram and make his name great, and he (Abram) would be a blessing. Fifth, this blessing will extend to all the families of the earth.
The balance of Genesis 12 describes several events in Abram's life. He departed as the Lord had commanded him, but he also took Lot, his nephew, with him. Abram actually disobeyed by taking Lot with him, an act which would have serious consequences later.
Abram and his lineage are now the ones through whom the faith of God and his power will be shown to others. Abram followed Jehovah to where the Canaanites dwelled, the very land that Jehovah promised to Abram and his seed. When Abram went into Egypt, he misled the Pharaoh about his wife, Sarai, by saying she was his sister, which led Pharaoh to take her to be his wife. However, after Jehovah sent plagues on the Pharaoh, he gave Sarai back to Abram, along with many riches. When Abram left Egypt, he was a wealthy man.
Genesis 13 relates the story of how Abram and Lot separated from one another. They both owned so many cattle that there was not enough pasture for all of them, so they parted company. Abram gave Lot his choice and Lot chose to take the best land, which was the plain of Jordan. This land also contained Sodom and Gomorrah.
The symbolism here indicates that Lot rather selfishly chose materialism. However, we must be careful lest we judge Lot too harshly. II Peter 2:7‑8 says that God,
delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds).
Even though Lot lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, he evidently retained his faith and feelings for God. Both Abram and Lot were set apart by faith, in opposition to those who lived without regard for the things of God. Thus, the two lines, one of faith and one of opposition are continued here in graphic detail.
There are some very important transitional thoughts in Genesis 15, which could easily be overlooked. The book of Genesis is one of beginnings, and there are several "firsts" mentioned here. For example, in verse 15:1, Jehovah spoke to Abram in a "vision," or Abram was in a trance. Then, in verse 15:2, Abram uses a new word, Adonai, Lord, meaning master or owner, to indicate Jehovah.
(In the KJV, this is written as Lord with only the "L" capitalized, whereas Jehovah is written as LORD. As an interesting aside, Genesis 18:12 uses the singular, Adon, to indicate man; this shows the importance of Adon being much less than the majestic plural, Adonai).
Adonai occurs 432 times in the Old Testament, and corresponds to Lord Jesus in the New Testament. The word, Adonai, or Lord, is often used to indicate a personal relationship with Adonai, and our dependence upon his pledge to keep us and help us. This Adonai, Lord, expects implicit obedience from us; and, as members of his family, we expect guidance and provision for all our needs.
This is a description of an Old Testament father, and is often the meaning expressed in the New Testament when referring to God as Father. This expression of care and sustenance as Lord, or Adonai, was also seen as an expression of The God when the prophets were commissioned and led (see Joshua 7:7, Isaiah 6:1, and Isaiah 26:13).
In Genesis 15:4, Jehovah promised Abram he would have his own child and a large ancestry. Then, in verse 15:6, we note for the first time that a man (Abram) "believed in Jehovah." Hebrews 11 reminds us that the scriptures cited the actions of many early believers as evidence of their faith.
Then, in Genesis 15:8, Abram again used the term Adonai Jehovah. Adonai refers to master or owner. As Paul said in I Corinthians 6:19‑29,
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
This indicates the truth that Abram was learning: that with faith comes the responsibility for obedience.
In the rest of Genesis 15, Adonai Jehovah Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon Abram. While Abram was in a trance, Adonai Jehovah passed between the pieces of the sacrifice signifying that he was the one who made this covenant, which was freely given to Abram.
Then in verses 15:18-21,
In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
This amounted to a promise that Jehovah would drive the present inhabitants from the land he was giving Abram. This was another guarantee that Abram and his descendants would be a witness to the rest of the world.
Genesis 22 relates how Jehovah tried Abram by instructing him to sacrifice his only seed, Isaac, as a burnt offering. After Abram was found faithful, the angel of Jehovah told Abram to sacrifice a ram instead. Abram called the name of that place Jehovah‑Jireh, for
"In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen," or "The Lord will provide." (Genesis 22:14).
Jehovah‑Jireh is not really a name of Jehovah, but a description of his actions. Jehovah is used in conjunction with Jireh because the focus is on a personal relationship with Abram. The angel of Jehovah called to Abram a second time and said,
"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Genesis 22:18).
This shows the love of all men, everywhere on the earth.
We continue to see the lineage of power in Genesis 26:4‑5, which describes how the covenant was passed to Isaac after Abraham died. Isaac's descendants are now expected to show forth God's love and power. The list of people from Genesis 15 would be the ones to show the opposing power of ungodliness.
One of those through whom this power of evil would be shown was Abimelech, king of the Philistines (see Genesis 26). Just as his father had done, Isaac lied about Rebekah being his wife. However, Abimilech saw Isaac sporting (having sex) with Rebekah and realized that she was Isaac's wife. Abimelech told Isaac that he could have caused him great trouble. Later, Isaac was sent away because the Lord had blessed him so greatly that Abimelech was afraid of him.
Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob purchased the elder son's birthright from Esau for a dish of pottage, or lentils, which proved to be a turning point in the saga. Now, Isaac's family was also divided along the lines of those who would follow God and those who would not.
Jacob chose to follow God, while Esau chose to marry two wives from Hittite families (Genesis 26:34). Thereafter, the lineage of God's power primarily flowed through Jacob's line. After Isaac died, the covenant was passed to Jacob, who then bore the burden for representing the power of God to others (see Genesis 46:2‑4).
The story of Joseph began in Chapter 37 of Genesis. Joseph, the favorite one of Jacob's twelve sons, was sold into slavery by his brothers and eventually came to Egypt. Although he was imprisoned wrongfully, God blessed him and caused Pharaoh to look upon him with great favor, delegating great power to Joseph and making him second only to Pharaoh. When a great famine descended on the Middle East, Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and all the family moved to Egypt to avoid starvation. They were shepherds who later became slaves to Pharaoh.
After Joseph and all that generation died, their progeny continued to multiply. A new Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph and he said,
"Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land" (Exodus 1:10).
This new Pharaoh illustrated the line of evil opposed to the line of good represented by the people of Israel, and he
"made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour" (Exodus 1:14).
Pharaoh also commanded that,
"Every son that is born (of an Israelite) ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive."
This brings our study tracing the lineage of good and evil to Moses, the next one who would stand for good. In spite of Pharaoh's command, he was not drowned, but was actually adopted into Pharaoh's household where he grew to manhood (Exodus 1-2). Pharaoh represented the line of evil and Moses represented the line of good.
Does this mean that all the Israelites were godly people? Unfortunately not. However, it did mean they were chosen by God for the purpose of showing forth his righteousness. In fact, Moses killed two Egyptians in an attempt to free his people from bondage. To avoid capture, he fled to the wilderness, and spent a long time preparing to be obedient to God's call (Exodus 2:11-15).
"God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them" (Exodus 2:24-25).
Moses was chosen to represent the power of God to Pharaoh.
"Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10).
This was the first time Jehovah had called Israel "my people."
In Exodus 3:13-14, Moses asked what he should say if people wanted to know Jehovah's name.
"And God (Jehovah) said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."
Notice that "I AM" is written in the present tense, indicating a pledge of the constant presence of Jehovah. More than that, it also means "I am becoming whatever you need."
How is Jehovah going to express himself as the constant I AM? John 8:56-59 says,
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my (Jesus') day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."
These Jews recognized that Jesus was claiming to be the I AM of Exodus 3:14 and they did not relish the thought.
God manifested himself in the personage of Jehovah, whom John showed to be Jesus of the New Testament. In other words, the Jehovah who knew Abraham was also Jesus. This is skipping the study forward to a great extent, but perhaps it does no harm to link some of the issues from the Old Testament with those in the New Testament.
In Exodus 6:6‑8, Jehovah said to Moses.
"Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord."
Several thoughts are noteworthy in the above verses. First, Jehovah promised to deliver the Israelites out of bondage. Second, he promised to bring them into the land of the covenant made with their fathers. Third, this land would be their heritage, or inheritance. Fourth-and this has been listed last for emphasis because of its importance-Jehovah said, "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God."
When Jehovah promised to take the Israelites for a people, and to be a god to them, it was a formula for adoption which appeared here for the first time. This same formula was repeated many times when the Israelites received a king. Then, it was the king who was adopted (as a son of God) instead of the tribe as a whole.
This promise of deliverance and adoption is still future, something promised, but not yet delivered. As believers today we have a similar promise, found in Romans 8:23:
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
How this adoption will take place will become apparent as we continue.
Exodus 7-15 relates how Jehovah guided Moses in his confrontations with Pharaoh. This is a classic example of the comparison between belief and obedience versus unbelief and disobedience, or the power of good versus the power of evil.
Although Pharaoh could have been obedient and used the power of life granted him by God for good, he chose to use it for self-aggrandizement in rebelling against God. This was not the devil acting through him, as many believe; it was his own desire to rule without any intervention from God.
Exodus 12:30 says that because of their abstinence Egypt was punished by the death of all their firstborn sons. None of the Israelites who had put the blood of a lamb upon their door posts lost a child. The people inside could only trust, which is the same for people today. The blood of Jesus delivered from sin; we can only trust.
The Passover was not a sin offering, but a time to be remembered for deliverance from bondage (see Exodus 12:27). Many people trying to make a connection between the Passover and the Lord's Supper of the New Testament assume that the Lord's Supper was a sin offering. However, it is a memorial of when God passed over the sins of the whole world. Everyone should celebrate the Lord's Supper just as all the Israelites were to celebrate the Passover.
Now, concerning the deliverance of the people, Exodus 12:51 says,
"It came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies."
After Pharaoh consented to their release, he changed his mind and,
"the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea" (Exodus 14:9).
The Israelites represented good, showing the power of God, and Pharaoh represented evil, demonstrating power in opposition to God. Most people will remember that the Israelites were saved when the sea parted, while the Egyptians were drowned when the sea closed (Exodus 14:26-28).
This was no small rag‑tag band of people Moses was leading through the divided sea. Exodus 12:37-38 says,
"And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude (probably Egyptians) went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle."
Assuming only an average family of four, this would amount to over two million people, or roughly the population of Kansas. The gap opened in the sea was not the little lane often pictured, but would more likely be a span at least three miles wide to accommodate this many people, with their animals and possessions, within the time given.
The Israelites were chosen to show forth the power of God for good to those around them. Exodus 19:3‑6 says,
"And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation."
Why did Jehovah choose the Israelites to be a kingdom of priests? The answer lies in Deuteronomy 7:6‑8:
"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."
The choice of Israel had nothing to do with their goodness or fitness to serve. They were chosen because of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Unfortunately, the Israelites forgot why they were chosen and became puffed up with pride. They ignored the responsibility that came with the choice, and focused only on the privilege!
Now that the people were delivered from the power of the Egyptians, Jehovah told Moses to take an offering from the people (Exodus 25:1-7). Jehovah was the leader, or god, of the people with Moses acting as his intermediary. The purpose of this offering was to
"make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8).
This tabernacle was to travel with them wherever they went. After stating the requirements for constructing the tabernacle, Moses was instructed to
"And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons" (Exodus 28:1).
Jehovah even told Moses how the priests were to be clothed.
Then, for the first time, we read about the practice of anointing. Exodus 28:41 says that Moses was instructed to take the clothing made especially for Aaron and
"put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office."
Notice that there were three things to be done to these men chosen as priests: they were to be anointed, consecrated, and sanctified. Exodus 29 gives the detailed instructions which Moses received concerning these three things. However, this study is primarily concerned with the issue of anointing.
In Exodus 29:7, Moses was instructed to,
"take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him."
Then, in Exodus 29:44‑46, Jehovah said,
"And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God."
In this passage, Jehovah was repeating this same thought expressed earlier in Exodus 29:45-46.
The priesthood to which Aaron and his sons were appointed required great attention to detail, which would reflect the glory of Jehovah. Nadab and Abihu came to realize this a little too late for their own good. Leviticus 10:1‑3 says,
"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace."
Simply stated, Aaron's two sons did not believe that Jehovah would require them to do anything they did not want to do.
Leviticus 26 describes what Jehovah, who brought them out of Egypt, required of the people of Israel. After listing a number of statutes they were to keep and the benefits of keeping them, Leviticus 26:11‑12 says,
"And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people."
Then, the people were informed of the consequences that would occur if they did not keep the statutes.
The public rite of anointing Aaron and his sons was for the specific purpose of letting the people know whom Jehovah had chosen to serve him in that capacity.
Part of the priestly service concerned the day of atonement, described in Leviticus 16:32‑34:
"And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate (literally, fill the hand of) to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year."
The high priest was to make an atonement for all the sins of Israel once every year. This was not done individually; it was a corporate or congregational act. There was one atonement for all of Israel. The people did not come to the high priest to individually confess their sins. When he acted, the high priest acted for all of them at once.
Three scriptures have been selected from Numbers 14 to illustrate the rebellion of the Israelites against Jehovah and his chosen leaders. The promised land had been explored, but some of the Israelites were afraid of the people already living there. They did not think they could defeat them, even with the help of Jehovah.
Numbers 14:2 says that,
"All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!" Verse 14:4 says, "And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt."
Joshua and Caleb were the only two who recommended that the Israelites take the land as commanded by Jehovah. As an aside, of all the adults who originally left Egypt, they were also the only two who were allowed to finally enter the promised land. Joshua was an Israelite by birth, but Caleb was a Gentile by birth, an Israelite by faith.
This was an open rebellion against Moses and Aaron, Jehovah's appointed leaders and therefore against Jehovah, himself. Nehemiah, a later prophet who recalled this incident said,
"They and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not" (Nehemiah 9:16-17).
Nehemiah did not mean they were not punished, for Numbers 14:26-35 says,
"And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die."
These scriptures from Numbers convey a thoughtful message for us today. We ought to refrain from expressing our complaints and dissatisfaction with the pathway the Lord chooses for us to walk.
The Israelites had difficulty relying confidently in Jehovah, even though he was with them at all times. They continually worshiped the false gods they encountered as they wandered about. These false gods often included the fertility goddesses, which required all kinds of sexual perversions as methods of worship.
Numbers 25:3‑5 provides an example of how Jehovah reacted to the worship of false gods.
"And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor."
These people had not completely deserted the worship of Jehovah, but had combined it with the worship of false gods.
Since the Israelites were so often tempted to worship the fertility goddesses and their consort, Baal, the Israelites were given the following instructions in Numbers 33:50‑56.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them."
The Israelites dwelt only in the mountainous regions and did not drive out the people of the lowlands because they lacked faith in the power of Jehovah. And, the Israelites were finally driven from the promised land because of their spiritual adulteries with the cults of their day. In all of this, the lines of evil and good were becoming more defined.
Jehovah instructed the Israelites not to trespass upon the land of Seir because it had been given to Esau as an inheritance (Deuteronomy 2:5). Neither were they to bother the land of the Moabites or Ammonites as it was given to them because of Lot (Deuteronomy 2:18‑19). These were the two sons of Lot's daughters.
However, in Deuteronomy 7:1‑3, Jehovah also gave clear instructions about other lands.
"When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly."
These nations represented those who worshiped other gods. Unfortunately, the Israelites eventually committed all the sins that Jehovah warned them not to do, and thereby joined forces against Jehovah who had brought them into the promised land. He had also promised to drive out the nations which were currently occupying it.
This issue of defection from Jehovah is pursued further in Deuteronomy 13:6‑18, and we will quote the portions significant to this study. Jehovah said that an Israelite who attempted to seduce others into worshiping false gods was to be stoned (Deuteronomy 13:6). Verses 13:12‑13, referring to the apostasy of a whole city, described them as "children of Belial." Keep in mind that these children, or sons, were first of all those sanctified, or set apart by Jehovah, to be priests unto The God. Now, they were worshiping other gods.
This is the first occurrence of the word "Belial." Thayer (p. 100) says,
"Belial is a name of Satan." However, Fallows points out that,
"Belial comes from the Hebrew beleyahal, and means worthlessness, wickedness. This should not be regarded as a proper name. It is generally associated with the words ‘man, son, daughter, or children.' Hence, ‘son' or ‘man' of Belial simply means a worthless person; one resolved to endure no subjection; a rebel; a disobedient, uncontrollable fellow" (Vol. I, p. 258).
Belial is only used once in the New Testament, in II Corinthians 6:14-15:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"
If we read this scripture in context and compare it with the original occurrence of Belial in Deuteronomy, then "being yoked together with an unbeliever" would mean to become yoked with someone who is apostate from the true faith of Jesus, the Christ.
Although the word belial appears to be a proper name it is actually just a noun. It is not capitalized in the Greek manuscript. Again, if read in context, II Corinthians 6:15 refers to someone who was once a temple of God but is now worshiping other gods. He, or she, has become a worthless person insofar as being able to declare the glory of God.
This word belial will be referred to at other times in this study, but it should not be capitalized as this makes it appear to be a name. Therefore, we will not capitalize it, even though it was erroneously capitalized by the KJV translators. A person of belial is simply a person of worthlessness.
Whether or not the people occupying the promised land-the Gentiles-were children of belial, or worthless ones, is not exactly clear in Deuteronomy. Belial appears to refer only to those who were Israelites. One thing, though, is certain-such people are against Jehovah and his rule.
Contrasted to these worthless ones, Jehovah's provision for his people is given in Deuteronomy 18:1‑8. Verses l‑2 say,
"The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them."
The Levites were the 13th tribe of Israel, but they were not given a share in the land. Instead, they would receive a tithe from the other 12 tribes, which mathematically is actually a greater portion than the others received. Verse 18:5 says that
"the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever."
The Levites were to be a constant reminder to Israel that spiritual things were more important than material ones.
Verses 18:6‑8 describe the ministry of the Levite who was a priest serving the tabernacle or, later, in the temple.
"And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose; Then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the Lord. They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony."
The Israelites did not get to vote on their new pastor, the Levite, but were required to accept him as being sent by Jehovah.
Most pastors today are either chosen by the church hierarchy, or they are voted on by the local assembly. Neither approach has any support from the scriptures. If God calls a person to minister in a certain locality, there should be no need for a vote of the people. Jesus, the Christ, as head of the assembly, does not run a democracy! Jehovah intended the Levites to guide Israel in following him in order to show forth his righteousness to the gentiles.
Verses 18:9‑12 provide a partial list of the things which are an abomination to Jehovah.
"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee."
The reason these things were an abomination was because all of them were counterfeits for the holy spirit; their purpose was attempting to provide guidance for living, which was the job of the spirit.
Since the holy spirit is to be the guide of our lives, this raises a question. Were the Israelites anointed with holy spirit in order to perform their duties before Jehovah? Perhaps the scriptures will provide an answer as we continue the study.
The first part of Deuteronomy 28 contains what Jehovah promised to his people if they remained loyal to him (28:1-15). The remainder of the chapter tells what will happen to them if they do not remain loyal (28:15-68). Indeed, many of the Israelites did not remain loyal to Jehovah, which resulted in the consequences promised.
The history of Israel shows a continual vacillation between worshiping Jehovah and worshiping false gods. What continually caused them to do this? Perhaps it was because they could not see their god, and he demanded moral uprightness from them. The false gods, on the other hand, allowed them to indulge all the sexual fantasies of the flesh in the worst kind of orgies as part of their worship.
Many people today are worshiping at the altar of sex and its perversions as well as purporting to worship at the altar of God. Reading about the Israelite experience should raise grave concerns about whether or not this is pleasing to God. That was exactly what the Israelites did; they tried to worship both God and false idols. However, God is a jealous God, and he demands complete loyalty to himself.
Moses, as he continued to pass on instructions from Jehovah, recited a promise of Jehovah to the Israelite people. However, it reached much further than just to the Israelites; it also affected all people of all time!
"The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [Moses]; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me [Moses], They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him" (Deuteronomy 18:15‑18).
In John 5:19, Jesus said,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Here, Jesus said that he did nothing but what he saw the Father do. In John 8:28, he repeated this statement but added another facet to it. "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things."
When Jesus said "I am he," he was claiming to be the prophet like unto Moses who was referred to in Deuteronomy.
When two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus, they unknowingly spoke to the resurrected Jesus. They asked him if he knew about the things which had happened in Jerusalem. Then, Luke 24:19 says,
"And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people."
These were nearly the same words spoken to Moses by Jehovah when he promised to raise up another prophet like Moses.
The people of Jesus' time were looking for this exact prophet in the person of the messiah. This is shown by the questions which were asked of John the Baptist. In John 1:20-21:
"And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." And, in John 1:25: "And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?"
Some people of that day thought the prophet which God would raise up like unto Moses would either be the resurrected Elijah, or the messiah. Since John said he was neither one, then who was this prophet?
The answer was provided in John 1:45:
"Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
And, in John 1:49:
"Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
These scriptures help show the continuity of thought between the Old and New Testaments.
Probably the first forecast of the messiah was in Genesis 3:15:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Jehovah's covenant with Abraham also contained a prophecy of the coming messiah. In Genesis 22:18, Jehovah said,
"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
When Jacob was blessing his son, Judah, shortly before his death, he said,
"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be" (Genesis 49:8-10).
Here was the promise of a great ruler, strong like a lion. The phrase "the sceptre shall not depart" signified that his kingdom would never end. The "gathering of the people" refers to the future when all men will be gathered to Jesus, the Christ.
This was the lineage chosen to show forth the goodness of God. However, many of those chosen would fail miserably in their duty. They were led astray to other gods even though Jehovah's clear warning told them of the serious consequences which would result from such an apostasy.
The book of Judges relates how Jehovah continued to raise up judges to guide Israel. It also tells of the times they strayed. Then, I Samuel 1 tells how Eli saw Hannah praying for a son with such great distress of mind that he assumed she must be drunk. However, in verse 1:16, Hannah told Eli,
"Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto."
She was actually telling Eli that she was not a worthless daughter of Israel, or a daughter of worthlessness, or a daughter of belial. She was a true worshiper and follower of Jehovah. That was more than Eli could say of his sons.
I Samuel 2:12 says,
"Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord."
Verses 2:16-17 say:
"And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord." Verse 2:22 says, "Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation."
Eli's sons took advantage of their father's position by stealing the offerings and practicing adultery with the women who came to the tabernacle. This amounted, in essence, to extending the worship of the Mother Goddess into the very vicinity of the tabernacle. Verse 2:25 says that
"the Lord [Jehovah] would slay them."
Eli's sons were called sons of belial, or sons of worthlessness, because they "knew not Jehovah." This does not mean they had never heard of Jehovah; after all, they were sons of the high priest! It means they never committed themselves to Jehovah in obedience and service. They did not know him as Adonai, or Master. The power of evil was thus promoted not only by those outside of Israel, but also by many of those who were Israelites.
I Samuel 2:10 prophesied the coming of the king whose horn, or strength, would be exalted. This one would also be anointed, or to coin a word, "christed." The term christ simply means someone who has been anointed, and by this anointing is now a representative of God. Anointing indicated that the person had been equipped with sufficient spirit which would supply the power for them to accomplish what they were called to do.
Eli, being anointed as priest, was a christ. Aaron was also a christ. The scriptures tells how Aaron was anointed, or "christed," with oil poured on by a man. This rite was to show that Jehovah had also anointed him with a portion of holy spirit, endowing him with the power to administer the office to which he was called.
Scripture does not say whether Moses was anointed by another man, but it does say that he had holy spirit upon him. When Moses felt he had become overloaded with judging all the cases brought to him, his father‑in‑law, Jethro, advised him to get others to help. In Numbers 11:17, Jehovah spoke with Moses about this matter:
"And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone."
This shows that Jehovah had anointed Moses with holy spirit; therefore, he also was a christ.
I Samuel 2:35 describes the end of Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's two sons.
"And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever."
Who is this "anointed," or christ, which the new priest shall walk before? Surely this will be answered as we pursue our study.
From the above scriptures, we see that those who do not obey Jehovah are called worthless, whether they are unbelieving Gentiles or disobedient Israelites. These are the ones promoting evil and disseminating its power. The love and power of God was demonstrated through the anointed ones, or the christs, those who walked in love and obedience to Jehovah. The latter were the children of God; the former the children of belial, or worthless ones as far as the cause of God was concerned.
This is clearly illustrated in I Samuel 5 and 6. The Philistines captured the ark of God, brought it to one of their strongholds, and put it in the house of their god, Dagon. Dagon was a statue with the head and hands of a man and the body of a fish, probably associated with one of the Philistine legends about the creation. However, the idol of Dagon was continually thrown down until the Philistines finally admitted that Jehovah, the god of Israel, was stronger than Dagon. By throwing him off his pedestal, Jehovah showed that Dagon was weaker than Jehovah, the god of the Israelites.
Please remember that we have been tracing the path of good and evil. God has been leading the Israelites through the judges and priests appointed by Jehovah to guide them. Now, however, the Israelites want to be just like the other people around them-they want a king.
I Samuel says that Samuel''s sons were no better than Eli's; they also pursued,
"lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." (I Samuel 8:3).
The elders of Israel, tired of this miscreant leadership, came to Samuel and said,
"Make us a king to judge us like all the nations." (I Samuel 8:5).
Samuel prayed, and Jehovah told him to,
"Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."
The Israelites were treading on dangerous ground in rebelling against Jehovah. Samuel warned them what having a king would mean. They would be required to give their sons and daughters for the king's servants. The king would take the best of their fields and vineyards and give them to his officers. He would also take a tenth of all their production to run the kingdom. Then in verse 8:18, Samuel said,
"And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day."
I Samuel 9:15‑17 tells us who the first king would be.
"Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people."
Saul was to be anointed so the people would know he was chosen and empowered by Jehovah. Since he was anointed he would also be a christ when he was king. He would receive some of holy spirit, empowering him to reign and rule in a manner pleasing to Jehovah. However, Saul did not follow the portion of holy spirit he received.
I Samuel 10:1 says,
"Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?"
Samuel also told Saul he would meet a company of prophets who would prophesy,
"And the spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man" (I Samuel 10:6).
Verse 10:9 says, "God gave him (Saul) another heart."
The people saw two pieces of evidence that Saul was chosen to rule over them. First, Samuel anointed him publicly. Second, to show that the spirit of Jehovah had been given to Saul, he joined a group of prophets and prophesied before the people, which was open proof that he had received a portion of holy spirit. This proved that Saul was a christ.
Saul was to be guided by Jehovah through holy spirit. Through him, the power for good was to emanate to the people of Israel. I Samuel 10:26‑27 says that,
"Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace."
The "children of belial" were worthless for promoting the goodness and power of God; they actively opposed it. They were not the sons of some devil; they were simply people who would not follow the guidance of God, preferring to be their own god. They would do as they pleased. These children of belial, or worthless ones, were children of Jehovah who had turned in unbelief to the worship of false gods. Since they were following after a different god, they were called children of belial.
I Samuel 12 reports Samuel's farewell to the people of Israel. He said he was old, and that they had his sons, and the king he had anointed, for their guidance. In verse 12:3 he asked them to
"witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed (or christ)."
According to the context this christ was King Saul.
Again, I Samuel 15:1 repeated the fact that Saul was an anointed one, or a christ:
"Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord."
But, Saul disobeyed the instructions given by Samuel. As a result, Saul was rejected as king by Jehovah. It was not a sudden removal, but his power was gone; Jehovah would no longer work through him.
Saul said he disobeyed because he,
"feared the people" (I Samuel 15:24).
This same plea is still heard today. Many of those who are supposed to lead the people disobey God and his word because they, "fear the people." This is why preachers today will not preach the undiluted word of God to their congregations, because, "they are not yet ready." However, year after year, their congregations never seem to get ready; they remain babes, and never grow in the knowledge of what it means to be obedient to the word of God. The end result will be a loss of their reward in the next age!
In I Samuel 16:1, Jehovah said to Samuel,
"How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
Then, in verse 16:3, Jehovah said,
and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee."
Samuel looked over the sons of Jesse, but Jehovah said it was none of those. When Samuel asked if that were all his sons, Jesse replied that the youngest son was out herding the sheep. When the youngest son finally arrived, Jehovah said to Samuel,
"Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him" (I Samuel 12:12-14).
David would be the king responsible for guiding the people of Israel in following Jehovah. But, just in case he began to waver, God also appointed a priest who would rebuke him.
Throughout the Old Testament, every king, if he strayed, had a priest to rebuke him and bring him back in line. Jehovah knew that when people received power there would be a temptation for corruption of that power. Saul was a good example of this. He liked his position so much that he disobeyed Jehovah for fear the people would not follow him and keep him as king.
David, on the other hand, respected the anointing of Jehovah so much that, although Saul was trying to kill him, David would not destroy Saul even though he had the opportunity. In I Samuel 24:6, David said,
"The Lord (Jehovah) forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord."
And, in verse 24:10, David said that he would never,
"put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed."
David continued as a guerilla leader while awaiting his coronation. Although he had been anointed, he had not yet been seated on the throne. In the meantime, there is the story of David, Abigail, and Nabal, Abigail's husband, whose name means fool (I Samuel 25). In Samuel 25:17, one of Nabal's young men said,
"evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of belial (worthlessness), that a man cannot speak to him."
Nabal was a descendant of Caleb, the man who had scouted the promised land with Joshua. Even Abigail called Nabal worthless, or a son of belial. He was an Israelite, but evidently he had turned away from Jehovah. Abigail interceded with David for the life of her husband, and David spared Nabal for her sake. Eventually, however, upon the death of Nabal, Abigail became David's wife.
Although he came from a good line, Nabal was another Israelite who fostered the spread of evil through his ungodliness and unbelief. And, thus the two lines of good and evil continue.
I Samuel 30 relates how the Amalekites raided and looted an area under David's protection. David pursued them, recovered the loot, and prepared to reward those who had stayed behind to guard the other material. But, I Samuel 30:22 says,
"Then answered all the wicked men and men of belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered."
David's followers were a mixed lot. The words "wicked men" and "men of belial" indicate that there are two divisions of evil: wicked men and men of belial. The mercenaries, probably Gentiles, fighting with David were the "wicked men," while the "men of belial" were unbelieving Israelites, or worthless ones. Keep in mind that belial does not indicate a personality but only a description of the Israelites who were unbelievers, and therefore promoters of evil.
II Samuel l relates the story of how a messenger told David that Saul and Jonathan were dead and that he (the messenger) had slain Saul. In verse 1:14, David asked,
"How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?"
Then, David had him killed. David considered the anointing by Jehovah a precious gift not to be trifled with, even though the spirit had been removed from Saul! We will have more to say about that point later.
Now that Saul was dead, II Samuel 2:4 says,
"And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah."
David has now been "christed," and he is the recognized king, although only over the tribe of Judah.
Politics entered the picture as Jehovah showed David how to reconcile the other tribes of Israel. II Samuel 5:3‑5 describes this reconciliation.
"So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah."
Israel was now a loose federation of tribes, with little cohesion. However, they did have a king in common through whom Jehovah would work to bring about good. This is an important point because this kingship is to last! However, the road to success would see many mistakes. One was David's lust for another man's wife, a sin which nearly destroyed him and came near to making him a son of belial, or worthlessness!
II Samuel (Chapters 11-12) relates the story of David's sin with Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of Uriah, a soldier in David's army. David lusted for Bathsheba, and after commanding that she come to bed with him, she became pregnant. To overcome this embarrassing situation, David had Uriah sent home from the battlefield. However, Uriah refused to sleep with his wife while his comrades were still fighting. This refusal meant that David could not blame Bathsheba's pregnancy on Uriah. So, David commanded that Uriah be put on the front line of battle, and then he commanded that the others withdraw and leave him alone. Uriah died as expected.
Jehovah sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin of adultery and murder. He told David the story of a rich man with great herds who took the only ewe of the poor man to put with his own flock. II Samuel 12:5-6 says,
"And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."
Then, Nathan said to David,
"Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife" (II Samuel 12:7-10).
David was on the ragged edge of becoming belial, or worthless, to the cause of God.
David had been anointed with oil by man, but Jehovah had anointed him with spirit, making him a christ to Jehovah. Who or what was this spirit? It was the same spirit which was first was seen moving upon the face of the waters to bring order out of chaos (Genesis 1:2). Then, after man came upon the scene, it was seen as the moving force in those chosen for special positions by Jehovah. It provided them the guidance and power to accomplish the tasks given to them.
An important point here is that the spirit was not to be used by the people receiving it; instead, they were to be used by the spirit. This concept is often overlooked by many people today. Too often, we think we are to use the spirit instead of the other way round. If we go against the guidance and power of spirit in our lives we, too, will become children of belial, or children of worthlessness.
David's rule became a shambles after his son, Absalom, tried to unseat him. II Samuel 20:1-2 says,
"And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel. So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem."
Again, it was a son of belial, a worthless, renegade Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin!
After his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah, turmoil continued to mark David's reign. David's final words, just before his death, were recorded in II Samuel 23:1-7:
"Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place."
These scriptures make several points. First, David, the son of Jesse, was raised up on high. He had been given the highest place of any Israelite by being anointed as king. Second, David said that the spirit of Jehovah spoke by him and was in the words of his tongue. Third, the fate of the sons of belial, or worthlessness, was also given: They shall be gathered and burned as thorns and thistles.
In the New Testament, Jesus spoke similar words. In Matthew 13:40, he talked about separating the good seed, the children of the kingdom, and the tares, children of the wicked. The good would be kept, but the evil would be burned. This definitely showed that the promised messiah would come through the lineage of David.
All the Israelite deserters, the sons of belial, or worthlessness, will join themselves to the others who worship false gods. Through them evil will continue to grow in power and influence in the affairs of men.
I Kings 1 describes the palace intrigue which preceded the anointing of Solomon as king over Israel. Solomon was another son of Bathsheba and David (the first son had died as an infant). I Kings 1:32‑40 describes the anointing of Solomon by Zadok, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet.
"And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the Lord God of my lord the king say so too. As the Lord hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them."
I Chronicles 29:23 says,
"Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him."
Please note carefully that when Solomon was anointed, or christed, that he "sat on the throne of the Lord as king." The throne was a symbol that Jehovah was the actual ruler, and the king was only the vice-regent. Solomon would draw his power to rule from Jehovah who would anoint him with holy spirit to guide and enlighten him, and provide the wisdom he needed to guide Israel correctly. Any variation from this guidance would cause catastrophe, not only in the personal life of Solomon, but also in the life of the nation of Israel.
Scripture points out that Solomon ultimately failed, even though he was probably the wisest man, other than Jesus, who ever lived. He, himself, became a son of worthlessness by worshiping the false gods of his many wives. Wise as he was, Solomon fell to the temptations of the sexual orgy worship of the Earth Goddess religions. Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple (II Chronicles 6) should serve as a warning to any who think they stand secure in high ranking with God. Solomon thought the same thing, yet we see how far he fell!
II Kings 9:6‑7 describes how the prophet Elisha obeyed the command of Jehovah.
"And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel. And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel."
Although Elisha poured the oil, Jehovah said that he was the one who really anointed Jehu king over Israel. The oil which Elisha poured out represented the holy spirit which came from Jehovah. Jehu was selected to stand against the evil of the world in the organization of Jehovah. Other kings would follow as rulers over Israel, but we will not mention all of them in this study.
Until now, the scriptures have revealed the authorized line of authority. Israel was subject to Jehovah, and kings ruled for Jehovah under holy spirit. We have also seen the development of two lines of power, one from God, and the other from two kinds of people: unbelieving Israelites, sons of worthlessness, plus those who worshiped other gods.
From this point forward, most of the scriptures chosen from the Old Testament will concern prophecies about the coming messiah, or christ. Psalms 2:2 says,
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed...."
This could be any person chosen to be anointed, or christed, by Jehovah. However, Psalms 2:12 says,
"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
Psalms 2:7 helps us identify exactly who was referred to in Psalms 2:2 and Psalms 2:12.
"I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."
This was definitely not referring to David, as many seem to think. Jehovah would never tell men "kiss the son," or to put their faith in David. Also, Psalms 2:8 says that Jehovah will give this person the heathen for an inheritance.
Acts 13:32‑33 should also help us identify the one being referred to in these Psalms.
"And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
Jesus became the begotten son of God at his resurrection, not when he was born of Mary. God had first raised Jesus to a high place, as the potential messiah. However, it is at his resurrection that he was begotten as the son of The God, or king. Therefore, Psalms 2 contains a definite prophecy of the coming of Jesus as the begotten messiah.
Psalm 18 was written by David in celebration of his victory over Saul and his other enemies. But, it is also a prophecy of the coming of another. Psalms 18:44‑50 say,
"As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and showeth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.
Psalms 20:6 says,
Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand."
And, Psalms 20:9 says,
"Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call."
This was David the king speaking. What other king was it that he wanted to hear? David knew that help could come through any of God's servants, but that the original source of help was always from The God. David was calling upon another king from God.
Earlier in this study we raised the question of whether or not all the people of Israel were anointed by Jehovah to carry out the work of witnessing to the heathen about his wondrous power and salvation. Psalms 28:6‑9 sheds light on that subject. First, David spoke:
"Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."
Then, David changed pronouns, from "I" to "their":
"The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever."
These verses seem to indicate that the people of Israel were indeed endowed with a portion of holy spirit to carry out their testimony to the heathen around them. This could be another reason why Jehovah dealt harshly with any who deserted him to become worthless sons, or sons of worthlessness, sons of belial.
Psalms 45:6‑7 is an interesting passage. Verse 45:1 speaks of a king, but what king? Verses 45:6‑7 explains.
"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
This was addressing Jehovah as the future king who would rule forever and ever. This verse is prophetic in context and proceeds to tell Jehovah, or David's god, about the far future when a god the people knew nothing about would anoint Jehovah as king (see Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:16-19). The psalmist was addressing Jehovah as the god of Israel first, and then saying that your God, Jehovah his god, had anointed him.
That the king spoken of represented more than David was shown by Psalms 45:11:
"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him."
The word Lord comes from adonai, meaning master, another word often used in addressing Jehovah. It indicated one's responsibility to be obedient to Jehovah, or worship the god they knew as Jehovah.
Psalms 110:1 says,
"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
The first Lord comes from Jehovah, and the second Lord comes from adonai, or master. Then, verse 110:2 says,
"The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies."
And, verse 110:4 says,
"The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
Hebrews 7:21 repeated Psalms 110:4, and Hebrews 7:22 showed the application of the quote from Psalms 110:4,
"(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament."
The rest of Hebrews 7 further explained the identification of Jesus as being a priest after the order of Melchisedec. [See our book, The Hidden Meaning in Hebrews, for a thorough discussion about the significance of Jesus being a priest after the order of Melchisedec.]
Psalms 110:5-7 says,
"The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head."
Adonai was prophetic of the coming of Jesus as lord, or master, in the next age, or kingdom age.
Isaiah 7 reports that Jehovah instructed Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz refused on the ground that he would not tempt Jehovah. Then, verse 7:14 says,
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Joseph received an almost identical message reassuring him of Mary's fidelity, and saying that her pregnancy was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:23).
When the New Testament cites scripture and prophecies from the Old Testament to prove that Jesus was the messiah, the meaning of anointing becomes clearer.
Isaiah continued his prophecies in verse 9:2:
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
When Zacharias, the father of John, the Baptist, prophesied about the coming of the messiah, he partially quoted Isaiah.
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:68-79).
Zacharias' prophecy primarily concerned Israel as he understood it. Some of his prophecy concerned the time when Jesus lived on earth, and some of it concerned the next age when he will return to reign.
When Paul paraphrased Isaiah 9:2 (in Ephesians 5:8), he clearly saw that it applied to those who converted to belief in Jesus as the Christ.
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light."
And again, in Ephesians 5:14, he said,
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
Isaiah 9:6 is one of the great scriptures concerning the "coming one."
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Some people get confused in the latter part of this verse, imagining that it says that Jesus is God. What they overlook is the first part which says, "Unto us a child (son) is born." Jesus is a son; he is not The God.
Many commentators even feel that the latter part of Isaiah 9:6 is a formula repeated at the coronation of any king anointed by Jehovah as his vice-regent.
Again, Paul used only a portion of this scripture in Ephesians 2:14 to explain part of the purpose for Jesus.
"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us."
So far, Isaiah has prophesied Jesus as light and as the coming son, and then in Isaiah 11:1‑9 as the branch which springs forth from the stem of Jesse, bearing the spirit of Jehovah, and judging in righteousness.
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
What a beautiful description of a powerful, loving person! And, what a great prophecy of the coming messiah, as exemplified by Jesus in the New Testament.
In spite of all the beautiful statements about the coming messiah, the concurrent line of evil stands out in other parts of the scriptures. The worship of the Earth Goddess, with all its accompanying evil, blocks the worship of the one God. This parallel of good and evil is a constant even though we may not write enough about it in this study.
Sometimes Jehovah may anoint a person to fulfill a purpose he is completely unaware of. The person may even be ignorant about Jehovah. The heathen king, Cyrus, is a good example.
"Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him (Isaiah 45:1); and, I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou (Cyrus) hast not known me" (Isaiah 45:5).
Cyrus was the king who allowed the Israelites to return from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem. In these verses, he was being instructed about where his power came from; it was not from himself, it was from Jehovah. Jehovah had helped him wage war successfully, he had held his hand, and he had opened the gates of conquered cities for him even though Cyrus did not acknowledge Jehovah and worshiped other gods. In fact, Jehovah said that his gods were worthless because, "there is no god beside me."
Another description of the coming messiah is found in Isaiah 53. Although this is a beautiful prophecy well worth reading in its entirety, we will comment on only a few portions of this chapter. Verse 53:2 says:
"For he shall grow up before him (Jehovah) as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
Jesus was not a beautiful human being despite all the androgynous pictures created by some artists. Verse 53:3 says:
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Isaiah was prophesying the reaction of Israel to the messiah when he did come: they would reject and despise him.
Isaiah 53:4 says,
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
Even though men thought he was stricken and smitten of God, Matthew 8:16‑17 shows that Jesus was definitely the fulfillment of this prophecy.
"When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Isaiah 53:6 says,
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
This verse begins with universal condemnation and ends with universal salvation! We doubt that Isaiah fully realized the significance of what he was prophesying. It was probably the spirit of Jehovah speaking through him despite his own ignorance about the complete meaning of his prophecy.
In Isaiah 53:7, the prophet wrote,
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."
This foretold the crucifixion of Jesus, as related in the New Testament.
Read the rest of Isaiah 53 for a continuation of his prophecy and its relationship to Jesus. What began as a dim picture of anointed ones, or "christed" ones, is now beginning to develop in greater clarity. At the culmination of the process, there is to be only one christ.
As Isaiah continued to prophesy, another truth of the last days was brought to light in Isaiah 60:19.
"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory."
Revelation 21:23 reveals the identity of this light in the future ages.
"And the city (New Jerusalem) had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb (Jesus) is the light thereof."
Revelation 22:5 says,
"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."
Isaiah said Jehovah would be the light; Revelation said this light would be the Lamb, or Jesus. Jehovah has become the lamb of God, or Jesus, in Revelation, which shows that Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. We will say more about this later with other scriptures.
Isaiah 61:1-2 says,
"The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."
Jesus quoted this prophecy as an explanation of his ministry. When he returned to Galilee from 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus said,
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
Mark 1:14‑15 gives a different version of how Jesus emphasized the scripture from Isaiah.
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
Mark clearly shows that Jesus considered Isaiah 61:1 as his authority to preach the kingdom of God.
Describing this same event, Matthew 4:12‑17 says,
"Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Remember that it was Jehovah who anointed the one who was to preach, "good tidings unto the meek" (Isaiah 61:1). The New Testament shows that these "good tidings" were the good news of the kingdom of God which Jesus preached.
Daniel 7:13‑14 says,
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
While Jesus was on earth, he referred to himself as "the son of the man" most of the time. He seldom called himself "the son of The God," which was another name for messiah, or christ.
As "the son of the man," Jesus clearly identified himself with humanity. But, the way in which the Greek included the definite articles also makes him the proto‑type of all humanity. He was the truly human person which had been God's original desire for everyone.
Daniel said that it was this son of man which approached the ancient of days, and received an everlasting kingdom. In Daniel's vision, all nations, languages, and nations were to serve him.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said,
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Jesus spoke these words to the eleven disciples after he had been resurrected. His resurrection from the dead was proof that he was messiah, the chosen of God.
Also, in Revelation 11:15:
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
Some people claim that there are no specific references in the Old Testament which identify Jesus as the messiah. But, Luke 24:25‑27 says,
"Then he (Jesus) said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."
One specific reason for the Old Testament was to foretell the coming of the messiah!
Daniel 9:24‑27 says,
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (one). Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
The KJV indicates that Daniel spoke specifically of messiah, but it is the same word (mashach) translated throughout the Old Testament as "anointed" (one). Why the KJV translators chose to use messiah here instead of anointed may be due to the specificity of the context.
Daniel was prophesying to the Israelite people and told them they would have 70 weeks to bring in an everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and "to anoint the most holy (one)." This 70 weeks was then shortened to 69 weeks, the amount of time from the commandment "restore and to build Jerusalem unto the messiah the prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks."
After these 69 weeks, then "messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself." Verse 9:27 says that the messiah will confirm the covenant. Remember, God's righteousness is based upon his truthfulness in regard to the covenant given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and during the 70th week this covenant will be confirmed.
In Acts 13:32‑34, Paul wrote that this covenant was confirmed.
"And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David."
These "sure mercies" were the promises given to David which extended the covenant from Abraham to him. They also included the promise that messiah would come from his lineage. In the 70th week, messiah would be cut off, or crucified. But, this crucifixion would be for the benefit of others, not for himself. The Israelites never did anoint the holy one, but we know from the New Testament that he was anointed.
Micah was another prophet granted the privilege of prophesying the future far in advance of his time. In Micah 5:2, he gave this prophecy of the coming messiah.
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Who was this person whom Micah said would come out of Bethlehem? John 7:42 says,
"Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"
In this scripture, John verified the prophecies of both Daniel and Micah.
Fallows (Vol. 2, p. 944) wrote,
"It is quite obvious that the Messiah is the same person as ‘the seed of the woman' who was to ‘bruise the head of the serpent' (Genesis 3:15); ‘the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed' (Genesis 22:18); the ‘great prophet to be raised up like unto Moses', whom all were to be required to hear and obey (Deut. 18:15); the ‘priest after the order of Melchizedek;' ‘the rod out of the stem of Jesse, which should stand for an ensign of the people to which the Gentiles should seek' (Isaiah 11:1, 10); the virgin's son whose name was to be Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14); The Angel of the Covenant, (Malachi 3:1)....When we say, then, that Jesus is the Christ, we in effect say, ‘This is HE of whom Moses in the law, and the Prophets did write' (John 1:45); and all that they say is true of Him. Now what is the sum of the prophetic testimony respecting him? It is this-that He should belong to the very highest order of being, the incommunicable name Jehovah being represented as rightfully belonging to him; that ‘his goings forth have been from old, from everlasting' (Micah 5:2)."
Throughout the Old Testament, while the word "anointed" has traced the course of God's testimony to men through his "christed ones," it has always been opposed by those who were committed to false religions. It has also been opposed by those who were denoted as worthless sons, those who converted from Israel to those false religions. They were sons of Israel, therefore of God, and through their defection, became sons of worthlessness, or as some translations put it, "sons of belial." These two groups are sometimes referred to as "the wicked" and "the sons of worthlessness." David said that the army he saw was composed partly of both groups.
Does the New Testament contain any further explanation of the "sons of belial?" Usually, if a foundation for a doctrine can not be found in the Old Testament, it should be examined very carefully for authenticity. This is the reason for the approach we have taken in this study. Can the principles stated in the Old Testament also be found in the New Testament?
Thus far we have established that, (1) worthless sons are renegades from the faith of Israel, denoted as "sons of belial;" (2) these worthless sons, along with the "wicked," those who worshiped false gods, represent the opposition to God; (3) those who were anointed by God were called to stand against the sons of worthlessness and the wicked.
This monograph has been primarily concerned with tracing the source of the power for good and the power for evil. The power for good comes from God, as noted in the Old Testament scriptures, through the spirit he bestowed upon men. The power for evil comes from men as they pervert the power of the spirit they received and rebelled against their God.
# Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests, and also sometimes
prophets, and by it they were regarded as endued with the holy spirit
and divine. Therefore, the word "anointed" can be used to trace the
course of God's power through the Bible.
# Those who were anointed were the ones chosen to exhibit the power
and authority of God.
# Anointing was also an overt demonstration of God's gift of holy spirit,
which provided the power to do good.
# The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil signified a
possible division of power: one, of God, unto life or immortality, and
the other, a power of man, to cause his own death.
# By the simple act of using his will to oppose God, Adam brought death
unto all mankind. This aberration of faith lays the foundation of all
sin-unbelief of God. It also lays the foundation for the division of
power, which from this point forward, progresses in two distinct
dimensions: that of God and that of man.
# The serpent becomes the symbol of the temptation for both Adam and
Eve. Both had a will of their own with which they could oppose God.
When they succumbed to the temptation to disobey God, worldliness
# Whenever anyone considers whether or not to obey the known will of
God, that old serpent, the will of man to oppose God, rears its head.
# Whether he realized it or not, Adam, by his act of defiance to God, took
over the responsibility of providing all the good things (such as food,
shelter, and clothing) for himself rather than relying on God. He
would also have to cope with the morass of evil, such as sickness and
war and many other calamities which would befall mankind.
# First, we saw that God was the source of all power. Then, Adam
perverted the power given to him for obedience to do his own will. This
resulted in the beginning of religion as Adam sought to cover his
nakedness with fig leaves. Then we see an example of true religion,
based upon the faith of God as shown by Abel, and false religion,
based on outward form as shown by Cain. The power of God was
exhibited through Abel, while the power of man, or the world, was
shown through Cain.
# So far, we have traced the line of obedience and disobedience from
Adam and Eve, who were dissatisfied with God's perfect provisions for
them in the garden of Eden; to Abel, who followed God in faith; and
Cain, who followed after works, not God; to Noah, who followed God
when all the rest of mankind had deserted and disobeyed him; to Ham,
who decided to go against the power of God, and who became the
forefather of the Canaanites who opposed the Israelites and their God.
# Isaac's family was also divided along the lines of those who would
follow God (Jacob) and those who would not (Esau). Thereafter, the
lineage of God's power primarily flowed through Jacob's line. After
Isaac died, the covenant was passed to Jacob, who then bore the
burden for representing the power of God to others.
# God manifested himself in the personage of Jehovah, whom John
showed to be Jesus of the New Testament. In other words, the Jehovah
who knew Abraham was also Jesus.
# When Jehovah promised to take the Israelites for a people, and to be a
god to them, it was a formula for adoption which appeared here for the
first time. This same formula was repeated many times when the
Israelites received a king. Then, it was the king who was adopted (as a
son of God) instead of the tribe as a whole.
# The Israelites were chosen to show forth the power of God for good to
those around them.
# The choice of Israel had nothing to do with their goodness or fitness to
serve. They were chosen because of the promises to Abraham, Isaac,
# Unfortunately, the Israelites forgot why they were chosen and became
puffed up with pride. They ignored the responsibility that came with
the choice, and focused only on the privilege!
# The public rite of anointing Aaron and his sons was for the specific
purpose of letting the people know whom Jehovah had chosen to serve
him in that capacity.
# The high priest was to make an atonement for all the sins of Israel once
every year. This was not done individually; it was a corporate or
congregational act. There was one atonement for all of Israel.
# The Israelites tried to worship both God and false idols. But, God is a
jealous God, and he demands complete loyalty to himself.
# The term christ simply means someone who has been anointed, and by
this anointing is now a representative of God. Anointing indicated that
the person had been equipped with sufficient spirit which would
supply the power for them to accomplish what they were called to do.
# The rite of anointing was to show that Jehovah had anointed him with
a portion of holy spirit, endowing him with the power to administer the
office to which he was called.
# Those who do not obey Jehovah are called worthless, whether they are
unbelieving Gentiles or disobedient Israelites. These are the ones
promoting evil and disseminating its power.
# The love and power of God was demonstrated through the anointed
ones, or christs, those who walked in love and obedience to Jehovah.
The latter were the children of God.
# The "children of belial" were worthless for promoting the goodness and
power of God; they actively opposed it. They were not the sons of
some devil; they were simply people who would not follow the
guidance of God, preferring to be their own god. They would do as
# Throughout the Old Testament, every king, if he strayed, had a priest
to rebuke him and bring him back in line.
# An important point is that the spirit was not to be used by the people
receiving it; instead, they were to be used by the spirit. This concept is
often overlooked by many people today. Too often, we think we are to
use the spirit instead of the other way round.
# Solomon would draw his power to rule from Jehovah who would
anoint him with holy spirit to guide and enlighten him, and provide
the wisdom he needed to guide Israel correctly. Any variation from
this guidance would cause catastrophe, not only in the personal life of
Solomon, but also in the life of the nation of Israel.
# The scriptures have revealed the authorized line of authority. Israel
was subject to Jehovah, and kings ruled for Jehovah under holy spirit.
# We have also seen the development of two lines of power, one from
God, and the other from two kinds of people: unbelieving Israelites,
sons of worthlessness, plus those who worshiped other gods.
# Jesus became the begotten son of God at his resurrection, not when he
was born of Mary.
# The people of Israel were endowed with a portion of holy spirit to carry
out their testimony to the heathen around them. This could be another
reason why Jehovah dealt harshly with any who deserted him to
become worthless sons.
# Sometimes God may anoint a person to fulfill a purpose he is
completely unaware of. The person may even be ignorant about God.
# Throughout the Old Testament, while the word "anointed" has traced
the course of God's testimony to men through his "christed ones," it
has always been opposed by those who were committed to false
# Those who were anointed by God were called to stand against the sons
of worthlessness and the wicked.
The power for good comes from God, through the spirit bestowed upon
the spirit they received and rebelled against God.
© 2009, Fred Kenison and Merrill Douglass. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.