Who and What the Bible is About
John 5: 45, 46/ Luke 24: 25-27
The Bible has a Who and a What. There is a person which the Bible from the beginning to end gives its focus. There is also a subject that dominates the pages of sacred Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. The person is Jesus. The subject is Redemption. The person is “the Christ”. The subject is “the cross”. This is one of the many miracles associated with the Bible. Though the Bible had over 40 contributing human authors over 1600 years in the making, yet the person and the subject remains the same. This certainly supports Devine Authorship not for time but for eternity, (Heb. 12:2, II Peter 1:20, 21, Ps. 119: 89, II Tim. 3: 16).
Learning how to find Jesus and His work on Calvary is the key that unlocks the treasure chest of Scriptural understanding and knowledge. The Old Testament is not a collection of unrelated books written thousands of years ago by religious Jewish men. Nor is it simply the history of the Jewish race and religion. Holy Bible means sacred writings. The Bible is a miracle book and stands on its own. It does not need my feeble help to prove its Devine authorship, its perfection, its power, or its preservation. The fact it’s translated (portion) in some three thousand languages and dialects and has over 5 billion copies world-wide speaks for itself. The fact that millions world-wide credit the Bible for miraculously changing their eternal future and their immediate lives speaks for itself. The fact that hundreds of detailed prophecies were fulfilled exactly as written speaks for itself. The fact that Jesus birth life, death, and resurrection was prophesied and fulfilled to minutest of details speaks for itself.
The subject of Bible interpretation must be addressed especially since we will be referencing types, pictures, foreshadowing’s, metaphors etc. of the Scriptures. There are two interpretation styles popular today, literal and allegorical. Some radio preachers have championed the allegorical position and refer to it as the spiritual approach. The serious flaw with the allegorical approach is the lack of controls on the interpretation. The mind of man has no limits. It can attach any story it desires to any passage of scripture and claim it to be the spiritual interpretation. This interpretation suggests there’s a mystical, hidden symbolic meaning behind the message of scripture. The literal interpretation suggests there is a logical common sense meaning of every passage. A proper guide is: if the sense of the passage is not common sense, then it’s a pretense. Our study of Scripture will always strive to find the literal and logical meaning of Scripture. If a passage of Scripture has symbolism and a secondary message, then other Scriptures must support its metaphor, figure of speech, etc.
Jesus is found and revealed in at least six different venues in the Old Testament. He is revealed in types (pictures), in Christophanies, in the covenants, in names and titles, in songs and in prophecies. Each of these areas is incredibly edifying and enlightening and reveals golden nuggets of truth that indeed opens up the Scriptures.
Here at the outset we must properly identify the person of the LORD Jesus, so that we will know who we are looking for in the Old Testament. Just who is Jesus? There are perhaps over one-hundred names and titles given in the Scriptures to the LORD. Perhaps the two most important are “Christ” and “Messiah.” Both carry the same meaning, the anointed One. Though many priest, prophets, kings and even objects were anointed in Bible days, the title “Christ, Messiah” carried a connotation of the highest order. Though it was extremely difficult for the Jews to consider the Christ to be Devine, yet that is exactly the obvious message of the Old Testament. It certainly was more obvious Messiah would be man, for He was the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the seed of Judah, and the Son of David. He certainly was a man, but the title Messiah elevated him to Deity as well as we shall see.
Most people of Jesus’ day accepted Jesus as a teacher or a prophet, (John 3:2, Matt. 16: 13, 14). But some, under the inspiration or revelation of the Holy Spirit, comprehended Him as much, much more as the Christ and Messiah, (Matt. 16:16, 17, John 4: 25, 26, 29, Luke 2: 26-35, 38, John 1: 41, 45, 49). Daniel 9:25, 26 is the only Old Testament reference of Messiah. This chapter is one of the most important prophetic chapters in the Bible. It identifies the time of the first coming of Christ and the fact that he would be cut off, then the chapter reveals the events that will transpire just prior to his second coming. Another reference to Christ is found in Psalms 2. Verse 2 places the Anointed One on the same level as God as the kings of the earth set themselves and take counsel against Him. Not only on the same level, but the Christ is referred to as God’s king in verse 6 and His Son in verse 7. Then God advises the kings to “kiss His Son lest He be angry and they perish in His wrath.” The chapter finishes with an incredible statement pronouncing blessedness to all who will trust the Anointed One, the King, the Son! Surely it is obvious the Anointed One is exalted to a level much higher than man, but that of Deity.
The Deity of the Christ will be substantiated over and over as our study continues in subsequent lessons, but we should also here point out the heavenly position and authority attributed to the Christ in Scripture. He is referred to as Prophet, Deut. 18: 15, 19; Priest, Ps. 110: 4; and King, Ps. 2: 6, Ps. 24: 7-10. These three positions express Christ’s ministry and work in behalf of mankind. As Prophet He reveals God (His will, His Word, His work in behalf of man), as Priest He mediates or represents man to God to provide reconciliation, as King He expresses His authority and power over all man’s enemies.
Without question the many disciples of Christ were overwhelmed with joy and enthusiasm when Jesus first revealed His identity in Luke 4: 18-20 and when John the Baptist declared Jesus as “the Christ in John 1: 29, 30, 34, 35. Andrew, one of John’s disciples, immediately found his brother, Peter and said (John 1: 4), “We have found the Messiah which is being interpreted, the Christ,” (also note vs. 45). All this enthusiasm and excitement reached a crescendo at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus’ disciples lined the main road and cried, “Hosanna, Son of David, Blessed is the King of Israel…” (John 12: 13, Matt. 21: 9). But notice they only recognized one office, that of King. They failed to appreciate His other two offices of prophet and priest. They often disagreed with His prophetic declarations (John 6: and Matt. 23). Also they ignored His priestly responsibilities and Peter even rebuked Him, (Matt. 16:21; 17: 12, 13; 17: 22, 23; 20: 18, 19). It was this lack of insight that had the disciples totally unprepared for the sufferings of Christ even though numerous Scriptures prophesied of this and spelled it out. They failed to realize in order to have redemption, there had to be a redeemer, and in order to have a redeemer, there had to be a sacrifice, suffering, and shedding of blood. They could not fathom that as a possibility, and even if they could, they would not ever consider such. Their hopes, plans, and program had no place for His priestly duties. Yet it was exactly those duties that dominate His attention at His first coming, (Luke 9:51). A far greater crisis existed of which the disciples only saw the national problem of Roman dominance. Israel was in bondage to and occupied by Rome. They longed for national freedom. But a far greater problem existed. It was the bondage of the soul to the law of sin and death. The political bondage to Rome caused great hardship and a loss of many liberties, but the bondage to sin and death caused the loss of both physical life and eternal life not only for Jews, but for all mankind. It was death to body and soul. The second death for the soul was the lake of fire for eternity. No wonder Jesus had a different agenda to the disciples. The angel called it right when he went to Joseph before Jesus was even born, Matt. 1: 21 “Call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” Jesus never lost sight of His primary duty, His priestly office.
1a. What’s the message of Rev. 12?
1b. Interpret literally the symbolic language.
1c. Provide scripture to support your choice of meanings.
2. What do you find signicant in each of the following three passages? (Isaiah 9: 6, 7; Isaiah 61: 1, 2; Zech. 9: 9, 10).
3. A reason is provided in the lesson for the disciples missing Jesus’ real agenda, do you think there was any other reason or reasons?