Against World Powers
V. The Messianic Solution
Proof of Allegiance
The Sheep-Herders Son
The Nations Are Redeemed
The End of the Gods
Son of Man—Son of God
The Alpha and the Omega
Proof of Allegiance
In the ancient world the greatest bond of love and loyalty that could possibly exist was the bond between a father and his first-born son. Society was centered around the tribe in rural areas, or around the ruling family in urban areas. The head of the tribe or ruling family was always a man, and the authority to rule was always passed to the eldest son. Polygamy was the usual practice for men in positions of authority, and women were often viewed as little more than property. For this reason sons were the most cherished possession and it was through the eldest son that the name of the ruler lived on.
In the years immediately following the division of the nations of the earth over to the spiritual authority of the angelic princes, religion was characterized by a period of intense competition as each ruling angelic power tried to consolidate, validate and confirm its possessions. This spiritual/political situation was facilitated only through the very type of mystical practices that were forbidden for Israel to use. Within each tribe, family or clan, there would always be priests, shamans, or mediums who would have the responsibility of accessing the spirit world, conferring with the tribe’s god or gods, and making their gods' desires known to the leader of the tribe, family or city.
A problem from the gods’ point of view was that allegiances could shift, and whole families could embrace other gods if they felt that their gods were not taking care of them. Because of this, pagan religious worship was a two-way street—the clan expected prosperity and protection, while the gods demanded complete allegiance if they fulfilled their duties.
This was a period during which the pagan practice of child-sacrifice to the gods came into being. The greatest bond of love and loyalty existed between the leader of the clan and his eldest son, and if the ruler of the clan could be convinced to sacrifice his son to his tribal god, then that god would be convinced of the clan’s loyalty to the greatest extent possible. It was a horrific practice, but it gave the gods assurance that their authority was recognized.
The Sheep-Herders Son
This brings us to the case of Abraham the northern Mesopotamian sheep-herder who was called out by God to be the father of the Lord’s own nation. Abraham’s family was originally from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans, which later relocated to the city of Haran. Scholars believe that the family originally worshiped a tribal moon god. Whoever this tribal god was, when the Lord called to Abraham through dreams and visions Abraham was impressed enough to change his allegiance to the powerful new God that was speaking to him.
Abraham was a very powerful chief of his own tribe, and he was also the protector of his nephew Lot who was the head of his own family that traveled with Abraham. God directed Abraham to take Lot, leave Harran, and pitch his tent and set up an altar right in the middle of the land of Canaan in the region of Bethel. When a famine came into the land Abraham’s entire clan took refuge in Egypt for a time, but then they returned again to the area of Bethel when it was over. At this point Abraham and Lot separated, with Abraham settling in Canaan near Hebron and Lot taking the Jordan Valley.
During this time there was a great war between an alliance of five kings that ruled over cities including Sodom and Gomorrah south of the Dead Sea, and an alliance of four kings who came with an army from Mesopotamia. The five kings were in a state of rebellion against their Mesopotamian overlords, and the great army of the Mesopotamian kings was brought in to punish them. An interesting thing to note is that, according to Genesis 14, before the Mesopotamian force attacked the five kings they first traveled to the south and defeated the Rephaim, the Zuzim and the Emim, which were Nephilim tribes (see Part III) that lived in the Negev desert.
After the four Mesopotamian kings turned north and defeated and pillaged Sodom, Gomorrah and the other rebellious cities, they also captured Lot and his family, taking them as prisoners on their return journey home.
The power of Abraham as a tribal chief is shown by the fact that at this point Abraham led his own army out to attack the Mesopotamian army, defeated it, rescued Lot and his family and took much plunder. After this successful operation Abraham journeyed to the land of Salem where he was blessed by King Melchizedek who was, according to Genesis 14:18, “a priest of God Most High.”
At this point God told Abraham that He would protect him, but Abraham voiced his greatest worry, which was the fact that he had no direct heir, no son that would carry on his name. To reassure Abraham God said that a descendent would indeed come from Abraham’s own body, and then God directed Abraham to look into the night sky and told him that the number of his descendents would one day outnumber the stars.
Sarah was the wife of Abraham, and she knew of the promise that God had made to Abraham. However, Sarah assumed that she was too old to bear children, so she had Abraham take her Egyptian slave Hagar as a wife, who gave birth to Ishmael, who became known as the father of the Arabs.
Sarah’s role had to be confirmed several years after the birth of Ishmael, when three angels appeared in Abraham’s camp, one of whom was addressed as “the LORD.” This “angel” spoke directly to Sarah and said that despite her old age she would give birth to a son at the same time next year, to which Sarah just laughed.
After she did have the son, who was named Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael were driven away from the camp, and the Lord told Abraham that “through Isaac your descendants shall be named” (Genesis 21:12). Several years later God called out to Abraham and Abraham was shattered when, in his mind, it appeared that God had reneged on His promise regarding Isaac. The story is related in Genesis 22,
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’
Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’
Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’
The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’”
To fully understand what was involved on this occasion we have to understand the nature of pagan religious practice. Abraham had given up his old gods and had accepted the authority of a new god for his clan. This new god had blessed Abraham, protected Abraham, led Abraham to victory in battle, and given land and much prosperity to him and his family. For Abraham it was not completely unexpected that his new god would demand a demonstration of allegiance in return. Child-sacrifice was a practice known by Abraham to take place throughout the pagan world and so Abraham, as much as it must have hurt him, was resigned to what he had to do.
The spiritual significance of this episode goes a great deal further, however. The region of Moriah where Abraham was directed to offer his sacrifice was located in the land of Salem, ruled over by the holy King Melchizedek. In the middle of this region there were three low mountains over which the city of Jeru-Salem was eventually built. The eastern mountain became known as the Mount of Olives, the western mountain became Mount Zion, and the middle mountain within this area of Moriah became known specifically as Mount Moriah.
Mount Moriah had a lower plateau on which King Solomon built the Jewish Temple, a flat plateau now known as the Temple Mount. However the highest peak of Mount Moriah was to the north of the Temple Mount, and after the Romans conquered Israel it became known as Golgotha, "The Place of the Skull,” because this is where criminals were often put to death. This was the very spot on which Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac, and it was the very place where Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion. The book of Genesis was written about fourteen hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, and the place where He was executed was named “The LORD Will Provide” by Abraham.
In the pagan world the greatest test of human devotion to the gods took the form of child-sacrifice. There was no greater bond of love and loyalty that could possibly be tested. It was the ultimate sacrifice to ask a father or mother to make, but it was a sacrifice that was demanded by the gods throughout pagan civilization. It was truly a horrific and terrible form of religious devotion, and throughout the Old Testament the God of Israel referred to it as a detestable and abominable practice. After Abraham passed the test, and showed that he was willing to sacrifice Isaac to God, God stopped him and reiterated to him the promise that through his offspring “all nations on earth will be blessed.”
This blessing became a reality through the Messiah Jesus Christ, whose death on the topmost peak of Mount Moriah symbolized the complete overthrow of the pagan system of worship. Instead of mankind existing in a system where the gods demanded the sacrifice of our children as demonstrations of our allegiance to them, God turned this system on its head, and sacrificed His Son on our behalf, to demonstrate His love and devotion for us. This divine sacrifice marked the beginning of the end for the wicked angelic powers that ruled over the pagan world.
The Nations Are Redeemed
The very purpose of Israel was to bring forth the Messiah. The Old Testament prophets predicted many things about this future Redeemer, and gave him many titles that described what he would achieve. From Israel’s perspective he was anticipated because they knew that the Messiah would conquer Israel’s enemies, establish peace on earth, and make Jerusalem his throne and the capital of the world. The prophet Isaiah, however, predicted that the Messiah had a purpose greater than just magnifying Israel, and Isaiah’s prophecies explained how the Messiah would be a blessing to all nations,
“Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name... And now the LORD says-- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength-- he says: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.’
This is what the LORD says-- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel-- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’” (Isaiah 49:1-7)
Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles, bringing salvation to the entire world, and that kings and princes would humble themselves before him. Isaiah also stated that this Redeemer would be “formed in the womb” and born. This was a fact that Isaiah makes known in another Messianic prophecy:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The Messiah would be born as a son, but he would grow up to reign on David’s throne forever. The prophet Daniel witnessed in a vision the exact moment when the Messiah will be given sovereignty and authority over this eternal kingdom that will include “all peoples, nations and men of every language.”
“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened...
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:9-10,13-14)
There are a number of interesting facts about this scene that Daniel witnessed. First of all, it is clearly a Divine Council scene, because thrones (plural) are set in place. After the Ancient of Days takes his seat on the primary throne, then “the court” is seated on their thrones and the books are opened, which signals a judgment.
The result of the judgment is a transfer of authority. After the flood, at the start of the pagan era, the world had been divided among seventy of the angelic “sons of God,” but at this point in Daniel’s vision (after authority is taken from the four beasts, which we will get to later) authority over the world is handed over to the figure who appears before God’s throne “like a son of man,” which simply means that he appeared as a human being.
This transfer of authority was anticipated during the ministry of Jesus. A short time after Jesus chose his twelve disciples he appointed exactly seventy other disciples. The Gospel of Luke (10:1-24) records that these disciples were sent out in pairs and were instructed to travel ahead of Jesus “to every city and every place.” When they entered a house they were instructed to first say “Peace be to this house,” and then to give the message that “The kingdom of God is near you.” Jesus told these seventy messengers that if they entered a city and were not accepted into any homes then they were to announce in the streets that “the kingdom of God has come near.”
This appointment of exactly seventy disciples was a symbolic act that Jesus made, that predicted the downfall of the pagan world order and of the seventy fallen angelic princes that ruled over it, and the triumph of the kingdom of God.
When the seventy disciples returned to Jesus they joyfully announced to him, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus responded to them saying,
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
Then Jesus said to all of his disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Jesus knew that He was the fulfillment of the very purpose of the nation of Israel, and that through him the nations would be redeemed from their spiritual enslavement to Satan and the fallen angels.
Jesus explained the nature of his kingdom—the kingdom of God—at the very end of his ministry when he was brought before Pontius Pilate by the Jewish leaders that were lobbying for his execution. Pilate asked Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus responded saying,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm... You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.” (John 18:36-37 NASB)
The sacrifice of Jesus created a kingdom that has gradually emerged out of humanity as a whole. It is not an earthly kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom destined for heaven. When Jesus was sacrificed he did not take possession of the earth, but he did take authority away from Satan and the other fallen angelic princes because it created a way for all humanity to be redeemed to God out of the pagan system.
The sacrifice of Jesus purchased a portion of humanity, and the entire earth, but the moment when Jesus takes physical possession of the earth is still to come. The first stage was the purchase, and the second is the possession, and in between these two stages is a period of time often referred to as the “Church Age,” when the heavenly “kingdom of God” expands throughout the physical world that is still possessed by Satan and the fallen angels.
The Apostle Paul explains that the true Church—made up of sincere believers and followers of Jesus Christ—was created in part to demonstrate the wisdom of God to all of the angelic powers, good and evil, of this world and perhaps of others. Paul wrote (Ephesians 3:10-11) that God’s intent was that “...through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The cosmic battle between good and evil that is being played out on the earth today is on display, and its ultimate purpose is to demonstrate the goodness, justice and wisdom of God throughout the universe. The end of this battle is described in the book of Revelation, and the transfer of authority from the fallen angels into the hands of Jesus Christ is explained near the beginning of the book.
John’s vision of heaven begins when he sees God the Father sitting on the throne and the twenty-four elders sitting on thrones surrounding Him (Revelation 4). In His right hand God Almighty holds a scroll that has writing on the inside and on the outside that is sealed with seven seals. This scroll is similar to an ancient Hebrew title deed that would contain the actual deed written on the inside with the owner’s name written on the outside. The seven-sealed scroll is actually the title deed to the earth, and God the Father holds it in his hand until Jesus Christ is ready to take physical possession of the earth.
According to Revelation Jesus earned the right to take the scroll the moment that he was slain, but he has waited to open it for almost two-thousand years. During this period it is as if the earth has been in the escrow phase, after a property is purchased but before the purchase is confirmed and the new owner takes physical possession and moves in. In Revelation, after Jesus Christ finally takes the scroll from the right hand of God the Father, the twenty-four elders sing a song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
Notice that the purchase was made in the past, and the kingdom was created in the past (at the moment Jesus was slain), but the reign of this kingdom on the earth is stated to be in the future: “they will reign.”
As John’s vision unfolds the seven seals of the scroll are broken one by one, and the seventh seal is explained to contain seven trumpets. These seven trumpets are then blown one by one, and when the seventh is blown heaven finally proclaims (Revelation 11:15), “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” This proclamation signals the final phase when Jesus Christ will destroy the wicked and take physical possession of the earth. At this point the “kingdom of the world” and the “kingdom of God” will finally become one and the same.
The End of the Gods
The prophet Isaiah described what would happen to the fallen angelic forces that currently have power over the “kingdom of the world” in two passages that describe the cataclysmic “Day of the Lord” and its aftermath,
“The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken. The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls--never to rise again. In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days.” (Isaiah 24:19-22)
“Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter... And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” (Isaiah 34:1-4 KJV)
Isaiah predicted that the “host of heaven” that are the “powers in the heaven above” that ruled over the pagan world will be captured, punished, and ultimately dissolved. The prophet Jeremiah wrote simply that (10:11),
“These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth,
will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
The Apostle Paul encouraged the church at Corinth when he looked to the future saying (1 Corinthians 6:2-3), “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? ...Do you not know that we will judge angels?”
At this final judgment of the heavenly powers the tables will be turned, and mankind that once worshiped the fallen angels will sentence them to death. This judgment will take place at the end of the Day of the Lord, and was viewed by John who wrote (Revelation 20:4), “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.”
We have seen that the earth is governed according to a multi-tiered hierarchy. God possesses ultimate authority at the top level of this hierarchy, along with Jesus Christ. However, during the pagan era, direct rule of the original seventy pagan nations of the world was temporarily given over to the second-tier of the hierarchy, which was occupied by seventy of the angelic “sons of God,” who eventually, if not from the beginning, were dominated by Satan. These angelic powers ruled over the third level of the hierarchy which was occupied by humankind.
The sacrifice of Jesus made the entire second-tier of the ruling hierarchy irrelevant, at least for that portion of humanity that accepted Jesus as the means through which to become reconciled with our creator God the Father. The Apostle Paul explains that when a human being becomes a believer in the Gospel they become a “son of God.” Through Jesus Christ human beings become elevated within the ruling hierarchy to the very second-tier level, becoming “sons of God” and replacing the ruling angelic “sons of God” that have authority over the pagan world who also stand condemned for their mis-rule and mistreatment of humanity.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
In the eighth chapter of the book of Romans Paul offers further evidence for this new situation,
“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children...
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed... We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time...
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers... What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:13-39)
Son of Man—Son of God
The title “Son of Man” was a title that Jesus Christ often used for himself throughout his ministry. Near the very beginning of his ministry Jesus upset the Pharisees when he healed a man and claimed to be the “Son of Man” who had been given authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). The Pharisees considered this to be a blasphemous claim.
At the end of his ministry, after Jesus had been arrested and brought before Caiaphas the High Priest, Caiaphas accused Jesus of claiming to be “the Christ, the Son of God.” To this Jesus responded that the accusations were true just as Caiaphas had stated them, and then Jesus claimed that he was the “Son of Man” who would one day sit “at the right hand of the Almighty,” and be seen “coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64).
At this point Caiaphas tore his clothes and the accusers who were gathered around demanded that Jesus be put to death. Jesus was clearly claiming to be the Vice-Regent of Yahweh-Elohim that Daniel the prophet had written about centuries earlier (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus was making an unmistakable Messianic claim and a blasphemous claim, to be punished by death, if it was false.
This brings us to the other title that Jesus used of himself, although much less often, which was “Son of God.” In the Old Testament there were many “sons of God,” which was simply another name for the angelic “host of heaven” that were given their temporary chance to rule over humanity. Old Testament Judaism understood the reality of these “sons of God,” yet they also understood that there would appear another figure who would be an entirely unique and singular “Son of God.” That figure was understood to be the Messiah.
The two Messianic prophecies of Isaiah given above (9:6 and 49:1) both state that the Messiah would be born. The fact that this figure, who would be born as a “son of man,” would also be the “son of God” is hinted at in Proverbs 30:4, written by King Solomon,
“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!”
This verse is composed of six questions. The first four ask “who did this?” The answer to all of them is “God.” The fifth question is “what is God’s name?” God’s name became known to the Israelites hundreds of years after God chose Abraham when Moses asked God’s name and God told him, “I AM WHO I AM... say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). This answer is rendered in Hebrew with the four-letter word that basically translates as “YHVH.” It is a name that was once unknown to Israel. The sixth question of Solomon’s proverb is “what is the name of God’s son?” This answer was unknown in Solomon’s time, which is why he teases his Old Testament audience, challenging them to “Tell me if you know!”
Another Old Testament prophecy that shows that the Messiah would be God’s unique Son is Psalms 2:7-12,
“I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’ Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
“Jesus” is the name of the Messiah, and Jesus was identified by God as His son at the moment that Jesus was baptized as recorded in Matthew 3:16-17,
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”
Jesus Christ was always identified as “the Son of God” and never as “a son of God,” which would have put him on the same second-tier level of Michael, Gabriel, Satan, and the rest of the “host of heaven,” both good and evil.
The single most important characteristic of the Messiah the “Son of God” that sets him apart from the angelic “sons of God,” and apart from the human beings who become “sons of God” through acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus, was the fact that all of these other “sons of God” are created beings, while the essence of the Messiah is pre-existent.
The Messiah was predicted throughout the Old Testament to be a manifestation of God in human flesh, and Jesus of Nazareth was confirmed as the fulfillment of these prophecies in the New Testament. The idea that Jesus, the adopted son of a carpenter from Nazareth, was in fact God Almighty is one of the hardest ideas for modern secular society to accept, but it is also a doctrine that is repeatedly confirmed in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. What follows is simply one of many Biblical proofs:
The Alpha and the Omega
The book of Revelation was written by John, the favorite and most faithful of Jesus’ twelve disciples. The book begins with a short introduction and then John addresses the “seven churches that are in Asia” with greetings from God the Father and from Jesus Christ.
John writes that Jesus will soon be coming and that “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him...” which is a quote from the prophet Zechariah that we will return to shortly.
John then gives the message from God the Father (Revelation 1:8), which is: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
The description that God gives of Himself is basically the same as the answer that God gave to Moses when Moses asked for God’s name. God told Moses “I AM THAT I AM” and in Revelation God refers to himself as the One “who is and who was and who is to come.” God is simply the Eternally Existent One. He existed before the universe was created and He will continue to exist after it passes away.
The phrase “I am the Alpha and the Omega” appears in the original Greek text with single Greek letters instead of the words “Alpha” and “Omega.” They are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Here is a better representation of the text:
'I am the Α and the Ω ' says the Lord God...
After the introduction at the beginning of the book of Revelation John begins his narrative with a description of how his apocalyptic vision began. John was resting on a Sunday and suddenly he heard a voice behind him that sounded like a trumpet. John turned around and saw Jesus appearing in all His glory as John had never seen Him before. John writes (Revelation 1:17-18),
“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever...’”
When Jesus says that He is “the First and the Last” He is saying that He is the same as God the Father, “the Alpha and the Omega.” Jesus makes this claim again at the very end of Revelation when He says (22:12-13),
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
At the beginning of Revelation the “Lord God” who sits on the throne says that He is “the Alpha and the Omega” and at the end of Revelation Jesus Christ says that He is “the Alpha and the Omega,” the One who has always, and will always, exist.
Now, from the very last chapter of the very last book of the Bible we go to the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible. Below is Genesis 1:1 as written in the original Hebrew and as translated into English word for word. It is a passage holy to Jews, Christians and even Muslims, that was dictated to Moses by God and written down about 3500 years ago:
Hebrew is read from right to left, and this text says (roughly), “In beginning created God (***) the heavens and the earth.” The two letter word which appears after “God” is always left un-translated. That is because it is not a word—it is simply two Hebrew letters, an Aleph and a Tov. These letters are the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
With that in mind it seems that perhaps this verse should be translated, "In beginning created God (the Aleph and the Tov) the heavens and the earth," or with English grammar,
“In the beginning God—the Aleph and the Tov—created the heavens and the earth.”
In the book of Genesis God begins by making the subtle statement in Hebrew implying that He is “the Aleph and the Tov,” and in the book of Revelation He ends by repeating that statement in Greek, saying “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”
Remember that when Jesus was introduced at the beginning of the book of Revelation John wrote, “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him.”
The references to the “piercing” of Jesus and the “mourning” that will occur when He returns are both taken from an Old Testament prophecy given by Zechariah about 500 years before the birth of Jesus (Zechariah 12:10),
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
In this prophecy God speaks through Zechariah about the time at the very end of the apocalyptic “Day of the Lord” when the leaders of Israel will lead the entire nation to repent, accept Jesus as the Messiah, and acknowledge with great sorrow their rejection and abuse of Him.
Read carefully starting with verse 10 to discover exactly who Zechariah predicted would be pierced. Below is the original Hebrew text of this passage, read from right to left, translated into English word for word. It is the very same Masoretic Hebrew text, transmitted down through the ages letter for letter, which is used by the Jewish Publication Society and held sacred throughout Judaism to this day:
God was sacrificed on that cross for us.
On this you can believe.
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December 10, 2004
"You must make your choice.
Either this man was and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon;
or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.
But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.
He has not left that open to us.
He did not intend to."
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity