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"Messiah" development Part 2

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  • Brother Dave
    Dear Christians, The following Revelation (and the earlier one I posted on the Paradise Trinity) are all fully in the public domain and may be shared with
    Message 1 of 8 , May 2, 2008
      Dear Christians,

      The following Revelation (and the earlier one I posted on the
      Paradise Trinity) are all fully in the public domain and may be
      shared with others.

      [my brief comments for clarification are in these square brackets]

      Page-1499 For two and a half years John [the Baptist] lived at
      Engedi, and he persuaded most of the brotherhood that "the end of the
      age was at hand"; that "the kingdom of heaven was about to appear."
      And all his early teaching was based upon the current Jewish idea and
      concept of the Messiah as the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation
      from the domination of their gentile rulers.

      Page-1500 About one hundred years before the days of Jesus and John a
      new school of religious teachers arose in Palestine, the
      apocalyptists. These new teachers evolved a system of belief that
      accounted for the sufferings and humiliation of the Jews on the
      ground that they were paying the penalty for the nation's sins. They
      fell back onto the well-known reasons assigned to explain the
      Babylonian and other captivities of former times. But, so taught the
      apocalyptists, Israel should take heart; the days of their affliction
      were almost over; the discipline of God's chosen people was about
      finished; God's patience with the gentile foreigners was about
      exhausted. The end of Roman rule was synonymous with the end of the
      age and, in a certain sense, with the end of the world. These new
      teachers leaned heavily on the predictions of Daniel, and they
      consistently taught that creation was about to pass into its final
      stage; the kingdoms of this world were about to become the kingdom of
      God. To the Jewish mind of that day this was the meaning of that
      phrase -- the kingdom of heaven -- which runs throughout the
      teachings of both John and Jesus. To the Jews of Palestine the
      phrase "kingdom of heaven" had but one meaning: an absolutely
      righteous state in which God (the Messiah) would rule the nations of
      earth in perfection of power just as he ruled in heaven -- "Your will
      be done on earth as in heaven."

      Page-1500 While the Jews differed greatly in their estimates of the
      nature of the coming kingdom, they were alike in their belief that
      the event was impending, near at hand, even at the door. Many who
      read the Old Testament literally looked expectantly for a new king in
      Palestine, for a regenerated Jewish nation delivered from its enemies
      and presided over by the successor of King David, the Messiah who
      would quickly be acknowledged as the rightful and righteous ruler of
      all the world. Another, though smaller, group of devout Jews held a
      vastly different view of this kingdom of God. They taught that the
      coming kingdom was not of this world, that the world was approaching
      its certain end, and that "a new heaven and a new earth" were to
      usher in the establishment of the kingdom of God; that this kingdom
      was to be an everlasting dominion, that sin was to be ended, and that
      the citizens of the new kingdom were to become immortal in their
      enjoyment of this endless bliss. [both of those concepts have errors
      of course]

      Page-1501 Some of the Jews held to the opinion that God might
      possibly establish this new kingdom by direct and divine
      intervention, but the vast majority believed that he would interpose
      some representative intermediary, the Messiah. And that was the only
      possible meaning the term Messiah could have had in the minds of the
      Jews of the generation of John and Jesus. Messiah could not possibly
      refer to one who merely taught God's will or proclaimed the necessity
      for righteous living. To all such holy persons the Jews gave the
      title of prophet. The Messiah was to be more than a prophet; the
      Messiah was to bring in the establishment of the new kingdom, the
      kingdom of God. No one who failed to do this could be the Messiah in
      the traditional Jewish sense.

      Page-1501 Who would this Messiah be? Again the Jewish teachers
      differed. The older ones clung to the doctrine of the son of David.
      The newer taught that, since the new kingdom was a heavenly kingdom,
      the new ruler might also be a divine personality, one who had long
      sat at God's right hand in heaven. And strange as it may appear,
      those who thus conceived of the ruler of the new kingdom looked upon
      him not as a human Messiah, not as a mere man, but as "the Son of
      Man" -- a Son of God -- a heavenly Prince, long held in waiting thus
      to assume the rulership of the earth made new. Such was the religious
      background of the Jewish world when John went forth
      proclaiming: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ! " [That
      is better, but most could not conceive of Jesus being much more than
      just a "Messiah" -- but an eternal Creator Son of God Who made this
      world, all persons and things and even a mighty universe ! And One
      Whop IS fully GOD to us and not just an agent or prince. That
      Revelation is still ever unfolding here to us.]

      Page-1502 In May of this year, while he [John the Baptist] still
      lingered at Bethany ford, the priests and Levites sent a delegation
      out to inquire of John whether he claimed to be the Messiah, and by
      whose authority he preached. John answered these questioners by
      saying: "Go tell your masters that you have heard 'the voice of one
      crying in the wilderness,' as spoken by the prophet, saying, 'make
      ready the way of the Lord, make straight a highway for our God. Every
      valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought
      low; the uneven ground shall become a plain, while the rough places
      shall become a smooth valley; and all flesh shall see the salvation
      of God."'

      Page-1503 As John journeyed north, he thought much about Jesus. He
      paused at more than a dozen places as he traveled up the Jordan. It
      was at Adam that he first made reference to "another one who is to
      come after me" in answer to the direct question which his disciples
      asked him, "Are you the Messiah?" And he went on to say: "There will
      come after me one who is greater than I, whose sandal straps I am not
      worthy to stoop down and unloose. I baptize you with water, but he
      will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. And his shovel is in his hand
      thoroughly to cleanse his threshing floor; he will gather the wheat
      into his garner, but the chaff will he burn up with the judgment
      fire." [The Holy Spirit Presence, as well as the Father-Son Presence,
      is as a Fire (Spirit Luminosity) of love and mercy; never a
      destroying fire. It is true that the infinite love of God eventually
      destroys all human desires to do evils and sins. Psalms 1:6 "The way
      of the sinner will be destroyed"; and he/she will learn to sin no
      more.]

      Page-1505 After the experience of this day the preaching of John took
      on new and certain notes of proclamation concerning the coming
      kingdom and the expected Messiah. It was a tense time, these forty
      days of tarrying, waiting for the return of Jesus. But John continued
      to preach with great power, and his disciples began at about this
      time to preach to the overflowing throngs which gathered around John
      at the Jordan.

      Page-1505 In the course of these forty days of waiting, many rumors
      spread about the countryside and even to Tiberias and Jerusalem.
      Thousands came over to see the new attraction in John's camp, the
      reputed Messiah, but Jesus was not to be seen. When the disciples of
      John asserted that the strange man of God had gone to the hills, many
      doubted the entire story.

      Page-1505 About three weeks after Jesus had left them, there arrived
      on the scene at Pella a new deputation from the priests and Pharisees
      at Jerusalem. They asked John directly if he was Elijah or the
      prophet that Moses promised; and when John said, "I am not," they
      made bold to ask, "Are you the Messiah?" and John answered, "I am
      not." Then said these men from Jerusalem: "If you are not Elijah, nor
      the prophet, nor the Messiah, then why do you baptize the people and
      create all this stir?" And John replied: "It should be for those who
      have heard me and received my baptism to say who I am, but I declare
      to you that, while I baptize with water, there has been among us one
      who will return to baptize you with the Holy Spirit." [Actually He
      the Spirit of Truth Who is Jesus Christ now , since May 18, AD30,
      always here with us as the New Eternal Teacher of ALL TRUTH: GOD !
      See John chapters 16 and 17]

      Page-1505 These forty days were a difficult period for John and his
      disciples. What was to be the relation of John to Jesus? A hundred
      questions came up for discussion. Politics and selfish preferment
      began to make their appearance. Intense discussions grew up around
      the various ideas and concepts of the Messiah. Would he become a
      military leader and a Davidic king? Would he smite the Roman armies
      as Joshua had the Canaanites? Or would he come to establish a
      spiritual kingdom? John rather decided, with the minority, that Jesus
      had come to establish the kingdom of heaven, although he was not
      altogether clear in his own mind as to just what was to be embraced
      within this mission of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven.

      Page-1506 11. JOHN IN PRISON
      John had a lonely and somewhat bitter experience in prison. Few of
      his followers were permitted to see him. He longed to see Jesus but
      had to be content with hearing of his work through those of his
      followers who had become believers in the Son of Man. He was often
      tempted to doubt Jesus and his divine mission. If Jesus were the
      Messiah, why did he do nothing to deliver him from this unbearable
      imprisonment? For more than a year and a half this rugged man of
      God's outdoors languished in that despicable prison. And this
      experience was a great test of his faith in, and loyalty to, Jesus.
      Indeed, this whole experience was a great test of John's faith even
      in God. Many times was he tempted to doubt even the genuineness of
      his own mission and experience.

      Page-1507 After he had been in prison several months, a group of his
      disciples came to him and, after reporting concerning the public
      activities of Jesus, said: "So you see, Teacher, that he who was with
      you at the upper Jordan prospers and receives all who come to him. He
      even feasts with publicans and sinners. You bore courageous witness
      to him, and yet he does nothing to effect your deliverance." But John
      answered his friends: [Listen to this Truth now given to John to
      boldly proclaim:] "This man can do nothing unless it has been given
      him by his Father in heaven. You well remember that I said, 'I am not
      the Messiah, but I am one sent on before to prepare the way for him.'
      And that I did. He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the
      friend of the bridegroom who stands near-by and hears him rejoices
      greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. This, my joy, therefore is
      fulfilled. He must increase but I must decrease. I am of this earth
      and have declared my message. Jesus of Nazareth comes down to the
      earth from heaven and is above us all. The Son of Man has descended
      from God, and the words of God he will declare to you. For the Father
      in heaven gives not the spirit by measure to his own Son. The Father
      loves his Son and will presently put all things in the hands of this
      Son. He who believes in the Son has eternal life. And these words
      which I speak are true and abiding."

      Page-1507 This long suspense in prison was humanly unbearable. Just a
      few days before his death John again sent trusted messengers to
      Jesus, inquiring: "Is my work done? Why do I languish in prison? Are
      you truly the Messiah, or shall we look for another?" And when these
      two disciples gave this message to Jesus, the Son of Man replied: "Go
      back to John and tell him that I have not forgotten but to suffer me
      also this! for it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Tell John
      what you have seen and heard -- that the poor have good tidings
      preached to them -- and, finally, tell the beloved herald of my
      earth mission that he shall be abundantly blessed in the age to come
      if he finds no occasion to doubt and stumble over me." And this was
      the last word John received from Jesus. This message greatly
      comforted him and did much to stabilize his faith and prepare him for
      the tragic end of his life in the flesh which followed so soon upon
      the heels of this memorable occasion. [John was beheaded.]

      Page-1509 PAPER 136 BAPTISM AND THE FORTY DAYS
      JESUS began his public work at the height of the popular interest in
      John's preaching and at a time when the Jewish people of Palestine
      were eagerly looking for the appearance of the Messiah. There was a
      great contrast between John and Jesus. John was an eager and earnest
      worker, but Jesus was a calm and happy laborer; only a few times in
      his entire life was he ever in a hurry. Jesus was a comforting
      consolation to the world and somewhat of an example; John was hardly
      a comfort or an example. He preached the kingdom of heaven but hardly
      entered into the happiness thereof. Though Jesus spoke of John as the
      greatest of the prophets of the old order, he also said that the
      least of those who saw the great light of the new way and entered
      thereby into the kingdom of heaven was indeed greater than John.
      When John preached the coming kingdom, the burden of his message
      was: Repent! flee from the wrath to come. When Jesus began to preach,
      there remained the exhortation to repentance, but such a message was
      always followed by the gospel, the good tidings of the joy and
      liberty of the new kingdom.

      Page-1509 1. CONCEPTS OF THE EXPECTED MESSIAH
      The Jews entertained many ideas about the expected deliverer, and
      each of these different schools of Messianic teaching was able to
      point to statements in the Hebrew scriptures as proof of their
      contentions. In a general way, the Jews regarded their national
      history as beginning with Abraham and culminating in the Messiah and
      the new age of the kingdom of God. In earlier times they had
      envisaged this deliverer as "the servant of the Lord," then as "the
      Son of Man," while latterly some even went so far as to refer to the
      Messiah as the "Son of God." But no matter whether he was called
      the "seed of Abraham" or "the son of David," all were agreed that he
      was to be the Messiah, the "anointed one." Thus did the concept
      evolve from the "servant of the Lord" to the "son of David," "Son of
      Man," and "Son of God."
      In the days of John and Jesus the more learned Jews had
      developed an idea of the coming Messiah as the perfected and
      representative Israelite, combining in himself as the "servant of the
      Lord" the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. [Now we know
      that Jesus is infinitely more than just a "prophet, priest and king."
      Those are lowly, temporal, secular human concepts. We are spiritually
      endowed now to know better.]

      Page-1509 The Jews devoutly believed that, as Moses had delivered
      their fathers from Egyptian bondage by miraculous wonders, so would
      the coming Messiah deliver the Jewish people from Roman domination by
      even greater miracles of power and marvels of racial triumph. The
      rabbis had gathered together almost five hundred passages from the
      Scriptures which, notwithstanding their apparent contradictions, they
      averred were prophetic of the coming Messiah. And amidst all these
      details of time, technique, and function, they almost completely lost
      sight of the personality of the promised Messiah. They were looking
      for a restoration of Jewish national glory -- Israel's temporal
      exaltation -- rather than for the salvation of the world. It
      therefore becomes evident that Jesus of Nazareth could never satisfy
      this materialistic Messianic concept of the Jewish mind. Many of
      their reputed Messianic predictions, had they but viewed these
      prophetic utterances in a different light, would have very naturally
      prepared their minds for a recognition of Jesus as the terminator of
      one age and the inaugurator of a new and better dispensation of mercy
      and salvation for all nations.

      Page-1510 The Jews had been brought up to believe in the doctrine of
      the Shekinah. But this reputed symbol of the Divine Presence was not
      to be seen in the temple. They believed that the coming of the
      Messiah would effect its restoration. They held confusing ideas about
      racial sin and the supposed evil nature of man. Some taught that
      Adam's sin had cursed the human race, and that the Messiah would
      remove this curse and restore man to divine favor. Others taught that
      God, in creating man, had put into his being both good and evil
      natures; that when he observed the outworking of this arrangement, he
      was greatly disappointed, and that "He repented that he had thus made
      man." And those who taught this believed that the Messiah was to come
      in order to redeem man from this inherent evil nature. [Both of those
      old Jewish concepts are clearly not as Jesus teaches us.]

      Page-1510 The majority of the Jews believed that they continued to
      languish under Roman rule because of their national sins and because
      of the halfheartedness of the gentile proselytes. The Jewish nation
      had not wholeheartedly repented; therefore did the Messiah delay his
      coming. There was much talk about repentance; wherefore the mighty
      and immediate appeal of John's preaching, "Repent and be baptized,
      for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And the kingdom of heaven
      could mean only one thing to any devout Jew: The coming of the
      Messiah.

      Page-1510 There was one feature of the bestowal of [Jesus Christ]
      Michael which was utterly foreign to the Jewish conception of the
      Messiah, and that was the union of the two natures, the human and the
      divine. The Jews had variously conceived of the Messiah as perfected
      human, superhuman, and even as divine, but they never entertained the
      concept of the union of the human and the divine. And this was the
      great stumbling block of Jesus' early disciples. They grasped the
      human concept of the Messiah as the son of David, as presented by the
      earlier prophets; as the Son of Man, the superhuman idea of Daniel
      and some of the later prophets; and even as the Son of God, as
      depicted by the author of the Book of Enoch and by certain of his
      contemporaries; but never had they for a single moment entertained
      the true concept of the union in one earth personality of the two
      natures, the human and the divine. The incarnation of the Creator in
      the form of the creature had not been revealed beforehand. It was
      revealed only in Jesus; the world knew nothing of such things until
      the Creator Son was made flesh and dwelt among the mortals of the
      realm.

      [to be continued in about 3-4 more parts]

      Peace and progress,

      Brother Dave
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