home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > October 6th > THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST, chapter 4 – All of the Promises of God Were Fulfilled By His Son

Throughout the Old Testament, God made certain promises to the patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob/Israel) that their descendants, the nation of Israel, longed to see fulfilled. These promises centred on having a holy Homeland and a Messiah. Over the centuries that followed their expulsion from their Land which sent them into exile into Babylon initially and then into Persia, the Israelites became known as Jews. Their expectations of how these divine promises would be fulfilled then became greatly embellished with the promise of a homeland being interpretted to mean that the Romans would be overthrown and expelled out of ‘their’ land,  by the promised messiah who would then have to be a powerful military commander. These embellished expectations then gave rise to the Jewish sect known as the Zealots; and, prior to the Zealots it led various other unsuccessful Jewish revolts. But when the messiah actually appeared, He was not the military commander that the Jews were expecting. How could this carpenter’s son from Nazareth be the heir to King David’s throne and the one who would ultimately fulfil the promises of God to Israel? So how justified were the first-century Jews in their expectations of how God would fulfil His promises to them? How obligated was Jesus the Messiah to fulfil the promises of God? And what implications does this have for Christians today who are committed to claiming the promises of God?  

 

KING DAVID PROPHETICALLY IDENTIFIED
THE MESSIAH AS HIS LORD

¶ And as Jesus taught in the temple, He said,
“How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
¶ David himself calls Him Lord. So how is He his son?”
And the great throng heard him gladly.
Mark 12:35-37

The answer to Christ’s question is grounded in how the Jews referred to someone as their father, and how they referred to someone as a son. In English we have the ability to identify our ancestors as our: father; grandfather; great-grandfather; great-great-grandfather, and so on. Inversely, we can also refer to their male descendant as their: son; grandson; great-grandson; great-great-grandson, and so on. The Jews through the ensuing centuries could refer to Abraham as “our father” (Lk. 1:73; 3:8) and as it turns out, with such an emphasis on respecting elders, it was unusual for someone to refer to their eventual descendant as their ‘Lord’, yet, David could refer to his descendant, Jesus, as his “son” (Matt. 1:1). Thus, King David was prophetically declaring that the Messiah would be the divine Lord (Psalm 2). This then forms the background to the angelic announcement to the shepherds on the night the Jesus was born –

¶ And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:8-11

The angel announced that Jesus was: (i) a Saviour; (ii) the Christ (Messiah); and (iii) the Lord. Significantly, the angel also specified that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4) which fulfilled what the prophets had foretold (2Sam. 7:12-13; Mic. 5:2). The angelic designation of Jesus as ‘saviour’ may well have been understood by the shepherds to mean what the Rabbis had long told their congregations about the coming Messiah as a military commander. But it wasn’t just these shepherds who probably held this expectation, even Christ’s own disciples expressed this understanding to Jesus immediately prior to His ascension:

¶ So when they had come together, they asked Him,
“Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Acts 1:6

By the time of Acts 1, Christ’s disciples had already come to understand that Jesus was Christ, Lord and GOD who was worthy of the worship only due to GOD. It is therefore reasonable to understand why the disciples expected that Jesus would fulfil the promises that GOD had made to the patriarchs and which the nation of Israel expected the Messiah would deliver. This is why Christ’s response to His disciples’ question is so revealing (Acts 1:7) and it then leads us to reconsider how we understand “the promises of God.”

 

UNDERSTANDING THE PROMISES OF GOD 

The brief exchange between the disciples and the risen Lord prior to Christ’s ascension reveals three important insights:

1. Sometimes our expectations of GOD are misunderstandings of what the Scriptures actually say.

2. Understand that GOD always keeps His promises which may then invite us to consider how He has done so with a fresh perspective.

3. Recognise that often it takes the passage of time for us to realise and understand that GOD has kept His promises in a way that far exceeds what we had actually expected.

Paul’s statement to the Corinthians that Jesus had fulfilled all of the promises to Israel is an application of the above three insights. Paul, a converted Jew to Christianity grew up longing for God’s promises to Israel to repossess its Biblically-prescribed borders under the military leadership of the promised Messiah. In his consideration of these divine promises to Israel he had come to realise that Jesus had indeed fulfilled all of these promises which then confirmed that Christ was LORD of Lords (1Tim. 6:15) because He was the Divine Promise-Keeper.

In relation to these promises, Dr. Munther Isaac in his book, From Land to Lands, From Eden to the Renewed Earth (pps. 193-4), cites Dr. Peter W.L. Walker’s book, Jesus and the Holy City (p. 117)- “Moreover, Walker argues that the phrase ‘all the promises’ would necessarily include those concerning the land.” “In other words, the story of Israel, in its totality, including the part related to the land, must find its fulfillment – its Yes – in Jesus. Therefore, the land cannot but be a major themes in the story the NT writers are telling — a story that is continuing on the story of the OT, in which the land was such a central theme. Furthermore, some themes in the NT — like the selection of the twelve disciples, Jesus’ interaction with the temple, and the covenant with Abraham — are strongly tied with the theme of the land. If the land is a major them in the OT, then it is inherently a major one in the NT.” And Dr. Isaac goes on to point out that Jesus Himself was the fulfilment of what the Land promise was ultimately all about – where God and man could meet and worshipers of God could display God’s light of holiness to the world.  

 

THE PROMISES OF GOD IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS THAT BELIEVERS CAN ‘CLAIM’ TODAY

God’s promises to Israel was not just about a Messiah and a homeland. His promise was that He would establish a new covenant that would be open to both Israelites and gentiles. 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD:
I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God,
and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying,
‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,
declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Jeremiah 31:33-34

God’s promise of a new covenant to supersede the Mosaic Covenant, was to be a covenant in which He would forgive sins without the need for ongoing sacrifices. This would be made possible by the promise of His Son acting as the atoning sacrifice (Isa. 53:4-5). And long before this, GOD had promised that His Son would be born as the Seed of the woman who would vanquish (conquer and destroy) the source of evil by striking the serpent’s (representative of the devil) head (Gen. 3:15). The patriarchs also understood that GOD’s promises also included resurrection from the dead (Job 19:26; Psa. 16:10). And, rather than being limited to a specific small piece of land, God’s promises also included the Lord dwelling forever with the righteous in a new heaven and earth that He would make (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). All of these promises the prophets declared – uncertain of what GOD was actually revealing:

Obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
¶ Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace
that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating
when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you,
in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached
the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
First Peter 1:9-12

We are now in the New Covenant foretold by the prophets and expounded by Christ’s apostles. Since all of these promises have now been fulfilled, or at least now set in motion, the New Testament believer can now stand on the promises that Christ will ever be with them by the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20). The believer can stand on the promise — which means, pray to the Lord with confidence — that Jesus was indeed the Messiah who came to atone for their sins and redeem those who confess their sins and turn to Him through faith and repentance (1John 1:8-9). The believer can also pray with the assurance of the promise in First Peter 5:7 that we can cast all of our cares onto Him – because He cares for us. He is therefore, not just the promise-keeping Lord, He is the One who promises to always love us and cause all things to work together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Next:  Chapter 5

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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MY BIGGEST BURDENS

A burden is something that weighs on you. You could be burdened emotionally because a relationship that is weighing on you. You could be burdened psychologically because of the weight of a looming deadline. You could be burdened spiritually because of the weight of guilt you are carrying. You could be burdened physically because of your weight and depleted strength. We all carry burdens. There are seasons in our lives where some burdens a big and you do not feel that you will be able to bear up under the enormous pressure you are under. Those seasons will pass. For those in leadership there is the constant burden of the weight of responsibility that must be carried. (Have you ever noticed what this kind burden bearing does physically to a President or Prime Minister over their term in office?) In the Bible we read that GOD actually gives people burdens so that they become stronger, wealthier, happier, and more productive. These types of burdens always involve caring for others. (Have you ever considered why Jesus was sweating great drops of blood as He was praying just before He went to the Cross via His hours of humiliating pummelling, beating, scourging, hair-pulling, and mockery?) I want to share you with you why I am now carrying an enormous burden that I would consider that biggest burden I have ever had to carry. I do so in the hope that this might help you to bear your burdens with greatest expertise and joy. Yes, joy.

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

This year we have been laying a foundation for knowing God and then each Sunday building upon it. Throughout June we are focusing on how knowing God enables us to find our joy in Him and consequently to discover that He enables us to find joy in our relationships with others. But sadly, for many people who have vowed to love, serve, and follow Jesus, this has not always been easy to do. This is why the current sub-theme of humility is critically important if someone desires to truly experience joy in each of their various relationships with others. 

KNOWING GOD

In the past few months, we have been hearing in Church and also by reading the Pastor’s Desks that through the Psalms and by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, we can know God more. The Psalms show God as our Shepherd, God’s character is unchanging, we can be still and know Him, and that He is poetic. The Fruit of the Spirit reminds us that God is faithful, gentle and kind, and that we need to stay close to Him in the same way a baby gets nutrients from its mother through the umbilical cord. Knowing these things, we can become more like God as He helps us outwork His character in our lives. Philippians 3:10 challenged me in this regard some time ago.

RULES RULES AND MORE RULES

What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.

WHAT CHARMING BETRAYERS DESERVE ACCORDING TO THE PSALM OF KING DAVID, NUMBER 55

Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 23

My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 22

The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.

THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARS

home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARSThe distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct...