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Description of the Messiah part 3
Sometimes there seems to be a conflict between verse 18 and other
passages of Scripture. It says, “No man has seen God at any time”.
We read where Isaiah says, “Woe is me, for I have seen the Lord.”
Every manifestation of the God-head in the OT was the second person of
the Trinity. The Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one
who came to reveal the Father. Here,
where it says, “No man has seen God at any time”, it is talking about the
complete God-head, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in all
Moses had a desire to see the
glory of the Lord, he desired to see the face of the Lord, but that was not
granted to him. The only begotten
son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
Some translators try to take the verb “declared” and make a noun out
of it and they say, “He is the declaration or exposition of the Father”.
But, he reveals him; he shows him forth.
But, if you think to John 14,
Jesus says to Philip, “He who hath seen me hath seen the father”.
There’s continuity and an order to the revelation.
The Lord came to reveal the Father; he never drew attention to himself.
The Holy Spirit was sent to reveal the Son. He never drew attention to himself. It was to make the other known.
Now, when Jehovah appeared in
the garden seeking Adam and Eve, that was the second person of the God-head.
The appearing in the burning bush; that was the second person.
The one Joshua saw (the captain of the Lord’s host) was Jehovah; the
second person. The one who appeared
to Menoah; the one appearing to Isaiah. The
glory of the Lord is so bright that man cannot look upon that glory in his
natural condition and survive.
We read in John 1:14 here, that
the Word became flesh. The glory of
the Lord enclosed in a body of flesh, and we beheld the glory of the only
begotten of the father. That
reminds us of Hebrews 1:1-2, which speaks of “God, who at sundry times and in
divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (Now) Hath
in these last days spoken unto us by his
Son”. The revelation of God to
man is as the Son. If you want to
know God the father, study the son.
That was the message that John
had when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who art thou?”
So many people came out to John that it attracted the attention of the
rulers. Herod himself had an
interview with John the Baptizer. So,
the leaders sent an envoy out to John to ask him who he was.
John’s answer brings out three
things that are admirable traits in anyone, but particularly in servants of the
Lord. First of all, he was sincere.
That’s something that’s missing in so much of the ministry today.
So many people treat it as if it’s a play or just a show.
Sometimes, a simple statement can color one’s entire life and entire
thought, but in connection with the sincerity of John, and the play-like
attitude of others and the words of Paul to the church at Corinth:
“it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe.” The foolishness of preaching.
The gospel is to be preached and
not to be played at. Back in the
Middle Ages, they had their religious plays and religious dramas.
Dr. James M. Gray, a former president of MBI, in connection with this
thought, said that a Christian has no business on either side of the spotlight.
I’m not sure that I agree with that statement 100%, but how many of
those in the spotlight are sincere? You
don’t play at preaching the gospel. Be
It has pleased God, by the
foolishness of preaching, not the preaching of foolishness, but, the foolishness
of preaching… To think that a
God-called man standing in the pulpit with a Bible can declare God’s word, and
people can be saved: That’s
foolish! But, it has pleased God,
by the foolishness of preaching to save those who are believing.
You may say, “But hundreds of
thousands of people are saved because they watched this movie or that movie, or
this televangelist or that televangelist”.
That may be. God honors his
word, but do such really honor him? Some
do, some don’t.
But, John was sincere.
He wasn’t playing. “Who are thou?” He
came out first thing, and said, “I’m not the Christ!” In this, the second thing we see about John is that he was
humble. “I am not the Christ.”
The third thing about him is
that he honored the Lord when he preached.
[John 1:20-21a; Elijah]
“You must be some big shot to have these hundreds and thousands of
people flocking to you to hear your message.”
“Are you Elijah?”
There’s a prophecy and a promise of God that he’s going to send
[Revelation 11:3-6a] “And
I will give power unto my two witnesses
[these are the witness that will appear in the Tribulation], and they shall
prophesy a thousand two hundred and
threescore days [42 months; 3 ½ years], clothed in sackcloth. These are the two
olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And
if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth
their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their
prophecy…” It’s not going to
rain for 3 ½ years. What prophet
was it that shut the heavens that it didn’t rain for 3 ½ years?
Elijah. [Revelation 11:6b]
Who had that power? Moses.
I believe that this calls to our attention that these two
witnesses are Moses and Elijah. Malachi
says that Elijah is coming back before that day and turn the hearts of the
fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest God
smite the earth with a curse.
Let’s finish reading about these two witnesses.
[Revelation 11:7-9] With TV
satellites, the internet, and other forms of communications we have, that could
happen very easily.
This group of priests and Levites that came out asked him, “Are you
When the Lord came down from the Mount of Transfiguration,
the Lord said that if Israel as a nation would accept him as their savior and
turn to him, then the prophecy in Malachi would be fulfilled in John the
Baptist. But, did they accept
Jesus? No. So, we look for Elijah.
When the Lord was at Caesarea Philippi, he asked the
disciples a question. This was a
great summer resort built by Phillip when he was Caesar. It was a spa situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee
and at the base of Mt. Hermon. Caesarea
Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River.
But, they were there, and he asked the disciples a
question: “Whom do men say that
I, the son of man am?”
“Some say that thou art John the Baptist.”
Herod thought he was John the Baptist.
Herod had John beheaded, and John haunted him so to speak, and he thought
that Jesus was John come back to life.
“Some say that you’re
Elijah.” Again, the prophecy of
Malachi. Some thought he was
“Some think you are
Jeremiah.” One of the books of
the Maccabees says that Jeremiah will come before that great and dreadful day.
“Some think you are some
When the Levites asked, “Are
you Elijah?” what’s the answer? “No,
Isn’t this interesting in
light of the way that so many people are running around the world today claiming
to be Christ? According to many in
the world, we’re wasting our time looking for the Lord, because he’s already
come and he’s x years old and his name is (fill in the blank).
That’s how far behind the times we are, I guess.
There are people all over the
place claiming to be Christ, and there are many others who claim to represent
Christ. Want to know or communicate
with Christ? Then you have to go
But, John had no problem saying,
“No, I am not the Christ”. “Are
you Elijah?” “No.”
“Are you that prophet?” “No!”
What prophet? [Deuteronomy
18:15] God is going to raise up a
prophet like unto Moses. The
children of Israel kept looking for a prophet like unto Moses.
That prophet was the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, here in John 1:21, “Are you that prophet like unto
Moses?” “Who knows?”
He could have said that, but he was honest, and sincere, and what did he
say? He said, “No”.
So, they quit guessing, and they asked him, “Who art
Notice, in this passage, he didn’t tell them what a
wicked man he was. He had been
filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb.
He was a good man.
If you ask someone today, “Who are you?” the answer may
be, “Well, I was a druggie” (murderer, in prison, or something else).
[John 1:22-23] [Isaiah
40] When they asked John who he
was, he simply quoted a verse from Isaiah. [Isaiah 40:3-5]
There was a time, that if a person of prestige were to make
a journey, he would send out workmen and supplies to prepare the road.
They would fill in the potholes, cut down the bumps, and make the road
smooth. Here is the announcement of
the one who comes as the forerunner of the Lord.
[John 1] So,
John said in verse 23, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”
How often do we forget that we are simply vessels?
Why is it so difficult to remember that it’s the message that’s
important and not the messenger?
If a Western Union messenger showed up, would it matter to
you what kind of vehicle he is driving? Would
it matter what he’s wearing? What’s
important? It’s the message
When the newspaper hits your front porch, do you jump up
and see what kind of car the delivery person is driving?
How about what they’re wearing? Is
it a man, woman, boy, or girl? It’s
the message that’s important.
“I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”
“Listen to what I have to say!”
When someone becomes more interested in how he says
something than in what he’s saying, he’s finished. If you’re more interested in your appearance; when you’re
more interested in the messenger than the message; you’re done.
If someone were to come in right now and yell, “Fire!”
would you care what gesture he uses or what words he uses?
Well, John simply says, “I’m just a voice”.
[John 1:23-24] There
were several great religious groups in that day, but the two largest and most
powerful were the Sadducees and Pharisees.
The Sadducees were the affluent and politically powerful and they
believed in themselves more than they did in God.
They didn’t believe in the supernatural, or the resurrection of the
dead, the ministry of angels, and they were more interested in what they had
than in the God they professed to believe in.
(Isn’t that the way it is today?)
The Pharisees were at the other extreme, and they were very
ritualistic, and they enacted rule after rule, putting their laws on the same
level as God’s laws. They started
out with good intents, but as with so many things that man starts with good
intents, they had really made a mess of things. “You can’t do this” and “you must do that” was the
order of the day. The Pharisees
were the ones who began all the ritualistic washing of the hands and all those
things. But, they did believe in
the resurrection, and the ministry of angels, and the Holy Spirit. This was a bunch of Pharisees that had gone out and they were
going to see who this guy was and see if he was orthodox and see if they
approved of him.
So, they went out to see him, and here in verse 25, they
ask him, “Then why are you baptizing?”
“If you’re not the Christ, and you’re not Elijah, and you’re not
that prophet like unto Moses, then why are you baptizing all these people?
Only we have the right to baptize.”
You will run into that today. People
teach that unless you are baptized by a person who was baptized by a person who
was baptized by John, then you have no authority to baptize.
It’s a little ecclesiastical trick that men worked up to try to get
things under their dominion and out of the hands of the Lord.
“Why are you baptizing?”
John has already shown his sincerity, and he’s already shown his
humility, and he shows a third characteristic here when he answered [John 1:26;
with water – in water]. Now, if
you remember back in Matthew 3:11, John says, “I indeed baptize you
in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose
shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with in the Holy Ghost
Spirit, and with in fire.”
John tells them, you’re all worked up about me
baptizing people with water, when there’s standing in your midst, the Messiah;
Jehovah; the Christ; Jesus! [John
1:26b] They were so wrapped up in
their rituals and schemes that they didn’t know and didn’t see the Lord.
[John 1:27] Here,
John the Baptizer is honoring and glorifying the Lord.
“Who are you?” “What
difference does it make? If my
message if from God, hear it, and if it’s not, ignore it.”
[John 1:28-29] The
definite article “the” is used with the word “Lamb” here to emphasize to
them that this is the lamb for which they had had been looking.
The lamb. The
only one. Now, behold him. The
emphasis is on “the”.
“The lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world.” What a wonderful passage
of Scripture! “The lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin of the world.”
[Genesis 4] The
first offering of the lamb of God was to be found in the Garden when God slew
some animals and made coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Then, a little while after that, we find that Abel offered
unto God a more excellent sacrifice, and what was it? It was the firstlings of the flock. [Genesis 4:4-5]
In Hebrews 11:4, we are told that it was by faith that Abel
offered a more excellent sacrifice. We’re
told in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh
by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
So, the sacrifice that Abel offered was according to the Word of God.
God told Cain and Abel what to do. Abel
did what God told him to do, and Cain thought he could do better.
Maybe Cain was a little squeamish at the thought of killing a little
lamb, but later, we know that he slays his own brother.
Cain fixed up something that is aesthetically pleasing in the eyes of
man, but God requires blood. (How
[Hebrews 9] We
have three statements that you must master that relate to this.
[Hebrews 9:7; not without blood.]
[Hebrews 9:18; 22] That’s the fundamental truth to get in mind concerning
sacrifice and concerning the Lamb of God. “Without
the shedding of blood”; “Not without blood”.
Now, after Abel’s offering of the firstling of the flock,
we have Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah. And just as Abraham was prepared to slay his son, his hand is
stayed and his eye is attracted to a ram caught in a thicket by the horns and he
was told not to slay his son and offer the ram, and there an innocent ram shed
his blood for guilty Isaac.
As you go on through the Bible, you learn the progression
and implication of the blood. On
Mt. Moriah, blood was shed. In
Egypt, the blood was sprinkled on the doorpost and lintel. At Sinai, it was sprinkled on the people.
This is progression in the application of the blood.
Number one; it was shed. Number
two; it was sprinkled on the doorpost. Number
three; it was sprinkled on the people themselves.
With the erection of the Tabernacle and the Holy of Holies,
elaborate provision was made for the offering of the sacrifices and for the
shedding of the blood. Under the
altar, there was a large basin made for catching the blood of the animals.
[Revelation 6] We
have reference made to this picture in connection to the shedding of the blood
of the martyrs. [Revelation 6:9] He
saw their souls. In Leviticus
17:11, we’re told that the soul or the life is in the blood.
When a martyr’s life is taken, figuratively speaking I think, their
blood is caught in the basin under the altar in heaven, and John saw the souls
of them there. That’s the picture
that we have in the altar in the Tabernacle, and then in the temple, and the
provision in the minute details of the offering.
“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh
away the sin of the world.” There’s the definite article with “Lamb”, and there’s
also the definite article with “sin”. “The
[Romans 6] I want to leave you with one more thing this morning that we’re going to pick up with next week. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. [Romans 6:23a; For the wages of the sin is death.] Thanatos. [But the gift of God is life.] This is specific life: eternal life; aionian life. This is where we’re going to pick up next week, Lord willing, and look at the meaning of “the life”. [Romans 6:23]