KING OF THE JEWS

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written (John 19:17-22).

The term, “King of the Jews” is used 18 times in the New Testament scriptures—each time referring to Jesus.  At the time of Jesus’ birth (Matt. 2:2), there was a common belief that some remarkable person was about to emerge in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. By computing the time mentioned by Daniel (Dan. 9:25-27), they knew that the period was approaching when He would appear. The person they were looking for was supposedly going to be a temporal prince, and they were expecting that He would deliver them from Roman bondage. It was natural that this expectation should spread into other countries. At the time, many Jews lived in Egypt, Rome or Greece.  Also, many had gone to Eastern countries, and in every place they carried their sacred writings, and talked of their expectation that some noteworthy person was about to arise.

The Jews were all looking for the kingdom of God (Luke 3:15; 17:20; John 1:41). Daniel had prophesied the world-ruling kingdom of God would be established in the days of Rome (Dan. 2:44). By the time Christ was born, Rome had ruled the world for about 80 years, and the Jews and even many in the world knew the kingdom could come any time. If the Jews could find the king, they could find the kingdom (John 1:41; John 3:28; John 4:28-29; John 4:42; John 7:41; John 10:24). Although the Jews looked for the kingdom, because of envy, they crucified the very one the multitudes identified as their king.

Whether or not Pilate was convinced of what he wrote, he used three languages to write for the world to see that Jesus was the king of the Jews (Luke 23:38)! Pilate rejected the Jews’ demand to alter the writing or remove it (John 19:22).

Even the thief testified that Jesus’ kingdom would be set up after His death (Luke 23:42). Peter accused the Jews of crucifying their king (Acts 4:10), and on the day of Pentecost, Peter proved that God had foreordained the king of the kingdom would be put to death (Act 2:23). It was not until after His death that Jesus was crowned with all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Jesus is king over His spiritual kingdom. Only His citizens can claim Him as their king (John 18:36). Jesus was made both Lord and Christ. The name Christ means anointed one. Jesus is both Lord and king (Acts 2:36). He is Lord over all men (Acts 10:36).

Jesus has been exalted with authority above every authority not only on this earth but also in heaven (Matt. 28:18). He is approved as Lord not only in this life but also in that which to come (Eph. 4:21). Jesus is not seated as king of a physical nation (John 8:23). He is king of the Jews but only in a spiritual sense (Rom. 9:6-7). His kingdom is not of this world; it is not a physical kingdom (John 18:36). He is king of all people who are spiritual Jews (Rom. 2:28-29). He is king only of those who are translated into His marvelous kingdom (Col. 1:13).

The king of the Jews has made all His subjects priests to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5-9; Heb. 13:15). If His people suffer with Him, He will make them kings to reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12). If His citizens overcome the battle with Satan He will give them power over the nations as He received of His Father (Rev. 2:26-27). If His citizens overcome they will reign with Him forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).

Blessed be the King of the Jews! (Luke 19:38).

–Beth Johnson

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ABOUT ANGELS (Part 2b)

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matt. 22:29-32). 

ANGELS CAN CHANGE THEIR FORMS TO LOOK LIKE PEOPLE:
Heb. 13:2—Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember Abraham, Gideon, Lot, Elisha and the chariots of fire, and many more.

Continue reading ABOUT ANGELS (Part 2b)

CRUCIFIXION: A Very Painful Death

What is the old man, and in what sense does the old man die?  Why does he describe the death of the old man as a crucifixion?  In whatever sense we understand it, the death of the old man is very painful.  In New Testament times the cross was always death, not mere suffering without death.  Crucifixion was never an easy death.  Jesus said “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).  Many want to enter heaven but not many are willing to endure a crucifixion.  Crucifixion is a very “strait” gate.  If we do not “strive to enter in at the strait gate,” we will not be able to enter the path that leads to life.  Jesus teaches in many other ways that entering the pathway is not a simple thing.  For example, he says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).  The Lord compares the old and the new man in several different ways.  There must be a conscious decision to crucify the old man so the new man can be born.  This decision is described as a crucifixion.

The Old Man

The New Man
Saves his life

Mark 8:35

Loses his life for Christ and the gospel
Keeps all that he has

Luke 14:33

Forsakes all that he has
Under the power of darkness

Col. 1:13

Translated into the kingdom of Christ
Lives for self

2 Cor. 5:15

Lives only for Christ
Does what he wants to do

Luke 9:23

Denies himself

        Even making the decision to lose one’s life is a very painful thing. Again, he said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The decision to deny oneself is also very painful.  Similarly, the decision to forsake all but one has is quite painful, but Jesus said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Does this forsaking all that one has relate to no longer living for oneself? (2 Cor. 5:15)?  The reason that Jesus died is so that we would no longer lives as we desire to live. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).  Making the decision that we will no longer live for ourselves but will only live for Christ, is not an easy decision. Jesus purchases God’s children with his blood (Acts 20:28). He says “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20). “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). Have we consciously made a decision that we will sell ourselves to Christ, so that he purchases us?  What does it mean that we have been purchased?  If Jesus is our new owner, then we no longer belong to ourselves for Jesus has purchased us.  If we no longer belong to ourselves we can understand why we should no longer live for ourselves.  Crucifixion of the old man is losing one’s life, no longer living for self, been willing to be purchased, and been willing to live only for Christ.  Is it possible for a soul to be buried with Christ before the old man is crucified and fully dead? The soul may be immersed in the water, but he cannot be buried with Christ in the waters of baptism until he has been crucified and is dead.

A SECOND ASPECT OF CRUCIFIXION

A second event occurs when the old man is cut off and the new man is born from the dead. This event is seen in the apostle Paul’s conversion. The Lord directed Ananias to go to Paul and lay his hands on him so he could receive his sight. When Ananias arrived, Paul had already believed in the Lord Jesus for three days. However, until Ananias came, Paul did not know what to do. The Lord had told him to “Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do” (Acts 22:10). After Ananias instructed him, he then asked Paul, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). We know from this command that Paul still had his past sins. Before Paul obeyed the command to be baptized, his old man had been crucified (Gal. 2:20), but he had not been buried with Christ. God had not yet cut off his old man. He was dead, but he had not been buried. Paul could call on the name of the Lord (authority of Christ) for doing what he did, for this is the command of Christ (Matt. 28:18-20). Until the old man is buried, there is no “operation of God” to cut off the old man (Col. 2:11.12). Peter gave this same direction to the Jews on the day of Pentecost when he said. “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). It is only with Jesus’ authority (in his name) that we can be baptized for the remission of sins. When the old man is cut off, the sins of that old man are cut off, and the new man rises from that burial without the guilt of sin.

IX. THE GREAT COMMISSION: STEP TWO

Why did the Creator command baptism? Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is not an empty form—it is a very rich and meaningful commandment.  It is much more than “an outward sign of an inward Grace,” as some have described it. Baptism is part of that form of doctrine the Romans obeyed. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom. 6:17). What was this form of doctrine the Romans had obeyed?

First, he describes baptism in the epistle to the Roman Christians as one part of the form of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  He describes baptism as a burial—the same way Christ was buried.  Like Christ was crucified, there must be a crucifixion and death of the old man before there can be a burial in baptism.  Like Christ was raised from the dead, the child of God is raised from baptism “through the faith of the operation of God” to “walk in newness of life.”

Second, each part of the death burial and resurrection takes place “with him.”  “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6).  We note that they were crucified “with him.”  “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death” (Rom. 6:3-4).  We note that they were buried “with him” in baptism.  “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:11-12).  Again we note that the child of God rises “with him.”

Third, each part of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection specifically relates to the old man or the new man.  Crucifixion puts the old man to death, while burial destroys the old man.  “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed” (Rom. 6:6).  After the old man is destroyed, then the new man must be resurrected from the dead.  He told the Galatian Christians, “. . .seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  And have put on the new man” (Col. 3:9, 10). After the old man is put off by being crucified, and buried, then the new man is put on by being resurrected from the dead.

Fourth, the crucifixion and burial are a part of “the circumcision of Christ.” “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:11-12). New Testament circumcision is not a cutting off by man. It is a “circumcision made without hands.”  God is the one who does the circumcising. Old Testament circumcision is a cutting off of the flesh.  New Testament circumcision is a cutting off of the old man. Immediately after describing the circumcision of Christ, he refers it to being “buried with him in baptism.” They were raised “through the faith of the operation of God.” God is the one who circumcises his children by cutting off their old man. When the old man dies, he dies from the rudiments of the world. “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (Col. 2:20-22). Thus the old man is killed by crucifixion, cut off, and destroyed in burial.

Fifth, being resurrected with Christ is being born from the dead. When the old man is crucified with Christ, he is cut off with Christ’s circumcision. At that point the child of God is without any “man.” He must be made “alive from the dead.” The Roman disciples had been made alive from the dead. He told them that they should, “…yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead…” (Rom. 6:13). Those who are alive from the dead begin a new life. He stated “…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). They were raised like Christ was raised.  How was Christ raised from the dead?

Jesus was not only raised from the dead but he was also “born from the dead.” “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). If they were raised “… like as Christ was raised up from the dead,” then they must have been—not only made alive from the dead—but they must have been born from the dead. God’s children must be born from the dead for he commanded his children that they should, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Pet. 2:2).  They were new born babies when they rose up from the dead like Christ was raised from the dead. Jesus informed Nicodemus of the same thing.  “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).  At the same time they were born into God’s family, they were born into the kingdom of God and became citizens, and members of His household.  “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).

When were they born from the dead? They could not be alive from the dead until they had been crucified with Christ and the old man was dead.  They could not be raised with him until the old man had been buried and destroyed in the grave.  Thus their burial (baptism) had to precede their resurrection (birth) from the dead.  Their new birth could not take place without being raised in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection (birth) from the dead.