Christian Churches of God
Who is Jesus?
(Edition 2.0 20020512-20061227)
The Bible tells us Jesus is the Son of God. Mainstream Christianity says Jesus is the second person of a Trinity. The Father and the Holy Spirit are said to be the other two aspects of that three-part God. However, the Bible says there is only One True God and we must know this if we are to worship God in spirit and truth.
Who is Jesus?
The future birth of Jesus was known long before it actually happened: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isa. 7:14).
Through a miracle of the One True God, the baby Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of his human mother, the virgin Mariam (Lk. 1:26-35; Mat 1:23). She is often referred to incorrectly as Mary. Mariam’s husband was named Joseph, but he was not the natural father of Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah spoke about his glad news a long time ago.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (KJV)
The future king spoken of by Isaiah above was born over 2,000 years ago in a stable and laid in a manger. His birth was announced to the shepherds as, good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Lk. 2:8-12).
Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah (one of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel) in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the Great (Mat. 2:1). Herod was an Idumean or Edomite, a descendent of Esau, whose people had been converted to Judaism some two hundred years before. Remember, Esau was the twin brother of Jacob and they were the sons of Isaac (Gen. 26:21-27).
The Bible does not tell us exactly when Jesus was born. That is for a good reason, because we are not to celebrate his birthday. For that matter, we are not to celebrate the birthday of anyone else either. See the paper Birthdays (No. 287). We are told to remember the death of Jesus, and we do that each year at the Passover. That will be explained more fully in the paper God’s Holy Days (No. CB22).
Most people in the Christian nations today celebrate the birth of Jesus on the 25th of December. That of course is the main reason most people celebrate Christmas. We will see in another paper that the pagan customs and traditions of Christmas have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus (see the paper Why we don’t celebrate Christmas (No. CB24)).
Many people today think Jesus is God. It is true that he is a god, but he is not the One True God (see also Jn. 20:27-28). Jesus is the Christ (which means Anointed One or Messiah; Jn. 1:41), the Son of the living God (Mat. 16:16). Eloah is God’s Name in Hebrew and He is Messiah’s God and our God. The name that was given to the Messiah on Earth in Hebrew was Yahoshua or Yashua. In the English language it is Joshua.
Jesus is the Son of God and he shares that title with other beings that are also sons of God. Jesus is called the “Son of the Most High God” (Mk. 5:7). However, Jesus is the onlyborn Son of God (Mat. 3:17; Jn. 1:18; 1Jn. 4:9).
There is one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom this age was created and through whom we live (1Cor. 8:6). The Bible is clear that there is only One True God and that He sent Jesus Christ to do a job (Jn. 17:3-4). Part of this job was to be our Saviour and Redeemer (Mat. 14:33; Jn. 8:42; Eph. 1:7; Tit. 2:14).
Jesus is the way to the Father. We can only know the One True God through his Son Jesus Christ. This is why we pray to the Father in the name of His Son (Jn. 14:12-14; 15:16). We do not worship Jesus, but only the Father. This is because the First Commandment says: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). We are to worship only the One True God.
At some point in time, even before the creation of the spiritual Host and mankind, God the Father (Eloah) was alone. This God cannot die (1Tim. 6:16). But we will see from the Scriptures that Jesus did die. So we know for sure that Jesus Christ is not the Supreme God. He is not the final boss, as we might say.
Christ tells us that he came out of God (Jn. 8:42). For that matter, everything is “out of” or “came from” God the Father (Rom. 11:36). The Son created all things through the power of the Father. As the Image of the Father, His Son is able to have the title “God”. He can receive the same honour as the Father (Jn. 5:22-23), but we don’t worship him as the One True God. The Father is greater than all (Jn. 10:29). The Father gave life to his Son (Jn. 5:26). Jesus said he lived because of the Father (Jn. 6:57). He did what the Father wanted him to do and not what he wanted to do by himself.
In other words God the Father created this Son (who became Jesus) and the other spiritual Host as well. They were created long before the physical creation. In fact, they were all there when the Earth was created.
Job 38:4-7 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (KJV)
The Scriptures also tell us that God the Father (Eloah) cannot be seen or heard by men (Jn. 1:18; 5:37). This does not apply to the Son of God. He was the Image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), but he was seen and heard by mankind. So the Son was actually representing the Father in what he said and did. In Old Testament times people saw and spoke to God. But this was not really the One True God. The angels are God’s messengers and they are the ones who talked to humans and were seen by them. The Bible says Adam saw the Lord God in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8-19). Abraham saw and spoke to the Lord (Gen. 12:7; 17:1-3). Moses met him on the mount (Ex 3:2-7). Joshua met him at Jericho (Josh. 5:13 to 6:2, RSV).
These were real visits. They actually saw someone and heard his voice. There are many more such incidents where the Bible says that people saw and talked to God. This cannot have been the One True God, because no one has ever seen Him or heard His voice (Jn. 5:37). When Philip asked to be shown the Father, Christ said: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:8-10).
This being referred to as God and Lord and who was seen and heard could only have been Christ. He was called the Angel of Yahovah in the Old Testament (refer to the paper the Angel of YHVH (No. 24)). The Bible says that Christ had life as a spiritual being in heaven before the Earth was created (Jn. 6:38; 8:23,58; Phil. 2:5-7, RSV).
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (KJV)
John the Baptist clearly says that Christ was “before” him (Jn. 1:15-18). However, the Bible tells us that John was six months older than Christ. It was not possible for Christ to have been before John unless he was already living. This life, prior to becoming a human, was as a god, an elohim (Heb.), or theoi (Gk.). Elohim is a plural word in Hebrew, which means god or gods and is applied to all the spiritual sons of God and to some humans also. People in ancient times knew the difference between God (Eloah) and the Elohim, who appeared to humans and spoke to them.
The New Testament also shows from Christ’s own words that he lived before he became the man Jesus. In fact, he said: before Abraham was I Am (Jn. 8:58). He is saying here that he was already alive even before Abraham was born. So he was a god, and he was an angel, or a messenger of the One True God, as we have seen, who spoke for the Most High God (see the paper The Angelic Host (No. CB28)). Then he became a man. See also the paper The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243)).
Jesus came to the world so that whoever believed in him would have eternal life (Jn. 3:16). Jesus voluntarily died in order to give eternal life to his (and God’s) people. Adam had a chance to do this but he sinned. Because of this sin humans were denied access to the One True God. Sin separates us from God. So when we are adults we must repent and be baptised in order to receive God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus came to give his life (i.e. to die) that we might have eternal life with him and the Father. By his death humans can repent of their sins and again have access to the Father through His Holy Spirit.
We will all die a human death, but we will all have a chance to live again. We cannot live forever in a human (physical) body, as this is only a temporary life. All the dead will be resurrected from the grave (Jn. 5:25-26). The One True God has a much greater Plan for mankind (1Cor. 2:1-16). We learn more about this Plan after baptism.
During the life of Jesus
Many people would not listen to Jesus and they said he was a demon (Jn. 10:20). While the priests and religious leaders wanted to kill him, the ordinary people liked to listen to him. He had a power about him and his teaching (Lk. 19:47-48). People were astonished at his teaching (Mat. 7:28-29).
Jesus spoke in parables, i.e. he told stories that had a hidden meaning. Most people could not understand them, and Jesus only told the real meaning to his disciples (Mk. 4:34). Jesus liked to eat and have a drink of wine, which is a normal thing for a man to do. But some people said he was eating and drinking too much. They called him a glutton and a wine-bibber (Mat. 11:19) because they themselves were self-righteous.
In Matthew chapter 4, Satan tried to tempt Jesus to accept and work with a different plan for ruling the world. “All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me” (Mat. 4:9). Satan wanted Jesus to acknowledge him as the supreme God and ruler. Jesus knew this was breaking the First Commandment and he said: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve”. Then the devil left him (Mat. 4:10-11).
We should not listen to those who say Jesus came to do away with the Law (Mat. 5:17-19). As the Christ, or Messiah, his sacrifice was a replacement only for the sacrificial law (Heb. 10:1-18). The Laws of God (the Ten Commandments) remain and are binding on us today, as they always were, from the creation of the spiritual Host, and on to the first humans in the Garden of Eden.
Miracles Jesus performed
Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit Jesus performed many miracles while he was on Earth. Here are just a few of them. Look up the Scriptures and read about these things.
· He healed the sick (Mat. 4:23-24).
· He turned water into wine (Jn. 2:1-10).
· He walked on water (Mat. 14:22-33).
· He stilled the storm (Mk. 4:35-41).
· He forgave and healed a paralytic (Lk. 5:17-26).
· He raised Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:38-44).
· He cast out demons (Mk. 5:1-16).
· He fed five thousand with five loaves and two fish (Lk. 9:10-17).
Death of Jesus
Just as it was known long ago that Jesus would be born, it was also known that he would be put to death and raised after three days and three nights in the tomb (Mat. 16:21). He would then return to Heaven (Jn. 14:2,3).
The death (crucifixion) and resurrection of Christ are very important events in human history, but most religions today don’t understand this properly. One of the things they teach about the death of Jesus is that he was crucified on a cross. But the Greek word stauros means an upright pale or stake, to which criminals were nailed for execution. So Jesus actually died on a stake and not a cross. For more details of this see the paper The Cross: Its Origins and Significance (No. 39)).
Messiah is identified as the Lamb of God.
John 1:29-30 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' (RSV)
As the “Lamb of God” Jesus had to be killed at exactly the right time. Otherwise he was just like any other dead man. We know from the writings of the historian Josephus (Wars of the Jews, Bk. VI, ix, 3) that the lambs for Passover were killed from the ninth hour to the eleventh hour, (i.e. from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) on the afternoon of the fourteenth of the First Month, according to God’s Calendar. This month is called Abib or Nisan. The lambs were then prepared and eaten on the evening of 15th. However, only the first lamb slaughtered at 3 p.m. was laid before the High Priest as the Passover sacrifice. For more details on this refer to the paper The Death of the Lamb (No. 242).
Jesus actually died on the 14th of the First Month of God’s Calendar. He died at about 3 p.m. on a Wednesday in the year 30 CE. This was during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. There is much confusion among the various religions today about the day and the year in which Jesus died. This is all a bit complicated for those young in the faith. It is not important at this stage to know all this. What is important is that Jesus had to die at the right time on God’s Calendar, or he would not have been the Christ (see the paper God’s Sacred Calendar (No. CB20)).
For further information and study of this aspect refer to the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159).
Most people believe that Jesus died on a Friday and was raised from the dead on the following Sunday. But what they believe is not possible, if we take a closer look at the Bible. Just like Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so Christ was to be three days and three nights in the tomb (Mat. 12:39-41). Saying that Jesus died on a Friday and rose from the dead on the following Sunday is obviously wrong, as this only covers two nights (almost) and one day.
Jesus died on a Wednesday and rose from the dead on Saturday around sunset. So this was before the start of the day Sunday, which is the first day of the week. Remember, the days started and ended after sunset or dark on God’s Calendar, and not from midnight as it is done in most of the world today. So, let us do some counting of days and nights. Wednesday night was the first night, followed by Thursday the first day. Then there was Thursday night, which was the second night, followed by Friday the second day. Friday night was the third night followed by Saturday the third day, which ended at sunset or dark. Now that makes three days and three nights, just like the Bible tells us.
The disciples believed that Jesus was a human Messiah and a physical descendant of David from the tribe of Judah. But they thought he would rescue them and take over the Roman government and be their earthly king (Jn. 6:15; Lk. 23:2). His death was a shock and a disappointment (Lk. 24:21).
His enemies wanted to kill him because he claimed to be a king. When brought before Pilate Jesus was asked if this were true and he replied, “My kindgom is not of this world …(Jn. 18:36). Pilate asked, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “For this cause was I born and for this cause I have come into the world…”(Jn. 18:37).
The Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah sent from God the Father. They also expected the Messiah to be their earthly ruler and king. The Roman authorities whipped and flogged (scourged) him. Pilate listened to the will of the mob (crowd) because they demanded that Jesus be killed. He had to endure a form of death that was slow and painful. This was called death by crucifixion, and it was used by the Romans and Greeks for the worst kind of criminals. It was a terrible way for the Son of God to die.
But Jesus knew how and when he would die and he was willing to do all this. He tried to warn the disciples but they did not seem to understand.
Luke 9:20:22 And he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God”. 21 But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (RSV)
See also Luke 18:31-34.
Jesus is resurrected
We know Jesus was resurrected from the dead (Rom. 1:3-4). He became a Son of God in power through the Holy Spirit by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).
There is more evidence of the resurrected Christ from 1Corinthians 15:3-8 and Acts 1:2,3. From Acts 1:9-10 we see that Jesus was taken up to Heaven. He was the first-born of the dead and he was the first-fruits (1Cor. 15:20,23). He had to ascend to Heaven to be accepted by God the Father as our High Priest (Jn. 20:17). This occasion is now celebrated as the Wave Sheaf offering on the Sunday during Passover (see Lev. 23:9-14).
So as we explained above, the resurrection did not take place on Sunday morning. However, most people still believe that Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday and that is why they celebrate the pagan holiday Easter. The Easter custom came into the Church quite some time after Jesus went back to Heaven. We know from the Bible that Christ rose from the dead on Saturday night, and then waited until Sunday morning in readiness to ascend into Heaven.
John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (RSV)
Jesus was born to be King in the Kingdom, which God the Father promised to establish. His Kingdom will not be like those of this present evil world (Gal. 1:4). He is given the throne of David to rule over the House of Jacob (Israel) forever. His Kingdom will never end (Lk. 1:32).
Jesus received that Kingdom after God the Father raised him from the grave (Mat. 28:18). He now sits at the right hand of God and is King and Lord.
Jesus was like every human and yet very different. He was more than an ordinary human. He was tested but he never sinned (Heb. 4:15). He died and was resurrected and he lives and works today. Jesus is the head of the Church. So he is busy looking after the people God the Father gives to him to put into the Church. We in the Church must also work. We must look after each other and any new people that Christ gives to us.
We know Jesus kept the Sabbath and the Feasts of God and so did his disciples after he had left them. In fact, Jesus and the disciples kept all God’s Laws. So too, we must keep the Laws of God.
Jesus was a remarkable man, but he only had a short time on this Earth. He died when he was about 33 years of age, and yet he accomplished much in that time. The good news is that Jesus, the Messiah, will come again to rule the nations that no longer know the One True God. They do not keep His Laws and they worship false gods instead. And they will be punished in order to restore them eventually to the One True God.
As Christians we should make a real effort to live as Christ lived. By doing this we can be sure that we are pleasing God, as we also prepare to take our place in the Kingdom of God.