B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 89
B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 89
I Cor. 16:9 “For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
January 31, 2007
The Office of Christ There have been those who initially are confused with the name and office of our Savior. It might seem that “Jesus” is His first name and “Christ” is His last name. Jesus is the personal name of our Savior. It was the name chosen by God and given to both Mary and Joseph by an angel. It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Joshua, meaning “God saves.” The work of Jesus is explained by His name. He is our Savior. It is a name which is to be highly regarded for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12). The second commandment explains to us how we are to use and not use that precious name. Jesus also holds an office. We speak of offices today such as pastor or governor or doctor, and the people who hold those offices are addressed by their titles. Jesus is the Christ. This Greek word is also found in the Old Testament Hebrew as Messiah. Christ/Messiah means “the anointed one.” To be anointed is to be set aside by God for a particular purpose. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. (Acts 10:38) Jesus assumed this office publicly at His baptism. In the Old Testament men were anointed as oil was poured over them. This indicated that God had set them aside. The offices that were held in the Old Testament were prophet, priest, and king. No one person could be all three because the priests were from the tribe of Levi and kings were from the tribe of Judah. There is the exception in Abraham’s time of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18) the king of Salem who was also a priest. He prefigured Christ and is spoken of in Hebrews 5-7. The office of Christ is three-fold. Jesus is thus our Prophet, Priest, and King, fulfilling all perfectly. A prophet is one who speaks for God. While we often think of prophets as those who tell the future, anytime God sent a man with a message, he was doing the work of a prophet (for example Nathan speaking to King David). In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses spoke of a prophet who was to come: The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. Jesus fulfilled this office while He was on earth by speaking God’s Word in the synagogues and to the people on the hillsides. In Luke 4:16-21 Jesus confirmed that indeed He was the one anointed to preach the gospel to the poor as prophesied in Isaiah 61. He continues to carry out His office as Prophet by proclaiming God’s Word through His people. (Matt 28:18-20). The Old Testament priest was placed between God and the people. He would pray for the people and make sacrifices for them. The High Priest had a significant role because he was the one permitted to enter the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement and sprinkle the blood of the lamb on the mercy seat. While on earth Jesus served as our High Priest as He entered the Most Holy Place of heaven to make satisfaction for the sin of the world. He was not only the Priest, but also the sacrifice. It was a perfect, one-time sacrifice. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (Heb. 7:26-27). More details are found in the letter to the Hebrews. He continues to serve as our High Priest, not by repeating the sacrifice, because that is not necessary. He serves as our High Priest by speaking in our behalf to the Father. It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (Rom. 8:34). And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1-2). The job of a king is to rule. A king protects and defends his people from their enemies. In ancient times a king was also a judge who would determine innocence and guilt and deal out sentences. Jesus came as a King not of the earth, but of a far greater spiritual kingdom. He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). He conquered His enemies (and ours) by His death and resurrection. He continues to rule His Kingdom at the right hand of the Father protecting us from our enemies. He rules through His Word in the hearts of His people. On the Last Day He will come as Judge. The office of the Christ is very unique. No one else could have fulfilled this three-fold office, nor could anyone continue to hold the office except for Jesus.
Pastor Michael Schierenbeck, Wisconsin, USA
A STUDY OF THE APOSTLES (Part 3) James the Son of Alpheus
There were several James involved with our Lord. This is not the one
who wrote the epistle, as that was a brother of the Lord through Mary and
Joseph. This James is distinguished from the other apostle by his
father’s name following. In Mk. 15:40 we learn that his mother’s name was Mary.
This may be the Mary the wife of Cleopas. There is a possibility that he
was a cousin of our Lord. In this verse we see him referred to as James the
Less which was likely an indication of his height. Interestingly, Matthew is
also called the son of Alpheus. It is possible that these two were brothers,
though we cannot say for sure.
The Lord does not tell us anymore about this apostle in Scripture. But
there are various traditions about him. It seems that he did minister in
Syria. One historian claims that he was the first bishop of the Syrian church.
The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed
to death in Jerusalem for preaching Christ.
Some other ancient writers say that he did great work in Spain and
others say that he worked in Britain and Ireland.
Simon the Zealot
In Lk. 6:15 he is called the ‘Zealot’ while in Mt. 10:4 and Mk. 3:18 he
is called the ‘Cananite.’ This latter term does not mean he was from Cana,
but that he was zealous, for it comes from a Hebrew word that means that.
From his name then it appears that he was involved at one time with the
political party called the Zealots. This fiery zeal for political goals was
redirected to serving the Christ in His kingdom work.
Traditions have him going in opposite directions. One story has it that
he went to Persia and was killed for refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
The historian Eusebius has it that he went north and preached in the
British Isles. After that he went to Egypt down as far as Mauritania in Africa.
One doubtful tradition has it that he went to Britain and died there around
61.Then another tradition has it that he joined Judas(Thaddaeus) in
Persia where both were martyred, Simon being sawed asunder.
Hermeneutics – Figures of Speech
Hermeneutics is the art or skill of interpreting. As we read and study the Holy Spirit develops this skill in us, so that we understand better what God is saying to us. We will be reviewing some figures of speech used in the Bible to refresh us on how picturesque and versatile the Scriptures are in explaining itself to us. That is what the Word does – It explains or interprets itself. Normal figures of speech that are common to our everyday language we take for granted. As we study the Word, our understanding is increased when we take into account common forms of communicating in a figurative way.
A metaphor is a means of comparing one thing with another through the use of the verb “to be” between the two things compared. Jesus says, “I am the vine.” Jn. 15:5 By this He is not saying that He is made out of green plant material. That is obvious. His comparison is made that He is the one that supports us as a vine does the branches. Nourishment comes through the vine to the branches. Without the vine the branches would die. Sometimes the verb form of “to be” is left out. For instance when Jesus refers to Herod by saying, “Go tell that fox…” Luke 13:32, He is saying that Herod is sly and cunning. Herod is a human being and not a fox. But Herod shows characteristics that we associate with a fox.
An allegory is a longer or extended metaphor. In Gal. 4:21-31 Paul says that “Hagar is Mt. Sinai.” The point of comparison is that the bondwoman is under the law while we are of the free woman and freed from law. It was on Mt. Sinai that Moses received the Law. The Jews of Jesus day rejected the Gospel of free grace and sought salvation through the law.