May those who have ears, hear what the Spirit is saying to the church! The following is a rough transcript of Sunday’s sermon, 12/19/2021.
“And he (the angel of the Lord) said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near… Revelation 22:10
What time is near? The Time of the End. Look at the instructions given to Daniel:
“But as for you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the end of time; many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.” Dan 12:4
So why would God tell Daniel to keep it a secret and seal up His words, but centuries later tell John not to seal up these words? The time is near!
12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me… Rev. 22:12
Who’s speaking here? The very next verse tells us. “I am the Alpha and Omega, …the beginning and the end.” 22:13
And the key Scripture for today’s study:
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you of these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16
Who is Jesus speaking and testifying to? Similar to the chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, Jesus is speaking to the churches and declaring that He is the Lord God Almighty, the first and the last.
God’s Word declares Jesus the source (root) of David’s life which establishes His deity. But Jesus is also a “descendant” of David which establishes His humanity. The Scriptures give powerful testimony to Christ as the God-Man.
Another way of saying this is Jesus is the root and the fruit of the family tree of David. But how can anyone be a root in the ground and precious fruit on the end of the branches at the same time? It had to be God.
Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen (deity) from the dead, descendant of David (human), according to my gospel (2 Timothy 2:8).”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ form the dead is the central truth of the Christian faith. By this, God affirmed the perfect redemptive work of Jesus Christ. And as King David’s descendant, Jesus is the rightful heir to his throne.
Turn to Romans 1:3-4 in which God says about the Christ:
”…concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…”
Jesus was conceived in a virgin’s womb by the Holy Spirit, and was delivered just like a normal baby. This fact emphasizes that He is an actual historical figure. Many ancient writers including Roman historian, Tacitus, Jewish historian Josephus, and Pliny the Younger all verify Jesus actually existed in human history.
But again, these important words are used: “descendant of David.” Old Testament prophecies held that Messiah would come from the lineage of David. This is so crucial the Apostle John makes it a test of orthodoxy – believing Christ was born in human flesh. He wrote:
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now it is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3
Because Jesus is fully human – as well as fully God – He can serve as man’s substitute, (2 Cor. 5:21) and as a sympathetic high priest (Heb. 4:15-16).
His resurrection, the victory over death, was the supreme demonstration and most conclusive evidence that Jesus is the Son of God.
In Revelation 5, John writes,
“Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to be able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Rev. 5:5
“Lion of the tribe of Judah” is one of the earliest titles for the Messiah.
“Root of David” – this messianic title anticipates His being a descendant of David, who with devastating force will compel the wicked of the earth to succumb to His authority.
This Root, Lion, Descendant, and Morning Star is Jesus, The Coming Messiah, predicted all through the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 states:
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and ]act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will live securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The Lord Our Righteousness.’
Quick question: is Israel living securely today? Not yet! Also, the Messiah is pictured here as a branch out of David’s family tree who will rule over God’s people in the future.
Turn to Isaiah 11:1-2
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
*The Lord promised to grow a Branch out of the root of Jesse, King David’s father. The royal authority of the house of David was dormant for 600 years when Jesus arrived.
In 586 B.C., the Davidic dynasty appeared to be decimated, but life in the tree stump and roots was about to manifest itself in new growth in the form of the Rod and Branch, a title for the Messiah.
And on this descendant, will clearly be all attributes mentioned by Isaiah: the Spirit of God, wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.
Look at Isaiah 11:10,
“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”
Jesus will also attract non-Jews who inhabit the future kingdom. Good news! The glory of the reign of the Messiah will be not only for the Jewish people but also for the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul saw God’s ministry to the Gentiles during the church age as another implication of this verse as he quoted Isaiah in Romans 15:12.
Let’s go to the Gospels and look at how God’s holy, inspired Word begins in the New Covenant with the Church: Matthew 1:1
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham…”
In the very first sentence, Matthew declares Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy as he lays out a “record of origins.” In this overview explaining the lineage of Jesus, Matthew connects him to some of the greatest men in the history of the Old Testament.
Jesus, in Hebrew, is Yeshua, meaning “the Lord is salvation.” Son of David and Son of Abraham are both messianic titles; Matthew attributes these to Jesus and includes this detailed history. Look at Matthew 1:15-17:
“…Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:15-17
The genealogy establishes Jesus’ claim to the throne of David as legal heir. Both Mary and Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, were descendants of David.
Matthew’s record is not blood lineage of Jesus through Mary, but the legal lineage of Jesus through Joseph. The Gospel of Luke in chapter 3 provides Jesus’ blood lineage through Mary.
Turn to the prophecy in Luke 1:31-33.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
– “Son of the Most High…” – the angel told Mary that her son would be equal to the Most High God.
– “the throne of his father David” – David’s throne was emblematic of the messianic kingdom.
– “forever” and “no end” – emphasizes the eternal permanence of Christ’s rule over all!
God, speaking in Hebrews 1:8 also says this about Jesus:
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.”
Look at another prophecy in Luke 1:67-69
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David—
The prophetic voice of the Lord had been silent for 400 years. Now, God spoke through the angel, Gabriel (Luke 1:13, 1:28), through Elizabeth (Luke 1:41-42), through Mary (Luke 1:46-55), and through Zacharias. Everything God prophetically spoke was all connected to the theme of Jesus and His work.
Psalm 89:3-4 also declares:
You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
Note the covenant with David was extended to his descendants. Forever!
Your house and your kingdom shall endure before [f]Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’” 17 In accordance with all these words and all of this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. (2 Samuel 7:16)
David’s house, kingdom, and his throne would be forever.
Now consider God’s timetable. His perfect, foreordained plan demanded the exact religious, cultural, and political conditions for Jesus to enter the world. IT WAS TIME!
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
God sent His Son at the precise moment to bring all who believe out from under bondage to the law. Noting Jesus had to be “born of a woman” emphasizes His full humanity, not just His virgin birth. He had to be fully man so He could take upon Himself the penalty of sin as mankind’s substitute.
But Jesus had to be fully God as well, in order for His sacrifice to be worthy to atone for sin. The fact God sent His Son indicates Jesus “was with God in the beginning,” as it says to open John’s Gospel (John 1:2).
THE DEITY OF CHRIST
We looked at Scriptures regarding Jesus being David’s descendant and pointing to His humanity. Now we’re going to look at more proof of His deity.
Pastor John MacArthur said:
“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!”
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Wait. “In the beginning, God…” Who is “Us”? And “Our image”? Here we have the first clear indication of the triune God. The very name of God, Elohim (Gen. 1:1), is a plural form of El. Humans are created in His image with intellect and the ability to reason.
John 1:1 and 1:14 states,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John essentially wrote, “When the beginning began, the Word was already there.” The idea is that the Word existed before creation or even time. A clear declaration of deity.
So, the “mystery” was revealed to man and the eternal God entered humanity. But some have said Jesus never claimed to be God or equal with God. Really? Here are just a few quick examples. Jesus said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father (John 14:9), and, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).
John 5:46-47 states:
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
John 8:56-59 states:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple…
I AM: This is the third time in this chapter Jesus uses the phrase I AM (John 8:24, 8:28), and here in John 8:58. The ancient Greek phrase is ego emi, which was the same term used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to describe the Voice from the burning bush that spoke to Moses.
“they took up stones…” This demonstrates that the religious leaders understood exactly and perfectly what Jesus meant. He claimed to be eternal God which they regarded to be blasphemy.
Turn to Hebrews 1:1-3:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty;
An early version of the Nicene Creed states it this way:
We believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
God spoke. Over the course of 1,500+ years, the Old Testament was written in 39 different books reflecting various historical times, cultures, and locations. The progressive revelation of the O.T. describes God’s program of redemption and His will for His people.
The Jews understood “last days” to mean the time of Messiah. “Brightness” (radiance): The Son does not merely reflect God’s glory, Jesus is God and shines His own glory!
“…express image” or ‘exact representation’ of His nature. The Son is the perfect imprint representing God’s very essence and nature.
“sat down at the right hand of God” – Jesus can sit because His priestly work is finished! Also, being at the right hand indicates a place of power, authority and honor.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: 16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together…
The Greek word for “image” is eikon, meaning Jesus is the very form of God.
“firstborn of all creation” – highest in rank; firstborn most often indicates preeminence, not chronology. Jesus existed before the creation and is exalted in rank above it. Think of firstborn as first “begotten.” In Greek and Jewish culture, firstborn was the son who received the right of inheritance from his father – whether he was born first or not! Remember the Nicaean Creed (325 AD) that says Jesus was “begotten, not created, one being with the Father.”
Take a quick look at Colossians 1:19 and note two mighty words.
19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
In a blog at Enduring Word, David Guzik writes about the word “fullness” saying:
“…it was good and right and important for God to add humanity to His deity in a way that connected with the full experience of humanity, including the helplessness and dependence of a baby. …It is a broad statement – combining the two mighty words all and fullness. There is nothing left out from the all and from the fullness, and these two words tell us that in Him – that is, in Jesus Christ – there is all of what makes God really God. The ancient Greek word was pleroma, describing the total package of Divine powers and attributes.”
True God from True God! Begotten, not created!
The ‘HYMN OF HYMNS’ In the Early Church:
Many regard Philippians 2:5-11 as a great hymn of the early church that Paul incorporated into his letter. Some commentators go so far as to suggest stanza and verse arrangements for the “hymn.” Most likely had it memorized.
Next to creation, the incarnation is the central miracle of Christianity, the most grand and wonderful of all the things God has ever done. This mystery and miracle of the Word becoming flesh is the theme of these seven verses in Philippians.
Turn to Philippians 2:6-11 and notice the humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah:
Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Finally, let’s wrap this gift in a big, beautiful bow by looking at a familiar passage of prophecy relating to Christmas history: Isaiah 9:6-7 states:
For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this.
The glory of the Messiah who will reign!
ISAIAH 9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: Most straightforwardly, Isaiah used the Hebrew literary tool of repetition to emphasize the point. The Child is born, the Son is given. At the same time, we recognize the hand of the Holy Spirit in the specific wording.
What amazing mystery! There is nothing weaker, more helpless, more dependent than a child. This Child would be a man, but more than a man. He is also the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. The Son had to be given. What glorious truth! We needed a perfect, infinite Being to offer a perfect, infinite atonement for our sins. The Son had to be given, because the Second Person of the Trinity is eternal, and existed forever as the Son, even before adding humanity to His deity.
Jesus, the Messiah, is fully God and fully man. He never became less God, but He added a human nature to His divine nature, and so became one person with two distinct natures, functioning together in perfect harmony.
And the government will be upon His shoulder will ultimately be fulfilled in the Millennium, when Jesus Christ will rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 20:4-6, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 65:17-25, Zechariah 14:6-21).
What might such a government look like? First of all, it would look like its king.
The Messiah is Wonderful: The glory of who He is and what He has done for us should fill us with wonder. The word ‘wonderful’ has overtones of deity.
The Messiah is our Counselor: Jesus is the One fit to guide our lives and should be the Christian’s immediate resource. Jesus can help you with your problems. He may use the presence and the words of another Christian to do it, but He is our Counselor.
The Messiah is Mighty God: He is the God of all creation and glory, the LORD who reigns in heaven, the One worthy of our worship and praise. It is difficult to think of a more straightforward declaration of the deity of the Messiah.
Yet some groups (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses) try to make a distinction between Mighty God and Almighty God. Scripturally, there is no distinction, because both titles are used of Jesus and Yahweh specifically (Almighty is applied to Jesus in Rev. 1:8).
The Messiah is the Everlasting Father: The idea in these Hebrew words is that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the Creator Himself. It does not mean that Jesus Himself is the Person of the Father in the Trinity.
The Messiah is the Prince of Peace: He is the One who makes peace, especially between God and man.
These titles will confirm us more and more in the faith of Christ, and fortify us against Satan and against hell itself.
Isaiah 9:7 – Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…even forever: The reign of the Messiah will not last merely 1,000 years, though the millennium is a special aspect of His reign. There will be no end to the reign of the Messiah, and He will rule for all eternity.
Handel had it right in the Hallelujah chorus of Messiah: “And He shall reign forever and ever.”
Upon the throne of David: Jesus will rule on David’s throne and over his kingdom (that is, David’s kingdom – Israel). This is a fulfillment of God’s great covenant with David.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this: All this may sound too good to be true, but it will be done. God – the LORD of all heavenly armies – has promised to accomplish this word, and part of it has been accomplished already.
These four things are true for all people: Christ is risen, Christ is Lord, Christ will restore all things, and we are called to this time and place in history. If He isn’t already, Jesus can be your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace right now! These offices are real for those who receive Jesus and submit to Him.
There are good reasons why Jesus came into this world, and John 12:46 reminds us:
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.”
Jesus also said you are the light of the world (Mt. 5:14), this Christmas and always!
Three questions for believers in Christ to answer:
- How is your light shining
- How is your witness
- How is your most important relationship in life, with your personal Redeemer and Lord Jesus?
*Sermon courtesy of Christ the Rock Church DePere, WI (video coming soon)