"That Prophet"

Fred R. Coulter—October 4, 1985

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In part 14 of this series I covered the part where the blind man was given sight by Jesus Christ, and he told the Jews and John 9:28: "Then they railed at him and said, 'You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples.'" Remember what Jesus said before and in other places, 'Had you believed Moses you would have believed Me.'

Let's find out about Christ in relationship to those three Scriptures in John—which we'll cover later—where they asked about or said that Jesus was that Prophet!First of all let's begin in Heb. 3 where we have a comparison between Moses and Jesus Christ. There are several other comparisons that are there between Moses and Jesus, but here's one that is very clear drawing the analogy between the two covenants.

Hebrews 3:1: "Because of this, Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling…" That says an awful lot right there. We are of God; Christ is our sanctification, etc. It is true that God the Father is the One Who calls us, and it is "…the heavenly calling…" It's not an early calling, just something here on the earth.

"…consider the Apostle and High Priest of the faith we profess—Jesus Christ" (v 1). He is the apostle! If anyone says that they are the apostle, you might have a little argument with Christ.

Someone asked me what makes a person an apostle? I'd have to look into that and go through it a little bit more, but I'm sure it's not by proclamation. I'm sure it is by ordination, and a specific work and calling to do, and they have to have the signs of an apostle. That's what Paul said, 'I've shown the signs of an apostle among you, and Jesus Christ is the Apostle!

"…and High Priest of the faith we profess—Jesus Christ, Who was faithful to Him Who appointed Him… [the One Who appointed Him was God the Father] …even as Moses was in all His house" (vs 1-2). There's the comparison between Moses and Jesus.

We also have in Rom. 5 that says that Moses was the figure of the One to come: Jesus Christ. So, Moses was a type of Jesus Christ.

Verse 3: "For He has been counted worthy of greater glory than Moses…" How much glory was Moses counted for? How much glory did God give to Moses? Especially in the light of where the Jews said, 'We be Moses' disciple.
"…even as He Who built the house has so much more honor than the house itself" (v 3). That's really true. You can build a beautiful and fantastic house, but the one who designs it is greater than the one who built it, because the one who designed it is the one who drew the plans, conceived of it, thought of it, gave the plans to the builder to build according to his specifications. Therefore, the designer and architect is greater than the house.

Verse 4: "For every house is built by someone, but He Who built all things is God. Now on the one hand, Moses was faithful in all his house, as a ministering servant… [notice the difference, but what a mighty servant he was] …for a testimony of those things which were going to be spoken afterwards" (vs 4-5). Then everything in the Old Testament was a type of what was going to come in the New Testament.

Verse 6: "But on the other hand, Christ was faithful as the Son over His own house; Whose house we are, if we are truly holding fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end." Christ is the Son over the house.

Sometimes you may see a movie where it shows a huge mansion where they have a lot of servants and some of them are very dedicated and so forth, then the children are born into the family. There have been cases where the servants have been jealous of the children, because the children, in many cases, end up being spoiled brats, especially of the rich.

Many times those loyal servants get to thinking, 'Who is this kid to own all of this?' That's why Christ said that all who came before Him 'was a thief and robber.' Christ is a Son over His own house. Much different than being a servant in a house. "…Whose house we are… [we're the building, the temple of God] …if we are truly holding fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (v 6).

Let's see one of the miracles that Jesus did and what the people said of Him. This is one of my favorite accounts of healing in the New Testament:

Luke 7:11: "Now, it came to pass on the next day that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a great multitude. And as He drew near to the gate of the city, behold, one who had died was being carried out, an only son to his mother, and she was a widow… [that's a pretty tragic consequence] …and a considerable crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He was moved with compassion for her and said to her, 'Do not weep'" (vs 11-13). That's a very moving and touching scene that took place.

Verse 14: "And He came up to the bier and touched it, and those who were bearing it stopped. Then He said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise!'" That would make you stand up and take notice!

Verse 15: "And the dead man sat up and began to speak…" Probably said, 'What's going on here? Where am I? What happened? What are you crying for, mom?' And I imagine that all the people were awestruck.

"…and He gave him to his mother" (v 15). Can you imagine how she felt, being a widow already losing her husband and he was the only son. That must have been really tremendous.

Verse 16: "Then fear seized everyone, and they glorified God, saying, 'A great Prophet has risen up among us'…" Remember the Pharisees said, 'They hold Him to be a prophet.'

"…and, 'God has visited His people.' And this report about Him went out into all Judea and all the country around" (vs 16-17). Did they know about Christ? They really knew! They really knew about:

  • what He had done
  • approximately when He would come

some of the conversations and questions indicate that:

  • it was time for the Messiah to be there
  • you have the story of the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth
  • you have the prophecy that He gave in the temple
  • you have the whole fact that all the priesthood must have known that Zacharias was deaf and dumb for nine months until John the Baptist was born
  • then Zacharias began to speak, naming him John

They knew that when John was coming to baptize that something was up. Remember the case of the wise men who came in at Jesus' birth? They came into Jerusalem and they found out from the scribes where the Messiah was to be born. They said He was to be born in Bethlehem of Judea. They went to Bethlehem and found Christ. There were a lot of indications that they knew that this was Christ's time.

Verse 24: "Now, after the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John…" because they came and said, 'Are you the one?'

Verse 19: "And after calling two certain disciples, John sent them to Jesus, saying, 'Are You He Who was to come, or are we to look for another?' And when the men came to Him, they said, 'John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, "Are You He Who was to come, or are we to look for another?"' Now in the same hour, He healed many of diseases and scourges and evil spirits, and He granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus answered and said to them, 'When you have gone, relate to John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is preached to the poor. And blessed is everyone who shall not be offended in Me'" (vs 19-23). That's quite a statement there, too.

Verse 24: "Now, after the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to gaze at? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who dress in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in the palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one more excellent than a prophet. This is he concerning whom it is written, "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You." For I tell you, among those who have been born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist…'" (vs 24-28).

That's putting John a pretty high plateau, especially after we see the office of Moses and what he did. That's really a very high plateau.

"'…but the one who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.' (v 28). In the parallel account in Matthew and Mark it says, 'John did no miracles.' That's really quite a situation that Jesus talking about.

Verse 29: "Now, all the people and the tax collectors who heard this justified God because they had been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the doctors of the law had set aside the counsel of God concerning themselves, and had not been baptized by him" (vs 29-30). Then He goes on and takes on the Pharisees in quite a straightforward manner.

I suppose this is true in many, many different ways. Things always look better or greener on the other side of the fence, or things look greater or more glorious when they're removed. After Jesus had done all these things He gave a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven:

Matthew 13:57: "And they were offended in Him. Then Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country and in his own house.'" A person has honor wherever they go except in their own country and their own house.

I imagine many times that those closest to an individual involved, you get to see their humanity, you might say, but it was hard for them to believe that Jesus was really a prophet of God.

Let's see what Jesus said of the Old Testament concerning Himself. The Old Testament was that which testified of Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:25—this is when Jesus came down and talking to the two disciples as they were on the road Emmaus: "Then He said to them, 'O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory?' And beginning with Moses, and from all the prophets, He interpreted to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (vs 25-27).

You talk about a lesson that they had there just before dinner. He probably didn't even have to get out the scroll, just tell them exactly where it was. This one said this, and this other one said the other thing. Why? Who was the One Who inspired all the things concerning the prophecies about Jesus Christ? Jesus Himself!

Verse 44: "And He said to them, 'These are the words that I spoke to you when I was yet with you, that all the things which were written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (vs 44-45). So, it's a miracle to understand the Bible. Christ has to open your mind to understand it. It's not just a matter of reading it like an ordinary book. You can't do that. So, He opened their minds to understand it.

Deuteronomy 18:15—here is one of the prophecies that Moses brought; let's analyze this a just a little bit: "The LORD your God will raise up unto you a Prophet… [a specific Prophet, and the word Prophet is in a sense a title] …from the midst of you, of your brethren, One like me. To Him you shall hearken, according to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, so that I do not die.' And the LORD said to me, 'They have spoken well what they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, One like you, and will put My words in His mouth. And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, whatever man will not hearken to My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him'" (vs 15-19).

The Jews knew this prophecy. They were well aware of this prophecy. What was the office of Moses? Before we understand about the Prophet like unto Moses, we have to understand what the office of Moses was. Moses had quite an office; God gave it to him.

Of human beings, until Jesus Christ, it was the most powerful office that had been on the earth. That's why the Pharisees said, 'We be Moses' disciples.' They also knew about that prophecy and they deliberately overlooked it.

Exodus 4:16: "And he [Aaron] shall be your spokesman to the people, and he shall be for a mouth to you. And you shall be to him instead of God." That's really quite a statement. Moses had a God-like office! We will see how powerful that that was. That's a pretty heavy statement. Talk about someone having authority.

Exodus 7:1: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh….'" What was Pharaoh supposed to be? Pharaoh was supposed to be the incarnation of God! Now you know why the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh was so dramatic. It was a confrontation between Moses—who was in a God-like office, with the power of God behind him—and Pharaoh who was in a god-like office with Satan the devil's power behind him. Here was a direct confrontation right here.

"…And Aaron your brother shall be your prophet" (v 1). We also have in this—with Moses and Aaron—a type of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Moses being in the office of God, Aaron being in the office of a prophet.

We have a very similar relationship between Christ, the Son of God, and John the Baptist who 'no greater prophet has arisen among men!' Was he not the messenger or spokesman to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. So, you can see many, many parallels as we go along here.

Exodus 11:3: "And the LORD gave the people [Israel] favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people." After all these plagues had come and the last one was announced that it was going to come—the death of the firstborn—Moses really had a tremendous powerful office and was executing it by command.

I don't know if the movie The Ten Commandments quite portrays it exactly that way, but they show it pretty good; they did a pretty good job on the movie. Let's see what Moses did, which we will see that Jesus Christ did something very similar:

Exodus 24:27: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'Write these words for yourself, for in accordance to these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.' And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water…." (vs 27-28). He didn't have to because he was right in the presence of God. Wouldn't that be something!

"…And He wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. And it came to pass as Moses was going down from the mountain of Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony being in Moses' hand as he went down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become luminous through His speaking with him" (vs 28-29).

I don't know what that would look like. I kind of have in mind a phosphorus-type glow in the dark, but I don't think it was that dull. I think it was quite bright. If you stand out in the sunshine, in order for your face to be shining it would have to be really quite bright.

I don't know if it was bright like a headlight of a car. I just can't get in my mind exactly how it was that Moses' face looked like. But in the Sinai peninsula they didn't have very many cloudy days. The sun shined every day. Moses didn't know that while he talked his face shined.

Verse 30: "And Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face had become luminous. And they were afraid to come near him." That must have been just really something! Being 40 days and nights in the presence of God! What other man has been 40 days and nights in the presence of God? No other man!

Was Jesus in a greater office than Moses? Yes, He was with God face-to-face! Not only did His face shine, but His whole countenance shined.

Verse 31: "And Moses called to them. And Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came near. And he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And Moses finished speaking with them, and he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he took the veil off until he came out…." (vs 31-34).

It doesn't tell us how long that his face shined. I don't know if it shined all during the time that they were wandering through the wilderness. I kind of doubt that it shined all the time that they were in the wilderness, counting all the rebellions and things that went on. But needless to say, at this point, when he went in to talk to God he took the veil off until he came out.

"…And he came out and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face had become luminous. And Moses put the veil upon his face again until he went in to speak with Him [God]" (vs 34-35).

It doesn't say how long his face shined, but what other human being… God spoke to the prophets—didn't He? But none of them were in the office of Moses. You have Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, Elisha, all of the other prophets—called the minor prophets—Daniel. God dealt with Daniel in a very special way, but he sent angels to do it.

But here, Moses talked with God face-to-face and his face shined. Quite a tremendous thing! With that in mind:

Deuteronomy 34:5: "And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him… [apparently God did the burying] …in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor. But no man knows of his grave to this day" (vs 5-6). You can remember the account in the book of Jude where it says they were 'arguing over the body of Moses.'

Can you imagine what kind of 'religion' that Satan could have used if he had the body of Moses? You go into some of these Catholic churches and they have their so-called saints in the caskets. There's one in Mexico that is buried in a glass casket and it's preserved in honey and, therefore, won't decompose or anything. Nothing can decompose in honey. Imagine what it would have been if Satan could have gotten Moses' body, or even his bones or relics. Just think about the Catholic Church and what they do with all of their saint-worship and all of their relics and bones. The Catholic Church is not sanctified until it has some sort of relic; either a bone or part of a garment of a saint.

I can just imagine that there would have been a statue of Moses, that you would kissing the foot off it at St. Peter's Basilica instead of Peter's; had this been Moses.

Verse 7: "And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eye was not dim, nor any of his natural strength abated. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended" (vs 7-8). Think about all that Moses did. He was:

  • the leader of the entire nation of Israel
  • the high priest
  • the law-giver
  • the judge

Moses was the final arbiter of all the difficulties and problems.

  • the only man in history to talk with God face-to-face

When they had this prophecy that God was going to raise up a Prophet like unto Moses. That really had some meaning! Notice what they wrote; and this was probably added during the days Ezra and Nehemiah at this particular point:

Verse 10: "And there has not arisen a prophet like Moses since then in Israel, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel" (vs 10-12).

Let's see what they asked John the Baptist when he was baptizing. This shows they had to have had a certain amount of knowledge of what was going on, a certain amount of knowledge of the prophecies of the time in order to even ask this question:

John 1:19: "And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?' Then he freely admitted, and did not deny, but declared, 'I am not the Christ.'" (vs 19-20). Why would he have to say that he was not the Christ? Because they were asking him if he was the Christ! Why would they ask him if he was the Christ if they were not expecting Him at that particular timeframe in history?

Verse 21: "And they asked him, 'Then who are you? Are you Elijah?'…." That shows that they knew the prophecies. They knew the Scriptures.

Malachi 4:4: "Remember the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet…" (vs 4-5). So, they asked him if he was Elijah. What were they looking for?

"…before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the LORD" (v 5). We know that Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah, but then He also left the door open for an end-time Elijah, too.

Verse 6: "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with utter destruction." That's exactly what John the Baptist was doing.

John 1:21: "And they asked him, 'Then who are you? Are you Elijah?' And he said, 'I am not.' Then they asked, 'Are you the Prophet?'…." Which prophet was it speaking of? The one that Moses prophesied of, that 'the Lord shall raise up a Prophet like unto me.' "…'Are you the Prophet?'…"

"…And he answered, 'No.' Therefore, they said to him, 'Who are you? What do you say about yourself so that we may give an answer to those who sent us?' He said, 'I am a voice crying in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord," as Isaiah the prophet said.' Now, those who had been sent belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, and they asked him, saying to him, 'Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?'" (vs 21-25).

That question shows an awful lot of knowledge—doesn't it? That question shows that they knew that something was going on.

Verse 26: "John answered them, saying, 'I baptize with water, but there is one Who stands among you Whom you do not know. He it is Who comes after me, but Who has precedence over me; of Whom I am not worthy to loose the thong of His sandal.' These things took place in Bethabara across the Jordan, where John was baptizing" (vs 26-28).

John 6:13: "Then they gathered them together, filling twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. Now, when the men saw the miracle that Jesus had done, they said, 'Of a truth, this is the Prophet… [this was generally known through the population] …Who was to come into the world'" (vs 13-14).

I imagine when you go back and see that all the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His miracles, healings and teachings were spreading all through that area. That was a very small geographical area, probably no more than 90 miles long, and in some cases, from the Mediterranean Sea over to the Jordan, no more than about 30 miles. That's not a very big area! Granted they didn't have telephones, but they sure had word of mouth. They had their public criers that would stand in the town square and they would make certain announcements concerning things. They had those who were the news reporters at the time, they were the storytellers. They would be paid to go from place to place and bring everyone up on the news.

Everybody loves a story. Don't you love a story? Sure you do! We don't have storytellers going from town-to-town, we have them come into our living room; it's called television. Human nature is not too much different.

They knew! "…'Of a truth, this is the Prophet Who was to come into the world.'" (v 14). So, what they wanted to do is make Jesus King, because it was prophesied of the Prophet that He would be King. So, they said, 'Great! Let's make Him King.'

John 7:40: "Now, after hearing these words, many of the people said, 'This is truly the Prophet'…. [They knew!] …Others said, 'This is the Christ.' But others said, 'Does the Christ then come out of Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ comes from the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the town where David was?'" (vs 40-42). They knew exactly—didn't they? Sure they did!

Verse 43: "Therefore, a division arose among the people because of Him."

We begin to see that this Prophet, as we saw earlier, was the Son, and if you're the son or daughter of someone you are equal to that person in existence. So, when Jesus said here:

John 5:17: "But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I work.' So then, on account of this saying, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, not only because He had loosed the Sabbath, but also because He had called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God" (vs 17-18).

Was Moses made equal with God? Yes! 'You [Moses] shall be a God to Pharaoh.' Jesus Christ is the Son of God, making God His Father. Let's see how when the apostles began preaching this is exactly what they preached. This is the account where Peter and John went into the temple area at the Gate Beautiful, and there was the man lying there asking for alms.

Acts 3:6[transcriber's correction]: "But Peter said, 'Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have, this I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean, rise up and walk.' Then taking him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and anklebones were strengthened. And leaping up, he stood and walked; and he entered into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Now all the people saw him walking and praising God. And they recognized him that he was the one who had been sitting at the temple gate called Beautiful, asking for alms; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him. And as the lame man who had been healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon's, for they were greatly amazed" (vs 6-11).

Verse 12: "And when Peter saw it, he answered to the people, 'Men, Israelites, why are you wondering at this? And why are you looking upon us so intently as if by our own power or Godliness we have made him to walk? The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, Whom you delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, after he had judged to release Him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and requested that a man who was a murderer be granted to you; and you killed the Author of life Whom God has raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses'" (vs 12-15).

That was a pretty powerful sermon he was preaching there. Notice that it gets back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It goes right back to the beginning.

Verse 16: "And through faith in His name, this man whom you see and know was made strong in His name; and the faith that is through Him gave this complete soundness to him in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I realize that you acted in ignorance, as did your rulers also; but what God had before announced by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He has accordingly fulfilled. Therefore, repent and be converted in order that your sins may be blotted out, so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Him Who was before proclaimed to you Jesus Christ" (vs 16-20). Right from the very beginning they began preaching the return of Jesus Christ.

Verse 21: "Whom the heaven must indeed receive until the times of restoration of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of all His Holy prophets since the world began." Moses went up to meet God on the mountain. Jesus went up to be with God the Father in heaven.

Notice how he makes the connection here in v 22: "For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you from among your brethren, like me; Him shall you hear in all things that He shall say to you.'" Here it is right here. They identified Jesus as that Prophet. It was a widely known thing.

Verse 23: "'And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.' Now indeed, all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed, as many as prophesied, also proclaimed these days. You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God Himself appointed to our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' Unto you first has God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you in turning each of you from your wickedness'" (vs 23-26).

That was quite a powerful sermon, just based right on that theme of that Prophet!

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Stephen was giving his inspired message, Acts 7:37: "This is the Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up for you from among your brethren, like me; Him shall you hear.' This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the Angel Who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received the living oracles to give to us" (vs 37-38). It's talking about that Christ was that Prophet. He was the One Who was with the Church.

Let's look at the prophecies of what would happen once Christ was resurrected. There was a job that Christ had to do; He started it and He finished it through His disciples. What was that job? Very much like the job of Moses!

Isaiah 8:16: "Bind up the testimony… [finish or complete the covenant] …seal the Law among My disciples."

  • Is that what the disciples of Jesus did?
  • Did they finish the Law?

Remember that the office of Moses was a lawgiver.

  • Did Jesus give law?
  • Was Jesus a lawgiver? Yes, He was!
  • Did He finish the testimony?
  • Did the disciples finish the testimony of God?
  • Did the disciples bind up the Law of God and perfect it?
  • Yes, they did!

Let's see how Jesus began that in Matt. 5. Here He is acting as Lawgiver. What did He do? He built upon the foundation: Moses! I think it's also interesting here that Jesus went up onto a mountain. So, the Law was given at Mt. Sinai, and here we have the spiritual meaning of the Law given by Jesus Christ on one of the mountains in Israel.

Matthew 5:1: "But seeing the multitudes, He went up into the mountain; and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit…'" (vs 1-3).

We can go back and find many of these things right in the Old Testament; but here Jesus brings it all together and collates it in a standard of teaching for us.

Verse 20: "For I say to you, unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way that you shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." They were pretty righteous people. That's the whole theme of what Jesus is saying here in all of the rest of Matt. 5-7. Let's go back and see how He does it, and we will see that everything has to do with:

  • the heart and the mind
  • confessing sin
  • glorifying God
  • having a right attitude toward God
  • having a right attitude toward neighbor

Verse 3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." What is the opposite of "…poor in spirit…? Pride!

Verse 4: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Who is mourning? Mourning for the sins, crimes, difficulties of the world? Mourning because of the sins in their own lives? In their own family? "…they shall be comforted."

The next time you have a situation where you're mourning or your situation is not too good, just claim God's promise here that you will be comforted!

Verse 5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth…. [reference back to the Psalms] …Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled" (vs 5-6).

John 6:35: "Jesus said to them, 'I AM the Bread of Life; the one who comes to Me shall never hunger; and the one who believes in Me shall never thirst at any time.'" We have to be hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

The one way to not do that is to do it in a prideful way, to be boastful about it. But if you're really seeking the righteousness of Christ, what is there to boast in? Christ! Not yourself or anything else, or to say how much better you are than so and so, because when you say you're better than so and so, you're really not better, because you see all the problems that get involved here.

If you hunger and thirst after that righteousness and after Christ, you will be filled!

Mathew 5:7: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy." Always keep that in mind. Be merciful! There's going to be a time when you're going to need mercy.

Verse 8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." That's the sum of what God wants.

  • He doesn't want a deceptive heart
  • He doesn't want a lying spirit
  • He doesn't want an attitude of the uncleanness of this world

There are a lot of things of this world that God has just plain rescued us from; we're really thankful for that!

Verse 9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." We're going to be peacemakers in the Kingdom of God! During the Millennium, we're going to bring peace, with Christ, and it's going to be absolutely marvelous! We're called the children of God.

Verse 10: "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." I still haven't reached that point, yet, where I'm ready to jump up and down for joy. I don't know if any of us have. When you do, please let me know.

Verse 11: "Blessed are you when they shall reproach you, and shall persecute you, and shall falsely say every wicked thing against you, for My sake. Rejoice and be filled with joy…" (vs 11-12). I hope that one of these days we can reach that point: to rejoice and be exceedingly glad!

"…for great is your reward in heaven; for in this same manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (v 12). Anytime you get thinking that things are heaped upon you pretty bad, just remember Jeremiah:

They let him down in the sewer. You talk about feeling despondent, alone and trapped. It would be like today if someone got a hold of you and opened up the sewer lid that's out there and lowered you right down in the middle.

Then think about Isaiah, he had to walk into town naked. God says, 'Go into town naked and prophesy to them.' Yes, Lord!

Remember what Ezekiel had to do? God said, 'Take some of this hair and some of these things that I tell you and you mix it with your own excrement and you bake it and eat it to show the children of Israel what I'm going to do. Ezekiel said, 'Ah, Lord God!' God said okay, 'you can use cow dung.' Ezekiel was persecuted.

Then Ezekiel had to lay for a certain period every day on one side: 390 days for the house of Judah, and 1,080 days for the house of Israel. Talk about bedsores!

"…for in this same manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (v 12). So, if you get to thinking things are pretty bad with you, just think about some of the things that some of the prophets had to go through.
Verse 13: "You are the salt of the earth…" That's why there aren't too many Christians, because they're just the salt of the earth.

"…but if the salt has become tasteless, with what shall it be salted?…." (v 13). There are certain things you can eat without salt and they taste all right, and there are certain things without salt that are absolutely flat.

I think that so many people today are saying that you shouldn't eat any salt at all, and we're going to find that they're not exactly correct either. You have to have salt. As a matter of fact, the sodium in salt is very important to make the 'ticker' work—the brain as well as the heart.

I went for a long time with eating hardly any salt at all, because they say it keeps your blood pressure down and so forth. Then I talked to several people who said that all they do is pour on all kinds of salt and every time they have their blood pressure taken it's low. So, who are you to believe? If God says that salt is good and we're the salt of the earth, hey, I'm all for using a little salt. Steak, chicken and eggs without salt is flat. They also say about cholesterol, that if you have your level too low you may run the risk of getting cancer because cholesterol is needed in the system. But it's the right amount, the right balance.

It's the same way as being a Christian. We can draw many analogies here. Let's have the right amount, let's be the kind of Christians that God wants us to be, something that is going to be special. Not because we make ourselves special or stand up and say, 'we are Christians, who are you?' or that we have the kinds of things that you see on television with the 700 Club and The Christian Television Channel. They're trying to do a good work, but more and more they're trying to be seen of people and things like this. Pat Robertson once had an interview with the President and he was like a little boy fawning. This is not necessarily the kind of thing that is pleasing to God. '

If we're the salt of the earth, once you use it you don't necessarily see it, but you taste it!

"…For it no longer has any strength, but is to be thrown out and to be trampled upon by men. You are the light of the world…." (vs 13-14). If we have the Light of Christ and we're coming to Christ, and that light is lighting our heart and mind, we are "…the light of the world…." There are just the few of us right here, but wherever God's people are around the world, they are to be the light of "…the world…." showing the world something by our lives: our conduct, belief and faith. Not to show them to show them but if we are put in a position to be exposed to them in the world, then we are as a light to the world.

I try to do that with the people I've dealt with. I've dealt with people that every other word is swearing, and if I had to do much business with them, I let them know that I am a minister and try and conduct my business in a proper and right way, and that is an example to them. You know, their swearing and cursing comes way down, and in some cases is all but eliminated.

I still haven't figured out how to be a light to the world and please tell them to put out their rotten cigars. Cigarettes are hard, but cigars are terrible. There are certain times being a light to the world, just as Christ was the Light of the world. Did He please everybody? Sometimes you're a light to the world and you offend them! Sometimes you have to tell them things straight forward and straight out and just let them know how it is. You're still being a light to the world, but more like a spotlight that's spotting in on this rotten behavior and bad attitude.

Verse 15: "Neither do they light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket, but on the lampstand; and it shines for all who are in the house. In the same way also, you are to let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father Who is in heaven" (vs 15-16).

Here is a statement by Jesus Christ that He came to fulfill and complete, as we saw in the prophecy, 'to bind up the Law.' Is not Jesus giving Law here? Yes, He is!

Verse 17: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." I still can't understand to this day how the Protestants say that "…to fulfill…" is to do away. The Greek means to fill to the full! Were the laws of God complete? No! They weren't complete until the spiritual aspect of all the laws of God were given! Then it was to fulfill! Not only to complete those things that He was to do. It has that meaning; that He was going to fulfill all the prophecies concerning Himself. Has He done all of them yet? No! Not quite! He's done some of them, so that's still ongoing.

He came to fulfill and bring the laws of God to a high standard. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill."

Verse 18: "For truly I say to you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away…" We can look right out here and see heaven and earth is still here, in a very glorious form, thank You. It was just absolutely spectacular this morning! Is heaven and earth still here?

"…one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law until everything has been fulfilled" (v 18). I'm sure that everything is going to be fulfilled. Or, it could also read: 'till all are fulfilling or living by the laws of God; obviously then, modified by the words of Jesus Christ.

Verse 19: "Therefore, whoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven…" That puts certain preachers—in relationship to Sabbath-keeping, Holy Day keeping, to eat or not eat pork or unclean foods, dealing with your neighbor, dealing with your family, divorce and remarriage—which is the least important? The reason that He said this is because once you start considering these things least, what happens? It gives you and automatic excuse to commit another one! It gives you automatic excuse to break it down!

When you start breaking the least of these things, then you start breaking more and you start watering everything down and pretty soon you reach a society that is worthless. Or, in your own life, that then becomes worthless because you don't have the character of God's Law written in your heart and mind.

I don't know what the end is going to be with the California lottery. I was amazed! I went to 7-Eleven to buy a paper. They started selling lottery tickets at 12:30 yesterday afternoon. I asked how many tickets did they sell yesterday? One thousand! What's going to happen when the whole population gets all caught up in this 'let's get rich for nothing' scheme, sponsored by the state? It's going to be awfully hard to tell children that gambling is wrong!

What is that going to lead to? They're already increasing horse racing in California! Once you break down the moral character and say that 'we don't need to do this or that, and God's commandment is not important, all you have to do is love each other.' How can you love each other if you're stealing from each other, backbiting each other or all these other laws don't count?

Verse 19: "Therefore, whoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven…" The word "least" means less than nothing! Zero is a number and you have to count a zero. You're less than a zero! That means you don't exist. If you're less than nothing, that means you do not exist!

"…but whoever shall practice and teach them, this one shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you, unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way that you shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven" (vs 19-20).

  • How is your righteousness going to exceed theirs?
  • How can your righteousness exceed theirs?
  • By the righteousness of Christ!
  • The righteousness of Christ exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees!

So, if that righteousness is imputed to you, then you are exceeding the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.

Verse 21: "You have heard that it was said to those in ancient times, 'You shall not commit murder; but whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.' But I say to you, everyone who is angry with his brother without cause shall be subject to judgment…." (vs 21-22). Much more binding—isn't it?

"…Now, you have heard it said, 'Whoever shall say to his brother, "Raca," shall be subject to the judgment of the council.' But I say to you, whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be subject to the fire of Gehenna" (v 22). Remember, Jesus said that 'by your words you shall be judged, and by your words you shall be condemned.'

The day that God judges the secrets of the heart, that's how they're going to be judged. That's why we need the righteousness of Christ.

Verse 23: "For this reason, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (vs 23-24). That's what we need to do. That's why we have peace here. We don't let anything get out of hand to where we have troubles, difficulties and problems.

There are certain times when we have to handle things much as Christ did the Pharisees. Don't bring them in close to your bosom because you may be bitten.

Verse 25: "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him…" I heard a man talking about how that he gets out of all of his tickets by being really nice to the highway patrolman when he gets stopped. That's a Biblical principle: agree with the adversary. 'Oh, officer, I'm sorry.'

"…lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Truly I say to you, there is no way that you shall come out of there until you have paid the very last coin. You have heard that it was said to those in ancient times, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you…" (vs 25-28).

  • Verse 20: "For I say to you…"

What is He talking about? The Law of God! Then He's saying "…I say to you…"

  • Verse 22: "But I say to you…"
  • Verse 26: "Truly I say to you…"
  • Verse 28: "But I say to you…"

He quotes the Law that you should not commit adultery, then says, v 28: "But I say to you, everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." He's teaching us something concerning the Law of God. He is in an office greater than Moses, and Moses was lawgiver. Moses gave the Law in the letter. Jesus is giving the Law in the spirit.

When it says, 'of a Truth that Prophet Who was to come into the world,' and Moses said that that Prophet would be raised up, he's talking about Christ, he's doing and fulfilling what His job was to do.

Verse 31: "It was also said in ancient times, 'Whoever shall divorce his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.' But I say to you, whoever shall divorce his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever shall marry her who has been divorced is committing adultery." He's making marriages binding. Again, you have heard that it was said to those in ancient times, 'You shall not forswear yourself, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not swear at all…" (vs 31-34).

Verse 37: "But let your word be good, your 'Yes' be yes and your 'No' be no… [v 38]: …You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth'; but I say to you, do not resist evil…" (vs 37-39). What was Jesus' example? He got out of the way! He escaped! When they picked up stones to stone Him He didn't say, 'How dare you throw stones at Me, I'm the Son of God.' NO! He got out of the way!

Verse 43: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you yourselves may be the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not the tax collectors practice the same thing?" (vs 43-46).
Verse 48: "Therefore, you shall be perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect." There is the standard that we have today.

Then He shows us how to conduct our religious life, Matt. 6:

About doing their alms, Matthew 6:2: "…Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you give your alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (vs 2-3).

Verse 5: "And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, in order that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into a private room; and after shutting the door, pray to your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret shall reward you openly" (vs 5-6). Same way about fasting.

Verse 16: "And when you fast, do not be as the hypocrites, dejected in countenance; for they disfigure their faces in order that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to men to fast, but to your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret shall reward you openly. Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth…" (vs 16-19).

  • Verse 24: "No one is able to serve two masters…"
  • Verse 25: "Because of this I say to you, do not be anxious about your life…"
  • Verse 33: "But as for you, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…"

That's the whole thrust of completing and finishing the Law: seeking the Kingdom of God first!

Matthew 7:24: "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and practices them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house upon the Rock; and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; but it did not fall, for it was founded upon the Rock" (vs 24-25). The Rock was Christ! (1-Cor. 10:1-4).

Verse 26: "And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not practice them shall be compared to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it" (vs 26-27). This is just a summary of a person's life in an analogy: your house likened to your life.

What did it say in Heb. 3? Whose house are we? We are the house of God, if we are founded on this Rock!

Verse 28: "Now, it came to pass that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching… [Why?] …for He taught them as OneWho had authority, and not as the scribes" (vs 28-29).

  • Did He have authority? He sure did!
  • Did He change the laws of God? Yes!

Not the way people in the world think, but He made them more binding because of making them spiritual! That's why we have to:

  • walk in faith
  • walk in the righteousness of Christ

He's the One Who has the authority. He is the One Who has completed that.

When we go through and study about Christ and what He did, how He did it and the way He did it, we're going to find that He, as the Son of God, was the most important human being that ever existed!

  • He completed the Law of God
  • His death paid for our sins
  • He's resurrected to sit on the right hand of God to be our High Priest
  • He's giving us His Law through His Spirit and learning to live the way that God wants us to live

That's quite a thing! You know that Christ was that Prophet!

Questions:

  • Will a person still enter the Kingdom of God, but be one of the least in the Kingdom of God? or Will they not be there at all?

All of these things, we will see later, are in degree. If you're out actively teaching.

Review of Matthew 5:19: "Therefore, whoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall practice and teach them, this one shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Does the least mean it's going to be absolutely nothing, or is it going to be of lesser rank? Obviously, whoever commits sin is not going to be in the Kingdom of Heaven! They just won't be there, because the ultimate reward for sin is the second death. The reward of that is the Lake of Fire. So, you won't be; you will be less than nothing!

  • What about someone who sins inadvertently, in other words, not build the righteous character they need to? Will they be in the Kingdom of God but be less than others?

1-Corinthians 3:11 gives us an example of something very similar: "For no one is able to lay any other foundation besides that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now, if anyone builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones…" (vs 11-12). These are symbolic of character. They all endure fire. As a matter of fact, they're made better by fire—trial.

So, if a person is building the character equivalent, spiritually, in an analogy to gold, silver and precious stone, then that is character that is going endure.

Or, on the other hand, "…wood, hay or stubble" (v 12). In analogy that would be that kind of spiritual life and character that is filled with weaknesses and flaws.

Because, v 13: "The work of each one shall be manifested; for the day of trial will declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall prove what kind of work each one's is. If the work that anyone has built endures, he shall receive a reward. If the work of anyone is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet, as through fire" (vs 13-15).

This give indication that even those whose character in degree falls into the category of wood, hay and stubble, they are still going to be in the Kingdom of God, but they are going to suffer a loss of reward, which means that in degree—however God is going to determine it—a person is going to be of a lesser office, rank or authority than someone who has built their character with the righteousness of Christ.

Yes, if a person is not building that kind of character, they will still make it, but they will suffer loss. Whereas, if a person is out actively teaching, that's another story.

James 3:1 talks about teachers: "My brethren, do not many of you become teachers, knowing that we will receive more severe judgment; because we frequently offend, every one of us. If anyone does not offend in what he says, this one is a perfect man and is able also to hold in check the whole body" (vs 1-2). When a person is advocating, someone teaching, someone is always going to follow.

Some teachings are abominable, but there are those who follow, and they cause someone to do something they should not do. Why? Because people do follow teachers and those who are going to lead them! It puts them in a different category.

So, yes, if you teach it, if you break it and you teach it, and you teach people to live in sin, obviously, you're not going to be in the Kingdom of God.

I hope that expands that area just a little more. Some of these things can be kind of confusing because God judges each person according to their heart, so the circumstances are a little bit different for each one of us in what we can do, should do, ought to do and do do, but if we rely on the righteousness of Christ, it is the righteousness that will exceed the scribes and Pharisees.

  • Matthew 5—where it says that those who mourn shall be comforted—does that mean just mourning and feeling sorry for your circumstance or other people's circumstances? or Can that also mean to repent? Yes, it can mean to repent, because when you repent you mourn!
  • The salt of the earth—Can that possible mean chosen witnesses?

I'd have to go back and research that out. There is such a thing that is called the covenant of salt in the Old Testament that is when there is a witness that takes place. In other words, you are witnessing a covenant, witnessing an agreement and you have a covenant of salt.

There's also the covenant of salt between the king of Israel and God. Even to this day when the king or queen of England is coronated, they take the covenant of salt. They have the sale teaspoon and, not a shaker, but a pourer. You are the salt of the earth means that you are the chosen witnesses, that could be true; that could be another meaning of it.

Obviously, we're not hunks of salt walking around. Those are analogies that we can get from there. We're the seasoning, the witness, and what happens when someone has had a lot of experience? An old salt! Let's hope we can all become old salts witnessing for Christ.

The Catholics have a different interpretations of it. They pour oil on the forehead and salt in the mouth. The baby is crying and screaming bloody murder!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • John 9:28
  • Hebrews 3:1-6
  • Luke 7:11-17, 24, 19-30
  • Matthew 13:57
  • Luke 24:25-27, 44-45
  • Deuteronomy 18:15-19
  • Exodus 4:16
  • Exodus 7:1
  • Exodus 11:3
  • Exodus 34:27-35
  • Deuteronomy 34:5-12
  • John 1:19-21
  • Malachi 4:4-6
  • John 1:21-28
  • John 6:13-14
  • John 7:40-43
  • John 5:17-18
  • Acts 3:6-26
  • Acts 7:37-38
  • Isaiah 8:16
  • Matthew 5:1-3, 20, 3-6
  • John 6:35
  • Matthew 5:7-28, 20-28, 31-34, 37-39, 43-46, 48
  • Matthew 6:2-3, 5-6, 16-19, 24-25, 33
  • Matthew 7:24-29
  • Matthew 5:19
  • 2 Corinthians 3:11-15
  • James 3:1-2

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 5
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Also referenced: Sermon: That Prophet

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 11-12-14
Corrected: 12-29-14

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