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A Man of War: The Lord is His Name

THE SON OF MAN

 

Jesus was born (but not conceived) as any normal human being, from the womb of a woman. He was part of the family of Joseph and Mary and was raised as a son of Joseph. The Bible says “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). By the time he was twelve years old, when he was at the Passover in Jerusalem talking to the teachers in the temple, he amazed them all with his knowledge regarding the Tanakh (Old Testament). “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

 

Jesus started his ministry in his early thirties and began preaching and teaching. His first sermon was “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” This was an entirely different message than any other learned rabbi had ever taught. Jesus was also unique in that he could cure people of their diverse diseases and drive out demons from possessed people. He did this out of love and care for his people. During his three-year ministry, he performed many miracles.

 

One miracle that was unique is recorded in John 1, where Jesus heals a man who was born blind.  The Pharisees were in an uproar about this, as it indicated Jesus was more than a teacher or healer. They made a big stink about it because the miracle took place on a Sabbath. When the Pharisees questioned the man about it he told them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.  If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:30-33).

 

Many Bible teachers only portray Jesus as a gentle, humble, meek, and mild-mannered individual. He is pictured as holding a baby lamb in one arm and a little child in the other. While it is true that he fits all the above descriptions, they do not adequately describe his true character. They forget the times he showed his righteous anger by overturning the money changers and sellers of merchandise tables in the temple or the many times he called out the religious elites for their hypocrisy. Although Jesus had a compassionate nature, he was far from weak. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Of course, Jesus showed the ultimate compassion for his fellow man when he died on the cross for their sins. Jesus exemplified all of the “fruit of the spirit” characteristics: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

 

Does meekness, gentleness, humbleness, compassion, and caring for your fellow man constitute weakness? Far from it, it shows just the opposite. It shows tremendous strength of character and empathy. Just think of the great strength it took to be willing to die such a horrible death on the cross for crimes and sins that you did not commit. Jesus was quite a man. He was our role model for what a human being should be and how we should live our lives. He exhibited a love for children and respect for women and Gentiles. However, all these traits were not what the Jews were looking for in their Messiah. Even Jesus’ miracles and healings weren’t enough to convince them. Every time he performed a miracle, they wanted to see an even greater sign from heaven to prove he was from God. The Jews were expecting a man of war, another David, to save them from their subjugation to the Romans and establish another glorious earthly kingdom by way of war. Of course, this was not God’s will at this time.

 

Jesus the man, was not to be this great warrior king that would “make Israel great again.” He had a much more important mission to achieve, namely, redeeming mankind from sin and death. Jesus could only do this by submitting to the will of his heavenly Father and laying down his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus’ death was proof to the Jewish elites that he was not their Messiah. However, His resurrection was much more problematic, but of course, they still found a way to not believe. They still awaited their warrior Messiah. In 132 AD, the Jews in Judea thought Simon Bar Kokhba could be “the man of war” they were looking for, as he led a popular revolt against Rome. He was killed in 135 AD, and his troops were completely decimated. The entire Jewish population of Judea was deported and replaced with Gentiles. The province’s name was changed from Judea to Syria-Palestine.

 

Jesus lived his life on earth as a man of peace. He was not a man of war. Ironically, what the unbelieving world didn’t know was that Jesus had a life before his first advent (birth, life, death) in the first century AD. In a previous pre-first advent life, He was, indeed, the ultimate “man of war.” To get a better idea of what I am talking about, we need to go back to the very beginning.

 

GOD, THE WORD

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not,  which lights every man that comes into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”(John 1:1-5,9-14).

 

In this passage of scripture, John is referring to the creation account in Genesis 1 which begins with “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” (KJV) The Hebrew word for “God” is “Elohim” which means Gods or gods, as in plural. This is a direct reference to God as the Trinity or Godhead which consists of one God who has revealed Himself in three divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some scholars believe verse 1 of John 1 is actually referring to pre-creation (and possibly when the angels were created) and verse 2 is referring to the creation account of Genesis 1; otherwise, the two sentences appear to be redundant.  


Before Jesus was born into the world during His first advent, He was the second Person of the Trinity and was known as the Word or the Son. He acted as the voice of God that spoke every animate and inanimate object into existence. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).


The Word created the spirit beings known as angels sometime before the Creation account mentioned in Genesis 1. Job said they were present when God created the heavens and the earth. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Man was made in God’s image on the sixth day of creation. Mankind would succumb to the wiles of the Devil/Satan and rebel (sin) against God, as one-third of the angels had done in the distant past. However, these events didn’t catch Elohim unaware as He is omniscient and knows the end from the beginning.


THE SON OF GOD


Elohim had His ultimate plan in place to redeem mankind from sin and death, which were the results of their rebellion against Him. His plan was foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20). The fall of the human race required an atoning sacrifice for sin, which God Himself would procure. The Word, the second Person of Elohim, would literally become the Son of the Father and would become a man, born of a woman (Son of man), that would sacrifice his earthly life and His innocent blood would be shed for the redemption of mankind. All that chose to accept His graceful sacrifice would be saved from the second death and hell. God provided that sacrifice in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man. In His grace, God redeemed the human race and brought glory to Himself.


Unfortunately for the rebellious angels, redemption would not be available for them. All the angels were continually in God’s presence and had knowledge of the glory of God. Therefore, they had no excuse for rebelling and turning against Him. They were not tempted by a superior being, as mankind was. Lucifer and the other angels chose to rebel against God despite the fact they knew it was the utmost evil.


“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 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;  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 on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:1-4).


The pre-incarnate Word used many approaches to send his messages to people in Old Testament times. “He spoke to Isaiah in visions, to Jacob in a dream, and to Abraham and Moses personally (as the Angel of the Lord). In New Testament times, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, spoke to people in person and relayed the Father’s message of salvation and the Kingdom of God to all who would listen. Not only is Jesus God’s spokesman, but He is also God Himself – the very God who spoke in Old Testament times. Jesus’ more excellent name is the Son of God. This name given to him by His Father is greater than the names and titles of the angels.” {1}


God has never called any angel a Son (as is begotten). The author of Hebrews 1:5 is quoting Psalm 2:7 when he says, “You are my Son, this day have I begotten you. I will be to you a Father, and You shall be to me a Son.” Jesus is God’s firstborn (unique) Son. In Jewish families, the firstborn son usually held the place of highest privilege and responsibility. Jesus was superior to any created being, such as angels. Sometimes in the Old Testament, angels were called sons of God (Genesis 6:2,4; Job1:5,6; Job 2:1; Job 38:37), as is the elect Church sometimes called in the New Testament (Matthew 5:9; Luke 20:36; Romans 8:14,19; Galatians 3:26).  He goes on to say, “And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels He says, Who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7).


Hebrews 1:8-9  likewise quotes Psalm 45:6-7 when the Father is declaring to the Son the following: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.” Notice in the first sentence how the Father is calling the Son “God.” Then in the next sentence, the Father is saying He is the Son’s “God.” They are both God, the first and second Persons of the Godhead. Another example of this Godhead is found in Hebrews 1:13, which is quoting Psalm 110:1. The Psalm verse says, “The LORD (YHWH or Yahweh) said unto my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”


This same quote is found in Matthew 22 when Jesus was questioning the Pharisees. Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? They said to him, The Son of David.” Jesus said to them, How then does David in the Spirit call Him Lord? saying The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son? And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore” (Matthew 22: 42-46).


THE LORD JESUS CHRIST


Jesus is given many names and/or titles throughout the Old Testament. They include the Lord, Jehovah, the Lord Jehovah, Jehovah’s Shepherd, Jehovah of Hosts, The Messenger of the Covenant, Adonai, Messiah (Anointed One), Branch, Immanuel, Holy One, King of Glory, Man of Sorrows, Sure Foundation, Chief Cornerstone, Shiloh, A Great Light, Prince of Princes, Root of Jesse, Star out of Jacob, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, the Angel of God, the Angel of His Presence, and the Angel of the Lord. Only one time is the term “Son of God” used in the Old Testament (KJV), and that is in Daniel 3:25. This term might be interpreted as a “son of the Gods” instead. King Nebuchadnezzar is probably talking about an angel, as he is referring to the same Person in Daniel 3:28 as an angel.


There are many more names for Jesus in the New Testament as well, including Son of God, Son of man, Chief Shepherd, Good Shepherd, Alpha and Omega, Lamb of God, Chief Cornerstone, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Bread of Life, The Word, The Rock, The True Vine, Messiah, Christ, Light of the World, and of course Yeshua (Joshua) or Jesus. The “Word” is only used in the Gospel of John (John 1) and is referring to the second Person of the Godhead, the Son. John uses it as another name for the Son or the pre-incarnate Jesus.


“The word Jehovah is based on the Hebrew term for the God of the Hebrews, YHWH (or Yahweh). It is usually rendered in English Bibles as LORD. Many conservative theologians recognize that the name Jehovah, Yahweh, or LORD typically applies to the Triune God collectively. But it also, in many cases, refers to the individual Persons of the Trinity, including Jesus Christ.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity and is God; as are the other two Persons of the Trinity, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. He is sometimes referred to as the Son or the Son of God.” {2}


The literal translation of the Hebrew word mashiach (המשיח, messiah), is “anointed”, which refers to a ritual of consecrating someone or something by putting holy oil upon them/it. So, the word “messiah” literally means anointed or anointed one. Anytime you see the word “anoint” (Hebrew - ū·mā·šaḥ·tā) in the Old Testament, it is a form of the word messiah. Special people were anointed with olive oil to signify God’s call on that person’s life, such as a prophet, priest, or king. The Greek word for mashiach (messiah) is “christos” or “christ” in English.There are 39 instances of its occurring in the Greek Septuagint LXX. The word Christ is used extensively in the New Testament, meaning messiah or anointed one, usually in reference to Jesus. Jesus wasn’t ever anointed with olive oil but was anointed with the Holy Spirit during his baptism.  “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).


THE ANGEL OF THE LORD


In the Old Testament, it was sometimes necessary for God to manifest Himself to human beings in a visible form, either individually or collectively. This is called a theophany. The word theophany comes from the Greek words “theos” (God) and “phaneia” (to appear). God usually makes his presence known to man in the form of a man Himself, or sometimes even as an angel.


“Old Testament theophanies involving Christ are called Christophanies. So a Christophany is a particular kind of theophany that includes a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ in human form. It does not include visions (or dreams) of God or metaphors involving God, but actual temporary appearances of God in the form of a human being. In the Old Testament, Christ appeared in His pre-incarnate state. But in the New Testament, God appears not as a temporary human being but as one who is entirely permanent in the God-man, Jesus Christ.” {3}


Most of the Christophanies in the Old Testament are accomplished by the entity called “The Angel of the Lord.” The word Angel is translated as messenger, and Lord is translated as Jehovah or Yahweh in the Hebrew language. So the Angel of the Lord is not actually a created angel but is the Messenger of God. As Christ is the second Person of the Triune God in the New Testament, the Angel of the Lord is the second Person of the Trinity in the Old Testament. The Angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). They are One and the same. They both had the same mission to accomplish for God the Father. The Father sent them to the earth at different times to deal with mankind and to accomplish His eternal will and plan of salvation for all humankind.


“The combined testimony of these theophany passages (regarding the 2nd Person of the Trinity) portrays the Son of God as exceedingly active in the Old Testament, dealing with sin, providing for those in need, guiding in the path of the will of God, protecting His people from their enemies and, in general, executing the providence of God. The revelation of the person of the Son of God thus afforded is in complete harmony with the New Testament revelation. The testimony of Scripture has been so complete on this point that, in general, scholars who accept the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture are agreed that the Angel of Jehovah is the Christ of the Old Testament. Not only Christian theologians but Jewish scholars as well have come to the conclusion that the Angel of Jehovah is more than an angel.” {4}  For more information on the biblical Angel of the Lord, I have written six articles on this subject. Here is the first one: The Angel of the Lord: Part 1:: By Randy Nettles - Rapture Ready


Micah prophesied that the promised Messiah would come out of Bethlehem Ephratah, which is of course where Jesus was born. He also said his goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Jesus is this ruler/king who came forth in the fullness of time and is the Messiah/Christ. His work and travels have been going on from beyond His earthly ministry and the time of his human birth into the ancient past when He interceded into the affairs of man on behalf of the Father God. When Jesus made a physical appearance, it was as the Angel of the Lord. Sometimes he resembled a man and sometimes an angel.  


The Angel of the Lord, in the form of a man, walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a “man,” He warned Abraham about His plans for Sodom and Gomorrah. As an angel, He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” (Genesis 19:24). This is an interesting verse as it appears the Angel of the Lord was funneling brimstone and fire from the Father God in heaven. As a man, He wrestled with Jacob before he blessed him and changed his name to Israel. “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30). Jesus was the angel in the burning bush, that was not consumed, that called out to Moses at Mount Horeb and told him, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6).


A MAN OF WAR


The Angel of the Lord overthrew the Egyptians during the Red Sea crossing and drowned them. Afterward, the children of Israel sang the song of Moses. In this song, the Lord is described as “a man of war.” Here is part of this song to the Lord: “The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. In the greatness of Your excellence, You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils, the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters” (Exodus 15:1, 7-8, 10).


During the Exodus, He was the angel that accompanied the children of Israel during their forty years of wandering in the desert. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people (Exodus 13:21-22). And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them” (Exodus 14:19).


It was the second Person (the Son or Word) of Elohim, in His Shekinah glory, who came down Mt. Sinai in fire, smoke, thunder, lightning, and clouds. Nobody, including Moses, saw Him clearly as he was obscured from their sight. However, it was a Christophany of the Son/Word, the being known as the Angel of the Lord in angelic form, who met with Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders upon the mountain. “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel, he laid not his hand: also they saw God,and did eat and drink” (Exodus 24:10-11).


Moses spoke to the Angel of the Lord, face to face, as a man speaks to his friend, according to Exodus 33:11. In verse 18, Moses asks the Angel of the Lord to show him His glory. Moses wanted to see God’s (the second Person of the Trinity) true Shekinah’s glorious form. The Lord told Moses, “And he said, You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen” (Exodus 33:20-23). Moses’ face shown for some time after that encounter with the Lord.


No one can see the face of God (be it Father or Son) in His Shekinah glory and live. The only way you can see His face is through a vision, theophany, or in some environment where His features are obscured. However, when we are raptured and receive our new spiritual bodies, that are made for eternity, we will be able to gaze upon the face of God forevermore. I suppose our faces will shine even brighter than Moses’ did!


VISIONS OF GOD


Both Daniel and John had a vision of God. Daniel saw the Ancient of Days, the Father. Here is his description: “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, and its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).


John’s vision was of God, the Son: “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:12-16).


The descriptions of the Father and Son sound similar, don’t they? In the New Testament, Jesus said, “I and my Father are one (John 10:30). Jesus said to Philip, Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, Show us the Father?” (John 14:9).


More to come in part II.


Randy Nettles

rgeanie55@gmail.com

Endnotes:

{1}  Life Application Study Bible – KJV – pg.2446

{2}  Finding Jesus in the Old Testament by David Limbaugh, Regenery Publishing, pg.148

{3}  ibid – pgs. 150-151

{4}  Jesus Christ Our Lord by John F. Walvoord, Moody Publishers, pg. 53

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