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GOD’S SECRET PLAN UNFOLDS
Jesus the Second Man
In the previous studies in this series we have been dealing with Jesus under his title; The Last Adam. We pointed out that Jesus came to earth in fulfillment of the Father’s will as the official God-appointed representative of the entire Adamic race. That he made himself completely one with Adam and his descendants, that he might become our representative, and that on the cross, the entire guilt and condemnation and judgment due to the whole race came upon Jesus. In Isaiah 53:6 we found these words: “The Lord hath made to meet together upon him the iniquity of us all.” Where the word iniquity denotes rebellion and all its evil consequences. We summed it up by saying on the cross all the evil that was due by justice to the entire Adamic race came upon Jesus as our substitute that in return for the believer in Christ, all the good that is due to Jesus by eternal right might be made available upon the basis of faith. And when Jesus died on the cross and uttered those great triumphant words “it is finished”, he sealed off the entire evil inheritance. And when he was buried, that was the end of it. It was God’s period to an entire inheritance. And when he rose again from the dead on the third day, he rose in a new capacity as the second man, the first representative of a totally new race.
Now in 1Corinthians 15:45–47 we have these two titles applied to Jesus. 1Corinthians 15:45–47:
“And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [or life-giving] spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” (KJV)
You see that there are two successive designations of Jesus. In verse 45 he is the last Adam. But in verse 47 he is the second man. For quite a number of years I used to preach and use those two titles as if they were interchangeable. But then God showed me that I was completely mistaken about that, that the order is significant. He had to be the last Adam before he could be the second man. He had to seal off the whole of the old evil inheritance before he could become the beginning of a new race and usher in a new creation and bring it into a new inheritance. But when he rose from the dead, then he became the second man, the first of an entirely new race, and the beginning of an entirely new creation. And it is this that we are going to study together now in this study: Jesus presented in scripture as the second man, the head of the new race, the beginning of the new creation.
Turn with me for a moment, if you will, to Psalm 90:2 and just notice this statement applied by the psalmist, who is Moses, to the Lord. Psalm 90:2:
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (KJV)
We can translate the word everlasting: eternity. So we have this statement from eternity to eternity, thou art God. Those words indicate a kind of process of transition from the first eternity to the second eternity if I may use it that way. And in the scripture we are presented with a picture of Jesus in this period from eternity to eternity. There are two epistles that mainly give us this picture of Jesus. The first is Colossians, the second is Hebrews. And in each of them we have a sevenfold outline of the person, the nature, the works of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll begin in Colossians 1. Colossians 1:15–18. These words are of course, applied to Jesus though his name is not used in the verses. Now I will read the verses, then I will substitute in certain instances a slightly more accurate and up-to-date translation and then I will bring out the statements in their logical order [which is not the order they are exactly given in in the passage]. Colossians 1:15–18:
“He [instead of who, because I’m beginning it as a new sentence. He, Jesus,] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”(KJV)
Let’s look at the translation for a moment and I’m not going to try to establish my qualifications to translate Greek at the present moment, though I have some, but I’m going to give you what I consider to be a more accurate and up-to-date version. Part of the trouble with the King James Version is that people don’t appreciate the meaning of Elizabethan English many times. So we have verse 15: “He is the image of the invisible God,” there’s no need to change any of those.
Now “the firstborn of every creature” is really a misleading translation. It should be “the firstborn before all creation.” The word that is translated creature frequently in the King James in the New Testament is much better translated creation. And I think you’ll find almost all the modern versions translate it that way. You see, the firstborn of every creature seems to put him in creation. But this is a mistranslation. He is the firstborn before all creation. The antithesis is between being born and being created. In one of the creeds, which I remember saying way back in the days when I said the creeds, it says begotten, not created. And that is the exact and correct rendering of this. There’s a contrast between the one who is begotten and everything that subsequently was created by him, the begotten one. So it’s the firstborn, or you can say first begotten. Of course, bearing is the woman’s part in natural birth and begetting is the man’s part. And this word that’s used here in Greek could be translated either way. Sometimes it’s translated begotten, and sometimes it’s translated born. I think probably since we’re dealing with God the Father it’s better to translate it the first begotten before all creation. This lines up with the fact that Jesus is three or four times in the New Testament called the only begotten of the Father. So that this puts these two designations in line.
Verse 16. “For by him,” but actually in the Greek it says “in him” were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or lordships, or rulerships, or authorities: all things were created by him and for him, and he is before all things, and by him or in him all things consist [or hold together, or are maintained in being]. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first begotten from the dead. And again, I prefer the word begotten to born.
“That in all things he might have the preeminence.” The word that’s translated preeminence is directly related to the word for first and it means that in all things he might have the first place. First in the first creation, and first in the new creation.
Now we’ll go through these statements made here in Colossians in what I consider to be their logical order. First of all, Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He completely and accurately and perfectly shows forth the likeness of the God who cannot be seen by human eyes.
Secondly he is the first begotten, I prefer to say, before all creation. Now with this we can compare Proverbs 8. Those of you who have been in on previous studies will recall that we’ve already looked at Proverbs 8 as being probably the most complete presentation in the Old Testament of Jesus in his eternal nature. The title that’s given is wisdom, but it is the wisdom of God and Jesus, we are told in the New Testament, is the wisdom of God. And in this 8th chapter of Proverbs you’ll see without a doubt it is a person that is spoken of, not an abstraction. We have not time to go into the whole chapter again but let’s notice verses 22–25, and I read these verses and I must leave you to ponder and meditate upon them because they contain tremendous mysteries. Wisdom is speaking and he says:
“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. [Before any works of creation. And the word in the beginning always refers us back to the scene in Genesis 1:1. Verse 23] I was set up from everlasting, [very interesting the Hebrew says I was anointed from everlasting. Jesus was the anointed one from eternity.] from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth: [this is exactly corresponding to the only begotten.] when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.”(KJV)
So he was the first begotten before all creation.
Turning back now to the outline in Colossians 1, the third statement in logical order is that he is eternally existent before all things. This is found in the 17th verse, he is before all things. Notice it does not say he was, but he is. He’s eternally existent. This lines up with the statement made in John 8:58 by Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders of his day when they were criticizing him, seeking to find fault in him. And he spoke about Abraham having seen his day and they said well you’re not even fifty years old, have you seen Abraham? And Jesus gave them this answer in John 8:58:
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” (KJV)
Again, he set himself forth as the eternally existing one. In a certain sense, the word “was” never applies to God. When he spoke to Moses he said I am that I am. Not I was, but I am. And this comes out here in Colossians 1:17, he is before all things eternally existing.
Then the next statement in logical order is that all things were created by him. This is stated in quite a number of other scriptures, let’s look at two in John 1, the first three verses we find Jesus here presented as the eternal word. John 1:1, 2, 3:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, [the Greek word for with is towards. There was this intimate personal relationship between the Father and the Son. It says elsewhere that he was in the bosom of the Father.] The same was in the beginning with God. [verse 3] All things were made by him...” (KJV)
He himself was not made, he was begotten. But everything that was made or created was made by him. And then in 1Corinthians 8:6 we have the same truth brought out again. Just turn and look there quickly. 1Corinthians 8:6:
“But to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (KJV)
Again, creation is directly attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ. And then going back to Colossians, Paul speaks about two orders of creation, the visible and the invisible. And you’ll find this referred to also in 2Corinthians 4:18 where Paul speaks about the two orders of creation. 2Corinthians 4:18, we’ll not go into the context, but he says while we look not at the things which are seen, but to the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, temporary, impermanent; the things which are not seen are eternal. There are the two orders of creation, the invisible which are eternal, the spiritual, and the visible which are temporal, impermanent, which can be discerned by human senses.
Going back again to Colossians 1, the next statement that is made about him is that all things consist by him. Not merely did he bring all things into being but he keeps all things in being. This is—we can compare Hebrews 1, we’ll be turning to Hebrews 1 in a moment. Let’s notice this one point of comparison. Hebrews 1:3, speaking about Jesus it says:
“Who being the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, [we’ll look at those words in a few moments] and upholding all things by the word of his power...” (KJV)
He upholds, he keeps all things in being, or in Colossians, by him all things consist or are kept in being.
The next statement now, going back to Colossians 1, brings us into the new creation. The real purpose of Paul in writing these verses, I believe, is to show the parallel between the first creation and the new creation.
And the sixth statement that Paul makes about Jesus, taken in an illogical order, is that he is the first begotten from the dead. I again prefer to use begotten, I’ll show you why, because of other scriptures. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is presented in scripture as a begetting into a new life, into a new order, into a new creation. I will show you those scriptures more completely out of the Old Testament in a little while. Now this is where he has the preeminence or the first place as much in the second creation or the new creation as he had in the first creation. And the last statement made about him, taking them in their logical order, is that he is the head of the body, the body being the church. And as the head passed through death, burial, resurrection and ascension, so the body that follows him must pass through the same things; death, burial, resurrection and ascension. The head opens the way for the body. I believe I’m correct in saying, I’m certainly not a medical expert, that normal birth, the head comes out first and opens the way for the rest of the body. And this is the picture here, Jesus opening the way by resurrection from the tomb for the rest of the body, which is his church, to follow him through these things. So the point that Paul brings out is that in both creations, Jesus has absolute complete preeminence. And this is so important to remember today because there are so many teachings and so many cults that will honor Jesus in a measure as a teacher, even maybe as a savior, but they do not give him this complete preeminence. And anything that touches the preeminence of Jesus Christ is Satanic in its origin and in its working. The supreme aim of the devil is to take away from the glory and the divinity of Jesus. And anything that does that endangers our souls if we give any heed or any place to it whatever. There’s nothing more needed in the contemporary church than to preach the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ because it’s attacked on every side, not outside the church, but inside the church. Actually I think Jesus is probably more honored outside the church than he is inside. There’s a reason for that but we’ll not go into this morning but I am going to deal with it in my series of messages on the church. I’m going to explain the reason for it.
Now let’s turn to the very closely parallel passage about Jesus in Hebrews 1:2–3. We’ll read verse 1 to get the context. It’s one complete sentence. Hebrews 1:1,2,3:
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by 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 is power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high...” (KJV)
Again we have a presentation of Jesus from eternity to eternity. And you will find as we analyze it that again, there are seven distinct statements made in these verses about Jesus. And I’m going to point out to you seven is distinctively the number of the Holy Spirit and one of the great parables in nature of the Holy Spirit is the rainbow which is light refracted into seven distinct colors. And in a certain sense when the Holy Spirit interprets Jesus, he’s like the rainbow, he breaks him up into seven beautiful, glorious colors that yet make up the one true God as the seven colors make up just light.
Now let’s take these statements again in their logical order, that is from eternity to eternity. The first statement is at the beginning of verse 3, number one in your outline, and there’s an asterisk there which is leading onto something that I’ll deal with in a few moments. Just keep that in your pending file for a moment, then you’ll understand the reason for it. All right. Statement number one, he’s the brightness of the Father’s glory. Now the word brightness is directly derived from the Greek word which means a ray. R-A-Y. A ray of light. And you could call it, I think the best word if you’re familiar with it, is emanation. He is the raying forth in light of the glory that belongs to the Father.
Secondly he’s the express image of the Father’s substance. Now this word that’s translated express image is the word used of the imprint of a seal ring in wax or clay. And so Jesus as perfectly represents the substance of the Father as the imprint in clay represents the outline of the ring that was used to make the imprint. This is the figure or type that is used.
The third statement is again about creation at the end of verse 2, by whom also he made the world. God made the world by Jesus Christ. This is exactly parallel to the statement we’ve already seen in 1Corinthians 8:6. The worlds should better be translated ages. All the unfolding ages of God’s purposes in creation were brought into being by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The fourth statement is that he upholds all things by the word of his power. That’s in the middle of verse 3. This is parallel to the statement in Colossians 1, by him all things consist, all things are held together. In Hebrews 1:3 it’s the word of his power that upholds, maintains all things in being. The word of his power brought them into being, and the word of his power maintains them in being. Now there is a very beautiful parallel to this in 2Peter. Keep your finger in Hebrews 1 if you’ve got enough fingers to spare and we’ll come back there. 2Peter 3:5–7, which speaks about the place of God’s word in creation and in maintaining creation in being. It speaks about people who reject the revelation of the word of God, not because they have no opportunity to know it but because they refuse to accept it. It speaks about them as being willingly ignorant. And then it says they’re willingly ignorant of certain facts that are followed. 2Peter 3:5 says:
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [That’s the first fact that creation was by the word of God. Second fact that they’re willingly ignorant of:] Whereby [the word of God] the world then was being overflowed with water, perished. [They refused to acknowledge the fact of the judgment of God by flood upon the earth which came by the word of God. And then the third fact is verse 7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, [which we now know] by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”(KJV)
That’s why they’re willingly ignorant, because they don’t want to see what the future holds for them. The people that do not like to believe the Bible are the people that don’t like to believe that God judges sin. That’s the basic reason for unbelief.
But turning away from that we have here the statement again that by the word of God the heavens and the earth are kept in being. Parallel to Hebrews 1:3, that Jesus upholds all things by the word of his power.
Now turning back to Hebrews 1, the fifth statement made there by the author of Hebrews is he, himself purged our sins. And I pointed out in a previous study when it comes to the cross how the Holy Spirit delights to emphasize the word he himself, his own self. Isaiah 53:5, surely he hath born our grief. Matthew 8:17, himself took our infirmities. 1Peter 2:24, who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. And here Hebrews 1:3, by himself purged our sins. Nothing else could deal with sin but Jesus the sinner’s substitute bearing sin in his own person and body on the cross. And that’s how it was achieved.
The sixth statement is that having purged our sins he is now seated as our advocate and high priest at God’s right hand. This is stated in Hebrews 1:3, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. You know, there’s tremendous triumph in that word sat down. He hasn’t just gone there temporarily, he isn’t standing awaiting an audience with God, he’s being received, accepted and placed on the seat at God’s right hand. This became so vivid to me in a simple way when I was a missionary in Africa. I would get people calling at the house from six in the morning until 10:30 at night. They all thought that I could solve their problems and no one else could. It was a complete delusion. But they would say, well, you’re the principal, you can get my child into the school, you can do this and you can do that. And I learned something, never ask people to sit down if you don’t want them to stay. So I would leave them standing. It might not have been altogether courteous, but it just gave me the opportunity to make clear to them that they weren’t there for the rest of the day and I couldn’t spend more than ten minutes listening to each individual.
And so one day I saw how much there is in the statement that Jesus sat down. And this is brought out in Hebrews, if you’d like to look in the 10th chapter, you’ll see a further revelation of this. Hebrews 10 and we could read from verse 11 through 13. Now there’s a contrast all through Hebrews between the earthly Levitical priesthood and the priesthood of Jesus, which is after the order of Melchizedek. In fact, the real theme of Hebrews is to present in every detail the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ over all earthly ceremonies, priesthoods, sacrifices, covenants and so on. And here the writer of Hebrews brings out this contrast between the priests on earth who never sat down, they always went in, stood, came out. And Jesus, the high priest in heaven has sat down. And it says here:
“And every priest [this is here on earth] standeth daily ministering the offering [oftentimes the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. They never can sit down because the job is never finished, they’ve always got to come back the next day with a new sacrifice.] But this man [Jesus] after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” (KJV)
So Jesus is now seated, his work completed, nothing more to do, no more sacrifice ever required, seated as our personal representative and the seat of all authority and power at the right hand of God in the heavenlies. This is stated also a little further on in Hebrews 10:19–22, we’ll read the verses but not dwell on them.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...[and so on.]” (KJV)
We are always encouraged to remember that we have a personal representative, a personal advocate seated right at the Father’s right hand at the seat of all authority in the universe, representing us and pleading our cause. The same statement is made in 1John 2:1:
“My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (KJV)
An advocate, one called in to plead our cause. So this is part of the truth unfolded in Hebrews 1 and then the seventh statement, I’m going back to Hebrews 1:2–3, the seventh statement is actually the one that’s made first. In verse 2, whom he hath appointed heir of all things. But what is first in the statement is last in the logical order. Jesus is the appointed heir of all things. And this means, taking the word heir, H-E-I-R, all things will belong to him, and all things will be under his control. He will inherit all things. For one complementary scripture there, turn to 1Corinthians 15:24–28. Now we will not look at the context but it’s an unfolding of God’s successive purposes through Christ:
“Then cometh the end, when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. [There’s coming a day when Christ having been made head and having inherited all things will, in turn, himself become subject to the Father and that all things will be under God in Christ.] when he [the Father] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he [Jesus] must reign, till he [the Father] hath put all enemies under his feet [the feet of Jesus]. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet [in his eternal purposes]. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.” (KJV)
The Father is not put under the Son. The Father is the one who put all things under the Son. And then verse 28:
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him [Jesus], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (KJV)
So Jesus will become the heir of all things. Everything will belong to him, everything will be under his control, and when the inheritance is complete, he in turn will make himself and all that he has subject to the Father, that God may be all in all through Christ.
Now let’s look for a moment at the very beautiful parable that’s contained in the statement in Hebrews. Go back to Hebrews 1 again if you will, and just look at those verses for a moment there. Hebrews 1, the two statements made there at the beginning of verse 3:
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person...” (KJV)
Now the word that is translated person is the normal Greek word for substance. In Hebrews 11 it says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the same word is used. The underlying basic substance, that’s the best word that I can think of. So Jesus is said to be the brightness or the raying forth or the manifestation in rays of the Father’s glory, the express image of his substance. Just as the clay imprint expresses the likeness of the ring, so Jesus expresses the Father’s substance which is invisible to human eyes and cannot be seen by human eyes. It can only be manifested to human sight in the person of Jesus.
Now let’s take this little parable from the Son which is implied in those words, the brightness of the Father’s glory, the raying forth, the shining forth. We have this beautiful parable that I’ve put there in outline in your outline, the three persons of the Godhead. The Son’s substance is the Father. You see, none of us has ever seen the substance of the sun. We’re told that the sun consists of gases and so forth, but no one has ever seen it. All we see is its visible manifestation which is in physical language, it’s glory. And even—and the glory, the visible manifestation corresponds to the sun, but we don’t see the sun unless the rays of light bring that glory to our eyes. We can only see as rays of light reach our eyes and the rays of light are the type of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that reveals Jesus in his glory, who in turn, reveals the substance of the father. So in that parable of one of the greatest things in creation, possibly I suppose the greatest thing created, which is light, we have the three-fold person: Father, Son and Spirit unfolded. The Father; the substance. The Son; the glory. The Spirit; the means that reveals the glory and brings it to us. And without those rays of light, the sun may be shining, but you don’t see them. And until the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus, you don’t know who he is. But Jesus in turn reveals the Father. He says he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Notice also that the Holy Spirit is regularly associated with the number seven. If you want to look at that, Revelation 1:4. The greeting:
“John to the seven churches, which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.”
That is the seven-fold Spirit of God. And again in Revelation 4:5 when John was raised up in to heaven and saw God on his throne he said in verse 5, the second part of it:
“and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
You see, the Spirit of God is one like light but refracted into seven Spirits and it isn’t part of our study but if you want to find out what the seven Spirits of God are, you’ll find them in Isaiah 11. Maybe we should turn there for a moment. Isaiah 11, I cannot dwell on this but so many times people say well, what are the seven Spirits of God, and the answer is in the 11th chapter of Isaiah. And this is a prophecy of Jesus as the Messiah. And you’ll find this statement, Isaiah 11:1–2:
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: [this is Jesus]. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
You find the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit that speaks in the first person as God. The Spirit of Wisdom, two. The Spirit of understanding, three. The Spirit of counsel, four. The Spirit of might, five. The Spirit of knowledge, six. And the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, seven. The seven Spirits of God. And I cannot refrain from emphasizing that the Holy Spirit imparts the fear of the Lord. The seventh manifestation is the fear of the Lord. And people do not have much of the Holy Spirit in their lives who don’t have the fear of the Lord. They can talk a lot about the Holy Spirit and speak about being charismatic people and Spirit-filled, but one distinctive mark of Spirit-filled people is the fear of the Lord. When it rested upon Jesus, the next verse in Isaiah said:
“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord...” (KJV)
Now, I want to go back to the Old Testament and produce this same outline given prophetically in the Psalms. To me this is a very, very fascinating study. As I pointed out before, the historical facts about the death and resurrection of Jesus are given in the New Testament. But much of the real inner spiritual meaning of what happened on the cross, of what he endured on the cross, what happened between the cross and the resurrection, that is given in the Old Testament, in the Psalms. For instance, already in a previous study in Psalm 88 we saw the most complete picture of what Jesus endured in Hades between the time of his death and the time of his resurrection. There’s just a few isolated sentences in the New Testament, but there’s a complete picture in the Old Testament, Psalm 88. Now in two Psalms that I want to refer to we have this total picture of Jesus in his eternal nature, his death and his resurrection. And it’s by his resurrection that he becomes the first begotten. This is clearly brought out. Psalm 2 is a perfect outline. The first three verses of Psalm 2 deal with the rejection by the human race, especially by Israel, of Jesus as God’s appointed Messiah. And these verses are quoted in Acts 4 by the early church in prayer and apply specifically to the rejection of Jesus. We’ll read it.
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? [The heathen; the Gentiles, the people; Israel.] The kings of the earth set themselves, [that’s the Gentile kings] and the rulers take counsel together, [that’s the rulers of Israel] against the Lord, and against his anointed, [his Messiah, his Christ] saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
Jesus expressed that in a parable when he said they said we will not have this man to rule over us. We will not accept God’s appointed ruler. And that’s the condition of earth to this day, they will not have this man to rule over them. This is the root cause of all the problems in the earth today.
All right. This is man’s decision. Crucify him, away with him. They sentenced him to death. Two courts found him guilty. The religious court of the Jews, a secular court of Pilate. I would not say Pilate found him guilty, but Pilate at least sentenced him to death. But in verses 4, 5 and 6 we have God the Father reversing man’s verdict.
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, [and in the Bible laughter is never the reaction to the comical, it’s always an expression of truimph. It’s very, very interesting. You can study that.] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (KJV)
Do what you will on earth, but I have made him king in heaven. And the word set is the same word anointed that is used in Proverbs 8, “before the mountains, I was anointed.” There’s an anointing in heaven. Jesus is the second time the anointed.
Now in verse 7, the Son speaks and he gives forth the decree which he has heard the Father make. You have to realize that there’s a change of person here.
“I will declare the decree: The Lord [that’s the Father] hath said unto me, [the Son] Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (KJV)
That’s the resurrection, you see. By the resurrection of the dead, the Father overthrew man’s verdict. It says in Romans 1:4:
“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (KJV)
Maybe you should look at the scripture for a moment, Romans 1:4. Because it’s the resurrection that’s God’s vindication of Jesus. If he had not been altogether righteous, if he had not been who he claimed to be, he would not have been resurrected. Romans 1:4, well, Romans 1:3 says:
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; [by his fleshly nature he was a descendant of David] And declared to be the Son of God with power, [the word declare means mark out, uniquely]... by the resurrection.” (KJV)
And so by the resurrection from the dead, God marked out Jesus as the Messiah, the one who’d come to fulfill the Father’s purpose, the one who had perfectly fulfilled it. He was marked out from all other men who had ever died by being the first to be raised from the dead. And by the resurrection God overthrew man’s verdict. It’s like a case being referred to the Supreme Court in the United States, the Supreme Court throws out the decisions of the lower courts, reverses their decision as it has authority to do. The supreme court in heaven threw out the decision of the religious court of the Jews, and the secular court of Pilate, and on the third day vindicated Jesus by the resurrection. And so the Son, on the third day, as he is resurrected, hears the Father make the decree: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” For many years I wondered about that statement “this day have I begotten thee.” Could it refer to eternity? Obviously it couldn’t because there weren’t days in eternity. And then God showed me out of the scriptures the begetting here is the begetting from the day, it’s the resurrection. This is where he became the first begotten from the dead.
Now let’s look on and see that he then becomes the heir because of the resurrection, he becomes the heir. God said to him:
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance [the same word that gives us heir], the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. [He is going to inherit all nations.] Thou shall break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. [He will rule them, the scripture says with a rod of iron. Then the last three verses are an exhortation to earth’s rulers to submit themselves to God’s appointed ruler.] Be wise now therefore, O kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” (KJV)
It’s an exhortation to the rulers of the earth to be reconciled with God by acknowledging his Son, Jesus Christ. And praise God, over the history of the human race, especially in Europe, there have been many godly rulers that have made peace with God through acknowledging Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Now let’s turn on, and I’m not suggesting that there are ungodly rulers in the United States either. I didn’t mean to create that impression but it is specifically to the kings. And this is very interesting because it was prophesied also in Isaiah 52 in the last verse that the rulers of the earth—maybe we should look at that for a moment just quickly. Isaiah 52. This is part of the exultation of Jesus. We can’t go into it but we’ll just read those three verses quickly.
“Behold my servant [that’s Jesus] shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. [God has also highly exalted him, says Philippians 2:9] As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men; [he lost even the appearance of humanity] So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him...”(KJV)
And that was fulfilled in history over the centuries. Many of the kings of the Gentile nations bowed and acknowledged Jesus as their Lord. This is an interesting fact to point out to the Jewish people, that while the Jewish nation has rejected him, the Gentile kings and rulers in many instances had accepted him as was professed by Isaiah.
Now let us look at one other psalm that contains the same truth. That is Psalm 89. Now this is what is called a Messianic psalm. That means to say that though it speaks about David, it is not David that is the final object of reference, but David’s son, the promised Messiah. It’s very clear that it’s the Messiah that is referred to, we’ll read verses 19 through 25 quickly just to see the reference. Then we’ll come to the verses that contain the truth we want.
“Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people [this is in reference to Jesus] I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him; [made him my Messiah] With whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. [This is the Messiah who is going to be, again, the ruler of all nations. Now we come to the very central theme of our present revelation.] He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”
Here is the resurrected Christ acknowledging the Father as the one who raised him from the dead. Thou art my Father, my God and the rock of my salvation. Now you say, how did Jesus have salvation? The salvation of Jesus was the resurrection. It was in raising him from the dead that God became the rock of his salvation. If you want to compare this, turn to Hebrews 5 but keep your finger in Psalm 89. Hebrews 5:7–9, speaking about Jesus as the high priest after the order of Melchizedek:
“Who in the days of his flesh, [when he was alive here on earth] when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; [because of his reverence and his respect] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”(KJV)
Notice that Jesus, in the days of his flesh, offered up strong prayers and crying to God the Father who was able to save him from death. God did save him from death, not in the sense of keeping him from dying, but in the sense of raising him up again from the dead. And though he was a Son and was heard because of his reverence, he still learned obedience because of the things that he suffered. He went down into death but was raised up out of death. And that is the salvation which Jesus, the Son, received from the Father.
Turn back to Psalm 89:26, that is why he cried “thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation”. Now in verse 27 the Father then makes his response to the Son’s declaration:
“Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” (KJV)
So by the resurrection the Father made the Son the firstborn. I prefer to say first begotten to keep the same word running all through. It was by the resurrection from the dead that Jesus became the first begotten and because he’s the first begotten from the dead, he’s also exalted above all the rulers of the earth. Now this passage is quoted in Revelation 1:5, and I’m sure many, many Christians who read that never realized that John was quoting from Psalm 89:27. In this salutation that opens the book of Revelation, in Revelation 1:5, part of the salutation is this:
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince [or the ruler] of the kings of the earth...”(KJV)
That’s directly in line with Psalm 89:27. Notice the three successive statements there. He’s the faithful witness, he never failed God, he bore testimony to the truth. He said to Pilate, for this purpose was I born, and therefore came I for, that I might bear witness to the truth. And he faithfully bore witness to the truth because of his faithful testimony, God vindicated him and made him the first begotten from the dead. And because he’s the first begotten from the dead, he is also the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Now let’s look at one further remarkable fact before we apply this to us as believers. One further fact about Jesus which is found in 1Timothy 2:5. I’ve already pointed out to you in the title or heading of your outline, Jesus is the Second Man. Now many people might imagine he became man temporarily, ceased to be man after resurrection. But as a matter of fact, Paul says the second man is the Lord from heaven, not was the Lord from heaven. And in 1Timothy 2:5 this statement is made after the resurrection and after the ascension:
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and me, the man Christ Jesus.”
Jesus is still a man. Now don’t misunderstand me, he’s divine, he always was divine, and he always will be divine. But in the new creation, God brought into being something entirely new. What was that? The God/man race. Summed up in the title, Emmanuel, God with us, the human race. And something took place then which never had existed from eternity. The God/man race came forth out of the tomb. Jesus, the Second Man, the head of a new race, the head of the body which is the church, which will come forth in his likeness being members of the same race. And we, as believers in Jesus Christ, are members of the God/man race. We have the same nature as Jesus. To me there isn’t anything more wonderful in the scripture than to think there’s a member of our race at the right hand of Almighty God. This is breathtaking. But Jesus is there, not merely as God, but also as man. There is one mediator, not there was one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Jesus did not become man temporarily, he became man permanently. This is the new creation. And actually this is the end to which the whole revelation of scripture is designed to bring us, into the realization of what Christ did, what he became, and what we become in him.
Let’s look simply at a few statements in the New Testament about believers that bring these facts out and we’ll close this present study. Turn, first of all, to 2Corinthians 5:17–18. We’ll go back to this in our next study, but we’ll just look at it briefly.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, [now the King James says he is a new creature, but there is no he is. And the better translation is creation.] If any man be in Christ, a new creation [I like to put exclamation marks. I think that’s the correct rendering.] If any man be in Christ, a new creation!”
It’s very dramatic, very forceful. Something totally new has happened the moment a person is in Christ. What has happened?
“old things have passed away, behold, all things are become new [not some things, but all things] and all things are of God.”(KJV)
The new creation is a totally new beginning. The old was totally sealed off, nothing could filter through. By the death and burial of Jesus as the last Adam, that inheritance was terminated. And in the new creation there is nothing left of the evil inheritance from the old. All things are made new and all things are of God. It starts entirely from God.
In 1Peter 1:3 our entrance into the new creation is specifically related to the resurrection of Jesus. 1Peter 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”(KJV)
By resurrection Jesus became the first begotten, and by faith in his death and resurrection we likewise are begotten again into the same creation and into the same race; the God/man race, the new race. Notice that this is referred to in the Old Testament in Hosea. In 1Corinthians 15, you don’t need to turn there, the apostle Paul says that Jesus died for our sins according to the scripture, was buried and was raised again the third day according to the scriptures. I’ve often challenged people to say what scriptures in the Old Testament said that Jesus was to be raised the third day. And I know of only one and it’s a very illuminating one. It’s in Hosea 6. I do not know of any other scripture that states specifically that Jesus was to be raised the third day. Of course, there’s the symbolical type of Noah who was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale and was brought forth by a type of resurrection. But the actual specific statement of three days I’ve found only in Hosea. And I’d like to read the first three verses of Hosea 6:
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”(KJV)
Now if you can understand this, this was fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus was torn and smitten in our place, that we in return might be healed and bound up. All our iniquities were laid upon him. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement to bring our peace was upon him. So here, in actual fact, it’s Jesus upon whom the stroke fell. He hath torn and wounded Jesus and therefore healing and binding up is made available to us. Now in the next verse we have a statement about the resurrection:
“After two days he will revive [or make alive again] us; in the third day he will raise us up.”(KJV)
Now you see, not merely does Hosea come out with a statement it’s the third day, but he comes out with the real meaning of the resurrection, that Jesus died and rose as our representative. When he died, we died. When he rose, we rose. Isn’t that glorious? That’s the purpose of prophecy, prophecy never just gives facts. It gives facts, and their true spiritual significance. So on the third day he will raise us up and:
“we shall live in his sight.” (KJV)
We live in Christ. And Christ is in his sight, at his right hand, and we live in him. He’s our representative having entered in within the veil on our behalf. Then if you want to see Pentecost follow in Hosea 6:3:
“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: [now the resurrection is only revealed to those who follow on to know the Lord.] for his going forth is prepared as the morning; [it’s the resurrection, the sun arising after the night.] and then he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (KJV)
Forty days, fifty days after the resurrection came the rain of the Holy Spirit. You see, the entire outline of death, burial, resurrection, Pentecost is contained in those three verses of Hosea 6. But the point that I want to bring out is it’s us, not him alone, but he as our divinely appointed authorized representative and substitute, went through it and came out of it on our behalf, our head, the beginning of a new race.
Ephesians 2:5–6 sums this up. Now I’ve got a parable I want to give you and I’ve got very little time left so I’m going to read it quickly. Ephesians 2:5–6: When we were dead in sins, God made us alive together with Christ, raised us up together out of the dead, and seated us together in heavenly places. You notice the identification goes all the way, not just resurrection, but resurrection and ascension. In the Spirit, in God’s sight we are in Christ at his right hand. Now I’ve got there this identification is visibly represented by baptism. The scriptures that I’ve given the reference, we’re buried with him by baptism, raised up with him. It’s baptism that shows forth our identification with Jesus in death, burial and resurrection.
And my little parable of the elevator is this. That I was in an elevator in the Rice Hotel in Houston and an airline pilot stepped in and wanted to get to the seventh floor, and he said, you know about these elevator buttons? If you press them with a key, they don’t respond. Because they’re not responsive to pressure but to an electrical field. So he pressed it with the iron key and nothing happened. He put his finger forth and when his finger touched it, the light glowed. I thought, my, isn’t that just like God. You can’t push God with an iron key but he responds to the warmth of a human touch. And as I stood there in the elevator I thought, this is like being in Christ. I can press any button and go where I want to. If I want to go to the eighteenth floor, I press the eighteenth button and I’m there. So I saw this parable. But the next day I stepped in the same elevator, as I was looking at the row of buttons I saw below one “B”. And I said what does “B” stand for? And the Holy Spirit said “B” stands for basement, burial and baptism. And you’re obligated to go down before you go up. When you’ve been in and down, then you can press the button and go up to any floor in Christ that you choose. And I told this to a businessman in Houston or Dallas and he said, yes brother, and isn’t it tragic that most Christians just press “M” for mezzanine and just get off there. But you make the choice.