The Scriptures trace the lineage of Christ Jesus through Joseph, as recorded by Matthew. However, Luke generally provides more detail in his writings and, on this topic, this is what he has to say about the genealogy of Jesus, (at Luke 3:23) “Furthermore, Jesus himself, when he commenced (his work) was about thirty years old, being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph. Luke then goes on to trace Jesus’ ancestry right to God. Of course, the writer Matthew also testifies that Jesus is God’s son. (Matthew 1:18)
Adam was created directly by God, thereby becoming his son and, in turn, the human father of mankind. Christ Jesus came into existence, as a human, by being born of a virgin, but unlike fellow humans, he did not descend from Adam. He was, directly, God’s son, for Jehovah God was his real Father. The apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said: (1 Corinthians 15:45) “…The first man, Adam, became a living soul, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” The last Adam is Christ Jesus, and our discussion today will center on Paul’s words, namely, that the last Adam “became a life–giving spirit.” As such, Christ Jesus is truly unique!
Regarding Jesus’ birth, Luke (1:30-33) writes: ‘So the angel said to her: “Have no fear, Mary, for you have found favor with God; and Look! You will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus.” (Please take careful note of what Luke tells us next). “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
Mary then explained to the angel, by way of a question, saying: “How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?” In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” (Luke 1:34,35)
In Matthew’s account we are told that Joseph was concerned when he learned that Mary was pregnant, (for he knew the child was not his). Then the angel appeared to him in a dream and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home, for that which has been begotten in her is by holy spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you must call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Please note, the reason why Jesus was born as a human was to “save his people from their sins.”
The account further states: “All of this actually came about for that to be fulfilled which was spoken by Jehovah through his prophet, saying: “Look! The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name Immanuel,” which means, when translated, “With us is God.” (Matthew 1:20-23; Isaiah 7:14) The declaration, “with us is God”, indicates God’s active step to allow mankind to come back into his friendship through his Beloved Son, Christ Jesus, who was given that unique privilege.
As already mentioned, unlike all other humans, the birth of Jesus was outstandingly unique. This was by design, for God required his birth to be that way. While every descendant of Adam is under the condemnation of death, even as Paul explains in his letter to the Romans 5:12, Jesus’ human life came directly from his Heavenly Father. For that reason, we are told in Scripture, that Jesus was without sin. This factor was critically important for Jesus to become the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. Therefore, when John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching, he correctly identified him as “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) In Romans 5:18 Paul said: “So, then, as through one trespass the result to men of all sorts was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life.”
Concerning Jesus, Isaiah prophesied the following (Isaiah 9:6,7): “For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of his princely rule there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.”
Isaiah shows Jesus’ uniqueness in that he would be called, that is, become “Wonderful Counselor”, “Mighty God”, “Eternal Father” and the “Prince of Peace.” Even the reign of Christ will be unique, for “his rule will be sustained by means of justice and righteousness.” How very different that is from man’s rule.
As we have seen in Scripture, Jesus was Jewish, born into the nation of Israel. What is more, secular history authenticates that fact. And yet, his very own people failed to recognize him as their promised Messiah. Only a very small group, or remnant, recognized him as the promised deliverer. But how could that be? After all, they had the Holy Scriptures, so the identity of their Messiah was clearly disclosed to them. There were many distinct prophecies about Messiah, disclosing what he would be like, what he would do, and what would eventually happen to him. Interestingly, some Bible scholars have estimated that there are upward of 450 specific references in the Hebrew Scriptures, identifying Christ Jesus as the Unique One who fulfilled those prophecies. There is so much evidence that it was he, for whom they had been waiting. But in spite of having the Scriptures, and being aware of the miracles Jesus performed, they simply did not recognize the uniqueness of Jesus Christ when he appeared. Indeed, until this day, the nation of Israel does not recognize Jesus as Messiah. Why is that? Actually, there are several reasons. Let us consider some of them.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica says: “The Jews of the Roman period believed (the Messiah) would be raised up by God to break the yoke of the heathen and to reign over a restored kingdom of Israel.” (Jerusalem, 1971, Vol. 11, col. 1407) Jewish history shows that they based their assumptions and expectations on Daniel 9:24-27 concerning the appearance of Messiah.
Of course, that prophecy also connected the coming of Messiah with “making an end of sin,” and Isaiah chapter 53 clearly shows that Messiah would have to die in order to make that happen. Well, not only did they miss this very important part of Daniel’s prophecy, but they totally overlooked Isaiah’s prophecy as well. And yet, since they were the keepers of God’s law, how could they not notice the very unique nature of Messiah’s appearance?
The reason for their failure to see what God was doing is that the Jews, in general, did not feel the need for someone to die for their sins. They believed they had a righteous standing before God because they were descendants of Abraham. The book, A Rabbinic Anthology, states: “So great is the (merit) of Abraham that he can atone for all the vanities committed and lies uttered by Israel in this world.” (London, 1938, C. Montefore and H. Loewe, p. 676)
It is most appropriate to mention, at this juncture, that the Jews not only ignored Isaiah’s prophecy about the manner of Messiah’s death, but in later years, after translations of the Scriptures revealed that the Messiah was “being pierced for our transgressions; he was being crushed for our errors” (Isaiah 53:5), this text was actually modified in Jewish copies of the book of Isaiah. Undoubtedly, this move was influenced by charges that their ancestors had brought about Jesus’ death. And yet, The Dead Sea Scrolls, (found in1948 and a few years thereafter) which include the scroll of Isaiah, do corroborate the accuracy in translation of Isaiah 53:5, namely, that Messiah would be “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our errors”.
Nevertheless, even with the erroneous ideas they had, which under normal circumstances could have been corrected, in this particular instance that was quite impossible. Why so? Why could they not have checked the Scriptures again, just to make sure they were not missing something? Jesus provides the answer for us.
As we know, Jesus always spoke in parables or illustrations. On one occasion, he had just finished giving the parable about the sower, recorded in the 13th chapter of Matthew. His disciples came to him, and said: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply he said: “To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people, it is not granted.” Then Jesus adds: “This is why I speak to them by the use of illustrations, because looking, they look in vain, and hearing, they hear in vain, neither do they get the sense of it; and toward them the prophecy of Isaiah is having fulfillment, which says: “By hearing, you will hear but by no means get the sense of it; and looking, you will look, but by no means see. For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.” (Matthew 13:10-15; Isaiah 6:9,10)
The example of the Jews illustrates a very fundamental truth that we must never lose sight of. Simply possessing the Scriptures and reading them, will not, in itself, give us accurate understanding of what God is doing. Not at all! If anyone, including natural Jews, wish to understand what God is doing through his Son, Christ Jesus, they must be responsiveand receptive to God, for only then will God grant us his holy spirit. This is critical, for without God’s holy spirit, it is impossible to understand anything that he is telling us. It matters not how smart we are, how educated we are, nor how much we may read or study the Scriptures. As Jesus so clearly shows from Isaiah’s prophecy, an unresponsive, unreceptive heart will remain in darkness. That happened to the Jews, and it continues to happen to people today. And I might add, for exactly the same reason.
As shown in the book of Acts 3:22,23, Jesus is the unique prophet that Moses prophesied about in Deuteronomy 18:10. To refuse to listen to this prophet, Moses said, would bring God’s adverse judgment upon such a person. That judgment leaves the unreceptive person in darkness and, consequently, as Jesus said, they do not get healed.
The Jews, like much of the world today, failed to see that sinful humans cannot redeem themselves. They cannot free themselves from either sin or death. It is just as the Psalmist said: “Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him;…That he should still live forever (and) not see the pit (or grave).”
On the other hand, Christ Jesus was uniquely appointed by God to heal mankind, to save them from sin and death. Moreover, Jesus is uniquely equipped to do that, for unlike the human race, descended from Adam, Jesus was born without sin, for his Father is Jehovah God, the Heavenly Creator. The uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and the uniqueness of his position, is attested to by the apostle Peter in Acts 4:12. Peter was speaking to the rulers of the people of Israel and, indeed, to all the people of Israel, when he spoke of Christ Jesus and said: “Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”
As we have already considered, the apostle Paul said: “…through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life.” (Romans 5:18) In the book of Acts (2:21) Peter quoted from the prophecy of Joel 2:32 and said: And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” The Italian Centurion, Cornelius did just that. He prayed to God, and while he was praying, a man in bright, raiment appeared, informing Cornelius that his supplication had been heard by the true God. The angel then instructed Cornelius to send for Peter who would help him learn about Jesus Christ and all that God would have him do.
On another occasion, when Paul and Silas were imprisoned, a great earthquake occurred in the middle of the night and their shackles came off miraculously. The jailer thought they had escaped. As he was about to do away with himself, Paul called out: “Do not hurt yourself, for we are all here!” At this, the jailer, overcome by emotion and trembling, fell at the feet of Paul and Silas saying: “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?” Their response: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will get saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30,31)
From the foregoing, it is quite clear that salvation comes only by believing in Christ Jesus. Moreover, as a result of our belief, our faith in Christ Jesus, “God declares us righteous for life.” Only the uniqueness of Christ Jesus, and his ransom sacrifice, can bring this about for us, for “there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.” The Scriptures are very clear on this point: Jesus first appearance, as Messiah, was to lay down his life in sacrifice, so that those who believe on him might have life. But what about his kingdom rule, that the Jews, and even his own disciples, had anticipated at that time? When would that be?
Just as the Jews did not understand the purpose of Messiah’s coming almost 2,000 years ago, and that situation persists until today, even so, many believers in Christ do not fully comprehend the real purpose of his return.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus spoke to an Israelite named Zacchaeus, who showed a contrite spirit. Jesus told him: “This day, salvation has come to this house, because he is, also, a son of Abraham, For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.” The account continues: “While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. Therefore he said: “A certain man, of noble birth, traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return.” (Luke 19:11-27) Please do not overlook the reason for this illustration! Jesus gave it for a specific reason, namely, to underscore the fact that his kingdom rule was yet distant from that point in time.
Obviously, Jesus was speaking about himself. He was talking about the time when he would return as ruler, with kingly power. Moreover, this is in harmony with what the Scriptures tell us about his rule. After his death and resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven, to wait for the time that such rule would begin. For example, Psalm 110:1,2 prophecies that Jesus would sit at God’s right hand until God would place his enemies as a stool for his feet, meaning, they would be subjugated to him. But how was Jesus uniquely prepared for this?
Let us go back to the time of his birth as a human. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus accepted the assignment to appear as Messiah both willingly and humbly. Let us read the account at Philippians 2:5-8, and let us carefully examine the uniqueness of God’s Son, Christ Jesus. The account reads as follows:
“Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration of a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake.”
Christ Jesus was truly unique, for “he existed in God’s form.” And yet, he was very humble. He did not aspire to be equal with God. His attitude of humility directed his life totally. Continually, he gave praise to God, and said that he did nothing of his own initiative, but all he did was what his Father wanted him to do. He always gave God, his Father, the praise and honor that is due him.
Although Christ Jesus “existed in God’s form, he emptied himself, and took a slave’s form, and came to be in the likeness of men.” Christ Jesus was uniquely humble. We can especially appreciate this if we consider that he did actually exist in God’s form, and that from such a glorious position he, “emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men.” What an outstanding example of modesty! No wonder the Bible writer, Paul, admonishes Christians to “keep the mental attitude” that Christ Jesus possessed, an attitude of humility.
The reward God bestowed on Jesus for his faithfulness was glory. In Philippians 2:9-11, Paul goes on to say: “For this very reason, also, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” What outstanding uniqueness is ascribed to Christ Jesus!
We have seen that Jesus inherits the throne of David, as future king. He gets this regal right through his adoptive father, Joseph, who descended from the tribe of Judah. But more than that, on the side of his mother, who descended from the tribe of Levi, he also inherits the right to be priest. That is why the writer to the Hebrews (5:6), in referring to Jesus, writes: “You are a priest forever according to the manner of Melchizedek.” In chapter 7:1,2 we have a description of the office of Melchizedek. It reads: “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, … is first of all, by translation, “King of Righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, that is, “King of Peace.” How very fitting that Jesus is pre-figured by Melchizedek.
However, what is remarkable about Jesus’ appointment as king-priest, is that in Israel the offices of king and priest were always kept separate. For that reason, an Israelite king was prohibited from performing priestly duties. And yet, Jesus inherited both offices, that of king and that of priest. That is truly unique! Of course, it had to be so, for Jesus offered his own life in sacrifice, in order to redeem mankind from sin and death. As Hebrews 9:24 states: “For Christ entered…into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.” A priestly duty. Moreover, he is to rule as king.
What is even more outstanding is that Jesus shares his kingship and his priesthood with his brothers, his joint heirs (Romans 8:17). Revelation 20:6 states: “Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has not authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”
In Revelation 2:26, we are given this promise. “And to him that conquers and observes my deeds down to the end, I will give authority over the nations, and he will shepherd the people with an iron rod…” As Paul asks rhetorically at 1 Corinthians 6:2, “Or do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?”
Psalm chapter 2, tells us essentially the same thing. What this means is that the time will come when it will be said, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Even as we read in Daniel 2:44, that kingdom of this world will be replaced by the kingdom of God. In Ephesians 1:9,10, the apostle Paul speaks of this rule as an administration, that is, a new administration for the coming age.
The Scriptures have much to say about this administration, and the heralding of a completely new age, even as we are reminded at Revelation 21:5, which states: “And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Well, then, how will this happen?
The very same chapter of Revelation, starting with the first verse, states: “And I saw a new heaven (that is, a new administration) and a new earth (or new culture, society), for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more (that is, mankind in its state of upheaval). I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem (that is, the Christian congregation that has remained loyal to God and to Christ), coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride for her husband. (I suggest that what we are being told is that the origin of this new administration is God himself).
John continues: With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, (that is, the spiritual temple consisting of the loyal members of Christ’s congregation, and with Christ as Head) and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry, nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
There are numerous prophecies that further describe such new conditions. For example, Micah 4:3,4 make this promise: “And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”
The prophet Isaiah also spoke of this new administration and said: “For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” Jesus’ rule will be peaceful, in every sense of the word. No wonder he is called the Prince of Peace. And yet, the most important peace that Jesus brought to his believers is peace with God. During his kingdom rule, he will continue to bring such peace to those of mankind who choose to submit to his reign. We must bear in mind that without such peace, humans cannot live and function, for God Almighty, our Heavenly Creator, is the very origin of life. (Please read Ephesians 2:17,18)
When on earth, Jesus taught the wisdom of his Heavenly Father, and for his disciples, he was a Wonderful Counselor. During his coming kingdom rule, however, such wonderful counsel will not escape anyone’s notice “because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah (Heavenly Father) as the waters are covering the very sea.” ((Isaiah 11:9)
Isaiah also foretells that Jesus would be called, Mighty God. Yes, Jesus is to be called by that title. Why? It is because his office necessitates such great authority. Please note, however, that he will not be called, “Almighty God” for that title belongs, exclusively, to Jehovah God, Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. It is precisely for this reason that at the end of his reign, Jesus will turn the kingdom back to his God and Father so “that God may be all things to everyone.” (Genesis 17:1; Revelation 4:8; 11:17; 1 Corinthians 15:28)
What about the remaining title by which Christ Jesus is to be called, namely, Everlasting Father? How can that be said of him?
Actually, Christ Jesus becomes the Everlasting Father in various ways. Let us remember that he is the last Adam who “saves his people from theirs sins.” Christ did this by laying down his life as a ransom sacrifice so that we might have the prospect of eternal life. This is how Jesus became the last Adam, “a life-giving spirit.”
Furthermore, he restores to life those who have died and are now in the grave, for as he said, “There is going to be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. In this instance too, he becomes “a life-giving spirit” and is rightly called Everlasting Father. Also, Jesus is rightly called “Everlasting Father” for he has opened up the way for obedient mankind to become reconciled to our Heavenly Father, Jehovah God. Even as Paul wrote to the Romans (5:19) “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one (Christ Jesus) many will be constituted righteous.”
Finally, by reversing the damage brought upon the human race by Adam’s disobedience, namely, sin and consequently, death, Christ Jesus became the second Adam, “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” In this way, he becomes a “life-giver” and, since such life is everlasting, Jesus is correctly identified by Isaiah as “Everlasting Father”.
In this age, Christ Jesus has already become Everlasting Father to all who exercise faith in him, namely, the Christian Congregation. Furthermore, “those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 20:4-6). Upon resurrection, together with the living who are also in union with the Lord, they will form the new administration (“new heavens”) for this earth. These will be granted eternal life first, for they are identified as “firstfruits” (Revelation 14:4). Also read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:35-56.
To those who are in union with him, Christ Jesus makes this promise: “I will give (to them) authority over the nations”, meaning, they will rule with him (Revelation 2:26,27). In turn, such nations are admonished to “Kiss the Son” that he may not become incensed and they “perish” from the way (Psalm 2:10-12). This means that Jesus will yet become Everlasting Father to untold millions, yes, perhaps billions, of all who will choose to exercise faith in him during his rule. The Scriptures tell us in no uncertain terms that “all things” (all of obedient mankind), must yet be gathered under Christ. After that has been accomplished, he will turn back the kingdom to his God and Father, the Almighty, “so that God may be all things to everyone” (Please read: 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).