Who do men say that I am?

Paul Galligan is an apostle from Australia. He has been laboring extensively in East Africa. This article is from his May 2007 Newsletter.

Brother Galligan may be contacted at:

Revival Ministries Australia
P.O. Box 2718 BC TOOWOOMBA Q4350 Australia
Phone: 61-7-46130633; e-mail: rma@revivalministries.org.au
Website: http://www.revivalministries.org.au


WHO DO MEN SAY THAT I AM?

In those days, some said “John, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. I wonder what many Christians would answer today? If you ask a believer, ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ they answer, ‘Saviour’! Among Gentile believers there has been little understanding of the deep history making revelation that Peter received and enunciated in Matthew 16:16 “You are the Messiah [Christ] the Son of the living God”.

Most Gentile Bibles have generally translated ‘Messiah’ as ‘Christ’ which comes from the Greek ‘Christos’. While this word literally has the same meaning as the Hebrew based word ‘Messiah’, the designation of Jesus as Christ has no particular meaning to the Christian Gentile mind. The English Jewish Bible, New Testament, never uses the word ‘Christ’ but rather calls Jesus ‘Messiah’, and generally Jews who believe in Jesus have formed Messianic groups, not being willing to join Gentile Christian churches. This is partly because of anti Jewish sentiment and practice by some of the Gentile Christian churches over many centuries. However the deeper issue at stake is the lack of understanding among Gentile believers concerning “who is Christ?”

CHRIST

‘Christ’ #SC 5547 Gr. ‘Christos’ from #5548 to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service, translated anoint.
‘Christos’ means anointed, i.e. the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus, translated Christ.
This is the exact entry from Strong’s Concordance, Nelsons Comfort Print Edition, 1995.
An ‘epithet’ is an additional descriptive word or name and this illustrates the historic problem in the Gentile churches ‘to not understand who Jesus is’. ‘Christ’ has been ‘an epithet’ to the name of Jesus only, not a revelation of who Jesus is!

MESSIAH

‘Messiah’ #SC 4899 Hb. ‘Mashiyach’ from #4886 to rub with oil, i.e. to anoint, (by implication) to consecrate.
‘Mashiyach’ means anointed, usually a consecrated person [a king or a priest], specifically the Messiah, translated anointed, Messiah. Messiah is only used twice in the Kings James Bible in the Old Testament, and twice in the New Testament, the Hebrew word being carried through.

Messiah is the promised King, the deliverer!

The word Messiah, translated Christ in most Gentile Bibles means ‘the commissioned one’, ‘the anointed one’, but also refers to ‘the greater son of David who was promised (2Sam.7:12-14, 16) to ascend David’s throne and rule forever; therefore the Messiah is the promised King who will deliver God’s people from all their enemies. In the Jewish New Testament, in English the word ‘saviour’ is translated ‘deliverer’. Both words are legitimate translations but I want us to begin to understand the more powerful [even military] nature of the historic Jewish expectation of Messiah: He would be a mighty deliverer!

Jew and Gentile are together in the Messiah!

In Romans 11, Paul is speaking about the fall of the majority of the Jews who did not receive Jesus as Messiah in the first century. At that time “a remnant according to the election of grace” was saved v.5. Through the fall of the Jews, “salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy” v.11. However in history, the Christian church also fell and went into apostasy, among their sins being the persecution of Jews. Now at the end of the age Jesus, the Head of the church, is restoring His church and preparing His church to be His glorious Bride church (Eph.5:26-27). This church is a fellowship of joint heirs: Jew and Gentile (Eph.3:6 & 2:14-16), and the final true church that will emerge will be a perfect fellowship of Messianic Jews and Christian Gentiles [such names will of course disappear]. The Jews who have continued to have some faith in the teachings of the Old Testament and still expecting Messiah to come to deliver them, will be provoked to jealousy when the church begins to understand who Jesus is as the MESSIAH. When Gentile believers are truly “preaching and teaching Jesus the Messiah” without ceasing, publicly and in every house (Acts 5:42), the Jews will hear and be impacted even as many were in the early years of the church when the first apostles were clearly preaching and teaching Jesus the Messiah and proving that “this Jesus of Nazareth whom you crucified, God has made both Lord and Messiah” Acts 2:36. It will be as the knowledge of the mystery is made known again and the apostles are “preaching the unsearchable riches of Messiah” that the “fellowship of the mystery” will be made known (Eph.3:3, 8-9) to both Jew and Gentile, bringing them together in the body of Messiah.

WHO IS MESSIAH?

The Messiah is the promised King, that is, the ‘Anointed One’; the one anointed to sit upon David’s throne and rule forever. The first clear reference to this One who will rule is in Gen.49:10 where Jacob is prophesying over his son Judah, of things that will come to pass in latter times. He said “the sceptre [rod of authority; in Ugandan Bible the reference is to the chief’s spear] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from beneath His feet until SHILOH comes; [Instead of SHILOH the Swahili Bible puts in ‘Him who will rule’ – this is the literal meaning of SHILOH] and unto Him shall be the obedience of the people.” The one who was to come to rule was to come from the tribe of Judah, but He would rule all people. At the time of the prophecy there were only the twelve sons of Jacob; no such nation as Israel or Judah yet existed. However the prophecy was clear: the great ruler would come out of Judah and before He came the sceptre of rulership would be established in Judah. Therefore, in the outworking of history God chose David to be King and promised him that his house would be established and that one from his own body would sit upon the throne of David forever.

The Promised Son of David

In Acts 2:30-31 Peter presents a double witness concerning the raising up of the Messiah from David’s house. Firstly, Peter says David, “being a prophet”, prophesied the resurrection of Messiah [David prophesied many other things about Messiah as well] and secondly, that “God had sworn with an oath to him” that Messiah would come from his family line. The promise to David is found in 2 Samuel 7. The context is that David had built himself a house and then wanted to build a house for God whose presence was still in David’s Tabernacle [a tent]. God spoke to David through Nathan the prophet and in v11 told David that He would “make a house” for him. This is not a literal house but refers to a family line that will have a long posterity. Then God promised David “I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son” v12-14a. In the natural, Solomon ascended the throne and built God’s house [the temple] but this promise is not to a natural son. This promise speaks of a “forever” throne and kingdom; this promise speaks of the promised son building “a house for My name”; this promise speaks of the son being the son of the “Father”! Then is v16 God confirms the promise “your house and your kingdom shall be established forever. Your throne shall be established forever.”

The King That God Sets In Zion

In Psalm 2, David prophesies of the coming Messiah. The nations are in rebellion against God and “against His anointed” v1-3. God’s response is firstly laughter, then derision, then wrath (v4-5) and God moves against the rebellious nations and their kings saying, “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion”v6. The promise of Messiah, the promise of a great ruler coming [SHILOH] is now taking shape. God is going to raise this King and set this King upon the throne.

The Son of God

Then in v7, the Messiah responds saying “I will declare the decree: the LORD [YAHWEH] has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” So the King that God has promised to be set upon the throne of Zion is the same one as the promised Son!

The One Who Receives The Inheritance!

Then in v8 the Son is promised the inheritance “I will give the nations for Your inheritance, the ends of the earth for Your possession.” The Son who is the King is also the one who receives the inheritance. All of these points are important as we come to understand who Jesus is and who we are as His sons.

The One Ruling Upon The Throne

In Psalm 110:1 David prophesies further “The LORD [YAHWEH] said to My Lord [Adonai], ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’”. This is confirmed “for He [Messiah] must reign till He has put all things under His feet” 1Cor.15:25.

The King/Priest

In Psalm 110:4 David then reveals that this ruling King will actually be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” This is confirmed in Zechariah 6:11-13 where the High Priest Joshua is crowned and seated upon the throne, ruling; He is the same one who “shall build the temple of the LORD”. Of course Jesus fulfils this and all of the Messianic prophecies.

MESSIAH IS CHRIST AND HE IS IN US!

The Understanding of Messiah Comes From the Old Testament.

In Isaiah 9:6-7 the prophesy is of a child being born, “a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder… of the increase of government and peace, no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.” Again it is the Son who is given by God who is the ruling King and His kingdom will forever increase. There are many other powerful Messianic promises in the Old Testament [in particular the book of Daniel]. Peter had grown up knowing many of these prophecies and his generation was caught up in Messianic fervour as Messiah was expected to come at that time. We know that Peter’s brother Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and as soon as Andrew met Jesus he went and found Peter and brought him to Jesus (Jn.1:40-42).

The Church Is Built On The Revelation Of Who Jesus Is!

When Peter answered Jesus in Matthew 16, he was already an apostle called by Jesus (Matt.10). However, when he recognised Jesus and said “You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven’” Matt.16:16-17. Jesus was very amazed and impressed and maybe felt a wonderful sense of breakthrough – at last somebody could understand who He was. Jesus responded and said, “And I say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades [Hell] shall not prevail against it” v18. It took the revelation of somebody understanding from the Old Testament prophecies, ‘who Jesus is’, for Jesus to be able to announce that He could now begin to build the church, the house of God. Remember the prophecies concerning the Messiah included that He would build the house of God and also the oath to David included that the promised Son would not only be King but would build the house of God. Further the Messiah would be a King and a Priest of the order of Melchizedek.

A Deeper Revelation Of Christ

The word Christ appears in the New Testament over 550 times. If we will re-read the New Testament substituting ‘Messiah’ for ‘Christ’ or at least understanding that when we read the word ‘Christ’ that the Scripture is referring the promised Son of David who would ascend the throne [now in the heavenly Zion] and rule and reign from that time, having all authority and all power, then we will walk in a much greater dimension of authority and victory as His church. Jesus has been sitting upon the throne and reigning as Messiah since He ascended. Peter declared that the proof of Jesus having been “exalted to the right hand of God” was the manifest outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33). Isaiah declared that once He was exalted to the throne His government would increase forever from that time (Isa.9:7). As we receive this revelation of ‘who Jesus is’, our understanding of the gospel is radicalised and our prayer life is revolutionised. Over 550 times we have reference to Messiah [Christ] and the Scripture declares that He is in us. How awesome is that! “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Col.1:27.
It is this Christ who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt.28:18) who has sent us as apostles and as an apostolic church to all nations to make disciples, baptising them in the revealed name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all of Jesus’ words.

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