The Lord Jesus taught in part by using parables. The greatest parable in His teachings is largely unrecognized. It regards His actual identity. Many Christians have yet to receive the full revelation.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9:6-7]
“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.” [John 16:25]
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?
Real Christians believe that Jesus is God. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is God the Father. Think about that.
We obviously have reams of New Covenant Scripture expressly proclaiming in no uncertain terms that Jesus is not only the Son of Man and the Son of God but God Himself. We also have reams of Old Testament prophetic Scripture expressly proclaiming the same thing. As a method to prove this, focusing only on one aspect of the Lord’s identity—that of Savior—are the following verses:
I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them. [Psalm 17:6-7]
“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides Me.” [Isaiah 43:10-11]
“Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me.” [Isaiah 45:21]
“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no Savior besides Me.” [Hosea 13:4]
Regarding who is referred to as Savior in the New Testament, we have additional Names and Titles:
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” [Luke 1:46-47]
“From the descendants of this man (David), according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” [Acts 13:23-24]
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; [Philippians 3:20]
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [1Timothy 2:3-4]
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. [1Timothy 4:10]
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. [Titus 1:4]
…Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus… [Titus 2:13]
From these verses it is obvious that Scripture claims there is only one Savior, not two or several, and that this one Savior is God. Yet the preceding verses of Scripture also refer to this one Savior by several different Names and Titles:
- God (El)
- God (Elohim)
- God (Theos)
- LORD (Adonai—YHWH)
- Lord (Kurios)
- Jesus (Iesous)
- Lord Jesus Christ (Kurios Iesous Christos)
- Christ Jesus (Christos Iesous)
This obviously does not mean that these are different persons but the same Person with different Names and Titles.
KING OF KINGS
The OT prophets said an Israelite Messiah (Anointed One) was coming. Most Christians understand that. But the OT prophets also said the coming Messiah would not be as the culturally understood anointed ones of that time, primarily the Hebrew kings, but would be the greatest Anointed One: The final King, the everlasting King, and the King of kings. In ancient times, many centuries before the Messiah’s arrival, they proclaimed there would be a time far into the future when the Messiah would once again take His rightful place that He formerly possessed among His people prior to their rejection of Him.
This term King of kings was used three times in the Old Testament as a reference to the greatest earthly king on the planet. It referred twice to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonian Empire and once to Artaxerxes, the king of the Persian Empire. King of kings also occurs three times in the New Testament, each time, of course, referring to the Lord Jesus. So again, the Messiah is referred to in Scripture as the greatest King of all with all authority in both heaven and earth (far greater authority than any earthly king or emperor).
With reference to the nation of Israel, historians refer to King Saul as Israel’s first king. He became king of Israel in 1050BC. In reality, Saul was Israel’s first earthly king. From the beginning, however, it was always God who was Israel’s King. The Creator became known to Israel primarily as YHWH, the “Self-Existent or Eternal.” Though the actual pronunciation of this Name is largely unknown, we have come to accept its pronunciation as Yahweh (´Yah way). A later constructed form is Jehovah, but there is no letter J in the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew scribes, due to their great respect and honor for God, rather than writing His Name and possibly profaning it, substituted another word in Scripture. The word they used to replace His Name is the Hebrew word Adonai which is translated in the English Old Testament as LORD (all caps). So whenever you see the word LORD in the OT, it would have otherwise been directly translated as YHWH.
The nation of Israel, however, due to its great rebellion and sin, often had a big problem with YHWH. This came to a head during the time of Samuel the prophet, the last of the Hebrew Judges. Israel had reached a point of such great sin it rejected its distinct calling as a light to the Gentiles and select of God, and insisted upon being as other nations. They demanded an earthly king. This was a total rejection of their God who had always been their rightful King:
The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” [1Samuel 8:7]
In reading the Old Testament regarding the identity of the future Messiah and coming King of kings, many Christians don’t really make the connection that this Man, the Messiah, would also be God. Or they do, but they don’t. They get it maybe in part but not completely. They fail to see that the Messiah would be YHWH reclaiming His sovereignty. It is often simply too difficult a concept to grasp that a mere Man could be God, that the God of the Old Testament is the Son of God of the New Testament. I mean, if Jesus was God, why was He always praying to God? And yet, Jesus revealed Himself as God on multiple occasions. Many people state that He never said any such thing, but I will remind everyone that God speaks in different languages, such as by spiritual revelation, in parables or figurative language, and also “plainly” through words and grammar.
Others have turned the identity of the Lord Jesus into an unexplainable mystery. They have created mental constructs and counterfeit personas with apparent surface meaning that inevitably fail the test of wholly agreeing with Scripture. Some cop out of the discussion completely by weakly asserting that we’ll figure out the Lord’s identity when we get to heaven in that there is no way to know it otherwise. For such people there is no use in trying to go deep into Scriptural truth since they limit themselves to their shallow understandings. There is nothing in Scripture, however, that gives forth the idea that we cannot know God or that God is hopelessly mysterious, but the very opposite. It is a major part of why God became a Man. He arrived on these shores to reveal who He is and show what He is like. How else was He to do this toward human beings severed from communication with Him, dulled by sin, and spiritually distant unless He became one of us?
FATHER AND SON
The following passage is rich in meaning, so rich that many pass right over it without understanding its full import. It is parabolic in nature and again, involves direct revelation:
“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” [Luke 10:22]
In this verse, the Lord Jesus states:
- The Father has handed over all things to the Son
- Only the Father knows who the Son is
- Only the Son knows who the Father is
- Others can know who the Father is but only if the Son wills to reveal Him to them
From this we know that no one will ever know who the Father is except by direct revelation. If the Lord Jesus wills to reveal the identity of the Father to a person, then that person will know. Otherwise a person will never know. This means the Lord chooses to whom He will reveal the identity of the Father. This also means that there must be some common denominator among those who receive the revelation of the identity of the Father. In other words, the Lord is not capricious or arbitrary in His choosing. He never plays favorites. It is therefore up to the individual on whether or not to be qualified to receive the revelation.
Take a look at these clues from Luke 10:22:
- The Father possessed “all things” but gave “all things” to the Son. This must mean the Father no longer possesses “all things.” It means the Son then possessed “all things.” The Father had “all things” and then no longer had them. The Son did not have “all things” and then took possession of them.
- Only the Father knows who the Son is? How can this be? Did not more than a few during the Lord’s time know who the Son of God was? Affirmative. But those who did only knew by divine revelation. That’s how Peter found out: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17). The point here is that the Son had always been hidden by the Father. Only the Father would know who He was. The Son was incognito in this sense. He would never look the part. He was likely the very opposite of a guy like King Saul who was tall, handsome, popular and specifically chosen by all the people.
- The Son is the only One who knows who the Father is and also the only One who can reveal Him. The Father revealed the Son to Peter. On the other hand, the Son revealed the Father to Philip. Both revelations pointed to the same Person.
One might recall (as I mentioned previously) that the Lord Jesus said, right before He ascended to heaven, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). This is a very bold statement. Only God has that kind of authority. If one insists that God is someone other than the Lord Jesus then how can the Lord Jesus have all of God’s authority in both heaven and earth?
THE LANGUAGE OF SPIRITUAL REVELATION
The Old Testament patriarchs were noted for being relative loners and wanderers. They were seen as somewhat eccentric by the world at large because they were seemingly forever drifting around in a nomadic spiritual sense marching to the beat of a very different Drummer. They traversed the great quiet of deserts and wilderness areas raising their head to the winds and hearing voices.
It reminds one of Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams hearing a voice out in his corn field. On a trip into town one day after hearing “the voice” Ray tries to gain some understanding of what has happened to him. Seeking clues, he has the following conversation with a veteran farmer at the farm supply store:
Ray: “In all those years, did you ever… I’ve heard that sometimes farmers out in the field… hear things. Voices.”
Old Timer: “You’re hearing voices?”
Ray: “No. It’s just that I heard some farmers do, and… I, of course, don’t, so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong, or something. Did you ever hear voices out there?”
Cashier: “Who’s hearing voices?”
Old Timer: “Ray is! Out in the fields.”
Ray: “No! No, I’m not. Really. Noises! That darn tractor, it’s… Well, I’ll just get some 3-in-1 oil, that should… Nice talking to you.” 
One wonders if Abraham had a similar conversation with Sarah. Or anyone. The point, of course, is that if one is hearing voices out in the wilderness (or in a corn field near you), and in the case of the Biblical patriarchs, one particular voice, then one might be careful with whom one might share the information. This should not be a problem for Christians, however, since the entire Bible has the same theme running through it. Christians should not be embarrassed by this. All those who were close to God were hearing His voice, both in the Old Testament and New, and some were even seeing Him. Aghast.
These people were in the decided minority (understatement alert). There were only a few. Which means the vast majority probably thought those guys were nuts because they themselves never heard or saw anything. And they never hung out in the wilderness alone either. Prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God (of which He is the King) the Lord Jesus said the greatest man born of women who ever lived was a prophet who hung out in the wilderness alone, just like those eccentric patriarchs of many centuries past. But this guy John the Immerser was greater than all of them, which was quite astounding when you think about it. And he looked like a caveman. And the Lord spent much time in the wilderness alone also. And so did Noah. And Abraham. And Moses. And the apostle Paul:
But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:15-17]
Paul was out in the desert a long time. Some say three years. I have no doubt he went on a forty day fast at least once. It was where, hearing the Voice, that the Lord taught him one on one. It was where Paul received the revelation of the Father’s identity and where the Gospel was revealed to him:
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]
So here we have yet again that spiritual marvel known as direct revelation. The only One who ever revealed to Paul the Gospel was the Lord Jesus Himself, out in the wilderness, alone. Imagine that. This is not how 99% of Christian ministers receive the Gospel. Perhaps this is why their various versions of the Gospel are different than the one Paul preached.
The direct revelation thread runs all through the Bible. It is God reaching out to man. It is God actually attempting to communicate with man. Why then, if God is talking, do so few hear Him? Apparently, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Immerser, and Paul were all listening. They were paying attention. They sought God. They had a hunger for Truth. So those who revert back to the tired argument that these men were simply special and chosen in some unknown arbitrary manner, which explains their communication with God, and that their spiritual status had nothing to do with a greater personal faith in God and an unceasing desire to seek Him, are being their usual shallow selves as part of a status quo faithless Christian majority. We even have otherwise brilliant Christians who have latched onto Cessationism and believe that Book of Acts happenings ended in the first century. What? Are the hundreds of millions of Pentecostals and Charismatics in the world all deluded or faking it?
Again, the greatest parable in the Bible is the true identity of the Lord Jesus. Without the actual revelation one reverts to any unspiritual and unscriptural natural understanding and interpretation, either by indoctrination or personal opinion. The tried and true among Christians in this regard is that Jesus must be a lesser entity than God even though some are forced to admit that Jesus is God simply because there are far too many verses of Scripture stating such. But how can Jesus be both God and less than God?
“If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28]
“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” [John 10:30-33]
Some Christians think they must seek out God the Father because their relationship with the Lord Jesus is somehow lacking or limited. Of course, whoever does this has no actual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Some Christians pray to the Holy Spirit the same way one would pray to the Lord Jesus. Some teach that we must pray only to the Father “in the name of Jesus” but never directly to Jesus. Whatever the case, any effort to do an end around or bypass the Lord Jesus to get to God is a violation of His teachings:
“No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]
The word Messiah is from the Hebrew word Mashiach which means “Anointed” or “Anointed One.” It is Christos in the Greek and transliterated into English as the word Christ. In terms of relative spiritual anointing, the Messiah is seen as He with by far the greatest anointing of God. One may recall that the Lord Jesus possessed the Spirit of God without measure (John 3:34). Prior to Pentecost, He would thus be the One who gave the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of which, there is an interesting word construct in two separate verses exactly a chapter apart in the Gospel of John regarding both the identity of the Father and Son and just who it would be that would send the Holy Spirit. One might think it to be a contradiction. Another will understand it as a clue to a revelation:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” [John 15:26]
To be anointed is to be anointed with the Spirit of God. The Messiah was the Anointed One anointed with the Spirit. Yet the Messiah, the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, says He will also send the Holy Spirit. He says this after first being reported to say the Father would send the Spirit. Of course, before the Son could send the Spirit He would have to “go to the Father.” Therefore, the One who sends the Spirit is identified as both Father and Son.
On one occasion the Lord was off in a remote location away from the crowds. His close disciples were with Him. He chose this occasion as a teaching moment and to gauge their understanding of His identity:
And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone… [Luke 9:18-21]
The Lord’s time was one of Messianic expectation. It is said that the Israelites were the only nation that lived in the future, in that no matter what happened in the present there were prophecies telling of great times to come. Part of that was, of course, the arrival of the Messiah. He would be the One to lead them to victory at last, to assist them in overcoming their low stature and becoming who they were always meant to be. He would help them reach their destiny.
As times grew closer to His advent, starting about two centuries before in the early second century BC, several unprecedented events took place, one of which was the first successful Israelite uprising against the major powers. The Maccabees, a national Israelite political entity which began as a group of rebel fighters revolting against the Greek Seleucid kings, came forth throwing off the yoke for a time and created a new independent kingdom, the Hasmonean Dynasty. The spirit of the first century Zealots can be traced to the Maccabees. Presently, the Zealots have manifested as the Zionists of our time.
Also, the major religious parties got their start: The Essenes were created from a priesthood group breaking off from the temple priesthood and setting up shop in the desert out by the Dead Sea in a settlement known as Qumran. These were thus somewhat akin to the ancients but existed primarily as a fraternal communal brotherhood. They later expanded and segments were found in the populated areas.
The Pharisees, or separated ones, also began in this era, rooted in a group known as the Hasidim. Two central divisions of this major sect eventually arose about a century later based on its two greatest rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, who each began Pharisaic schools in the generation prior to that of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul (Saul) was a student of Gamaliel of the Hillel school. In New Testament times this Gamaliel, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, was the voice of reason against the murderous crazies of the court and essentially saved the lives of Peter and the apostles (See Acts 5:34).
The Sadducees emerged as a distinct party at this time as well. This group was the latest organized form containing the wealthy and those with large landed estates who had essentially ruled Judea in place of a king since the return from the Babylonian Captivity in the sixth century BC. The Sadducees were thus tied in closely with Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and eventually Roman wealth and politics. Choosing to live for this world, they had no concern or belief in the resurrection or a spiritual realm.
We can see this same general breakdown in parties and beliefs in Unreal Christianity. Much was coming together in those two centuries BC for the final conflict of the Last Days of the nation and they each had their own version of who the Messiah was and what He would do for them.
When at last, the Messiah arrived, in perfect accordance with Daniel’s prophecy of weeks (right on time), He was largely unrecognized. Indeed, according to the major parties and pretty much everyone in power with a stake in what He could and would do for them, He was unrecognizable. Incognito, as it were. This was their King, the One the nation had rejected over a thousand years before when they selected King Saul. And to show just how stiffnecked the proponents of these major religious and political parties still were after all those centuries and even more so, they did a lot more than just reject Him this time around.
They had invested everything in a false interpretation. When their version of the Messiah never showed up in the life of the Lord Jesus, even though He perfectly met all the applicable prophetic requirements, they continued looking elsewhere. How dense must people be to either not see and/or reject all the clues? How could they be so wrong?
As it turns out Christians have been just as wrong. God Himself is looking right at them and they still don’t see Him. They fail to see Him for the very same reasons the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and bloodthirsty Zealots never saw Him. This is especially surprising regarding the Essenes. They saw the times better than any of their major counterparts. Indeed, because they were out in the desert and away from the corrupt religious, monetary, and political activity of Jerusalem, one would think they couldn’t miss. They came somewhat close. Their Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 in caves next to their ruined compound, contained many references to their “Teacher of Righteousness.” They wrote of The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. They knew what was afoot regarding the coming Messiah but from what we know, as a group, they never recognized the Lord Jesus as such.
The problem each of these groups shared was that their focus remained on this world instead of the spiritual world. They each wanted a Messiah within that context. Again, erring facets of Christianity, including major mainline bodies, make the same mistake. They refuse to accept the reality of the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom and create one of their own with their own respective version of King Saul.
With the exception of the Pharisees, the other three major Jewish parties each came to an end after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD. The Sadducees faded out and dissolved shortly thereafter. The Zealots, the party eventually granted authority by the others who brought on the conflagration against Rome, ceased to exist at the tragedy of Masada in 74AD. The Essenes might have gotten an extinction head start on the others around 68AD when the Romans destroyed their settlement at Qumran. It is thought that this disaster is what precipitated the hiding of their cherished library in nearby caves before their final retreat and disappearance. They obviously never returned to reclaim them.
The nation of Israel also came to an end and was forever gone with the wind. The Pharisees reconstituted themselves from the smoking detritus and burned rubble in even greater stubbornness and rebellion to keep their party alive though barely breathing. Through many transformations and geographical movements over the centuries their party eventually became what we know today as Orthodox Judaism. And they still hate the Lord Jesus with a passion.
The only ones who did recognize the Lord were apparently part of an obscure unconnected group of nobodies known originally by the Scriptural term as the “Remnant.” We first hear of this idea of a surviving remnant in Genesis 45:7 when Joseph explains to his family that he was sent ahead as a slave to Egypt as a method to preserve them. Spiritually speaking, of course, he was assisting God in not only preserving his family and the future nation of Israel but also preserving the Messianic genealogical line. This line had suffered severe attack from the very beginning when Abel was killed by his own brother. Since the Lord Jesus was to descend from Abel his murder made that impossible. It was a victory for the devil. However, the line was reestablished over a century later with the birth of Seth, the third listed son of Adam and Eve:
Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. [Genesis 4:25-26]
A few millennia later, this concept of the remnant is illustrated as follows in the times of Hezekiah, circa 700BC:
“The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD will perform this.” [2 Kings 19:30-31]
Two and a half centuries later, long after the Babylonian Captivity during the time of Ezra’s arrival in the land of Judah, approximately 458BC, we hear again of this surviving remnant of God’s people. In the ninth chapter narrative, the book of Ezra uses much descriptive and dramatic imagery filled with pathos and hope describing those few who remain of the once great nation of Israel, including clear prophetic undertones. Ezra is quoted wailing against the current great sin of his remaining people:
“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day. But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. [Ezra 9:6-8]
“After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape? O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” [Ezra 9:13-15]
In the interim since the first return of the Hebrews from Babylon to the time of Ezra, a period of roughly eighty years, factions of this returned remnant in the land, including priests, had intermarried with local non-Hebrew women of various heathen peoples including Canaanites, Moabites, and Egyptians and produced offspring. This was no way to reestablish the Yehudi as a distinct people. As a result their racial mix was even further diluted. This same lack of discretion had occurred many times in the past going all the way back to the time after Joshua a millennia before. Ezra appears to have made a successful effort to correct the problem as much as one could but this departure led to the dedicated remnant becoming ever smaller over the next five centuries until the Lord’s arrival.
In its long history, the devil was constantly scheming and attacking the Messianic generational line because he knew he must keep the Messiah from arriving. And unlike so many Israelites and Christians, the devil and his minions knew very well who the Messiah was long before He came and who He would be when He arrived, and had great respect for Him. The following historical account is a great study in microcosmic terms of the ongoing spiritual battle from ancient times on this planet and a revealing depiction of what goes on daily all around us in the unseen spiritual world:
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. [Luke 8:26-33]
Why didn’t the demons attack the Lord? If the name of this hoard of demons within a single man was a correct indication of their numbers, the demons amounted to over five thousand. Empowered by internal demonic forces the man was able to break chains and shackles. But instead of going after the Lord, the man and his many demons voluntarily fell before Him! They begged Him not to send them to the abyss. There was never any Man of such great and powerful magnitude in all of Israel. Even demons were terrified of Him:
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19] 
Down through the centuries, despite ongoing demonic attacks, and at last an attempt through King Herod to kill the baby Jesus, the Messiah arrived anyway. And the Lord always had a believing remnant who knew exactly who He was. They were there in the first century. Though initially very small in number, they served as a solid, tested, and unrelenting nucleus to build around. Their presence allowed for the eventual blossoming of the Lord’s Community into multiple millions worldwide.
SHOW US THE FATHER
It seems as though the Lord Jesus was often not openly admitting to His true identity. I think it is because He knew it was necessary for people to receive the spiritual revelation rather than hear mere words which could easily bring on refutation and anger. This happened anyway among the hard core religious unbelievers who often flew into a rage at the mere semblance of His actual identity. It can thus be difficult and otherwise impossible to overcome such flagrant religious indoctrination and programming and this includes, of course, the Christian kind which is often the absolute worst. Direct revelation is the only thing that works best. As Peter discovered, what works better than God revealing to one’s heart the Word of Truth?
Perhaps the best verses which address the revelation of the Lord’s true identity are found in the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel. By this time the disciples had heard much of the Lord’s figurative language, especially regarding His discourses on the Father. He was attempting to lead them to the revelation portal that they may gain answers and understanding from a spiritual source. In the following passage, Thomas had sincere questions about the Lord’s statement, especially as it regarded the unseen and unknown Father. So did Philip. Both had matured enough to ask direct queries of the Lord. They were ready to graduate from the figurative to the clear revelation:
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” [John 14:1-9]
© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 © 1988 Field of Dreams Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Dear Readers: The following series, based solely on the New Testament, is an in-depth study of Mary, the mother of our Lord. I wrote it last year at Christmas time. Some of you are already familiar with it and have added sterling comments. I highly recommend these posts, as you will undoubtedly fill in many of the blanks regarding Mary’s life and calling. There is actually very little in the New Covenant Scriptures regarding her but much can be gained by drawing on several intriguing clues. She was an exceptional person and deserves a closer look into a life extremely well lived.
Dec. 12, 2019: MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN” (Intro)
Dec. 13, 2019: MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN” (Part 1)
Dec. 18, 2019: MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN” (Part 2)
Dec. 22, 2019: MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN” (Part 3)
Dec. 24, 2019: MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN” (Part 4)
Dec. 25, 2019: MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN” (Part 5)
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The conventional perception of the mother of our Lord is off. It is way off. She is commonly depicted in religious art, iconography, and statuary as Caucasian, and often northern European.
Knowledge of her Hebrew heritage among Christians is largely lost. Even her actual name is mostly unknown. The name Mary derives from the Judeo-Aramaic variant Maryam, from the Greek Mariam, which was derived from the original Hebrew Miryam, the name of the elder sister of Moses and Aaron (which is translated into English primarily as Miriam). New Testament readers know this was a popular name for Hebrew women at that time, as there are several with the name in the Gospel accounts.
As a young Hebrew maiden of eastern Mediterranean stock, she was likely dark complected with dark hair and Semitic features. Semitic refers to one of the three sons of Noah—Shem—whose descendants predominantly populated the Middle East and still do today. We know from early OT accounts that the ancient Hebrews shared their DNA with many different ethnos of the greater region, including the Canaanite tribes. There were also the two great disruptions to the nation when the ten northern tribes of Israel were deported to the east in 722 BC followed by the Babylonian captivity of Judah 136 years later. The three remaining tribes of the latter—Judah, Levi, and Benjamin—were removed to Babylon for 70 years. They were allowed to return but many chose to stay. The lands of Israel and Judah had been repopulated somewhat by foreigners in the interim, especially the Samaritan region. The land was then ruled by a succession of Persians, Greeks, and Romans. It is therefore difficult if not impossible to arrive at a definitive Hebrew nationality by the first century AD.
Even so, we do have two extant genealogies of our Lord Jesus from that time, both of which stem from the tribe of Judah and feature the persons of Abraham and David. The genealogy of Joseph the carpenter in Matthew’s gospel descends through King David’s son Solomon, the third and final king of a united Israel. After Solomon’s death the kingdom split into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Luke’s gospel contains the genealogy of Mary, which also goes through David but by his son Nathan, Solomon’s brother. This family tree divergence took place over 900 years before the Lord’s birth. The last of the Hebrew kings of the Judaic line ceased with the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah, but was somewhat illegitimate in that he was installed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC after the siege of Jerusalem. The king before Zedekiah was Jeconiah (AKA Coniah, Jehoiachin), who was carted off to Babylon a prisoner in chains. This is what the prophet Jeremiah said about him:
“Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? Or is he an undesirable vessel? Why have he and his descendants been hurled out and cast into a land that they had not known? O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.’” [Jeremiah 22:28-30]
The Hebrew monarchy was thus abolished. There were no more kings. No one could ever again qualify. Joseph the carpenter’s line included Jeconiah and he is listed in Matthew’s genealogy. Nevertheless, it was established that Joseph, the legal stepfather of the Lord, could trace his direct lineage to Solomon and David. Mary’s genealogy could also be traced directly to King David. This means the Lord Jesus had a legal right as king through Joseph and a biological right through His mother. Though the monarchial birthright was essentially revoked by Jeremiah’s prophecy, this did not apply to the Lord Jesus because he was not a blood descendant of Jeconiah. Thus, the only possible way the Davidic line of kings could be restored, even after a six century interval, would be through the following:
“Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14]
GREETINGS FROM THE WOMB
As described in Part 1, Mary was soon on the road south to Judea to visit her relative Elizabeth. The two women were anxious to share the great news of their pregnancies, both of which were only possible through direct miraculous means. Elizabeth was greatly humbled in her long life of barrenness but maintained her faith regardless. Mary was also burdened somewhat by an undisclosed life circumstance. Here we have the young and the old, both of whom must deal with the inevitable gossip of unbelievers, yet blessed abundantly as major players in the great plan of God for the salvation of Israel and humanity. But besides these two who knew each other well, there were others who met for the very first time:
Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” [Luke 1:39-45]
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The invisible war rages. There are two competing kingdoms. Real Christians know the real fight is between the Lord Jesus and Satan. These two are the only leaders of the only two kingdoms that exist on the planet.
Thus, the fight is not between this country and that. It is not a fight between Christians and Muslims. It is not a fight between Republicans and Democrats. And it is not a fight between Catholics and Protestants.
The devil has authority over the entire world of unregenerate sinful mankind:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:3-4]
The Lord Jesus is the King of His kingdom:
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. [1 Timothy 6:13-16]
The devil offered the Lord all the kingdoms of the world as his second in command, which means the devil controls all the kingdoms, nations, and countries of the world, or he could not have made the offer. This means he even controlled and sat atop the powerful Roman Empire.
If one purports to honor and believe the Word of God, one must believe this. Therefore, if a person wants life and real freedom, he must at some point leave the devil’s kingdom and join the Lord’s. Otherwise, do nothing. The Lord Jesus is only in authority over those who have confessed His Name and bowed before Him. He is the Father of those who have accepted His sacrifice on their behalf and have been released from their bondage to sin.
According to His teachings, everyone else is under the authority of Satan.
Thus, the devil creates sub-battles within his kingdom to deceive the lost and even Christian believers about the real battle. He divides us through political parties, culture, race, denominations, and a myriad of other subsets in order to take our focus off of him.
This is why the only real change takes place when the Lord Jesus is able to rule in an area where the devil had previously ruled.
In the present battle, Jesus gains authority through the submission of a human being to Him. It is the only way He gains authority. And it must be through a person’s free will and love for Him, and not by coercion. He has only ONE kingdom. He has only ONE community of believers. And He is the ONE leader of His community. Everyone else within it is on equal footing with one another. He created no hierarchies or clergy-laity divisions. He created no men ruling other men within His kingdom. He is the only Ruler.
It is the same in Satan’s kingdom. Though it appears on the surface to be ruled by many different and disconnected leaders, rulers, presidents, dictators, financial kingpins, and religious quacks around the world, all of these are under his command whether they know it or not. If one has not submitted to the Lord Jesus, then one does not belong to Him and one does not have salvation. Such a one remains in His sins regardless of his station in life and receives his or her motivational feed from the original Beastie Boy.
If sin rules a person’s life (and it will unless the Lord is allowed to remove it and its power), then one is prone to powerful deception. Sin is blinding, and those who live in sin are subject to it, controlled by it, and are easily deceived by the devil into believing any number of lies.
And the devil is a master liar.
When one submits to the authority of the Lord Jesus and accepts His only payment for sin, then one is released from the power of sin and the blinders come off. This is a very, very powerful event, and one becomes an entirely new creation. Old desires pass away and new desires come forth to serve God and live a holy life. This is why the Lord referred to a true conversion experience as being “born again.”
This does not happen by merely converting to some branch of “Christianity.” It does not happen by merely joining a church or submitting to it and its particular doctrines. It happens only by submitting oneself to the Lord Jesus with one’s whole heart. He is the only One who can set a person free from the disease of sin, and give a person power over sin.
In fact, His Name means that very thing: YHWH-Salvation, or YeHoshua. The real meaning of salvation is being set free. It is the granting of freedom. Everyone wants to be free, but sin is the one thing endemic to mankind that one will never be set free of without the Lord. He lived a perfect sinless life and thus gained power over sin, and shares that power with whoever will join Him. There is no salvation without Jesus. He is the only One who can bestow spiritual life.
Yet, the devil has a field day dividing up Christians. It was not the Lord who created a million different Christian denominations. It is not the Lord who advocates hating one president and loving another, or siding with one political party and hating the other, or fighting for one Christian denomination and hating all others. The Lord’s community is in perfect unity, and is composed of all those who have bowed the knee to Him and no other.
If the Lord Jesus could be president, then real Christians would vote for Him. Otherwise we should vote for a real Christian. If neither candidate is a real Christian then it doesn’t matter which one is elected, since both belong to the kingdom of the other guy and nothing significant will change.
When the Lord Jesus is in charge there is liberty and blessing. When He is not in charge there is very little liberty and blessing. It should be obvious to Christians, since they supposedly know God’s written Word, that when the Lord is honored, the land of the people who honor Him is blessed. When the land is otherwise cursed, then…
Ask yourself if America is presently in good shape. Does it look like the Lord Jesus has been given governing control of Washington D.C.? Does it appear that He has been given governing control of the fifty states?
Some states are certainly in better shape than others, but most have very serious problems. People have been warning for decades that America is going in the tank, that the nation is filled with sin and murder, and that things are regressing ever faster. Yet, what do we do? We think a particular non-real Christian candidate is better than another? We think sinful human beings will somehow make the necessary gargantuan changes that are required?
We need to look at the big picture. Look back at the last 100 years and one will see a steady downhill slide that keeps accelerating. Yet we do nothing to actually change it. We engage in a bunch of cosmetic garbage that has no effect. The Word of God even predicts that things will continue to grow darker:
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. [2 Timothy 3:12-13]
But there is a reason for this. It is not set in stone. It is because most people refuse to give themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. We as a nation refuse to repent and submit to His authority so He can fix things.
And why is this surprising? The majority of churches don’t want Jesus in charge!
Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. [Psalm 127:1] 
So, with all the constant drivel on the airwaves and the ongoing political process, Americans are fools if they think anything other than our submission to the Lord Jesus will change things substantially for the better.
Until then, the devil is in control of all those who refuse to bow the knee to the Lord, and if such people are in high office, the devil has that much more control.
At the end of the day, whether we like it or not or understand it or not, each of us will either serve the devil or serve the Lord Jesus. There is no in-between. There is no third party.
It may be the devil
Or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
WATCH VIDEO: Gotta Serve Somebody [Won Grammy Award in 1980]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
 Bob Dylan, Gotta Serve Somebody, from the album Slow Train Coming 1979.