Jesus Christ the Fiery Serpent

Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.

ISAIAH 53 EXPLAINED


"JESUS CHRIST THE MESSIAH"

  The idea of atonement is one of the most difficult in the Bible to explain; however, it is also one of the most important of all spiritual truths. It would be impossible to grasp the meaning of Isaiah 53 without examining the meaning of atonement.

  ISAIAH {53:1} Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? {53:2} For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him.

{53:3} He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

{53:4} Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

{53:5} But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

{53:6} All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

{53:7} He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

{53:8} He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

{53:9} And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth.

{53:10} Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

{53:11} He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

{53:12} Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

{Isaiah{51:9} Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. [Art] thou not it that hath cut Rahab, [and] wounded the dragon?}

WHY DID ISAIAH 53 EMERGE AS THE MOST DEBATED CHAPTER IN THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES?

    Christians are so convinced that Jesus is the messiah, they are utterly astounded that the Jews, of all people, consider this claim preposterous. Christians are bewildered by this rejection because it appears so obvious to them that every aspect of Jesus’ life—from his miraculous conception to his crucifixion and resurrection—was clearly predicted in the Jewish Scriptures. They wonder why the Jews then fail to embrace Jesus as their messiah. Can’t they grasp that the prophecies in their own Bible predict that the messiah would suffer and die and then rise from the grave? How can a people who produced so many Nobel Prize winners be so dense? Are they just plain stubborn? Why then did the Jews reject the claim that the messiah would suffer and die for the sins of the world?

The answer is quite simple: Jewish messianic expectations are firmly rooted in hundreds of prophecies recorded throughout the Hebrew Bible. And Jews who are anticipating a messiah are not looking for anyone remotely like Jesus. They are awaiting the messiah who will destroy the enemies of God, usher in worldwide peace, the universal knowledge of God, the ingathering of the exiles, the resurrection of the dead, and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. (This shall take place at his second comming)

Who then was Jesus? While it is impossible to answer this question with any certainty because no contemporaneous historian mentioned Jesus, it is possible that he was one of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of obscure, itinerant preachers during the first century who came from the backwoods of the Galilee, wound up on the wrong side of the law, and was summarily executed by the empire. He then would have been one of hundreds of thousands of Jews who were crucified by the Romans during the turbulent first century. For Jews, calling Jesus the messiah and God, Creator of the universe, is foolish and blasphemous, to the Jewish nation.

The Mosaic Law commanded ( Leviticus 24:16).

And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, [and] all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name [of the LORD,] shall be put to death.

Leviticus{19:14} Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I [am] the LORD.


  Atonement, especially substitutionary atonement, is understandably difficult for the modern mind to grasp, as it is bases upon certain presuppositions that are not widely accepted today.

THE PRESUPPOSITIONS OF ATONEMENT

A Personal God: He gave us Parameters for our behavior so that we do not misuse all the blessings He has given us.

These Parameters which He gave was the "LAW"

 But why do we continually stray from these divine guidelines found in the Bible and commit Sin.

Romans{3:10} As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans{5:12} Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

I John{3:8} He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The existence of a personal Creator is not easy to prove scientifically. For God cannot be evaluated by the scientific method, as He is the author of all science.

But by His Law we can clearly see the reflection of God's charactor. When we survey the scriptural representations of the character of God’s Law, we soon discover that the same moral attributes applied to it are also used in reference to the very being of God. God is good ( Mark 10:18; Ps. 143:10); the Law is good ( Deut. 12:28; Ps. 119:68; Rom 7:12,16). God is holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev 15:4); the Law is holy ( Num.15:40; Rom. 7:12). God is perfect ( 2 Sam. 22:31; Ps 18:30; Matt. 5:48); the Law is perfect ( Ps. 1:25; James 1:25). God is spiritual ( John 4:24); the Law is spiritual ( Rom. 7:14).God is righteous ( Deut. 32:4; Ezra 9:15; Ps. 116:5); the Law is righteous ( Deut. 4:8; Ps. 19:7; Rom. 2:26; 8:4). God is just ( Deut. 32:4; Ps. 25:8, 10; Isa.45:21); the Law is just ( Prov. 28:4, 5: Zech. 7:9-12; Ro. 7:12).

 If there is a God, but He is completely impersonal and does not hold us accountable for our actions, then are we ready to concede that there is no such thing as right or wrong, or good and evil?

Romans{5:13} (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. {5:14} Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. {5:15} But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans{7:7} What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. {7:8} But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead. {7:9} For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. {7:10} And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. {7:11} For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me. ]

Atonement cannot be fully explained unless we accept the idea of a personal and Holy God, so for the sake of understanding this concept, lets for the moment accept the existance of a personal God as described by the BIBLE.

We find it Difficult to meet God's Standards : The second presupposition foundational to understanding atonement is that people find it difficicult even impossible to meet God's standards. (The Law)

Galatians{3:10} For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

 The curse of the LAW is the inability to keep the law.

Romans{8:3} For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: {8:4} That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We walk after the Spirit if we have the Spirit of God in us. (Holy Spirit)

  Atonement is based on restoring what is broken and removing the offense so that any disruption in our relationship to God can be healed. Our failure to live according to God's expections has caused a separation between us and God. Atonement presumes that a better and more harmonious relationship with our Creator is possible, though not without a price!

Ephesians {2:1} And you [hath he quickened,] who were dead in trespasses and sins; {2:2} Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: {2:3} Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. {2:4} But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, {2:5} Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

 Mark{7:21} For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {7:22} Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: {7:23} All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Matthew{23:27} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness. {23:28} Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Romans {3:10} As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: {3:11} There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. {3:12} They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. {3:13} Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: {3:14} Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: {3:15} Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: {3:16} Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: {3:17} And the way of peace have they not known: {3:18} There is no fear of God before their eyes.

  This alienation from our Creator throughout human history has seriously impacted who we are and the way we live. The Bible traces everything from natural disasters to world wars and interpersonal conflicts to this break in our relationshiop with God and our apparent inability to live as He wants us to live. Most people, whether religious or not, would agree that something is wrong with our world. We all hope that a more meaningful existence and a peaceful world is possible.

The Book of Isaiah envisions a day of peace and harmony in society and also in nature, as so much of the trouble that comes upon us is a result of natural disaster and devastation. The Scriptures link man-made evil as well as natutal disasters with our separation from God. This is why the prophet speaks of a day when even predators and prey will live together in peace!

And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

In the coming day when the benefits of atonement fill the earth, there will no longer be any war:

And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neithher shall they learn war any more ( Isaiah 2:4)

MANY PATHS TO ATONEMENT

  There are variety of ways to look for atonement. Some of us try to find atonement through seeking or earning the forgiveness of others. There's nothing wrong with making amends. But making amends is different from receiving atonement. We might try to earn atonement by personal sacrifice: volunteering or giving to philanthropy. These efforts have great merits, but once we stop doing them, our sense of peace wanes, so that we live on a perpetual treadmill, seeking atonement generated by our own efforts. We innately know we need to make atonement for the wrongs we have done, but it is in trying that we experience our deepest sense of failure.

Ask yourself this question, be honest,"Am I able to atone for my own sins?"

 Many great world religions believe they can earn atonement by purifying themselves. This is also somewhat true in Judaism, in which they fulfill the mitzvot (commandments) in order to make themselves worthy of God's mercy, grace and forgiveness.

However, this is quite different from the teachings of the BIBLE. Atonement- removing the alienation and guilt that keep us from a close personal relationship with our Creator- only comes about when the problem of sin is removed. From the Bible's point of view, no one among us is capable of achieving the depth of repentance that would enable us to meet God's holy standards. Most often, we are barely aware of the ways we fail to live as we were created to live. And if we ourselves are the problem, then how could we possibly be the cure? We need help beyond our ability to help ourselves.

ATONEMENT IS A GIFT FROM GOD

Once we accept the presupposition that there is a personal God, and that we fail to meet His standards, we then come to the third presupposition: atone begins and ends with God'sefforts, and our responsibility is simply to accept what God has accomplished on our behalf. In other words, atonement from the Bible's perspective is an unmerited an uneared gift.


  The Bible never records Jesus saying the precise words, “I am God.” That does not mean, however, that He did not proclaim that He is God. Take for example Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” We need only to look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement to know He was claiming to be God. They tried to stone Him for this very reason: “You, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33).

The Jews understood exactly what Jesus was claiming—deity. When Jesus declared, “I and the Father are one,” He was saying that He and the Father are of one nature and essence.

John 8:58 is another example. Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth … before Abraham was born, I am!” Jews who heard this statement responded by taking up stones to kill Him for blasphemy, as the Mosaic Law commanded ( Leviticus 24:16).

John reiterates the concept of Jesus’ deity: “The Word [Jesus] was God” and “the Word became flesh” ( John 1:1-14). These verses clearly indicate that Jesus is God in the flesh.

Acts 20:28 tells us, “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Who bought the church with His own blood? Jesus Christ. And this same verse declares that God purchased His church with His own blood. Therefore, Jesus is God!

Thomas the disciple declared concerning Jesus, “My Lord and my God” ( John 20:28 ). Jesus does not correct him. Titus 2:13 encourages us to wait for the coming of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (see also)2 Peter 1:1 .

In Hebrews 1:8, the Father declares of Jesus, “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” The Father refers to Jesus as “O God,” indicating that Jesus is indeed God.

In Revelation, an angel instructed the apostle John to only worship God (Revelation 19:10). Several times in Scripture Jesus receives worship (Matthew 2:11 14:33; 28:9,17 Luke 24:52 John 9:38). He never rebukes people for worshiping Him. If Jesus were not God, He would have told people to not worship Him, just as the angel in Revelation did. There are many other passages of Scripture that argue for Jesus’ deity.

The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that, if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the world

(1 John 2:2). A created being, which Jesus would be if He were not God, could not pay the infinite penalty required for sin against an infinite God. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21), die, and be resurrected, proving His victory over sin and death.

Only Eternal Damnation Can Break the Spiritual Marriage

  In the old Testament, those who committed adultery were to be physically stoned to death. The heavenly meaning of this punishment is far more serious -- the law of God requires the second death, eternal damnation, for spiritual adulterers. Only after the guilty one has spent an eternity in hell can the marriage of the law of God and the human being end. Eternity is forever, it is outside of time, so the relationship will never end. This is the warning of Deuteronomy 22. The earthly aspect of the ceremonial law of Deuteronomy 22 and all ceremonial laws is no longer to be observed. Jesus fulfilled the law when He was on the cross. Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."