Literal Truth

In John 1:14 we read

And the word became flesh, and tented among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as a unique One from the Father, filled with grace and reality.

Notice several things:

  1. This literal, more accurate translation reveals much that the KJV does not.
  2. We learn truth about Jesus’ first advent and person that we don’t learn about elsewhere
  3. These truths are of importance to us in our daily, living relationship to Him.

Notice that His stay among us was temporary: He “tented” among us—He set up no permanent living quarters. He intended to spend only enough time here to accomplish what He needed to do upon His trip. From the time of His anointing as the Messiah (His baptism) to His death, He lived among us for only 3 1/2 years. His entire earthly dwelling was about 33 years in all. He intended not to remain, but to come and accomplish a purpose, and then leave—precisely what He did.

Note also that He was God’s message transformed from words alone into a living person (‘flesh”) so that we could see and hear him do and say what it was that God wanted us to know about Himself, delivered in this form. To see truth in person, in action, is more dramatic, clearer, memorable, etc.

Moreover, He was unique.  He was not only-begotten—all believers are begotten of God.  The word really means (as it does in John 3: 16, etc.) “the only one of His kind.” Only Jesus cold accomplish what He did because as a Person Who was unique in the ways in which He was, only He could do it. Only He, for instance, was God become man while yet remaining God as well.

Finally, He was full of grace (“help” of the sort sinners need)  and reality. There are two words N.T. Greek for “truth”—one for truth over against falsehood (not the one used here); the other reality as over against its shadow.   The Old Testament was full of shadowy types and truths, but no realities.  He was the reality that cast those shadows—the shadows that were but unreal, vague types, or pictures, of the reality that they represent.  He is the reality itself.

Take time to concentrate on each of these items and as you do, you will gain a much clearer understanding of Jesus and His earthly mission. Apart from a literal translation, you miss much of what God wants you to know about Jesus Christ.

Where Protection Is Found

The psalmist writes:

Rest in God alone, my soul . . . He alone is my rock (Ps. 61: 8 HCSB).

This world is a dangerous place; full of disease, war, treachery, accidents—you name it! How can you go through life in a calm, restful manner? That’s what the Psalmist is speaking about. Behind a rock was a place to find protection in biblical days. If someone was tracking you down—as Saul tracked David—to locate a large, impregnable rock to use as a wall between yourself and the tracker would be highly desirable. That is why God is frequently called one’s Rock. That is to say, He is the Protector of His people.

In this uncertain life, have you found rest in the only true Rock? There is only one way to do so—through His Son, Jesus Christ Who died in the place of all those who would trust Him as Savior. He bore their guilt and suffered in their place. He is the One Who, alone, can lead you to the Rock of this verse—the “Rock that is higher than I.”

Need rest? Protection? You need the Rock behind which you can lie down and feel safe.

Did Jesus Suffer in Hell?

Some teach that he did.  They refer to the quotation of the Psalm that the apostle Peter quotes (Acts 2:27):

You will not leave My soul in Hades.

“There you have it” they say. “His soul went to hell (Hades) at death—why else would this be true?”

Well, let’s think about it for a moment.

When after three hours of darkness suffering on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished,” what did he mean? Certainly, that was not a cry of relief! He was saying “I have completed the suffering for sinners that the Father sent me to accomplish.” That is to say, redemption is finished. Well, that statement seems to contradict the idea that Jesus has to suffer additionally in hell, doesn’t it?

In addition, consider this: The word Hades doesn’t mean what we (today) mean when we speak of “hell.” It comes from the Greek root id which means “seen.” In Greek, if you want to negate something, you add an alpha (a) privative to the word. Do that with this term and you get “Unseen.”[1]

Hades is the “unseen world.” In it is both paradise and the place of suffering. Remember, Jesus said to the thief: “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” That’s where His soul was: in the third heaven (see 2 Cor. 12:2-4), which is part of the unseen world.

Be careful not to fall for the heresy that teaches the work on the cross was incomplete and needed to be supplemented by further suffering.


[1] There is also the fact that it has a rough breathing ( h-sound ) at the beginning.

Symbols

We do not use the crucifix as our symbol of Christ’s work of salvation. Why? Because, unlike Romanists, we reject the symbolism. What is it? That Christ is still dying for sins in the mass every day. We believe in an empty cross, symbolizing the once-for-all death of Christ. Hebrews puts it this way: Jesus died once for all time for those He is redeeming.  Unlike the OT priest who stood daily offering the same sacrifice, He died for His own, then sat down—having completed the work of redemption.

The OT offering couldn’t take away sins since it was a continual necessity.  The cross did, and did so for all who believe in every age or place. The only true symbol of that work is the empty cross. Jesus dies, rose again, and ascended. He now reigns as the God-man Who, by His one sacrifice brought about His messianic reign from the heavenly throne.

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Jesus Is The Messiah

Have you ever wondered what the word Messiah indicates? It is the transliteration of a Hebrew word, Meshiach. The Greek New Testament translation of it is Christos. Both words, in English, mean “The Anointed One.” Jesus was the One anointed by God for the ministry in which He was to engage. After His anointing with the Spirit at His baptism (symbolized by the dove descending on Him), he faced His first battle with the evil one—the three-pronged temptation in the wilderness. Having successfully warded him off with the Scriptures, He immediately took up His ministry and began itinerate preaching, as He went about healing and preaching, he called for repentance since the kingdom of God was at hand. The advent of that kingdom, as all Old and (later) New Testament predictions declare, was the announcement of a new era in which one must repent and believe the Gospel or perish in the terrible destruction of Jerusalem which was about to occur.

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