Firstborn Sonship of Christ

Vol 25 No 9
September 2000
The New Birth
Series Number: 22


      This article continues the theme of the August article, with portions of the August article rearranged in this article.


      1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," Gen 1:1.
      The word translated "God," is from the Hebrew word "Elohim." In English one is singular and two or more are plural, but in Hebrew one is singular, two are dual, and three or more are plural. "Elohim" is plural signifying three or more, obviously referring to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as we quickly see in the words "And God (Elohim) said, ‘let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness,'" Gen 1:26; Isa 48:16; 11:1-16.
      This plurality and yet oneness of the Godhead is seen clearly in many passages in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. We will reference and discuss passages where the Father addresses the Son as Lord and God, eternal, and coexistent with the Father.
      The words "Lord God" (Jehovah Elohim) are used beginning in Gen 2:4. It is the Lord God who is speaking in Zec 12:10, where He said, "And they will look upon Me whom they have pierced." This speaks of the time when the heavens rolled back (Dan 7:9-14; Ps 2; Rev 6:12-17) and the return of Christ in a deified body, but also speaks of the humanity of Christ when He was crucified. The Jews should have understood the crucifixion of their Messiah was prophesied.


      "God With Us," Isa 7:14; 9:6-7. These Old Testament passages reveal that God (the Son of God) was born into a human body as an infant and became a human being through the virgin birth. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us," Jn 1:1-3,14. Isaiah says that the Son of God in this human body would sit upon the throne of David "from henceforth even for ever," (Isa 9:6-7) The Old Testament required that the Son of David 1) would be the Messiah, 2) would live a perfect life in a human body, 3) would be made a sin offering, 4) would die, would be buried, 5) would be born again into a divine human body in His resurrection from the dead, 6) would ascend back to heaven and be seated at the right hand of the Father, 7) would intercede for the covenant people through this age, 8) will descend again to sit on David's throne in Jerusalem, 9) will coordinate with the Father in executing bitter wrath upon the nations, 10) will put Satan, fallen angels, and all evil spirits in hell for the Millennial age, 11) will remove the curse placed on the earth and much of creation in Gen 3, and 12) will rule all nations as the true Prince of peace with the deified saints for the Millennium.
      We will observe in the passages to follow that the Messiah (Christ) is called Elohim, Immanuel, Jehovah Elohim (Lord God), the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Son of God, the Son of man, the Son of David, Jehovah's Servant, Israel's Redeemer, Jesus, etc. In this harmony of Old Testament passages, He is God in a human body, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was crucified, was made a sin offering, died for our sins, descended into hell and paradise, ascended out of the heart of the earth in a born again (deified body) resurrection, removed paradise from the center of the earth to the third heaven, is now seated at the right hand of the Father, is interceding for the saints, will descend back to the earth in great glory for the new birth (the regeneration (Mt 19:28) of the faithful covenant people, and fulfill the prophecies of the day of the Lord.


      "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom have they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn," Zec 12:10 (1-10).
      The Speaker here who was pierced is Jehovah Elohim. Nicodemus and all the Jews should have understood that Jehovah Elohim (as the Son of David) would experience the crucifixion as noted here and in Ps 22:10. Without further explanation, Elohim is the word for God, and Jehovah is the name of God. Jehovah Elohim is speaking in Zec 12:10 above and through that chapter. The occasion projected in Zec 12 is the time when the heavens will be rolled back, Ps 2; Dan 7:9-10,13-14; Rev 6:12-17; Jn 1:51. It is then that the Jews will mourn grievously for they will recognize that Jehovah Elohim was and is the true Messiah whom they pierced.


      26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come hall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined," Dan 9:26.
      This verse does not stand alone. To the contrary, as we will see, the Old Testament is filled with explicit passages and with daily symbolic representations of the Messiah being put to death as a sin offering for the sins of the covenant people and for the sins of the world. Furthermore, The Old Testament is replete with passages and types addressing the resurrection birth of Christ and the saints.


      "A body You have prepared for Me," Ps 40:6-8. LXX. Heb 10:5-8 is a quote from the Septuagint (LXX). "My ear you have opened," speaks of the ear of the body of Christ, whose ears (heart) God had opened through the Holy Spirit to know: 1) that He was the Messiah, 2) that He was to do the "will" of the Father in His human body (Ps 40:6-10; Heb 2:9-13), 3) that the Father's "will" was that His human body was to be "an offering for sin" – a sin offering (Isa 53:10; Lev 4, 5, and 6), for the sins of the covenant people and for the world (Isa 53; 45:22), 4) that He must live an unblemished life (Lev 1 thru 7; Isa 53:9), and 5) that by means of this body He would sanctify and justify (deify) the faithful covenant people, Ia 53; Heb 2:5-13; 10:5-10; Rom 4:24-25; 1Co 15:44-40; Phi 3:9 (7-14,21).
      This reveals that the bodies of animal sacrifices throughout the Old Testament represented the offering of the sinless human body of the Messiah as the only true sin offering. This statement ("a body You have prepared Me") is sandwiched in between two statements which say that God rejected the bodies and blood of animal sacrifices on the basis that they cannot take away sin, Heb 10:4-6.
      Study these passages (Ps 40:6-8; Heb 10:4-6) which clearly reveal what we already know – that the bodies of animal sacrifices represented the flesh body of Christ, and that the covenant people are metaphorically counted as being that body of Christ in order that their bodies also may be counted as being crucified, dead, buried, and born again together with Him in His resurrection, Rom 6:2-6; 7:4-6; Gal 2:20; 5:24; Heb 10:10-19; Eph 2:10-16; 4:22-24; Col 2:9-21; 3:1-10; 2Co 16-17; et al.
      Nicodemus and all the Old Testament covenant people should have been well aware of this fact. Those animals did not sin: it was man that sinned, and man must be punished and die as a sin offering in the person of the Messiah for man's sin. Likewise, it was and is more than adequately discernable from the Old Testament that the Messiah would be raised from the dead in a divine body, as we will see repeatedly.


      "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel," Gen 3:15.
      The "Seed of the woman" refers specifically to the miraculous and divine virgin birth, otherwise the expression would be "Seed of man." The Seed of woman would be a divine human being – "Immanuel," "God with us." When Adam sinned, God said the serpent (Satan) would crush the heel of the Seed of the woman, but that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of Satan (take away His power), Gen 3:15. The Seed of woman would qualify in both divine and human status as One with the inherent authority and power to put away the super human authority and power of Satan. Only the divine Seed of woman would qualify as the divine Redeemer. His qualifying support would be by the Holy Spirit by divine appointment and by prophetic utterance, Isa 11:1-9; 42:1; 49:8-9; 61:1-2; Zec 4:6.
      A major factor here is that the combat would be between Satan and the Seed of the woman – this warfare has raged from the fall of man, and is still raging in every facet of life. The most vicious thrusts were from the virgin birth to the resurrection of Christ, and though the victory has been won by Christ, the constant life-destroying thrusts of Satan still rage in the hearts and lives of all mankind.
      God killed the animals to clothe Adam and Eve and hide their nakedness (these animals were no doubt of the firstborn of the flock, as Abel's offerings were Gen 4:4), but we can be assured that God did not leave Adam and Eve without explanation and instructions, which produced what is revealed by Abel offering of the "firstborn of the flock," Gen 4:4-7.
      The real blood that cleanses from sin is the blood of Christ (Heb 10:4;9:12), not the blood of animals. The real body that sanctifies the covenant people is the body of Christ (Heb 10:10), which includes our bodies (Rom 12:1-2; 1Co 6:15-17), not the bodies of animals offered by the Law Covenant.
      Further correlation of Old Testament passages will require that the physical body of the Lamb of God be born again into a divine body in His resurrection. Also from Old Testament passages we will observe that the divine birth of Christ's body is to be followed by the new and divine birth of the bodies of the faithful covenant people in the resurrection when Christ returns. The Lamb of God is the Son of David, who is both son of God and Son of man and will reign on David's throne forever in a born again, deified human body, Isa 9:6-7; Dan 2:34-45; 7:13-14,26-27; 12:2-3; Mal 4:2.


      "My Servant," Isa 52:13-15; 53:1-12. The Lord's servant is Israel, yet the Lord's Servant (a suffering Servant Redeemer) is also "God with us," (the Christ, the Son of David), who will reign on David's throne forever. Nicodemus and most of the Jews failed to recognize this necessary correlation of the Messiah with the suffering Servant, Isa 49:1-7; 50:5-7 (Ps 40:6-10; Heb 10:5-8); 53:13-15; 53:1-12.
      Of paramount importance is the "oneness" of the Messiah (Christ) and the covenant people. We have emphasized this in the New Testament where it is seen more clearly, and now we must and will see that "oneness" predestined by the Lord all through the Old Testament – Christ and His faithful covenant people are predestined to be "one" with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; 5:31-32; Col 1:19; 2:9-12; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; et al.
      Here in Isaiah chapters 41 through 53 it is hard to discern when the Spirit is addressing Israel or the "Servant." They appear to be the same, and yet both are clearly under consideration. Jehovah addresses Israel as His servant, and then addresses Himself as His Servant – "I am He." It is imperative that we see the faithful covenant people and the Messiah in a unique oneness, and see the faithful covenant people predestined to share that unique divine oneness with the God-head – see scriptures immediately above.
      These Old Testament passages require the body of this suffering Servant to be born again into a divine body. And let it be emphasized again and again that "justification" is with reference to and finalized in the divine new birth of the faithful covenant people when Christ returns, Rom 4:24-25; Phi 3:9 (7-14,21); Mt 5:9,44-45; 6:33; 8:5-12; 12:44-50; 2Co 6:14-18; 2Pe 1:4 (4-10); et al. We are credited as being justified and therefore being the sons of God now, and are given the Holy Spirit on the basis of that reckoning; if we are unfaithful in holy and righteous living, we will forfeit the firstborn sonship and end up as slave sons, Gal 4:21-31; 5:1-5; Heb 12:8,15-29; Eze 3:20; 18:24; 33:12-13; et al.


      "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me," Ps 40:6; Heb 10:5. And that body was without blemish (Lev 1 thru 6; 1Pe 1:18-19), "because He had done no wickedness, neither was any deceit in His mouth," Isa 53:9. The Son of David, who was "God with us," was made an offering for our sins, Isa 53:10.       Nicodemus knew that a sin offering had to be without blemish, Lev 4 and 5. Isa 53 requires that Jehovah's Servant (the Messiah) be that "sin offering." And, as we shall later see, the sin offering required the justification of the one who by faith brought the sin offering. In addition, as we have already seen and will continue to see, justification is finalized in the giving of divine "life" into the bodies of the faithful covenant people in the resurrection, Rom 4:24-25; 5:18-21; Phi 3:9 (7-14,21). For the Messiah to give divine life to the covenant people (Isa 53:11), He himself must have a divine body, which is a "life giving" spirit body, 1Co 15:44-50. Justification in this life promises divine life and provides the hope of divine life in the resurrection (Rom 4:24-25; Titus 3:7); and if we are faithful by grace through faith in this life, then righteousness will reign by grace through faith into divine life in the resurrection, Rom 5:19-21; Titus 3:7; Gal 6:7-9.


      "He that is hanged is accursed of God," Deu 21:22-23; Zec 12:10; Ps 22:16; Gal 3:13. The studious, spiritually taught, discerning mind (probably Simeon and Anna were such people, Lk 2:25-35) would recognize that the Messiah: 1) would be both God and man (Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; et al) 2) would be the Lamb of God (Isa 53:7), 3) would die (Isa 53:7-12; Dan 9:26; Zec 12:10), 4) would die for the sins of the world (Isa 45:22; 53:10-12), and His death 5) would be by crucifixion (Zec 12:10; Ps 22:16; Deu 21:22-23) – though crucifixion was not a Jewish method of execution.
      Ps 22:16 and Zec 12:10 present the crucifixion of Christ in hidden yet perceptible language, and Paul ties the crucifixion to the curse of Law (Gal 3:13), which springs from Deu 21:22-23. See also Deu 28; 29; and 30. The Jews did not execute by crucifixion, but the Romans did. The curse, condemnation, and death of the Law Covenant meant being cut off from the covenants, from the covenant promises, and from the covenant people, Gal 4:21 thru 5:4. That covenant person who is cut off is still saved from hell, but must suffer God's appointed wrath, as in Heb 12:25-29 and Rev 22:18-19 – Gehenna will be discussed after this series is finished.
      Nicodemus should have seen the death of Christ first in the many animal sacrifices, then in Ps 22; Isa 53 (and other scriptures), and should have discerned the crucifixion of Christ in Ps 22:16; Zec 12:10; and Deu 21:22-23. However, since the Son of David would sit on David's throne and reign forever, it was necessary to understand that He would be born again into a deified body in order to sit at the right hand of the Father in the third heaven (Ps 110:1), as we will see from many Old Testament Scriptures.


       "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live," Deu 30:6, 14.
      10 "If you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
      11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.
      12 "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
      (Note: the "word," in verse 14 below, refers to "faith" to believe Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; and numerous other Old Testament scriptures which promised God (the son of God) 1) would come down from heaven and be born into a human body, 2) would live an unblemished life, 3) would die for the sins of the world, 4) would be raised from the dead in a new birth of the body into divine glory, 5) would sit at the right hand of the Father and intercede for the covenant people (Isa 53:12; Ex 28; 29; Lev 1 thru 9; 16), 6) then would come back in divine glory and sit on David's throne to rule forever. We will proceed to deal with the Old Testament passages which reveal these facts.)
      13 "Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
      "Beyond the sea" speaks of the unattainable: as one could not ascend to heaven above, he could not in those days go beyond the oceans. This signifies the same as other references to heaven above or to hades and paradise below (Ps 139:8; Amos 9:2-3; Eph 4:8-10), and that is what it means here. The Holy Spirit inspired both this passage and the quotation Paul made from it in Rom 10:4-8. In the latter passage Paul used the word "abyss," which signifies "hades" (both hell and paradise at that time). The divine intent of the passage is that God (Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man) 1) would descend from heaven, and be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; and other passages), 2) would live a perfect life, and die for the sins of the world, 3) would descend further into hell and paradise, 4) would then arise from the dead in a new born divine body. This is a correlation of Old Testament passages we will examine as we proceed.
      14 "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
      15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil....
      19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live" (both in this life and with divine life forever), Deu 30:10-15,19.
      To sum up Deu 28, 29, and 30, the Lord through Moses told Israel that God would greatly bless them when they believed and obeyed, but would greatly punish them when they did not believe and obey. The Lord means to believe and obey by grace through faith.
      One of the keys to this whole divine drama is that God set a covenant of disciplinary training before Israel, and that covenant discipline would apply to each individual in each succeeding generation. Another key is that by overcoming this prescribed covenant training throughout each person's lifetime, God would provide a remedy for man's cursed condition by sending His Son to be born into the human family, live a perfect life, suffer for man's sins as the Lamb of God, would die, descend into hell and paradise, arise from the dead, and in that resurrection His human body would be born again into a divine state of being, and thereby provide the same for His faithful covenant people.
      Israel would not be able to perfectly keep this Law Covenant. God knew that. The Law Covenant represents God's perfect righteousness, and every sinful human being will break the Law and incur the curse of the Law. God offered His own righteousness (the fullness of His own divine nature) to His covenant people, but not one of them would ever be able to keep God's perfect righteousness offered to the overcomer in the Law Covenant.
      God knew that they would all break the Law and be relentlessly held under its curse, condemnation, death, wrath, slavery, etc. However, God provided a way to escape from the curse and gain divine life by grace through faith, and that is what Deu 30:11-14 is talking about. "Faith" said Christ would descend to earth, become a human, live an unblemished life, die for our sins, descend further into hell and paradise, ascend back out of hell and paradise, ascend back to heaven, give the Holy Spirit as the earnest toward the new birth of the faithful covenant people, and intercede for the faithful covenant people as we strive to become overcomers – by grace through faith.
      The covenant people must constantly maintain a circumcised heart – this second application required by the Law Covenant was a heart of "faith." They were urged again and again to love the Lord with all their heart and with all their soul (life) (Deu 30: 2,6; 6:4-9; et al), which means to daily (constantly) maintain a circumcised heart (Deu 30:6), by grace through faith. To love God with all one's heart requires faith-obedience by God's grace (God's help), which God always provides if there is godly sorrow and repentance on our part, which also are by God's grace.
      How long does it take to believe? Under the Law Covenant it required believing and doing all the Law Covenant required to do, and then to offer the required sacrifices for breaking the Law Covenant in all its commandments – and doing this every day of one's life. The Law Covenant required keeping the whole Law Covenant by grace through faith, Deu 28; 30; Ja 2:10; Gal 3:10; 5:3. The Law required a circumcised heart that kept all the commandments of the Law Covenant, and to do so throughout one's entire life.


      4 "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who is constantly believing.
      5 "For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the Law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them' (while the first application of the Law Covenant was "not of faith," Gal 3:11-12, the second application of the Law Covenant was "of faith," by bringing a blood sacrifice for the broken Law. See below).
      6 "But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, ‘Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'' (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
      7 "Or, 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
      8 "But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach)," Rom 10:4-8.
      9 "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
      10 "For with the heart one is believing into righteousness, and with the mouth confession is being made into salvation," Rom 10:4-10.
      The salvation here is not salvation from hell, but salvation into the divine firstborn sonship of Christ, 1Co 15:1-2,29-34,57-58; Phi 3:7-14,21; 1Jn 2:23-25; 5:6-13; 2Jn 9-11; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 4:21-31; 5:1-5; 2Pe 3:16-17; 1Ti 1:18-20; 1Co 9:24 thru 10:12; et al.
      We observe in Deu 30 the requirement of a circumcised heart which requires emphasis on the use of the present tense and present participle in Rom 9:30 thru 10:12. It was not a once in a lifetime believing, but a circumcised heart that by grace through faith continued daily to keep God's commandments, which commandments required the offering of sin offerings because of the constant breaking of the commandments. We are warned throughout the Scriptures that we daily keep God's commandments and exhort one another lest we make shipwreck of faith (1Ti 1:18-20) and develop "an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God," Heb 3:12-14; 2Pe 3:16-17.
      This passage (Deu 30:11-14) requires the Son of God to descend from heaven, keep the Law for us in a human body, descend into hell and paradise (both in the center of the earth at that time), then arise from the dead in a divinely new born body in This passage and its greater context concerns keeping God's commandments, which the Son of God coming down from heaven would have to do and did do for us.
      The goal here is not salvation from hell, but to provide for the covenant people to gain that divine life, divine righteousness, and salvation into the divine state of being, about which both Deu 30 and Rom 10 speak, and which the New Testament more clearly reveals as the fullness of God's divine nature, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-21; 1Co 15:1-2,29-58; Phi 2:6-11; 3:7-14,21; et al.


      9 "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh (in the grave) also will rest in hope.
      10 "For You will not leave My soul in sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
      11 "You will show me the path of life (divine life for the human body); In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore," Ps 16:9-11.
      The first 8 verses of this Psalm are rich in expressions of dedication and praise on the part of Christ, and, without mention of the crucifixion, lead us up to His burial where Christ says:

1. "My flesh also will rest in hope."

      This means the flesh body is dead and in the grave, but it waits for the resurrection. In Spirit the Messiah would descend into hell and paradise, as was required by these prophecies we are reviewing. So He said:

2. "You will not leave My Soul in sheol" (You will not leave Me in hell or paradise).

      The Messiah is always fully submissive to the Father, and must descend by the Holy Spirit (1Pe 3:18-20) into hell and paradise and declare the good news of the Gospel to those imprisoned there. Hell has no power over Him, for He has paid the full price for the sins of the world.

3. "Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption."

      The prophetic Word requires the Seed of the woman (Son of David, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Christ) to ascend out of Sheol and bring paradise with Him as we will quickly observe from other Old Testament passages.

4. "You will show me the path of life."

      This reveals that Christ, in His human body, did not have that divine life yet: He had to qualify for that life in His human body by learning obedience through suffering, Heb 5:8-9; Mt 7:13-14; 19:28 (16-30). Though Christ was the Son of God and possessed all the fullness of deity from eternity, His human body did not possess that divine state of life until His resurrection, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co 15:44-50.
      This is the same "life" we see in Deu 30:15,19-20 and throughout both Old and New testaments. It is divine life in the human body making the Son of David the Firstborn from the dead, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; I Co 15:44-50; et al. This is the divine life that will be manifest and rule during the day of the Lord, the life that will be predominant in the millennial age and forever thereafter.

5. "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures evermore."

      As we will see, this is addressing Ps 2:7 and Ps 110:1-4 where the Father says "You are My Son, today I have begotten You," and "Sit at My right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool."


      7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
      8 "Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession," Ps 2:7-8.
      Observe the following:

1. This is clearly the Son of David, the Son of man, who is instructed to "Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance...".

      The prophetic Word says the Son of David (the mighty God born into a human body, Isa 9:6-7) will sit on the throne of David for ever, 2Ch 17:11-14; Isa 11:1-9; Jer 23:5-6.

2. "You are My Son, Today I have given birth to You."

      "Today" or "This day" is a "time" related state-ment, and does not apply to the human birth of Jehovah Elohim, but to His resurrection as the New Testament reveals (Act 13:29-33), and as the following shows.

3. This passage projects a divine-human relationship.

      The first part of verse 7 and verse 8 say, "I will declare the decree: the Lord said to Me.....Today....Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession." The words must go together with the words "Today" or "This day." Again, this is a "today," that is, a "time" related statement, related to the "day" of the Messiah's body resurrection out of Sheol and out of the grave
.       It was after this that the Father said to the Son, "Sit on My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool," Ps 110:1. There was almost constant conversation going on between the Father in heaven and the Son in His human body on earth. This conversation could have taken place on earth or in heaven, for Christ evidently ascended quickly to heaven and returned to earth the day of His resurrection, Jn 20:17; Mt 28:1-9.
      It should have been clear to Nicodemus and other spiritually taught Jews that for the Son of David (God with us) to ascend into the Father's presence, His human body would be born again into a divine body in His resurrection. Other passages that we will examine will continue to awesomely establish that the Old Testament alone provides sufficient information for all to be thoroughly assured that the faithful covenant people will be born again into a divine body in the resurrection. Abundant information of this kind is still forthcoming.


      17 "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, Even thousands of thousands; The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
      18 "You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts for men, Even for the disobediet, That the LORD God might dwell there," Ps 68:18; Eph 4:8-10.
      This passage is to be associated with the one we have just covered (Deu 30:11-14), where ascending into heaven and descending into hell and paradise are in focus. There are five things for us to consider in this prophetic verse:

1. "You have ascended on high."

      The Son of God becoming the Son of man and the scope of His divine, then human, then divine state of being must be kept in mind all through the Old Testament for a proper understanding of the human life and related activities of Immanuel – from the vantage point of the Old Testament alone, where Nicodemus stood. In this way we also with the New Testament can better understand the purpose of God in its prophetic applications. The Messiah had to first descend from heaven and be born of a virgin as the Seed of the woman to become a human in the human family and be without sin. This passage deals only with His activities after He had accomplished His earthly life and ministry. The focus here is on what He did after He died for our sins.

2. "You led captivity captive."

      To harmonize this from the Old Testament, we again associate it with the former passage, Deu 30:11-14. The Messiah must descend into the abyss – hell and paradise at that time, Lk 16:19-31. That is where those who had qualified for the firstborn sonship (and everyone else who had died) were held "captive." In Old Testament days, paradise was also in the center of the earth, Lk 23:43.
      When the Messiah had finished His earthly ministry and had suffered God's wrath against Himself for our sins, it was God's purpose for Him to descend into hell and paradise, proclaim the fulfilment of His prophetic earthly mission to the point of the cross and death. Then the prophetic Word provided for the Messiah (God in a human body) to ascend out of the abyss, reenter His body, and give His flesh body a divine birth to create a "new man," a heavenly (spirit, deified) body, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:44-50; et al.
      Then Christ was to ascend back to heaven, and as He did so He was to lead captivity captive by removing paradise with at least the spirits of the faithful covenant people from the center of the earth to the third heaven, Ps 68:18; 2Co 12:1-3.

3. "You received gifts for men."

      For the precise fulfillment of this part of the prophetic Word (Ps 68:18), we turn to Act 2:33-35:
      33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
      34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand,
      35 "Till I make Your enemies Your footstool,'" Act 2:33-35.
      Here we will mention three things: 1) sitting on God's "right hand" is to be associated with the Messiah as the Son of David ascending back to heaven in a deified body, 2) the harmony is beautiful between this passage (Act 2:33-35), and the prophecy in Ps 68:18, where Christ leads captivity captive. Here in Act 2:33-35 the Holy Spirit joins Ps 68:18 to Ps 110:1-4 which we will discuss shortly, and 3) when Christ was seated at the right hand of the Father, He received from the Father the special ministry of the Holy Spirit whom He sent down to indwell and give spiritual gifts (miracle working powers) to the church on the day of Pentecost, Act 2:1-39.

4. "Even for the disobedient."

      Obviously, this refers to sinful human beings who have believed and have been initiated into proper covenant relationship with God. Spiritual gifts were given only to those properly baptized into a true local church, with the exception of Cornelius (Act 10) and his household who were given the Spirit and spiritual gifts specifically in order to insure and expedite their entrance into the church (we will not here go into the preponderance of evidence of this fact). The church is God's covenant people in this New Covenant age. John's baptism is the initiatory ordinance into the church (Lk 7:29-30; Rom 6:3-6; Gal 3:27; Col 2:11-17), and the Lord's Supper is our covenant Passover feast, Mt 26:26-28; 1Co 5:7-8.

5. "That the Lord God may dwell there."
      Just before the Lord ascended back to heaven, He told His church to return to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit who would be sent upon them very soon, Act 1:1-8. He ascended back to heaven and sent the Spirit down to the church in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, Act 2:33. The Holy Spirit gave spiritual gifts to the members of the church, and is dwelling in the church to aid them to carry the Gospel into all the world. The gift of the Holy Spirit also serves as God's "earnest" pledge (2Co 5:5) to qualify them to stand fast and overcome in the covenant disciplinary training prescribed for them, 1Co 10:1-13; Heb 3; 12; et al.


      1 "A Psalm of David. "The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.'
      2 "The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
      3 "Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power; in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.r>       4 "The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,'" Ps 110:1-4.
      Again, observe the following:

1.Messianic Psalm

      Nicodemus should have understood that this passage was and is addressing the Messiah (the anointed Christ) who is "God with us," God in a human body, the Son of David (Isa 7;14; 9:6-7), and all the things itemized under "Immanuel" on page 3 above.

2. Sit on My right hand.

      The admonition to "sit on My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" signifies first that He has not been sitting there since He became a human (Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; Mic 5:2), and second that he will come back to earth to sit on the throne of David and rule the nations, Isa 9:6-7.

3. The Son of David

      This is the Son of David who is to rule the nations forever, Isa 9:6-7; Zec 12:8-10; 1Ch 17:12-14. Ruling the nations with a rod of iron (Ps 2; Rev 2:26-27) is a promise made to the Messiah and the covenant people only (Deu 26:16-19; Ps 2.

4. The Volunteers

      The "volunteers" (Ps 110:3) speak of those whose "will" has been to do God's "will." The day of "Your power," points to the return of Christ. In the "beauty of holiness," refers to the holy walk of life and its end result of inheriting the holiness (divine nature) of God, Heb 12:10. The "womb of the morning" addresses the new birth resurrection of the saints, while the "dew of Your youth" draws upon the newness and "life-giving" (1Co 15:45) power of the resurrection morning of the day of Christ's divine power – observe the flow of the passage.

5. David's Seed is David's Lord.

     In verse 1 Christ (the Messiah) is called "Lord," and is seated in a deified human body at the right hand of the Father in the third heaven. Verse 4 reveals that the Father takes an oath that Christ has qualified to be a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. "Forever" signifies an unchanging priesthood because the deified Christ will never die again, and the expression "after the order of Melchizedek" requires a change of Priesthood and a change of covenants.