Faith in the Last Days - J. Thomas
14 - THE GOOD CONFESSION

"ALL things must be fulfilled", said the Lord Jesus, "that are written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me." (Luke 24:44) When these words were spoken, the writings known among us as the New Testament had no existence. When, therefore, Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of me", (John 5:39) he exhorts us to search Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms which is indispensable, for he adds elsewhere, "If believe not Moses' writings, how can ye believe my words?" (John 5:45-47) It was impossible; for the words of Jesus were his preaching; and he preached the "gospel of the Kingdom", and himself as its King -- "the Gospel of God, which", says Paul, "he had promised by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures". (Rom. 1:1-2) He preached what they predicted; disbelieve this, and his preaching is denied.

The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, are the testimony for Christ; while the written testimony of the inspired Apostles is the testimony for Jesus, that he is the Christ of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets, did write". (John 1:45) This being proved, he came to be styled Jesus Christ, as though that were his family name. But neither Jehovah [Yahweh], Joseph, nor Mary, were named Christ. Jesus did not, therefore, inherit the name by descent; nor did he acquire the title till he began to be about thirty years old. The word designates a person who had been, or was to be, anointed with oil, or spirit represented by oil. Aaron, Saul, David, Solomon, etc., were anointed with holy oil by Jehovah's [Yahweh's] command, and were therefore "The Lord's Anointed Ones", or Christs. Moses and the Prophets foretold the appearing of a Son of David who should be Son of God and anointed with spirit without measure. For about 4,000 years after the formation of Adam, the world had been unvisited by the personage who thirty years afterwards was to be thus anointed. At that time, Jesus emerged from the Jordan, and the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, rested upon him, and thus poured out upon him, filled him, and so anointed him. This was the fulfilment of the prophecy in Daniel about sealing the prophet, and anointing the Most Holy. It was the christening of Jesus by which "he was made Christ" as he has since been "made Lord".

When John the baptizer was performing his mission, Priests and Levites were sent to him from Jerusalem to inquire if he, were the Christ or not.. He replied that he was not; but that he was his forerunner. Soon after this, Jesus was publicly, anointed; and forthwith claimed to be the person of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote. This was nothing less than laying claim to the kingdom of Israel and throne of David for ever; so that henceforth it became a great national question with all Jews, seeing that John repudiated all pretention to the dignity, "Is Jesus of Nazareth the Christ -- the Prophet like unto Moses, or do we look for another?" There were great debates among the people upon this question. Some favoured the claims of Jesus, while others from various reasons of state policy rejected them altogether. After his crucifixion the question was revived and enlarged. It was not now simply, "Was Jesus the Anointed King of Israel?" But, "Is he the anointed King of Israel raised from the dead to sit upon David's throne for ever?" Yea, said the apostles, this is our proclamation concerning him: "Nay!" said their opponents, "we deny it." Upon this point, then, God and the apostles joined issue with the rulers of the nation. Wherever they went they maintained that Jesus is the Christ, and God hath raised him from the dead; and so triumphantly did they establish its truth to the conviction of multitudes that "Jesus" and "Christ" became inseparable ideas; and came at length to lose the form of a proposition, and to be merged into a name for the Lord of Israel and the world.

If a Gentile of our day be asked, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" -- it represents to his mind, with a simple change of person, about the same thing as, "Do you believe in Pontius Pilate?" He thinks you are asking him if he believes that there ever were such persons as Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate? His reply is, "Yes; I do not recollect when I did not believe it". But ask an intelligent Jew of the first, nineteenth, or intermediate centuries, holding on to Judaism and he would say, "No". But he would not mean by "no" that he does not believe there ever was such a person as Jesus; but that he does not believe that Jesus was the Christ to be raised up as a horn in David's house for the restoration of the kingdom and Throne of Israel. This restoration, termed by Peter, "the restitution of all things spoken of by all the prophets since the world began", (Acts 3:21) is Israel's hope; but to sectarian Gentiles known only as something that obtains in the undiscovered realms of trans-solar space. When therefore they profess to believe in Jesus Christ, they do not make "the good confession" (1 Tim. 6:13) "witnessed by all who confessed Jesus in apostolic times. It was not his existence, or mere sonship, that they confessed; but the same confession he himself made before Pontius Pilate. He did not confess that he believed in his own existence; or that he was the Son of God; or that he was the saviour of the world; or that he was an atonement for sin through the shedding of his blood: but that he was born to be the King of Israel.

Paul reminds Timothy that he had "confessed the good confession before many witnesses", which Christ Jesus had "witnessed before Pontius Pilate". Now the reader can easily satisfy himself what this confession was by turning to John's account of the trial of Jesus at the bar of the Little Horn of the Goat. Pontius Pilate, the representative of this power in Jerusalem, asked the accused, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" (John 18:33) Had Jesus denied it, he would have denied that he was the Christ; and by denying the truth have saved himself from death by crucifixion, with the loss of "the joy set before him" (Heb. 12:2) in the gracious promises made to David. But he denied not; for "he came unto the world that he should bear witness unto the truth". The truth he witnessed in answer to Pilate's question was "Thou sayest it, I am a King. To this end was I born". (John 18:37,39) Pilate understood him to say by this that he was king of the Jews; for he afterwards asked the question of the clamorous people, "Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" (John 18:37,39) The same thing is evident also from the superscription he placed on the head piece of the cross.

But it may be inquired, "If Jesus witnessed that he was born to be king of the Jews, how could Pilate, Caesar's friend and representative, say, 'I find in him no fault at all'?" (John 18:38) The answer to this is found in the statement Jesus made of the time and origin of his kingdom. As to the time of it, he said "My kingdom is not of this world"; as to the origin of it, "My kingdom is not now from hence." (John 18:36) In regard to the time, Christ's kingdom did not belong to the Mosaic Kosmos constituted by the law, and contemporary with the Little Horn Power in its undivided form as represented by Pilate. Christ's kingdom belongs to a Kosmos characterized by the coexistence of Ten Kingdoms of the Roman earth, as known to exist at present. Had it belonged to the Mosaic era Christ's servants would have given battle to the enemy in his defence.

This is true of his kingdom to whatever epoch it may belong. Its establishment is sure to be opposed by "the Powers that be"; (Rom. 13:1) because the earth is not large enough to contain Christ and them. His servants will therefore fight against them, and "grind them to powder". (Matt. 21:44; Luke 20:18)

Then as to the origin of the kingdom. It was not to originate at that time from Jewish enterprise. It is to be set up by the God of Heaven, and the saints; that is, by Christ, and his associates, who shall take the kingdom and the dominion under the whole heaven. The armies of Israel, and a mixed multitude of Gentiles, will be a great sword in their hands to execute upon the goat nations and their governments "the judgment written". Pilate had sagacity enough to perceive that the royalty of Jesus would not disturb the existing government; and therefore, leaving the future to take care of itself, he pronounced the prisoner at Caesar's bar faultless before the law -- "I find in him no fault at all" (John 18:38) How wicked then his condemnation to the cross!

Of what value then, is the popular belief in Jesus Christ while it denies the truth he witnessed before Pontius Pilate? "Theology", or pulpit tradition, and collegiate divinity speculation, denies that Jesus was born to rule over Israel as king upon the throne of his father David on Mount Zion. It laughs to scorn so outrageous a supposition! Yet no truth is more plainly taught in the Bible. Popular belief in Jesus is a mere matter of course assent to current opinions concerning him, and totally insufficient as a foundation for union to his name. It does not confess the truth, being ignorant of it; and is therefore of no efficacy for the renewal of the heart, and purification of the soul.