Thursday, August 29, 2013

Justin Martyr: Prophecies of Jesus

Last week, the Sunday School class that Tim and I are participating in gave a homework assignment to write down 15 things we like about our spouses.  It was not hard to think of 15 things for Tim.  It would not be hard to think of 15 more.  However, it is more important to spend our time thinking about ways that Jesus is worthy of our exclusive worship and honor.  Justin continues exegeting prophecies for his Roman readers to better understand Christ and his Christians in chapters 51-60 of his first apology.

Jesus 1) became man for our sakes, 2) endured to suffer and be dishonored and, 3)shall come again in glory.  Isaiah 52:13-53:8 enumerates all the suffering that he did for his people centuries before he did them.  4) After he was crucified, all his acquaintances forsook him.  5) When he had risen from the dead and appeared to the same people, he 6) taught them to read the prophecies, 7) they saw him ascent to heaven and believed, 8) he gave them his power in the Holy Spirit, and 9) they went to every race and taught the same things.

Isaiah 53:8-12 displays more of his post-resurrection glory.  10) They made his grave with the wicked and 11) with a rich man in his death although, 12) he had done no violence and 13) there was no deceit in his mouth.  14) Out of the anguish of his soul will he see and be satisfied.  15) By his knowledge he will make many to be considered righteous.  16) He will bear the sins of those he will consider righteous.  17) God will give him all his glory and he will divide it with those he redeemed; he will divide the spoil with the strengthened ones.  18) He makes intercession for the transgressors.

Justin also cites Psalm 24:7, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, that the King of Glory shall come in."  He cites Daniel 7:13 that predicts the Son of Man coming in glory, being presented before the Ancient of Days.

Everything predicted by the prophets happened.  From that, we can conclude that things they predicted that have not yet happened will certainly happen.  In the past they predicted Christ's dishonor and humiliation.  In the future, he will come from heaven with glory, and you can rest on that promise.  He will come 19) with the angelic host, 20) will raise the bodies of all men, 21)will clothe those he redeemed with immortality, and 21) he will send the wicked to the everlasting fire.

These prophecies are sufficient for persuading those who have ears to hear.  Christians can provide historical proof that Jesus fulfilled all of them.  The followers of Jupiter cannot do the same with his sons.  None of Jupiter's sons are 22) first-born of an unbegotten God, 23) will pass judgment on all humans, 24) have his message received better by the Gentiles than by the Jews, the original audience, and 25) have prophecies for their major city such as Jerusalem completed when the city and temple were destroyed in 70.

According to Justin, the pagans take all this prophecy and pretend it applies to their myths and legends but have no concrete evidence of their veracity.  They did not understand but imitated what was said of Christ.  From Genesis 49:10, they concluded that it was a prediction of Bacchus.  Isaiah predicted that a virgin would give birth to a son, and the pagans thought it referred to Perseus.  Psalm 19:5 talks of a champion rejoicing to run his course.  This would refer to Hercules, say the Romans.  The Old Testament predicted Jesus healing the sick and raising the dead.  They applied that info to Aesculapius.  All the pagan myths miss one mystery that still boggles the mind of both Jews and Gentiles: none of them presented their demigod heroes as being crucified on a cross.  It was always presented symbolically in the prophets, and since they did not understand those words, they missed the main purpose of Jesus when he did come.

Lamentations 4:20
The breath of our nostrils, the Lord's anointed,
    was captured in their pits,
of whom we said, “Under his shadow
    we shall live among the nations.”

Now that Jesus has come the same evil spirits who attributed the prophecies to the Roman pantheon later applied them to other men.  Simon and Menander from Samaria performed magic and deceived many Romans.  People on TV still do that with Words of Knowledge.  They focus the people away from Christ and onto themselves and on us.

The demons cause persecution.  They cannot prove that the wicked will not be punished any more than they can hide Christ.  These evil spirits 1)live irrationally, 2)are brought up in licentious homes with wicked cultures, and 3)are prejudice by their own opinions.  They hate the true believers and will do what they can to destroy them.  On the other hand, we do not hate them.  We actually pity them and pray that the Lord will lead them to repentance.  They cannot harm us because we do not fear death.

They also raise up people like Marcion who spoke of Jesus but who denied the goodness of God the Father presented in the Old Testament and edited anything Old Testament out of his Bible.  Marcion and company attempt nothing more than to seduce men from God.

Finally, Plato got all his ideas from Moses.  The Romans love Plato.  I love Plato and hope that the Lord had mercy on him.  Plato talked about a God who altered shapeless matter and made the world.  He got his idea from Moses.  Everyone who teaches that God spoke the universe into existence from nothing knows that Moses first taught that doctrine.  And they know that the prophetic words are true, reliable, and completely point to Jesus and all he has done for us.

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