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May 14, 2000

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Q/A Topics:
Jesus 'priest' from Judah, not Levi?

QUESTION:
There is something that has confused me from the scriptures, and i wanted to ask you, as im sure that you can help. I know that Jesus had to live a life without sin, (which he did) and i suppose that this means that he would have to of not broken any of the Mosaic? law. I thought that the preisthood was ordained to the levites, and i see that jesus was from the tribe of judah. why was he from the tribe of judah and not of levites?

ANSWER:
Jesus was not of the "Levitical priesthood". The Levitical priests were of human appointment, being descendants of Aaron. (Heb5:1) These would die when they got old, and their offspring would rise up and take over the office. But being the Son of God it was prophsied of Him, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (Heb5:6, Ps110:4) If you read in Hebrews ch7, you see how there is no record of Melchizedek's lineage, and how Melchizedek blesses Abraham...the g g g g g g g great....grandfather of Aaron. If the "better" blesses the "lesser" (Heb7:7), the "Order of Melchizedek" is a -higher- priesthood than the Levitical one. And, as you read through ch7 you will see the writer's argument about the "tribe of Judah" also. (vs14)

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Jesus' Spiritual or Physical death more important?

QUESTION:
Could you possibly tell me if Jesus Christ died spiritually as well as physically on the cross? and if so which is considered the more important of the deaths, for our salvation?

ANSWER:
Rom8:9-11 speak of the indwelling Holy Spirit due to the raising of Christ from the dead, which is expounded in Rom6:4+. When He cried out "My God...why have You forsaken Me?" that was the moment He was bearing our sins. He was spiritually dead at that moment, even though His 'physical' body was still alive. When He cried out "it is finished", sin at that moment had been atoned because God saw the "travail of His soul" (Is53:11), but His body was still alive.

We know, also, that we were redeemed with His precious blood. (Rev1:5, 1Pt1:19)

Suppose for the sake of a crude illustration that these two items are two 'links' in the 'chain' of Salvation.... If you have a chain holding something up, which is the most important link? 'Which' link can you allow to break and still have the chain do its job? Can you get by without one of the chain's links?

It's the "complete package".

Addendum 5-18-00: (due to responses to the above answer)

Hello Everyone...

I was rather amazed at some of the responses to Sunday's Q/A regarding Jesus' death. The "spiritual" vs "physical". And, right 'now' as I'm sitting here is the time I would normally be mailing out tonight's mailing...but am -just- now writing this. So, if this is a bit less polished than normal, please understand.

First of all, there were several who did some name-dropping: Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, etc... suggesting that Sunday's comment that Jesus died 'spiritually' on the cross was sounding awfully close to the teachings of some of these people. And let's take the error down the path that many take it, to expose it. I am not a student of the various ones named... but there is a teaching out there that says, also, that Jesus while He was dead, was in hell being "tortured" by satan.

Let us understand something... and this applies to -any- doctrine that one might consider. Just because certain false prophets teach something, doesn't necessarily make it -all- 'false'. Suppose they teach "X" which is false, but also include "Y" which is truth; just because they are a false teacher and proclaim "X", does not make "Y" false, also. It is often said that false doctrine includes 99% truth. Like another person who wrote today, not sure whether to unsubscribe, because VW proclaims charismania to be demonic...and yet some charismatic friends were "praying" for a specific need at -just- the "right time" the need was there. So, what does it matter that they become "slain"...they knew the need and "prayed" for it. Well, if false prophets proclaimed 100% error, there would be no 'deception' would there. The deception comes because they appear to be "ministers of righteousness" (2Cor11:15). Sure, the demons know that a certain 'need' exists...so they can have their followers "pray" for that need at the right moment, to then be able to report that "on schedule" praying. And you see, most people are so "wowed" by what appears to be true, that they ignore the demon-possessed "slain" experiences. If they are demonic in one case, the other does not suddenly become "of God"!!! And conversely, because a false teacher proclaims error, doesn't mean that everything he says is false.

After all, Catholicism teaches (correctly) that Jesus died on the cross. But then they say that His wounds are -still- "continually bleeding" for us. But Scripture says that He died "once for all" (Rom6:10, Heb7:27) and that He rose from the dead. (1Cor15:20) Catholicism's correct teaching about the crucifixion does not make their -generic- doctrines correct. Overall, their doctrines are false, even though they contain elements of truth.

In related manner, if you hear something here that you hear from one of them, don't automatically assume that VW also teaches everything else they teach as they continue down that doctrinal path...ending, for instance, where satan "tortured" Jesus.

Now, let's get to the topic at hand...

Adam was promised that if he disobeyed, "you shall surely die". But he and Eve ate and they were still 'walking around'. Did God lie? He had said "in the day you eat"... and yet Adam lived over 900 years. God did not specifically say, "you shall die -spiritually-.

When Paul proclaims "you were once dead in trespasses and sins...even when we were dead in sins" (Eph2:1,5) Well...we were -quite- 'alive and kicking'. We were pursuing life, breathing, eating, working...blood coursing through our bodies. He doesn't specify "you were dead -spiritually-."

But notice when we receive Life in Christ, He was the "life giving Spirit" (1Cor15:45) When we are made alive we receive the "Spirit of life in Christ Jesus". If we are made alive in the Spirit, then conversely, the death which preceeds it is a 'spiritual' death. This is understood in the -context-.

After all, things of the S/spirit are still a mystery. Jesus describes it to Nicodemus, "The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Jn3:8)

Being creatures of "flesh and blood" (1Cor15:50) that we are, we tend to look at things we can see and feel. The 'spiritual' is on a totally different level. And if we used to be spiritually dead, there isn't much use in describing it much ("the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God" -1Cor2:14)...thus, our condition and remedy is given mostly in terms we finite humans can understand. And thus, the O.T. sacrifices were -physical- ones, of shedding of "blood" of animals. And when Jesus came, He shed His -physical- blood, in fulfillment of those O.T. -physical- sacrifices. To you who quoted back to me 1Pet1:19 that we were redeemed with "the precious BLOOD of Christ..", please keep in mind that 1Peter was written to "the elect sojourners of the Dispersion" (1:1). IOW..."Jews". This word-picture about Jesus' blood was to describe how Christ fulfilled the O.T. sacrifices. The -physical- sacrifices were things they were used to.

Some other quotes were made from Isa53:4-5...of Jesus' -physical- wounds... "..with His stripes we ourselves are healed" (vs5b) While it is true that these -physical- things certainly happened to Jesus, what does it say was the "satisfaction" before the Father? You see...Isaiah ch53 goes further than just vss 1-7. It goes all the way to vs12. And we quoted part of it in Sunday's Q/A... which some of you apparently missed...

"Yet it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; to grieve Him; that he should put forth His -SOUL- as a guilt-offering...He shall see of the travail of His -SOUL-. He shall be fully satisfied." (vs10-11) Notice..."soul" is not "physical".

Where is the "dividing apart of soul and spirit"? (Heb4:12) Who knows the distinction between the two? Does humanity? They are sooo closely entwined as far as man is concerned... Jesus is the One Who knows. Again, remember Jesus' description of the "spirit" to Nicodemus. It is a mystery.

Now...when Jesus was on the cross and crying out, "My God...why have You forsaken Me??" He was VERY MUCH 'alive' -physically-. Right? If you doubt this, then this 'discussion' is useless. Now if God was 'forsaking' Jesus...what is the -only- reason, the only possible scenario that could split up the "oneness" between God and Jesus? (Jn17) What is the thing God cannot countenance? "Iniquities and sins" (Is59:2) When there is sin, God's face is "hidden". Thus, at the moment Jesus cried out as He did, He was bearing mankind's sin. Again... He was very much 'alive'...people heard His -physical- voice. Thus, while He was alive physically, He was carrying sin which results in death. (Rom6:23) The "sting of death is sin". (1Cor15:56)

Now if Jesus was -physically- alive, and God was seeing the "travail of His SOUL" (and the soul is usually associated with a live body), and He has the weight of sin on Him, and Sin equals Death...there is only one other element left, by which Jesus could have been "dead" at that moment He cried out. The spiritual.

Some comments suggested that to make these kinds of statements detracts from the Holy Spirit. But it does not. Let us never forget that Jesus was -FULLY HUMAN-. He partook of "flesh and blood". (Heb2:14) In fact, if you do not believe this, you are of the spirit of the antichrist. (1Jn4:2-3) It was the "man" Jesus who died on the cross. Pilate brought Jesus out to the people, "Behold the -man-!" (Jn19:5)

Humanity has three parts "body, soul and spirit". (1Th5:23) As Believers we are exhorted to keep all-three "blameless". As 'humanity' Jesus was just like we are...with one difference. He did not have a 'human' father. Remember a couple weeks ago the Fig Leaf about the male "Y" chromosome and Israel's priethood from the line of Levi. The "Y" chromosome is passed down, father-to-son, generation after generation.. unchanged. If Jesus had had an earthly father, He would have inherited Adam's sin.(1Cor15:45) But Jesus was the Seed of the "woman". (Gen3:15) And as God "breathed" (Spirit) into Adam to give life into him, The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary's womb. (Mt1:18, Lk1:35) You see, we might say... the Holy Spirit conceived both Adam and Jesus (the man).

But as fully 'human', Jesus was comprised of body, soul and spirit. And He experienced everything humanity does...yet without sin. (Heb4:15) If Christ suffered "in all points" as we are...He also had to fulfill our redemption in all aspects. IOW...if we were dead -spiritually- because of sin, then Jesus (the MAN) had to die -spiritually-. He is, after all, the "last Adam" (man)

Just like Adam died "spiritually" but Genesis doesn't specify the fact 'in words' ...many of the things of the Spirit are like Jn3:8. A dimension not so readily visible to us. But if Jesus' resurrection is the "firstfruit" (1Cor15:20) to eternal life, and in giving Life is the "Life giving Spirit", does it not stand to reason that His death from which He was resurrected also contained the "spiritual" dimension?

Do not interpret this 'addendum' as placing 'more' emphasis on Christ's -spiritual- suffering. As the original answer stated, it takes "both". If you only believe in Jesus' "shed blood" (without which there is no remission -Heb9:22), you only have -physical- salvation. You will only remain on earth as "flesh and blood". And there are many who teach this error, that Jesus is -merely- returning to earth to reign, as they are allegedly "preparing a place for Him" to return to. But Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you.." (Jn14:2) and promises "I will come again and receive you to Myself". (vs3) Yes, the physical needs redeeming, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God". (1Cor15:50) But we cannot be in God's presence if we are not redeemed spiritually, because "God is Spirit". (Jn4:24) The Holy Spirit's indwelling is one of the defining characteristics of a Christian (Rom8:9) and is how we have bold access to God's presence (8:26-27) That occurs, even though the bodies have not yet been redeemed. (Rom8:23) How could it ever be possible to have the Holy Spirit if Christ did not also redeem us -spiritually-? He could only do that if He also suffered spiritually.

Jesus redeemed us in our totality. Body, soul AND spirit. And He did so by suffering/dying in all three... body, soul AND spirit.

I realize this barely scratches the surface of this topic. There are so many Scriptures we could investigate. But I hope this cursory view helps to clear up the questions... for now.

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