Week 6 — Chapter 6: Believing in Jesus’ Authority

Jun 14, 2023 | Divine Council, Manuscripts/Outlines

Note: This manuscript is taken directly from my current small group series at church on Exploring the Unseen: The Supernatural World of the Bible. Contextual references to other lessons have been retained.
Read Supernatural, chapters 11–12. Read and prepare to discuss Daniel 7:9–14; Luke 4:1–13; Mark 9:2–8; Matthew 26:59–66. Matt 16:17-18, Ps. 22:7-14, 1 Tim. 3:16, Col 2:13-15 Three questions will help guide our discussion:

Question 1: What Did Jesus Come to Do?

We now see TWO problems Jesus needs to solve instead of one:
  1. Sin, which separates us from the divine.
  2. Authority, which separates God from the nations.
    The big “why” of the DCW is to address the authority piece.
By noticing that the gods of the first commandment are leading characters in the story of the Bible, we soon realize that the plotline of this story may be difficult to follow. This is because a society of spirits operates primarily outside of our senses. We should also catch ourselves wondering how this grand story will end, even questioning if a happy conclusion is possible. Placing evil gods in control of the world does not bode well for the humans who live under their watch! We may wonder, “Will God ever take back the authority he gave away to the gods he created? If so, how would he do it? Will the gods give back their authority peaceably? What will God do to these gods? And what will happen to us humans?” We certainly have a vested interest in considering how our own story ends.
Johnson, R. (2015). ~Supernatural (A Study Guide)~. Lexham Press.
  1. The problem of sin: Solved by “set-apartness” (e.g., holiness)
    • Through ritual cleansing
    • Through believing loyalty
  2. The problem of authority: Solved by Jesus’ “God-ness”
    • In relation to Satan
      1. Matt 4:8-11 — “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
    • In relation to the rest of the Council (link if needed)
      1. John 10:30-38 — “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”
        1. Implications:
          1. Jesus uses Psalm 82 to identify himself as belonging to the divine realm.
          2. Jesus also identifies himself with the Father, who belongs to the divine realm.
        2. Summary from Heiser: “Briefly, I view John’s use of Psa. 82:6 in John 10:34 as making the point (from Jesus himself) that there are other non-human sons of God. By referencing Psalm 82, which is not about “human elohim,” Jesus is in effect tweaking his opponents by claiming to be more than human. Had Jesus/John instead quoted something like Psa. 2:7, where the Israelite king was referred to as God’s son, the point would have been a claim to be the Davidic king (which, of course, his Jewish opponents could not have claimed). But instead we get Psa. 82:6 to distinguish Jesus. Situated as it is between clear claims to be one with the Father, and that the Father is in Jesus (cp. Exod. 23:20-23, where the Name—the presence/essence of Yahweh (cp. Deut. 4:37)—is in the angel, who is therefore Yahweh in human form), John is both asserting Jesus is divine and distinct from other divine sons of God. In effect, Jesus is lord of the council. This interpretation is consistent with: (1) Psalm 82 understood in its original ancient Near Eastern context; (2) other instances of “sons of God” being divine in the Hebrew Bible; and (3) John’s portrayal of Jesus as God in his gospel. No other view meets these criteria.”
    • In relation to Demons
      1. Mark 1: 21-28 — “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.”
In this context, the great commission makes so much sense: Matthew 28:18-20 — “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power [AUTHORITY] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” However, that authority was rooted in more than the arbitrary claim of a NT Rabbi. It had direct connection to the OT Hebrew context.
Most Jews lived in southern Israel, near Jerusalem. But not Jesus. He grew up in Nazareth, a Roman military outpost, and chose Galileans—not those young rabbinical interns living near the temple—for his disciples. His travels seem to take him on repeat visits to places like Sidon and Tyre and Samaria and Caesarea Philippi, all places where foreign gods were openly worshiped and where pagan influence was abundant. None of this was accidental. He wanted to make his case for authority in front of those who needed to hear it most. The Messiah, the rightful King, would have it no other way.
Johnson, R. (2015). ~Supernatural (A Study Guide)~. Lexham Press.
Heiser Psa82inJohn10 RegSBL2011.pdf

Question 2: Who Did Jesus Claim He Was?

  • People falsely think Jesus was crucified for what he did. Truly, he was crucified for who he claimed to BE.
    • Daniel 7:13-14 — “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
      • The phrase “Son of Man” obviously points to a human; the catch is, this figure is ALSO one with Yahweh — he was “Coming on the Clouds” to the Ancient of Days — a description used only of Yahweh
    • Matthew 26:62-66 — “And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.”
  • Jesus mission was ROOTED in his true identity:
    • 1 Tim 3:16 — “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
    • Psalm 22:7-14 — “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: Let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: Thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; For there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: Strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, As a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; It is melted in the midst of my bowels.”
The creepy part of this description is the fierce bulls from Bashan. As we noted earlier, in Old Testament times, Bashan was ground zero to demonic gods and the realm of the dead. The area was a leading center for the worship of Baal, symbolized by bulls and cows. “Bulls from the land of Bashan” is a reference to demons, the powers of darkness. In our own time, the imagery was captured in all its eerie repulsion by C. S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. No one who has read that book or seen the movie can forget Aslan humbly surrendering his life to the delighted hordes of the White Witch on the Stone Table.
And just as Jesus had utterly outwitted Satan, Aslan had played the White Witch for a fool. What evil misperceived as the moment of triumph turned out to be its own irreversible defeat.
Heiser, M. S. (2015). ~Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World—And Why It Matters~ (D. Lambert, Ed.; p. 122). Lexham Press.

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