Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jesus: Son of Abraham

The Obedience and Faith of Christ

This entailed taking a walk like Isaac, in company with His Father, who the Bible says, was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself’”   (2 Cor.5:19). They took the journey to Golgotha together, where Jesus was to die as a sin offering, because for Him there would be no ram caught in a thicket. As Isaac was laid on the wood, so He was laid on the cross. As Isaac was bound on the altar Jesus was nailed to it. The writer of the Hebrew letter tells us Abraham had faith that God could raise his son from the dead (Heb.11:19); whereas Jesus was exercising faith in the promise of God that He had the power to raise Himself from the dead, as per John 10:18No one takes it (i.e. My life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Of course there was much more involved in the obedience of Christ as THE true son of Abraham. It required that all the conditions and regulations revealed in the Law and the Prophets should be fulfilled. It had to include all that the Pentateuch designated for the expiation and propitiation of sin; and all that was designated for the cleansing and purification of the sinner. When   Jesus said it was laid on Him to ‘fulfill the Law’ ‘fulfill’ was used in its fullest sense. So His death had to be accomplished in such a way that the prophecies and types laid down in the T’nach, which relate to the designated sacrifices, were  satisfied.

He had to die in the 483rd year after the edict to rebuild Jerusalem as per Daniel’s prophecy (9:25). He had to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12,13). He had to die on the 14th Nisan, the day of the Passover (Exod.12:6). He had to leave the Temple going out through the Shushan Gate just as the scapegoat did on the Day of Atonement. Like the Scapegoat He left the Sanctuary going east   bearing the sins of the world.    Jesus had to die by being ‘lifted up’ to satisfy Gen.3:15 and not only lifted up but crucified to satisfy Psalm 22 “They pierced my hands and my feet”. He had to die as a felon in company with other felons (Isa.53:12). No bone of His could be broken (Ps.34:20). He had to suffer the fire of the wrath of God at the location where the carcasses of the sin offerings from the day of atonement were burned. He had to be buried for the feast of unleavened bread, just as the leaven was buried. His body had to be protected from decomposition in accordance with Ps. 16:10: “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption”. He would have to rise at the feast of Firstfruits, as the firstfruit from the dead (cf.1 Cor.15:20). To complete all this He would have to be transformed (put on incorruption at His resurrection (cf. 1 Cor.15:42)): and return to  heaven to present His own blood in the heavenly Holiest of All (Heb.9:12).

Of course, some of these fulfillments were simply occurrences of events that were prophesied through the fore-knowledge of God. However, much was also deliberately accomplished by the Lord Jesus (an example of which is John 19:28 “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst’”. And even the soldiers of the Roman execution party were directed by the unseen hand of God to choose the correct site, directly to the east of the Temple and on a sight line to the veil separating the Holy Place from the Holiest of All (see my booklet ‘Why I Believe Jesus was crucified on the Mount of Olives’).

Abraham’s Son deals with Israel’s Curse

Of course, another major purpose of the Messiah being a true son of Abraham and a law abiding Jew was to deal with the curse that    resulted from the Hebrew nation breaking the Mosaic covenant. When the Lord, through Jeremiah, promised a New Covenant He   indicated it was to replace the Mosaic Covenant “which they broke’(Jer. 31.32 ).

The death of Jesus brought to an end the Mosaic economy and initiated the New Covenant which in turn activated the blessing element of the Abrahamic covenant. This greatly improved the prospects of both Jew and Gentile and should have been received  joyously especially by the Hebrew nation, because while they remained under the Mosaic covenant they were under the curse.

The Mosaic Covenant did not introduce the curse, that took place in the Garden of Eden as a result of Adam’s disobedience, but the Mosaic Covenant was designed identify it: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed  is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Gal. 3:10).

Here then, is one reason, why the death of the Messiah had to be by crucifixion. Paul wrote: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of   the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is   everyone who hangs on a tree” (Gal. 3:13) It was through His execution by crucifixion that the Messiah dealt a  fatal blow to the Law: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way” (Col.2.14).

So, for those who have put their faith in a crucified Messiah, the curse of the Law is negated by the action of the cross.


What we are saying is that Jesus was a true Son of  Abraham who gladly embraced and performed the complete will of God.

Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Now we are free--there's no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
"Come unto Me," O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
(Philip P. Bliss)         

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Jesus Son of Abraham

Jesus—Son of Abraham

As a son of Abraham Jesus came under the Mosaic covenant. Therefore, to be a law abiding Jew, He was required to act in a responsible manner as a member of that community and  also do what was      required to fulfill the Law of Moses. For example, there are some Scriptures that teach us that He wore the appropriate clothes. In the episode where a woman needed a healing touch, she decided that if she could reach the hem of His garment she should be cured. The Greek word is ‘kraspedon’ sometimes translated
Modern Prayer Shawl
‘fringe’. The Hebrew equivalent is ‘zizith’.  What is in view here are the fringes woven on to the outer garment that was worn by Jewish men. Four fringes were worn in obedience to the     injunction of the Law in Numbers 15:37–41 and Deuteronomy 22:12. Matthew refers to them in 14:36 and 23:5. The fringe was meant to identify a Jew as a Jew and as a member of the chosen people, no matter where he was; and meant to remind a Jew every time he put on and took off his clothes that he belonged to God and subject to the Law of Moses. Jesus had these fringes on His clothes. We also know that He celebrated the feasts according to the instructions laid down in the Pentateuch. We have record of His visits to Jerusalem for Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles. Indeed, Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17).

Thy will be done

But if Jesus is to be a true ‘son of Abraham’ He has to demonstrate  faith and obedience to the will of God, just as Abraham did. And His obedience must be in answer to a similar call from God. The record shows that as Abraham was sent by God (“lekh-lekha”) so this Son of Abraham was also sent by God. The importance of His commissioning is seen in John 5:30-47 which is too long to quote in this short newsletter but should be read. Furthermore, the importance of the call of Christ is seen in the multiplicity of references, particularly in John’s gospel. For example. This is the will of the Father who sent Me (John 6:39); and No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him (John 6:44). This is repeated time and again—in John 6:57; 8:16, 18, 29, 42; 10:36; 12:49; 14:24; 17:21, 25; and 20:21. That the disciples understood that Jesus had been on a mission from God was of supreme importance and also a great comfort to the Lord when the cross was imminent. In the Passover chamber on the night before the crucifixion He prayed: O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me (John 17:25).

What is the sum of this? That if Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah is to be upheld, He not only had to have the right lineage but also has be a faithful Son of Abraham and do the will of God. This He did. He said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30) and, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). That He was successful is evident. In His life He had the confirmation by the three Bat Kohls (a Bat Kohl is a voice from heaven), the essence of which was, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17; cf. 17.5; Mark 1.11; 9.7; Luke 3.22; 9.35; John 12.27,28). And after His death He had the   vindication of the resurrection for it was God who raised Him from the dead.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Titles of the Lord Jesus

Son of Abraham

Continuing our study we take a second look at the life of Abraham to seek out those pointers that would indicate that Jesus could be considered a true son of Abraham. This blog it is Abraham's obedience.

The Obedience of Abraham

'Here I am'
If the faith of Abraham recognised the aim, it is the obedience of Abraham that more clearly provides the pointer towards the cost. A cost that will be borne by God the Father and God the Son, for it will be the  sacrifice of Abraham’s greater Son that will make this wide-ranging blessing possible. Abraham’s obedience is    recorded in Genesis chapter 22. “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (The word is ‘Hineni’ which means ‘Here I am Lord, attentive and ready to do anything you ask). Then He said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen. 22:1-2). The phrase “lekh-lekha” (go to) connects this passage with the original call of Abraham in Genesis 12 where previously it had been used when the Lord instructed Abraham to leave Chaldea. If Abraham has been called, it was ultimately for this event. Not an animal sacrifice now, but his son. The description of Isaac is illuminating: Your son – your favoured one – the one whom you love. If asked, Abraham could have said, ‘This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased’ (cf. Matt.3:17).

Directed by God, Abraham obediently travelled to Mount Moriah, later to be known as Mount Zion, the site of the Temple. As the narrative unfolds, the parallels with the crucifixion of Jesus are recognisable. The wood for the sacrifice is carried by Isaac, even as the wood of the cross was carried by Jesus.

The Jewish Study Bible quotes a midrash on this episode which, referring to a Roman execution, says “it is like a person who carries his cross on his own person” (Gen. Rab.56.3). When Isaac asked, Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen. 22): he received the reply: “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). At Calvary God provided Himself the Lamb for an offering.

When they came to the place to which God had directed him,      Abraham built an altar and made all the necessary preparations for the sacrifice of his son. He bound Isaac and laid him on the altar   upon the wood (Gen. 22:9). Abraham was fully committed to yield everything to the will of God. But God did not require human        sacrifice, only a knowledge of the submission of Abraham, so the   Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.” (‘Hineni’ – ‘still listening and ready to fulfil your perfect will’) (Gen. 22:11) The lad was spared, and with the ram to hand Abraham had a substitute to present to God.

Such wholehearted commitment should be   commended – and it was! Abraham had another message from heaven. “By Myself I have
sworn ... because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—  blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:15-18).
For the patriarch, this was the most forceful  declaration yet that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed—a promise confirmed with an oath! For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,    saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you”  (Heb 6:13-14). “For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God,      determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the      immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two      immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.(Heb. 6:16-18).
Abraham received an all encompassing re-affirmation of all that he could have hoped for: (i) the assurance of an lasting earthly seed (the sand on the seashore) and (ii) a lasting heavenly seed (the stars of heaven); and (iii) a blessing on all nations of the earth. Moreover, the Bible identifies the ‘seed’ through which all this is to come. Now to      Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ(Gal. 3:16).
More Next Time