NEW TESTAMENT SAMPLES
WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT PROPHESIED THE COMING OF CHRIST?
Jesus Christ is accepted as Lord and Savior by hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide. Most accept Him as Lord because they were born in Christian homes and were taught to be Christians. Many have delved into the reasons why Jesus Christ is believed to be Lord and Savior and, by so doing, they have greatly strengthened their faith.
Preachers and the New Testament writers teach us that one of the greatest proofs that Jesus Christ was the promised Savior is the prophecies of the Old Testament. In fact, the Old Testament abounds in prophecies that describe in advance the many aspects of Christís ministry on earth, including His death and resurrection.
But what if God had not inspired all the prophecies relating to Christ? What if He had just come and had simply allowed only His
miracles to testify to His divinity and messiahship?
If Christ had come and declared himself to be the Messiah and had accompanied His claim with great miracles, no doubt many would have been impressed and would have followed him, as they had followed others before him (Acts 5:33-37). The foundation, though, would not have been very solid, as He, over time, might have been accused of being just another impostor who happened to deceive the masses through witchcraft.
Although His resurrection would have astounded them, accusations of deceit and magical manipulations would have finally undone all His labors and teachings. In fact the most cherished Jewish explanation of Christís identity revolves around him being a sorcerer and his disciples being cunning deceivers who stole Christís body from the tomb and who then concocted the idea that he had been resurrected.
Jesus Christ had to be confirmed as both Messiah and Son of God by something much more reliable than just miracles. He had to be confirmed by Godís Word. Christ affirmed this powerful reality in the book of John: ďAnd the Father Himself who has sent me, has testified of MeÖYou search the scripturesÖand these are they which testify of meĒ (John 5:37-39). Yes, the Scriptures spoke of Christ centuries in advance in great detail, and they were to be the greatest foundational proof that Christ was indeed the Messiah.
The Old Testament teaches us that Christ was to come to earth and that he would totally submit to Godís will (Psalm 40:7-8). He was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), from the seed of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He was to be announced by a great prophet (Isaiah 40:3), and was to be persecuted by a mad man bent on destroying Him, even if it meant killing all other children of His age (Jeremiah 31:15); He was to have a gentle temperament (Isaiah 42:1-4); He was to go to His death in Jerusalem riding a donkey (Zech. 9:9); He was to be rejected of His own people (Ps. 118:22), and by His own disciples (Zech. 13:7); He was to be sold for thirty pieces of silver which were to be used to buy a potterís field (Zech. 11:12); Soldiers were to cast lots over His clothing (Ps. 22:18); He was to go through a most gruesome treatment and abuse and, finally, was be killed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:1-8);
Furthermore, He was to have his skin and flesh torn off his bones and His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16, Zech. 12:10, 13:6); He was to be placed in the tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9) and was to be finally resurrected (Ps. 16:10).
The abundance of specifics and their total fulfillment, together with Christís great miracles, were a necessary and complete package that undeniably proved Christís true identity. Had God not included the prophecies in the package, a powerful ingredient would have been left out, and the preaching of Christ as Messiah would have been more challenging to make credible.
God knew that Christís true identity was to be fully supported with undeniable evidence, and He did provide it in a most compelling way, not only through great miracles, but also through the fulfillment of many astounding Old Testament prophecies that point to Christ and His redeeming work for mankind.
WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT GIVEN US FOUR GOSPELS?
The coming, the ministry, the death and resurrection of Christ were pivotal events in human history. God came in the flesh, performed great wonders, died for all our sins, was resurrected and returned to Heaven. Many disciples and thousands of witnesses witnessed these events. But, in time, all the witnesses would have died, and the events would have been forgotten. God chose four reliable sources to record the most important events surrounding Christís human life and His teachings, for the benefit of all future generations.
But what if God had not inspired four accounts? What if He only had inspired one or two? Would that have made any difference?
The human life of Christ was the most important event that ever occurred on Earth. His identity as the Messiah was of critical importance to all future believers. Future generations would have been taught about Christ, and the sources would have had to be totally reliable. The Gospels of Matthew and John were written by Christís disciples. The Gospel of Mark is thought by some scholars to have been dictated by or to have been heavily influenced by Peterís experiences.31 Luke was a doctor and a historian who wrote his account based on interviews with people who witnessed the events. The sources were totally reliable.
But why four? The answer could be related to a rule established by God Himself in the Old Testament: ďby the mouth of two or three witnesses shall a matter be establishedĒ (Deut. 19:15). One witness could be erroneous, false or biased; two would be sufficient; three would be ideal. Four witnesses, though, would have been undeniable. Thus, God made sure that the greatest event in human history would be supported not by two or three witnesses, which would have been sufficient, but by four which was above and beyond what was necessary.
God does everything for a reason and having four Gospels had the critical reason to leave no doubt in believers minds that Christ had come, that He had done great works, that He had died for us and that he had been resurrected. Most of all, they prove beyond any doubt that He was the Son of God and that through Him humanity has a living and eternal hope.
WHAT IF GOD HAD ALLOWED JESUS TO BE MARRIED AND HAVE CHILDREN?
Jesus was a healthy and strong young man. He was a carpenter and was ďin all points tempted as we areĒ(Hebrews 4:15). Thus, He was human in all aspects, with all the needs that humans haveóincluding the need to love and to be loved. No doubt He continually had to fight temptations relating to the beautiful Jewish young ladies that lived in His area. As a human being, He too would have liked their companionship and affection, yet He had to fight such thoughts and not one such temptation was ever allowed to take root in His mind.
But what if God had allowed Him to live a normal human life? What if He had allowed Christ to marry a pure and blameless young lady and have children?
Would that have made any difference to Godís plan?
If Christ had married a human being, the ramifications would have been nothing short of gigantic. First of all, He knew the reason for His human existence. His future had been pre-ordained, and it included a gruesome death at the relatively young age of thirty-three. Had He married a young woman, Christ would have suffered terribly at the knowledge that she would have had to face up to His future gruesome end. If He would have had children, accepting His own death would have been much more difficult, knowing that He had to leave His children behind.
Christ could not allow Himself to have such potential barriers to His vital sacrifice. We know that He begged His Father to allow ďthe cupĒ of death to pass from Him (Luke 22:42). Clearly His march toward death was a fearful thing. How much more difficult the whole experience would have been, if He had to leave his wife and children behind.
Another point to be stressed is that if Christ had children they, too, would have had a divine nature within themselves. They, too, would have been part God beings. Consequently, after Christís departure, this would have led His disciples to revere and worship them as divine. In time, the focus of the Church would have become Christís physical descendents rather than God the Father and Christ Himself. It is quite possible that such a status could have led some of Christís descendents to arrogance and to total dictatorial control and abuse over Godís people. God would have never allowed such a scenario.
Theologically, it is well understood that Christ was already figuratively married to His Church. The Church is labeled in the Bible as the ďBride of Christ.Ē (Rev 21: 2, 9; 22:17). Christ was, therefore, stayed totally committed to His bride for whom He was dying and with whom He would spend eternity.
God the Father knew full well the ramifications of allowing a human relationship between Christ and a woman to take place. God knew that no obstacle should have been in Christís path, beyond the essential. It was also imperative that the focus of the Church be kept on the Father and Jesus Christ and no one else. Godís plans regarding Christís mission were well thought-out, as is the rest of Godís plan of salvation, and, because Godís plan is well thought out, it will continue unfolding perfectly to the end.