A Witness

In order for the people of earth to believe that God exists, He dispatched a “Faithful Witness” of Himself—to earth. There is no reason today that any person should doubt the existence of God. He has come to us, in person. When Jesus arrived on earth, He displayed all of the characteristics we would expect God to manifest. He showed power over sickness and death; He forgave sins that were committed against God and He raised the dead. Jesus stood against the traditions of men and their religious hypocrisy—which prevent people from seeing and knowing God. He was gentle, compassionate, merciful, and loving. He showed that He had power over the physical laws of nature by walking on water, commanding a storm to calm, and turning water into wine. He took all of our sin upon Himself, died for them, and then raised Himself from the dead. There is no further proof that any person should required, other than what Jesus has already shown to us: God exists in the person of Jesus Christ.

If a person feels that they cannot trust the Bible as the final authority for God’s existence in Jesus, then there is a second, non sympathetic source of verification: secular history. Both the Jewish Talmud, and the Roman Records of their Senate, during the period of history in which Jesus was condemned and crucified under Pontius Pilate, record that Jesus was in Jerusalem during the time that the New Testament places Him there. The Jews and the Romans were not sympathetic to Jesus, nor His followers. They had no desire to preserve a record of His existence in history, nor promote Him as the Son of God. By their adversarial comments about Jesus, recored in the Jewish Talmud and the Roman Annals, they did just this. Jesus is a real person from History—who lived and died, and then—raised Himself from the dead.

If any person doubts the validity of Jesus resurrection, they should understand that millions of first century Christians were executed, simply for believing that Jesus had risen from the dead and refusing to deny Him. This is a fact that is recorded in secular history, as a part of the Annals of the Romans, as well as the famous Jewish historian, Josephus. This book is filled with this evidence.

Isaiah wrote that when the Messiah arrives, He shall be a “witness to the people” of what God is truly like: a “Commander (King).”

Isaiah 55:4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people.

Jesus Fulfilled Isaiah’s Prophecy

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:8-9 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

A Faithful Witness of God

The Messiah identified in the previous verse of Isaiah 55:3, who is given the sure mercies of David; a resurrection from the dead, is further defined here in verse 4 as a Witness, a Leader, and a Commander.

Witness, Hebrew: ed
One who bring testimony, facts, or evidence.[1]

Leader, Hebrew: nagiyd
One who occupies the front lines of the battle, the captain, chief; governor, noble, prince, chief ruler.[2]

Commander, Hebrew: unesaweh
One who sets things in order, referring to the Messiah as the chief governor, the King of kings and Lord of lords, having complete oversight and responsibility over all things on earth and over all of His people.[3]

One of the purposes of the Messiah in coming to earth was to bear witness of God’s true character and nature. Up until the time when Jesus arrived, man’s view of God was greatly distorted. Even amongst the scribes and the Pharisees—the very men whom God had entrusted the teaching and distribution of His word, they failed to know or understand the prophecies of the Messiah. The certainty of their ignorance is observed by Jesus statement that they did not recognize the time of their visitation by the Messiah.[4]

Jesus was in constant opposition to the Pharisees, who believed that the laws of God were external. If a person did not kill or commit adultery, he was considered righteous and was regarded as fulfilling the requirements of the law. Jesus expounded and restored the true purpose and intent of God’s law—in context with the thoughts and intents of the heart. Jesus said that God is more interested in what is going on in our heart, than the outward actions of our body.

The Pharisees would often quote a greater, well respected Rabbi in making certain points of the law. Jesus did not quote any man; He spoke with the authority of God—Himself. In this way, He was indicating that His authority was greater than all of their traditions, or the teaching of the greatest Rabbis.

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

This method of teaching often confounded the people of Israel because of the authority with which Jesus spoke.

Matthew 7:28-29 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There were two types of teachers of the law in Israel during the time that Jesus taught the people. The Torah teachers, who were only permitted to teach previously accepted interpretations of God’s law—by respected Rabbi’s. The second; s’mikhah, those who had developed such great knowledge and proficiency in the law of God that they were permitted to teach new interpretations of the law. When the leaders of Israel listened to Jesus teach, His authority and knowledge of the law was unmistakable. As a result of Jesus interpretations of the law, the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus where He received His authority to teach these new expositions of the law.

Matthew 21:23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

All that the leaders of Israel knew about Jesus was that He was the son of the carpenter—Joseph and Mary, from Nazareth. In their opinion, Jesus did not have the authority to make such interpretations of the laws of God.

John 6:41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

We should not miss the subtlety of this verse from John 6:41 as their is an implied derision in this statement. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? It was well known amongst the leaders of Israel that Mary was already pregnant with Jesus when she married Joseph. The Pharisees considered Jesus the illegitimate son of an adulterous woman. In their minds, God would never give wisdom in the law of God to a man who came from such a scurrilous background. We know that Jesus was born by the Holy Spirit, and that He was born without sin.

In fact, through the Hebrew prophets, God described the Messiah as One who would possess great knowledge in the correct purpose of God’s law.

Jesus informs the leaders of Israel that their understanding of the law was not correct. In saying this, He was elevating His authority above all other authority. Only God has the right to make laws and the ability to correctly interpret those laws. This is a seldom noticed section of scripture that really speaks to the identity of Jesus. By stating “but I say to you,” He is claiming that He is God, the maker of all laws.

Attributes of God: Truth, Mercy, Resurrection.

One of the attributes of God is the certainty of His truth; He cannot lie, this is impossible. Jesus said that He is the truth. When He stood before Pilate, Jesus declared that His purpose in coming into the world was to bear witness of the truth.[5] Everyone who loves the truth listens to Jesus.

Other qualities of God that are revealed in the Old Testament; He is merciful, extremely patient, and long-suffering, Jesus consistently displayed these attributes. When Jesus stood before sinners who were caught in the very acts of sin, Jesus always showed compassion, mercy, and forgiveness, when the guilty repented.[6]

The God of the Old Testament is spoken of as One endowed with power to raise the dead. When Jesus was confronted with death, He simply spoke and the dead returned to life.[7] All of the qualities that we would expect from God, these were the works that Jesus performed as the Messiah.

Jesus came to be a faithful witness of what God is truly like

One day, Phillip, who was known for bringing people to the Lord, asked Jesus; Lord show us the Father. Jesus was amazed that Phillip could ask such a question. It must have been overwhelmingly clear, by that time, exactly who Jesus was. The Lord removed all doubts about His identity when He answered, He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:8-9). In John Chapter 10, Jesus makes a special point of clarifying who He is. When questioned by the Pharisees, Jesus told them:

John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.”

Jesus was not simply stating that He was one with the Father, in the way that we are seeking to be one with the Lord; in unity. Jesus was saying emphatically that He and the Father were One and the Same. Jesus uses the Greek neuter pronoun “hen,” signifying a unity of nature or equality.[8]

Whatever the Father is, Jesus is. Whatever the Father has done, Jesus will do. Whatever God has promised, Jesus will bring it to completion.

It was the purpose of the Messiah, to reveal God to the world; who He is and what His plan is, for the salvation of all people. Isaiah’s prophecy allows the reader to identify the true Messiah by how closely His words and actions line up with the words and actions of Yahweh, from the Old Testament.

Jesus perfectly met every requirement that God set forth for the Messiah. He exercised all the power, authority, nature, and sovereignty that we would expect God to show us—if He did in-fact, exist. Jesus is the only Faithful Witness of God.

[1] Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #5707
[2] Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #5057, Dake’s Study Bible, notes and commentary on Isaiah 55:4
[3] Ibid., Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #6680
[4] Luke 19:42-44 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.
[5] John 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
[6] Matthew 9:27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Matthew 12:7 But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Matthew 15:22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
Matthew 17:15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
Matthew 20:30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
Matthew 20:31 Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
[7] John 11:38-44 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
[8] “I and the Father” preserves the separate individuality of the two Persons in the Godhead; the neuter pronoun “one” (hen) asserts unity of nature or equality. Source: The Expositors Bible Commentary on Jon 10:30.