In this final installment of this series, we look at four more descriptions of Jesus and conclude with some more general information which includes seven interesting descriptions in Revelation 2 and 3.
- A Ransom For Many
Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible gives testimony to the fact that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This is reinforced in 1 Peter 1:18-19: “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
And we read in Ephesians 1:7 further confirmation of this: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
We read further in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…”
There are many other references to this in the Bible which are worth reviewing.
It is true that Christ gave Himself a “ransom for all,” potentially, but that is not to say that all would accept His Sacrifice. That is why we read in John 3:16 that only those who “believe” in Him would not perish. Also, Christ said in Matthew 20:28 that He gave His life a ransom for many. The ransom is for those who will repent and accept His Sacrifice. Christ did not give His life as a ransom for those who would reject His Sacrifice.
For a full explanation of this vital matter, please read our Q&A on “Unconditional Love (Part 3)”.
- The Rock
We read in Matthew 16:18 one of the most famous verses in the Bible: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
In our Q&A entitled: “Could you explain the extent of the power that Christ gave in Matthew 16:19, to ‘bind and loose’?” we stated the following:
“The word ‘Peter,’ i.e., ‘petros’ in Greek, means ‘a little stone.’ The ‘rock,’ on which Christ would build His church, is ‘petra’ in Greek, meaning a solid rock. Christ was not saying here that Christ would build the church on ‘Peter,’ but on THE ROCK — Christ Himself. It is CHRIST who is identified as ‘THE ROCK’ in passages such as 1 Corinthians 10:4. Peter, as well as the other apostles, in addition to the prophets, are part of the foundation, but Christ is the CHIEF cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The Church is built on Christ, who is the LIVING Head of the Church (Ephesians 4:15). That is why the ‘gates of Hades’ or ‘Death’ cannot overcome or defeat it. Christ, as the LIVING Head of the Church — as the foundation of the Church — has overcome death, having the ‘key of Hades and of Death’ (Revelation 1:18). Paul explains that no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is laid, which is Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).”
In 1 Corinthians 10:4, we read that The Rock, Christ, was the God of the Old Testament: “… and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
Christ’s statement to Peter was never understood by the apostles to imply that Christ would build His church on “the rock” Peter. In our above-quoted Q&A, we continue to state:
“Unger’s Bible Handbook agrees, as follows: ‘Thou art Peter [petros, a stone] and upon this rock [petra, great ledge of rock] I will build my church’ (cf. 1 Pet 2:4-6, where the apostle made it clear he was never to be thought of as ‘the rock.’”
“The Broadman Bible Commentary points out:
“In the Greek text, two forms appear in ‘you are Peter’ [Petros], and ‘on this rock’ [petra]… The masculine form, Petros [and]… the feminine form, petra… If [Peter] is the rock, it is strange that the impersonal ‘this rock’ follows the personal ‘you are.’… Although Peter and all the apostles (Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14) were in some sense the foundation upon which the church was built, the New Testament never allows this in an absolute sense. Jesus Himself is ‘the rock’ upon which the church is built… there could be a church without Peter, none without Christ. Peter is neither the head nor the foundation of the church. Jesus founded it; it stands or falls with him; and he is yet its living Lord and head.”
The Geneva Study Bible adds: “… in Greek… the different word endings distinguish between Peter, who is a piece of the building, and Christ the Petra, that is, the rock and foundation…”
When Jesus spoke to Peter, we can imagine the following exchange: Christ pointed at Peter, saying; “You are a little stone,” but then He pointed at Himself, continuing: “… and on this Rock (Jesus) I will build My church.”
In John 3:28-30, we read what John the Baptist said about Christ: “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
In Revelation 19:7-9, we see the fulfilment of John’s words: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’”
The Bible teaches about the second coming of Christ, and when He does return, He is to marry the Church.
Marriage today between a man and a woman (please review Ephesians 5:22-23) is an example of the marriage of Jesus Christ to the Church. Those of us in the true Church of God constitute the Bride of Christ, when we will, later, be joined in marriage to Him for all eternity.
We explain the bride’s marriage to the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, in our Q&A on “spiritual analogies,” as follows:
“The New Covenant is a marriage agreement. The consummation of our marriage with Jesus Christ—the bridegroom and the Lamb—is still in the future. This is where the biblical concept of betrothal becomes important. In biblical times, the parties went through a period of ‘betrothal’ before they actually consummated the marriage. Mary was already betrothed to Joseph when she was found to be with child (Matthew 1:18). Since they had not consummated the marriage, Joseph thought that Mary was guilty of fornication. But Mary and Joseph were already called, at the time of their betrothal, husband and wife (Matthew 1:19–20, 24; compare also Deuteronomy 28:30). Betrothal was a binding agreement or contract of marriage, and it could only be severed through a divorce. With this contract, the husband had promised his wife to consummate the marriage with her, after a certain period of time.
“In the same way, we, when we became baptized, entered into a covenant with God, and into a contract of betrothal with Jesus Christ. The consummation of our marriage will occur, once Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom. At that time, we will be immortal Spirit beings—born-again members of the God Family…
“Jesus Christ is the bridegroom who will marry the bride upon His return… Jesus spoke of Himself as the ‘bridegroom’ (Luke 5:34–35). When Jesus was on this earth, He taught that He would be taken away and that no ‘marriage’ would be consummated at that time. Note, as well, that Jesus gave a parable indicating that He, as the bridegroom, would return (compare Matthew 25:1–13). In this story, Jesus began His teaching with these very important words: ‘The kingdom of heaven shall be LIKENED to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom’ (Matthew 25:1)…
“The spiritual consummation of the marriage between Christ and His Church, as well as the spiritual ‘marriage supper’ celebration [compare Revelation 19:9], will be ongoing… There will of course not be any physical consummation of the marriage agreement when Christ returns to marry His bride.”
We recommend that you review the entire Q&A, as it also discusses other analogies applying to our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
- Alpha and Omega
It is probably appropriate to conclude our review of the names of Jesus in this Q&A with Him being the Alpha and the Omega. There are several references in the Book of Revelation. Let us look at Revelation 22:12-13: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
There are also the same references in Revelation 1:8 and 21:6. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet and mean the beginning and the end. We know that Jesus as the Logos was before all things and He will be there at the end of this age setting up the eternal Kingdom of God. With Him creation began, and in the context of Revelation 22:12-13, He will end this present evil world and will usher in the wonderful world tomorrow. He always existed and He will also exist for all eternity. He is the FIRST in everything (under God the Father), having in all things the pre-eminence (Colossians 1:18), and He will still exist when this physical world will have ceased to exist. It shows that He is ageless, immortal.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains:
“It means that he is the beginning and the end of all things; that he was at the commencement, and will be at the close; and it is thus equivalent to saying that he has always existed, and that he will always exist… There can be no doubt that the language here would be naturally understood as implying divinity, and it could be properly applied to no one but the true God. The obvious interpretation here would be to apply this to the Lord Jesus.”
Having this information should be so helpful to us as we go through our tests and trials, knowing that we have a Savior who will be there for us at all times.
Author Warren Wilcox wrote: “Have you ever realized the Bible had so much unity? Fifteen hundred years, forty different authors, three [or four] different languages, five or six different countries. And yet with all of these variations, there’s still just one theme and it all harmonizes together. The Bible is a library of sixty-six different books, long and short, written in different languages (Hebrew, Chaldean and Greek; we might add: “and to a small extent Aramaic”), written in various countries (Judea, Babylon, Asia Minor, Greece and Italy), written in various times during a period stretching over about fifteen hundred years and with an intermission of about 400 years, written by about forty different authors, people with Egyptian culture, people with Jewish culture, people with Greek and Roman culture, people with no culture.”
The unity of all of the Bible is amazing, considering how it was assembled. Unity from the first word until the last word – a perfect piece of literature which shines through when you put all of the information together about Jesus Christ, the second member of the God Family which we have looked at in this series of Q&As.
The designations we have included in this series of Q&As are:
Creator, the Word, the I AM, Son of God, Immanuel, Redeemer, the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus, son of Joseph, Jesus Christ (Jesus meaning “the Lord is salvation,” while Christ meaning “the anointed one”), the Son of Man, the Lamb of God, The Light of the World, The Bread of Life, King of the Jews, King of kings, Rabbi, Savior, Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Chief Cornerstone, Apostle and High Priest, The Way, the Truth and the Life, The Good Shepherd, The Lion of Judah, Head of the Church, A Ransom for Many, The Rock, the Bridegroom and Alpha and Omega.
We have looked at just 30 descriptions and attributes, as above, of the One who became Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. There are many others that we haven’t addressed in this series, including A Friend of Sinners, Judge, Firstborn Over All Creation, The Holy One, Lord of All, Deliverer, Mediator, the life, the Light, The Propitiation for our Sins, and many more.
In addition, there are other descriptions in Revelation 2 and 3. We will just list these which can be read at the beginning of each letter in these two chapters.
You may wish to personally review these in greater detail which are discussed in our booklet: “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” in Chapter 1 – “Christ’s Message to the Seven Churches,” on pages 5-13.
Some of the following descriptions may also be found in other parts of the Book of Revelation.
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands’” (Revelation 2:1).
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life’” (Revelation 2:8).
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword’” (Revelation 2:12).
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass’” (Revelation 2:18).
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars’” (Revelation 3:1).
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’” (Revelation 3:7).
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God’” (Revelation 3:14).
As we mentioned in part 1, one author listed more than one hundred names, titles, and metaphors of the Lord Jesus Christ, together with references from the Old Testament; another author asserts that there are some 200 names and titles of Jesus found in the Bible. Therefore, we have only scratched the surface of this subject, and it shows the importance to the lives of everyone living today, and those who have ever lived, with almost all of them not realising how their future depends on the Plan of God which Jesus came to announce. He has been, is and will continue to be of vital importance to all that lies ahead of us. We are blessed indeed to have a loving Father and His Son who will return to this earth to set up the eternal Kingdom of God which all of God’s faithful people will be a part of.
Lead writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link