Matthew 24:34 – This Generation

Matthew 24:34 Most assuredly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. — World English.
See also Mark 13:30,31; Luke 21:32,33.

There has been a lot of speculation amongst some as to what “this generation” means in Matthew 24:34. We believe that when Jesus said “this generation [genea]” he was referring to the corrupt Adamic generation that Paul spoke of in Philippians 2:15:

The Greek word for generation here most often refers to a specific generation of people living a specific time. Yet, it can also be applied in a broader sense to a generation suffering under a certain condemnation. In Philippians 2:14,15, we read:

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and divisive reasonings,
Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world.

Here Paul speaks of a crooked and perverse generation, and associates this generation with “the world” in which the sons of God shine as lights. The word translated from the Greek as “world” here is the Greek word that is often transliterated as “kosmos”. This is the word that John used in John 1:10, when he spoke of the world that had been made through the Logos, the Word. This is the word that Jesus used in John 17:5, and it is the word that Paul used in Romans 5:12, when speaking of the world into which sin had come through one man. It is therefore speaking of the world of mankind, and it is this world and the present generation existing ever since Adam sinned that Paul is speaking of. It is this generation, this creation, that God has subjected to the sun of vanity and is under a bondage of corruption, made to be in a perverse and a crooked condition from which it cannot make itself straight (just, justified). — Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; 7:13; Romans 1:24,28; 3:9,10,23; 5:12-19; 8:20-22.

It is into this world of mankind that Jesus came, and it was while he was in the world that Jesus was its light. (John 3:10-12,19; 8:12; 9:5) It is then this world, this generation of Adam, that has become perverse and crooked that the sons of God are to serve as lights, and thus it is this generation that Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 24:34 as not passing away until all had been accomplished. This may be seen in the next verse:

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Thus, we believe that this generation of Matthew 24:34 pertains to the whole creation of Romans 8:22, which creation has been subjected to vanity, and is under bondage to corruption: the Adamic generation that is of the heaven and earth that is to pass away.

In speaking of this generation as passing away [Parerchomai], Jesus uses the same expression as he used when speaking of the present heavens and earth passing away. (Matthew 5:18; Mark 13:31) Thus, in the context of Jesus’ words concerning all these things as happening before “this generation” passes away, he parallels the passing away of “his generation” with the passing away of the heavens and earth.

Hebrews 1:10 speaks of the foundation of this heavens and earth as being laid down by Jesus, referring to the time of the creation of world of mankind, thus of the time spoken of in the six days of creation. (John 1:10) John uses a similar word in 1 John 2:17, where he speaks of the world passing away. Peter uses the same expression as Jesus in speaking of the present heavens as passing away, although he is referring to ‘heavens’ as having existed from the flood of Noah’s day, not as from the original creation. (2 Peter 3:10) However, Peter earlier speaks of the corruption that is in the world (kosmos) through lust (elevated desire). (2 Peter 1:4) That corruption that is in the world (kosmos) came through the sin of Adam and Eve: Eve’s desire for knowledge and to become like God, and Adam’s desire to please his wife rather than his Creator. Paul uses the word kosmos, saying that sin entered into the world (kosmos) through one man. (Romans 5:12-19) And Paul refers to this creation as the “whole creation” or “all creation” that has been subjected to vanity and that is in bondage to corruption. (Romans 8:20-22) Solomon wrote of this generation as being under the sun of vanity and crookedness. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; 7:13) Thus, it is this creation through Adam, this generation through Adam, this corrupt world/creation through Adam, this heavens and earth that “shall perish” (Hebrews 1:11), but shall not pass away until all thing are fulfilled. In becoming free from the bondage of corruption, the old passes away, present crooked creation will pass away so that a new creation, a new heavens and new earth, come into being, even as the believer in this age becomes reckoned as a new creation before the passing away of the world in general. — 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 1:12; Revelation 21:1-5.

Some have thought that “this generation” refers specifically to the Jewish people as a “race”. Others have thought it refers to the “new creation”, those regenerated through the holy spirit. Some have thought it applies to a specific people living during one generation, of say, 100 years or so. The thought in the Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 4, Study 12, “The Battle of Armageddon”, states:

Certain Christian writers have been led to claim that the words “this generation” really meant, this race, the Jews, shall not pass away until all these predictions have been fulfilled.

But we must dissent from this interpretation for several reasons:

(1) Although the words “generation” and “race” may be said to come from a common root or starting point, yet they are not the same; and in Scriptural usage the two words are quite distinct. [D603]

Notice that in the New Testament when the word generation is used in the sense of race or posterity, it is always from the Greek gennema (as in Matt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7) or from genos (as in 1 Pet. 2:9). But in the three different records of this prophecy our Lord is credited with using a wholly different Greek word (genea) which does not mean race, but has the same significance as our English word generation. Other uses of this Greek word (genea) prove that it is not used with the significance of race, but in reference to people living contemporaneously. We cite in proof– Matt. 1:17; 11:16; 12:41; 23:36; Luke 11:50,51; 16:8; Acts 13:36; Col. 1:26; Heb. 3:10.

The author of the above would disagree with our conclusion presented earlier, but we believe that by looking at the context, and including Philippians 2:14,15, as well as many other scriptures as we have presented, that our conclusion is correct: the generation that is to pass away is the crooked and perverse generation that has extended all the way back to Adam.

See the following:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/genos.html
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/genea.html

The common root of the above two words:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/ginomai.html

Titus 3:5 presents the form that is often rendered as “regeneration.”
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/paliggenesia.html

Peter expresses the same thought of regeneration as recorded in 1 Peter 2:9 (see 1 Peter 2:2, where he speaks of the believers as newborn babes). In other words, Peter, although he used different words, was referring to the same thing that Paul referred to when Paul spoke of the new creation, and that as new creatures they were a chosen-out/picked out generation. (1 Corinthians 5:17). The word Eklektos, usually rendered “chosen” means more than just chosen, as part of the word is formed from “EK”, which means “out of”.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/eklektos.html

The “chosen” are picked out of the world by Jesus. — John 15:19.

Having become a new creation, as new-born babes, they are counted (reckoned/imputed/considered) as justified and alive — with the glory of terrestrial life (1 Corinthians 15:40; Romans 6:11), as though already in the age to come, when all things are made new. — 1 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 1:1-5.

They are indeed picked out of the world as a new generation, a generation not belonging to the wicked generation of Adam (Acts 2:40), called to become “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” — Philippians 2:15.

Nevertheless, when we look at gennema in Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7, and in comparison with other scriptures, we should see that Jesus is not referring to “race” or “nationality” as such, as though to the Jewish nation, but rather to the standing of these Jews in relationship to God. As long as they continued in disobedience, they were children of disobedience, and thus offspring of vipers, as the rest of humanity condemned in Adam. (Ephesians 2:2,3) That they are considered a part of the “world” (kosmos) can be seen by Jesus’ words in John 12:47,48, where Jesus parallels the “world” with those who rejected him. At that time, Jesus had only gone to the house of Israel, and thus the words could only apply to Jews who had rejected him. Such Jews, instead of obtaining the righteousness offered through the Law to any who could obey that Law, the Law only actually showed up their disobedience, and thereby their continuance as offspring of vipers. (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 9:31) Israel was indeed the offspring of Abraham, who had been justified by means of his faith, and of his particular obedience in harmony with that faith. — Romans 4:3,13; 4:15.

We should remember that, as a nation, Israel was indeed called a ‘holy nation’ (Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 49:7), a nation set apart, chosen by God, out of the world. As individuals, however, they are not of a holy generation simply by being of that holy nation, or by having the law, since obedience, and not just hearing, was required. (Leviticus 18:5; Deuteronomy 31:12; Romans 2:12,13; 10:5; Galatians 3:12) Jesus did recognize (reckon) justified Abraham as the father of the disobedient Jews by physical ancestry, but he also said that Satan was their father. (John 8:38-56) We can thus assume that, as a race, as a nation, Jesus spoke of Abraham as the father of Israel, but as disobedient children who were not individually justified by faith, they continued to be children of wrath, a generation of vipers.

At any rate, our conclusion is that when Jesus said this “generation will not pass away” until all things are fulfilled (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32), he was saying that the offspring condemned in Adam will not pass away until all things had been fulfilled. This harmonizes with his following statement that “Heaven and earth will pass away.” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33) The present heaven and earth [the present ecclesiastical and social order that has been corrupted through lust — 1 Peter 1:4] is the “generation” that Jesus speaks of as passing away.

See our study:

Yahweh’s Plan of the Ages

Mark 2:1-11 – Your Sins Are Forgiven

A Study of Mark 2:1-11
Parallel Accounts: Matthew 9:1-13; Luke 5:17-26

The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.
Mark 2:10

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations from the Holy Bible are from the World English bible translation.

Mark 2:1 – When he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house.

(1) AFTER the busy experiences of the Sabbath day, the Lord Jesus withdrew from Capernaum to a desert place for private communion with his God and Father. Later his four disciples joined him, as also others, who urged his return to Capernaum, but instead he went for a time to other cities and villages of Galilee. Our lesson marks his return to Capernaum, where the people soon learned of his presence and gathered in large numbers to see and hear him.

(2) The houses of the middle classes of that time are understood to have been usually of one room only, in size about 20 x 40 feet, with a flat roof formed by heavy timbers about two feet apart, on which were placed slabs of either wood or stone, the whole being covered with earth or sod closely rolled. The roof was usually accessible by an outside stairway and was often used as a summer sleeping place.

Mark 2:2 – Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke the word to them.
Mark 2:3 – Four people came, carrying a paralytic to him.

(3)  To the crowd of his fellow-citizens — who had but recently awakened to the fact that Jesus was a great prophet, endued with miraculous powers — the Lord was discoursing, possibly respecting the Kingdom of God long promised, and which he proclaimed to be nigh, even at the door, if the people were willing to receive the message and its blessing. At this juncture four men, bearing on a litter a young man paralyzed and utterly helpless, approached the house with a view to having the sick one healed. His helpless condition probably hindered the ailing one from applying to Jesus on the day when so many of the sick at Capernaum were cured. Now he had found friends and helpers and had come within sound of the Master’s voice, yet was unable to gain access to his presence because of the crowd who were unwilling to make way for him.

Mark 2:4 – When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on.

(4) The faith on this man which had brought him thus far insisted that some way of presenting his case before Jesus would be found. Finally he was carried to the roof of the house the earthy covering was dug away from a portion, the slab lifted, and by improvised ropes he was let down into the very presence of Jesus. He must have had a strong faith not only in the Lord’s power to heal but also in his gentleness and goodness, that so far from resenting the rude intrusion he would have patience and realize his deep necessity.

Mark 2:5 – Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

(5) We should take note of how important faith is in the Lord’s estimation — the record does not mention that he saw their works, but he saw their faith, which, of course, was demonstrated by their efforts to get this man to him. As the scriptures show, if true faith is exercised corresponding works would naturally and unavoidably follow.

(6) And so it was: instead of finding fault, threatening them with arrest, accusing them of rudeness, etc., our Lord was so pleased with the faith manifested that he overlooked the intrusion entirely and greeted his uninvited guest most graciously, saying, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Perhaps the young man was thinking less of his sins and their forgiveness than of his hope for recovery, but in any event our Lord put the most important thing foremost. He was primarily the sin-bearer and teacher, his work of healing being a secondary one at the time, a mere exercise, so as to emphasize the lessons given.

WISE AND UNWISE ALERTNESS

Mark 2:6 – But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Mark 2:7 – “Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

(7) The people present were alert to notice everything what Jesus did and said, and amongst them were some of the learned, the Scribes, who were well informed respecting the Law and looked up to as authorities by the masses. These with the others had been attracted by the wonderful miracles and teachings of Jesus and they were watching his words and deeds. Here they thought they had found a flaw — that Jesus was arrogating to himself a power and authority which could belong to God alone. Indeed we may suppose that it was partly to start this very line of reasoning that our Lord expressed himself as he did. Of course, as we will see, Jesus did have authority from his God to forgive sins.

Mark 2:8 – Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you reason these things in your hearts?
Mark 2:9 – Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?’”

(8) Then, reading their evil thoughts (Matthew 9:4), he answered their queries, he, in effect, said: “Which is the easier for you to believe, that I am able to forgive sins or that I could heal this man of the result of his sins? But to prove I have authority from my God to forgive the sin I will perform the cure, and its performance will testify that I have not blasphemed; that I have not arrogated to myself authority which has not properly been given to me; that I am not misrepresenting the Father when I declare that I am his special agent and representative.”

Mark 2:10 – “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic —
Mark 2:11 – “I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house.”
Mark 2:12 – He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

(9) When the man did arise and carried forth his stretcher on which he had lain the people were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything of the like before.” Luke adds that they said, “We have seen strange things today.” They had heard the Messiah explain about his Kingdom and declare his power to forgive sins and demonstrate that power by a miracle. How could they help but wish that the Kingdom of Yahweh might immediately be established, that divine favor might reach the whole world and increase in restitution blessings until there should be no more sickness, no more pain, no more dying, no more crying, no more sin, no more death. However, a particular work must be accomplished before the Kingdom could be set up and begin its restitution work: first the the seed of Abraham, who are participate with Jesus in bringing the blessings to the heathen, must be selected. Palestine and the favored nation did not supply a sufficient number to fulfil the divine arrangement, and therefore the favor of God turned to the Gentiles, to gather out of them those of an honest and good heart, who, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15) These of faith, the scriptures say, receive the right to become sons of God. (John 1:12) Such are gathered for the purpose of being the seed of Abraham that is to bless all the families of the earth. (Galatians 3:26-29) Our hope, our confidence is that this gathering work is very nearly accomplished; that soon the second coming of Christ will bring forth the revealing of the sons of God and the blessings so long promised. — Genesis 22:17; 28:17; Isaiah 2:2-4; Romans 8:19-22.

(10) Sin and its forgiveness may be considered the essence of this lesson: to this subject, therefore, we turn our attention.

(11) Not only is sin generally common to the world of mankind, as the Scriptures abundantly declare and explain, but a consciousness of sin is general. The world in general recognizes what the Bible emphasizes, namely, that all unrighteousness is sin, all imperfection is sin, or at least a falling short of the perfection desired, whether they express it as “sin” or otherwise. (Romans 1-3) The Jews under the Law, realizing their inability to keep its requirements, would be bound to admit, if they were honest, that they were sinners, transgressors of its requirements. (Romans 3:20; 7:7,8; 8:3) Christians, recognizing God’s law on a still higher plane, should realize still more fully their own blemishes and shortcomings of the perfect law which says, “You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”, and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:28-31) But those who have not the Jewish Law nor the Christian law and instruction have nevertheless a sufficiency of conscience, a sufficiency of the original law written in man’s constitution, though largely obliterated through the six thousand years of the fall: by this they realize that they have shortcomings, and, as the Apostle points out, they confess that they are sinners against their ideals of righteousness in that they sometimes attempt to excuse their conduct while at other times they clearly and plainly acknowledge wrong-doing. Thus all are convicted as sinners. — Romans 3:9,10

(12) The remarkable thing is that our consciousness of sin increases with our education in the school of Christ — increases in proportion as we cease to do evil and learn to do well. Accordingly, the most advanced saint has a clearer discernment of and a greater repugnance for sin than has the most degraded sinner. Thus it is, too, with God, who hates sin and cannot look upon it with acceptance. (Deuteronomy 25:16; Psalm 5:4-6; 11:5; Proverbs 6:16-19) He has placed his ban, his sentence, his edict against it, and declares that it shall be utterly rooted out, and that all intelligently and willfully in sympathy with it must be considered as part of it and be destroyed with it. — Psalm 37:9-11; Revelation 20:7,8.

(13) The more we see of sin, the more we realize its contaminating character and destructive tendencies, the more we appreciate the divine justice which on account of sin condemns sin in humanity. (Romans 8:3) The more advanced our conceptions of righteousness, truth, holiness, purity, the more we are enabled to appreciate the divine view of sin and to say of Yahweh and his sentence against sin and sinners, “True and righteous are your judgments.” — Revelation 16:7.

THE OPERATION OF DIVINE MERCY

(14) But the more we come to appreciate divine justice and the righteousness of the sentence of death against our race, the more also we come to appreciate the love and mercy of God toward us, and to rejoice that he was not willing that any should perish, and hence made provision wide enough, high enough, deep enough, that all might turn unto him and live — have everlasting life. This provision of mercy cannot ignore the sin nor can it permit the sinner to ignore it. It is necessary that the redeemed should know, should appreciate, their fallen condition, the justice of their sentence of death, and that their recovery is wholly a matter of divine mercy. Unless they learn this lesson they could never appreciate the divine arrangements and the only terms upon which God could grant them everlasting life — terms of acceptance of God’s grace and forgiveness and their obedience to him and his principles of righteousness.

NO OTHER NAME GIVEN
Acts 4:12

(15) It is to this end that the heavenly Father arranged his plan for the recovery of our race as he reveals it in his Word — a plan by which he extends mercy to all, yet requires all to accept that mercy through Jesus, “through faith in his blood,” producing fruitage in God’s will (Matthew 3:8; 7:17,18,21; 12:50; John 14:15,21; 15:20), or not at all. (Romans 3:25) This insures that every one coming to the Father must admit that he is a sinner, must admit that he cannot clear himself of the penalty of his own sin and live, must admit that his salvation is purely of divine mercy through Christ; and it insures that the terms and conditions which Jesus the Redeemer will establish as the Mediator between God and sinners must be thoroughly understood and accepted and complied with. He proposes to help back to perfection and to full fellowship with the Father all who sincerely repent of sin and will use their best endeavors under his guidance, instruction and assistance to return to God. To such and to such alone will perfection be granted. Such alone will attain permanently the everlasting life through the assistance as well as through the redemption of him who bought us with his precious blood.

SINS BLOTTED OUT

(16) It is well that we mark a wide distinction between the blotting out of sin, which the Scriptures assure us will be accomplished at the second coming of Christ (Acts 3:19), and the forgiveness of sins which may be enjoyed now by all who will exercise the necessary faith and obedience. The blotting out of sins at the second advent of Christ will be applied first of all to the church: not a trace of sin in any sense or degree will remain upon these from the time that they share in the glorious blessings of the first resurrection. In the present time they are actually imperfect, blemished, marked and marred by sin, and continually need the covering of the robe of Christ’s righteousness so freely granted to them; but with the resurrection change all the blemishes of sin will be gone. As described by the Apostle, that which was sown in weakness will be raised in power, that sown in dishonor will be raised in glory, that, for those who become joint-heirs with Christ, that which was sown in a natural body will be raised a spiritual body (yet in the resurrection, there is not just the spiritual body, but also a physical body). (1 Corinthians 15:40-44) No longer will they need imputed righteousness, but each will individually be absolutely perfect, absolutely righteous.

(17) The blotting out of the world’s sins will not be thus instantaneous, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, but will progress throughout the Millennial age gradually. As each individual recognizes sin and falls in line with the rules of the Kingdom he will find himself growing stronger in the ways of righteousness, as he progresses up the highway of holiness. (Isaiah 35:8) Day by day, year by year, he will increase in mental, moral and physical development, or failing so to do will, after the abundant opportunities of that time, be cut off in the Second Death as unworthy of any further opportunities for gaining life eternal through the Redeemer’s Kingdom. Those who will may avail themselves of the privileges of that time and have their sins entirely blotted out — reach absolute perfection of mind and body by the close of the Millennial age, and then be tested as to their heart loyalty to the principles of righteousness as shown in Revelation 20:10. That final test will be general to the human family: it will correspond to the trial given to Adam in Eden, except that these will have had experience with sin and the fall, and with the recovery and with the reign of righteousness. They will, therefore, all be in a proper attitude to enable them to pass the examination satisfactorily, and any failure so to do will demonstrate that the heart had not come, under all the favorable conditions (Isaiah 26:9,10), into that harmony with God which would be indispensable to eternal life. Such the Scriptures show us will be destroyed with Satan as those who have some elements at least of his disposition.

FORGIVENESS OF SINS

(18) In our lesson the Scribes are represented as reasoning that the only one who could forgive a sin is the one against whom the transgression is committed. If A commit a transgression against B it is not in the power of C to forgive it. B alone has the right to feel offended and he alone can forgive. The Scribes were reasoning along correct lines: while we do as individuals transgress the rights and liberties of each other at times and thus sin against one another and need to have one another’s forgiveness, yet all sin is primarily against God, whose law of righteousness is infringed. All unrighteousness is sin — against God, against his laws. He alone sets the standard of right and wrong by which his creatures are to be measured or judged and he is the Judge. The question is asked; How, then,

COULD JESUS FORGIVE SINS?

(19) We answer that our Creator had so fixed the matter of sin and its penalty that Jesus was the only one who could forgive sins — or, more specifically, the heavenly Father through him. (Romans 5:1,9-11; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 15:57; 2 Corinthians 3:4,5; 5:18; Galatians 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 4:9) The divine arrangement was so fixed that the God and Father had even put in Jesus’ own hands the power to forgive sins (Isaiah 61:1-3; John 5:19,27,30; 10:18,36-38; Acts 2:22; 10:38), because he had fixed a positive, absolute, unchangeable penalty against sin in the case of Adam and his posterity. (Genesis 2:17) He could have done differently: he could have dealt with mankind as he dealt with the angels that fell, and merely put them under some kind of restraints without imposing directly the death sentence. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:60) But once the death penalty had been imposed, nothing could alter or annul it.

(20) But that unchangeable sentence against mankind was made by the Creator with full knowledge of how he could, and in due time, would negate or nullify the sentence, not by withdrawing it but by meeting its requirements through a Redeemer. God himself could not pay this price to himself, so as release mankind from death. It was one of God’s creatures — a man — that sinned, and brought sin upon man, and thus it would have to be one of God’s creatures that would pay the price for all mankind. Only in this way could God remain just, and justify the sinner. Thus it was that in the divine plan our Lord Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. In other words God had in mind the plan of redemption before he imposed the death sentence which made necessary that redemption. — Acts 15:18; Romans 3:25,26; 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 2 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.

DIVINE FAVOR EARLY MANIFESTED

(21) It may be urged that God manifested his favor to Abraham and others before our Lord Jesus came into the world and presented man’s ransom price. We reply that this is so, that divine favor was manifested, but that its manifestation was based upon the divine intention that in due time the ransom for sinners would be paid. God called things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:17) Thus in God’s sight the faithful of old were counted as “alive”, for the God and Father of Jesus is the God of the living, not of the dead. (Matthew 22:31-33) Thus, in view of the coming ransom sacrifice of Jesus, God did impute righteousness to Abraham. (Romans 4:17-22) But even then the favor granted was not actual the blotting out of sins, for they still had their sinful flesh to contend with. No! that could not have been done prior to the ransom, and is to be done by God through the Redeemer glorified in the resurrection day. All the ancient worthies could possibly have was such measure of divine favor as their faith in God would justify, and the only favors which God could grant to them would be such as his intentions through the Redeemer would make reasonable.

SIN UNDER MOSES’ LAW

(22) Under the Law Covenant, God arranged with the nation of Israel a certain kind and degree of forgiveness and reconciliation through Moses, the mediator of that Covenant. Under these arrangements the sin offerings year by year made a picture, a type, an illustration of the coming blessings under the New Covenant and its Mediator, the Christ. Israel as a nation enjoyed God’s favor — his grace — to a limited extent through faith, as did the patriarchs, but neither did they have a blotting out of sins. On the contrary, the Apostle points out that it is evident that Israel’s sacrifices and sin offerings never really took away sin, but were merely typical of better sacrifices through which sin will actually be cancelled and ultimately blotted out.—Hebrews 10:1-4; Acts 3:19.

THE MEASURE OF JESUS’ FORGIVENESS

(23) If the heavenly Father were bound by his own law and could not blot out sins without the payment of the ransom price, could our Lord Jesus do so? Had he greater power in this respect than the Father? We answer, No! His words to the paralyzed man in this lesson did not refer to a blotting out of man’s sins, but merely to such a forgiveness of sins as the Father had already extended to Abraham and others in the past. When the Lord had uttered the words, “Your sins be forgiven you,” the man still lay helpless, his sins not blotted out though forgiven; he was still a picture, an illustration of the terrible effects of sin. And our Lord’s later words, “Arise, take up your mat, and go to your house,” although in an illustration, or a type, of the coming restoration blessing, were not a blotting out of the man’s sins. To have blotted out his sins completely would have meant the lifting of him completely out of all the imperfections of the fall up to the full perfection of a perfect man mentally, morally and physically. Jesus did not do this for him; he merely healed him of a measure of his special difficulty.

(24) But more importantly, all the works that Jesus did were actually the works of his God and Father which were done in, by means of, him. (John 5:36; 9:3,4; 10:25,32,37,38; Acts 2:22) In all the works that Jesus performed, he performed under the authority given to him by his God. Thus when the multitudes saw the paralyzed man healed, “they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8) Yes, Jesus was given this authority! Thus Jesus says: “For neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment [authority to judge] to the Son.” (John 5:22) And, “and [the God and Father of Jesus] has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man [the Messiah, the anointed son of David].” (John 5:27, New King James Version) Jesus also states: “I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don’t seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.” (John 5:30) Thus, while God has given all this authority to Jesus, it still can be said that God “has appointed a day in which he [God] will judge the world in righteousness by [through, by means of] the man [person] whom he has ordained. — Acts 17:31.

(25) We might note that included in this man [person], Christ Jesus, is the entire body of Christ. (Romans 8:1; 12:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12) All of these members of the body of Christ to some extent offer up sacrifices pleasing to God through Jesus (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 9:23; 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5), and thus in addition to Jesus, the judgment [the authority to judge] will be given to the faithful saints. (Daniel 7:22; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3; Revelation 20:4) Nevertheless, in the name of, or by the authority of Jesus (who has been given this authority by his God), even today saints can offer forgiveness of sins to those who put faith in the blood of Jesus. (Acts 2:38) Still, however, we should note Jesus sent forth his disciples to forgive of sins by his authority, which he said was given to him by his God and Father (John 20:21-23; Acts 2:38; 13:38,39), and that we should preach repentance toward Yahweh God, the God of Israel, the God of Jesus, and faith in the name of Jesus for forgiveness and remission of sins. — Acts 10:43; 20:21; 26:20; 1 Corinthians 6:11.

(26) Nevertheless, forgiveness extended to us now on account of faith is of the nature of a covering or hiding of our sins, a reckoning or imputation of justification. As the prophet expresses the matter, “Blessed is he whose disobedience is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom Yahweh doesn’t impute iniquity.” (Psalm 32:1,2) Our sins are not imputed so long as we would renounce them and seek Yahweh through Jesus in faith and in sincerity. The time for the blotting out of sins, their complete eradication, is future, as the Apostle Peter declared. Our sins will be blotted out when we receive our resurrection bodies, in which there will remain no trace of the weaknesses, imperfections and maladies that came upon us because of original and subsequent sin. — Acts 3:19-21.

(27) We should note, however, in Jesus’ words of Mark 2:5 our Lord did not refer to original sin and its death penalty. He was speaking of sins in the plural, the man’s own sins additional to his share in father Adam’s sin and father Adam’s penalty. The man was a Jew, under the Mosaic Covenant. His share in original sin, in common with that of all Jews, was atoned for every year, and on the basis of this atonement he as a Jew had a standing with Yahweh, and Yahweh’s engagement with that people was that under their Covenant they should be free from sickness, etc., so long as they were obedient to Yahweh. To every Jew, therefore, sickness meant, implied, personal guilt, personal transgression, because Yahweh had so covenanted with them, as he had not done with other peoples and nations. It was declared that “whoever does these things will live.” If they could have kept that law, by reason of their obedience they could live and never die. — Amos 3:2; Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12; Hebrews 10:1-3.

OUR LORD ALREADY SACRIFICED

(28) But even as respects Adamic sin and its penalty our Lord would have had the right to have spoken peace and forgiveness and to have given an assurance of an ultimate blotting out of sins, because although he had not yet finished the work which he came to do, although he had not yet finished the ransom sacrifice, he had begun it. (Indeed, it was begun in the promise of God from the very beginning.— Genesis 3:15) At his baptism he had consecrated his life, had laid down his life, presented it to the Father in sacrifice, and the Father had in a measure accepted it and had signified his acceptance of the contract by giving to our Lord the holy Spirit, the first-fruits of the glorious blessing which he received at his resurrection.

(29) It was by virtue of his already having made this sacrifice, which he fully intended to carry out to the very end, and which God had already counted as having taken place (Acts 23:15), that our Lord was authorized in saying to his believers, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who disobeys the Son won’t see life.” “He who eats [by putting faith in] my [sacrificed] flesh [his righteous, sinless body] and drinks [by putting faith in] my blood [reprsenting Jesus’ sinless human soul, offered to God] has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 3:36; 6:54; Romans 3:5; 1 Corinthians 10:16; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:14; 10:10,20) In effect, Jesus is saying he who believes in me and becomes my true, faithful follower may reckon that he has already begotten in him the new life [or he has been reckoned as “born again”, as many wish to speak of this] (Romans 6:11), and that I will assist him and carry him through, so that in the very dawning of the Millennial morning he may have a share in the first resurrection and thus obtain the eternal life under its perfect conditions. — Revelation 20:6.

(30) The entire operation of this Gospel age so far as the Church is concerned is one of faith — “We walk by faith not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) By faith we realize our sins forgiven, by faith we look into the future and believe that in the first resurrection we shall share our Master’s glory, honor and immortality. And by faith we are satisfied and rest in hope — yes, actually, we shall be satisfied when we awake in his likeness.— Psalm 17:15.

(31) Some place scriptures such as Psalm 103:2,3 together with Luke 5:20, evidently in an endeavor to prove that since Jesus forgives sins, then Jesus must be Yahweh. Mark 2:7 shows that the Jewish leaders wanted to use Jesus’ statement to claim that he committed blasphemy, stating: “Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” However, what did Jesus say? Did he say, “Don’t you know that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thus I can forgive sins?” Did Jesus claim to be Jehovah (Yahweh)? Here is what the scriptures say: Mark 2:8 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you reason these things in your hearts? Mark 2:99 Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?’ Mark 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic — Jesus claimed “authority” on earth to forgive sins. He did not claim that he was his God, Jehovah, who sent him. The only place where there is even a hint that of an expression in the Bible that only God can forgive sins are the instances in Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21, where the offspring of vipers, lying, deceived and deceiving, hypocrites, (Matthew 3:7; 6:2-8,16-18; 12:31; 15:1-9; 16:1-12; 21:33-46; 23:2-33; Luke 11:14-54; 12:1; 15:1-19; John 8:38,41,44), the Jewish religious leaders state: “Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7) “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21) Not a very good authority to base this idea on. But Matthew records: Matthew 9:3 Behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man blasphemes.” Matthew 9:4 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? Matthew 9:5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk?’ Matthew 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” (then he said to the paralytic), “Get up, and take up your mat, and go up to your house.” Matthew 9:7 He arose and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. — italics added for emphasis. Matthew tells us plainly that it is God who had given such authority to men. Nothing in any of this suggests that Jesus was/is his God, Jehovah (Yahweh), who sent him. “Praise Yahweh! Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, For his lovingkindness endures forever.” (Psalm 107:15, World English Bible translation) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, World English Bible translation)


Much of the above has been adapted from Reprints 3728, Last update: October 14, 2009