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by Ken Swiger

Elvis, Cher, Madonna, Monica, Manson. Single names only. But, did you get a mental image? I'll bet you did. These are people who are so well known that even their incomplete names are recognized immediately. Some possibly gave you a positive or pleasant mental image, while others were ugly or negative. (For those over 30, the name Manson probably conjured up an image of a wild-eyed face with a swastika tattooed between his eyebrows. For those under 30 it likely reminded them of the equally ugly cross-dressing shock rocker, son of a Baptist preacher.)

Now try this one. Jesus. What image did you get? What image did you see in your mind's eye? White guy? Long hair? Big, glassy looking blue eyes? Kind of good-looking, although somewhat effeminate in appearance?

One of my co-workers had a piece of paper with black blotches on it. Stare at it, close eyes and see image. Even though I know that Jesus didn't really look like that, I recognized immediately who it was meant to be. HOW DO I KNOW JESUS DIDN'T LOOK LIKE THAT? After all I'm only in my early forties, I wasn't alive back then, I never saw him. Well to begin with, I BELIEVE HE, THE ONE WE CALL JESUS, CAME AS THE MESSIAH, THE DELIVERER LONG PROPHESIED TO COME TO ISRAEL.

The prophecies about messiah tell us something about his appearance.

Isaiah 53:1-5 - "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

We could have read verse 2 alone to make the point, but we read verses 1-5 to show conclusively that we are talking about the "suffering servant" messiah.

Interestingly, TAMMUZ he false Messiah of antiquity was known to be astonishingly good-looking. He was most noted for his physical beauty in one of the later versions of his legend, under the name ADONIS. I suspect that is the one whose image comes to mind when most people hear the name JESUS. WHAT A ROTTEN, albeit brilliant, thing for Satan the devil to do. He has planted a mental image in people such that when we think about Messiah, we see HIS FALSE MESSIAH in our minds.

What did Jesus look like if he didn't look like the pictures? Well, think about it. Jesus was born to a Jewish mother. He was a descendant of King David. He probably bore some resemblance to his mother (and possibly to King David). What would he have looked like? He would have looked like a JEW. Do you know any Jewish people? What do they look like? If Jesus showed up a family function, He would blend in.

Now I know this may offend some people. It seems that there is a growing under-current of anti-Semitism among some who call themselves Christians. I have heard and read so much overblown nonsense about how the Jews are not really Jews at all, but that the whole bunch of them are really impostors. I even hear that among some who observe Sabbaths and call themselves Church of God. BUT THAT IS THE SAME MISREPRESENTED, MISINFORMATION USED BY MANY WHITE SUPREMIST AND NEO-NAZI GROUPS IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THEIR HATRED OF NON-WHITES AND THEIR MURDEROUS ACTIONS. In light of the recent shootings in LA, I think we should examine ourselves to make sure that we are not allowing any ROOT of the vine of bigotry to be growing in our hearts.

Jesus blended in so well, was so normal looking, that JUDAS had to point him out to the Soldiers when they came to get him. HE LOOKED VERY NORMAL. Who do you know who looks like the popular JESUS pictures? Would he stand out in a crowd of Jews in Jerusalem? LIKE A SORE THUMB! Yet TAMMUZ/ADONIS is widely viewed as the image of Christ.

You might think that doesn't matter. That it is only an image, a mental one at that. Does it matter? SO what if a false god's image is used to represent JESUS? Surely GOD wouldn't mind would he? And besides, isn't that an isolated thing? I could spend considerable time here, showing you in scriptures what GOD thinks about paganism being mixed with his true worship. I could take you to the ten commandments and point out that NO IMAGE OF ANY THING (including humans) should represent GOD to us. But we've been through that many times. I'll only read from the book of the law.

Deuteronomy 12:29-32 - "When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

Do you think that has happened with professing Christianity? Do you think they have been SNARED by mixing paganism with the true worship of GOD?

HOW ABOUT THIS ONE (just one of thousands of examples available)? In Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, close to the altar, stands a statue, supposedly of the Apostle Peter. It has a "halo" behind its head. Its feet are worn down to about half their original thickness from being kissed and caressed over the centuries.

IT IS BAD ENOUGH THAT PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO WORSHP THE MESSIAH ARE BOWING AND KISSING THIS IDOL. But do you know the origin of this block of stone in the shape of a man? It came directly from the Pantheon. The Pantheon was a temple, the shrine to ALL gods. The statue of Peter in Saint Peter's Basilica was previously the idol of Jupiter Olympus! The "halo" behind his head is the image of the SUN! Do you think God cares? Do you think he says "how cute, my children have adapted the formerly pagan idols and now use them to worship me"?

DO YOU THINK THIS IS A NEW THING THAT CAME ABOUT AFTER THE TIME OF CHRIST? When Elijah was feeling low, depressed because he thought he was the only true believer left, GOD told him something to encourage him. He said I have seven thousand believers you don't know about Elijah! But notice what else we read in that same statement:

1Kings 19:18 - "Yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."

BOWING AND KISSING involved in the worship of a false god!

Is the Jesus we picture mentally a false god? Could Satan the devil cleverly trick believers into believing in a counterfeit Christ?

2 Corinthians 11:2-4 - "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused \par you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]."

ANOTHER JESUS! A false representation of the messiah! Was Paul just being overly worried? Or do we have an INDICATION THAT HAD ALREADY HAPPENED ELSEWHERE?

Galatians 1:6-9 - "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

In the lifetimes of the Apostles, Satan already had his ministers working hard to change the truth of God into a lie. BUT THEY WERE CLEVERLY DISGUISED AS GOD'S ANOINTED MINISTERS! How do I know?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 - "For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

HOW DID SATAN AND HIS MINISTERS CAUSE SO MUCH TROUBLE SO EARLY IN CHURCH HISTORY? Why were they so successful? Well there are many facets to the answer to that question. For the remainder of this sermon, I will focus upon just one.

We already saw how name recognition causes a mental image.

Matthew 1:18-23 - "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was \par found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

"JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins " Why did the angel say that? Did you ever wonder about that? If the angel had said: "He shall be called "handsome for he shall be good looking." We would all have understood that. OR if the angel had announced: "he shall be called Einstein for he shall have a brilliant mind for physics and mathematics". But what is the connection with the name Jesus and saving people from their sins?

Think about your own name. Does it mean something? Is it descriptive, or were you named after a relative, or did your parents just like the name? According to the book of lists of names we went through when thinking about what to name our children; the name Kenneth means HANDSOME... (hey c'mon, give my parents a break, they couldn't know when I was a baby what I would look like when I grew up.)

In the Bible we find that names were not arbitrary handles placed on children, they meant something. For instance: Isaac [yitz-zawk] means laughter. He was named that because his parents laughed at the notion that they could become parents at their advanced ages. Elijah means YAH IS GOD. So what does Jesus mean? Jesus is a "transliteration" of a name in Hebrew. The name Jesus is actually a Greek name which is pronounced [ee-ay-sooce']. (Which some believe is connected to the false god Zeus, the Greek version of the same god known as Jupiter.) The Hebrew name JESUS is meant to represent is [ye-ho-shoo-ah, yah-shoo-ah, or Ye-shoo-ah]. We more readily recognize it as it is transliterated into English, we know this name as JOSHUA. SO? Yeshua is a name that means something. Yeshua = salvation from GOD. Now that we know that let's go back and plug that into the verse in Matthew and see if it makes more sense.

Matthew 1:21 - "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name YESHUA [salvation from GOD]: for he shall save his people from their sins."

That helps doesn't it? Makes more sense. It ties Messiah to the prophecies of Israel doesn't it? It identifies him as the promised deliverer. The salvation sent from Yahweh.

So by disguising the name of the messiah, calling him Jesus, Satan has subtly hidden a great truth from the eyes of GOD'S people. This made it much easier to preach another CHRIST. One who came to abolish the law of GOD instead of uphold and properly administer it. Substituting the name Jesus made it easier for Satan's ministers to preach another GOSPEL. A gospel about a loving NEW TESTAMENT god who came to replace the vulgar and violent OLD TESTAMENT god. A gospel which was only ABOUT the messenger instead of including the MESSAGE he brought. For you see the gospel is not just that you can be forgiven of sins now through the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The GOSPEL is also the message JESUS brought! That message is that the kingdom of GOD is coming and it is going to take over this planet, putting down the mis-rule of human governments and establishing the throne of ALMIGHTY GOD forever! And because of the strong anti-Jewish/anti-Hebrew attitudes which were growing in the early decades of the church (especially after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD) the new-improved messiah (which was really the old pagan messiah) was readily accepted as the real Jesus.

Today we too are in danger of losing sight of the real Jesus. We must fight the urge to blend in with the world and their false messiah. When we read the name Jesus in our Bibles, when we sing our hymns of praise to Jesus, we must know who it is we are thinking and talking about. We cannot allow ourselves to adopt a pagan image and apply it to the living GOD and his son.

Don't fret about the name. I have every assurance that even the Hebrew name Yeshua will not be the name by which we know our savior.

Hosea 2:16-17 - "And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name."

Ishi = my husband

Baali = lord/master. Baal of mountains, river, lightning, etc.

Zephaniah 3:9 - "For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent."

Some believe this scripture is fulfilled in that since 1948, Hebrew has been resurrected as a spoken and written language. But if you look at the context of this scripture (specifically v13) you will see that this new pure language comes at a time when there is no LAWLESSNESS, no lying, no deceit, and no FEAR of adversaries in Jerusalem. How many of you think that is the case today in Jerusalem. No one breaking GOD'S holy commandments? No one lying? No one being deceitful? No FEAR of their neighbors' desires to drive them into the sea?

LEST WE GET TOO UPTIGHT ABOUT THE CORRECT PRONUNCIATION OF THE NAME OF MESSIAH, CONSIDER THIS:

Revelation 19:11-13 - "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God."

NO ONE NOW KNOWS THE NAME MESSIAH WILL BE KNOWN BY! He is not tied to a name used by humans on this earth to curse. He has a pure undefiled name reserved for himself. You see, if you do some study, you will find most of the names which we use to refer to the creator have been polluted in some way. LORD is a name attached to Baal worship. The word GOD is a German derivation of GOTT, a name for a pagan deity. AND REST ASSURED, ABSOLUTELY EVERY SINGLE NAME FOR THE CREATOR HAS BEEN ABUSED AND MISUSED TO CURSE AND BLASPHEME!

When messiah returns he will have a new name! And he promises one for us too:

Revelation 2:17 - "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it]."

And we will have a new last name too:

Revelation 3:11-12 - "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name."

EVEN ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM WILL HAVE A NEW NAME:

Isaiah 62:2-3 - "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."

AND THOSE NEW NAMES WILL LAST, UNPOLLUTED, ETERNALLY!

Isaiah 66:22-23 - "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

That new name comes from attaching ourselves to God in a covenant relationship. Do you want a new name? Understand who the real Jesus is, become grafted into the spiritual nation of Israel.

Isaiah 56:2-7- "Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."

For all people. Jews and gentiles alike have access to the covenant of GOD. The Jews will not likely ever accept a gentile JESUS CHRIST who did away with the commandments of GOD. But when he is revealed in reality, for who he truly is; many of them will accept the messiah Yeshua. The one whose very name means SALVATION FROM YHWH


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