Topical and Doctrinal Notes
Thought: The Lord Jesus Christ, Our King
While reading what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did, when on earth, it is very important to remember that he was "that prophet," who had been promised in Moses' time. Moses said to the people: "The Lord thy God shall raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him shall ye hearken. ... Jehovah said unto me, I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My Name, I will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19)
The Jews knew that this prophet had not made his appearance. Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, - in fact all the prophets that had visited Israel, none of these were the particular prophet promised.
Who then was that prophet? The Lord Jesus Christ.
Was He not our Lord? Yes, but He was also our Prophet, for He called Himself so, as you can see, if you wish, by turning to any of the following passages: Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24; 13:33. The people realized that He was that prophet who had been promised in Moses' time, as you may see in John 6:14; 7:40; Luke 7:16. On this very occasion when He had entered the city of Jerusalem it was reported throughout the city that "This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." (Verse 11)
But what was a prophet? You will, perhaps, answer that he was one who foretells future events. That is only a small part of the true answer. A prophet was a teacher of the Word; and he taught in two ways. One was by telling people what the Lord told him. The other was by picturing forth, or representing, what the Lord wanted people to know. We have spoken of this before. But you need to be reminded of it so as to understand the Lord's entering into Jerusalem as a king. For kings and chief justices used to ride upon asses, since asses correspond to the reason. It was a badge of their office. So the Lord rode on an ass. Princes used to place their garments on the ass for the king to sit on. So this was done by the disciples for the Lord. People would lay garments or branches on the way for the king to pass over. So the people did this for the Lord. And all those who went before and those who went after shouted that He was king. Even the little children in the temple, whither He was going, took up the cry.
Yet the Lord was not intending to be an earthly king. He had told people clearly that His kingdom was not of this world. He knew that the Jews did not want Him. And yet He rode into Jerusalem as a king. Why did He do it? Because He was also a prophet, or a teacher, and by acting the part of an earthly king He taught by such representation that He was King of heaven, and of all who constitute His church on earth.
Now how does a king rule? By means of laws. No good king will ever rule arbitrarily, that is, force people to do what he wants. The king rules by means of law. And our great King, our Divine King, the Lord Jesus Christ, reigns by the Divine law, that is by the Divine truth. You know that the name "Christ" means the "anointed one" or "king;" while "Jesus" means Jehovah the Savior. The Lord saves us as we live according to His Divine law, or the Divine truth which He has given us in His holy Word.
This law tells us the good things that we must do, and the wrong things that we must shun. And as we shun the wrong things He cleanses us. He casts evil thoughts and wishes and pleasures out of our mind, just as He cast out the traders out of the temple. The temple represented the mind or soul of man. You see that what He did in the temple also "represented" or pictured forth what He does to the souls of men, just as His riding into the city as king "represented" that He was to rule their souls.
And the subsequent story about the drying up of the fig tree again "represented" what the Jewish Church was at that time. They did not do what was good in the Lord's sight - they brought forth no fruit, and therefore the Church among them came to an end, and the Lord established a new church of that time, which came to be called "The Christian Church," from the Lord's name "Christ," because He was acknowledged in it as king, whose Divine truth must be obeyed.
The story of the fig tree reminds us of the first Psalm. The man who studies the Lord's law and lives according to it, is "like a tree planted by streams of waters, whose leaf does not wither," and which "bringeth forth fruit in its season." But the fig tree did not bring forth fruit, for the Jewish Church which it represented did not live according to the Lord's Word. It had only leaves; and this means the things that were taught by the learned, the Rabbis and others, which they took from the Word, but misinterpreted. So the Lord "represented" the state of the Church by making the fig tree wither away. How do you suppose He did this? By not letting the spiritual nourishment which fed it, any longer flow in from the root.