God created and still upholds all things through His Son.

Word of GodGod is the Source of all creative power and wisdom.  All things came into being by His word.  But the Word is also a Person; God’s only begotten Son.  The Bible consistently draws a distinction God and the Son, but also describes the Son as The Beginning, through whom God brought all things into being, and who upholds all things by the word of His power.

This is the third article in a series about who the Son of God is and what His relationship is with His Father, God Almighty.

The first article explains the three views of the Son.  Some people propose that the Son of God is a created being.  Others say that He was derived from the Father.  A third view is that He always existed; co-equal with the Father.

The second article shows that God is One, that the Bible contrast His Son with God, and that the Father is greater than the Son.

This third article discusses the Son as Creator and Upholder of the universe.

The Word in John 1

God’s word of creation

In the BeginningThe dramatic first verses of John 1 do not refer to “the Son” or to the “Son of God”, but to “the Word”.  Some therefore propose that “the Word” does not refer to the Son, but to the word which God spoke when He created all things.  Modern translations render “the Word” with a capital “W”, but all original documents have been written in capitals only.  Capitals and lower case therefore are only interpretations.

Let there be lightIt is possible that “the Word” in John 1:1-2 refers to God’s word, for “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Gen. 1:3).  The whole of Genesis 1 is about what God spoke, and it came to be.  The phrase “God said” appears 10 times in that chapter.

But the Word is also the Son

The Word is described as a Person.

What would be the logic of saying that “the word” which God spoke “was with God … was God … was in the beginning with God”? (John 1:1-2) These descriptions imply that “the word” is a Person.

God created through the Word, but God also created through His Son.

All thingsAccording to John 1:3 “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”.  “Him” in this verse is also an interpretation.  The original word means “the same”.  What 1:3 is saying is that all things came into being through the Word.

However, both Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1 say that all things came into being through the Son (Col. 1:13; Heb. 1:2).  This implies that “the Word” is “the Son”.  Note the word “through” in John 1, in Colossians 1 and in Hebrews 1 (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2).

Since God created through His Son, it remains God that created.

The Word” is “the Light”, and “the Light” is the Son of God.

John 1:4 continues to explain “the Word” but changes the symbolism from “the Word” to “the Light of men”.  The subsequent verses continue to describe “the Light”, and do it in a way that refers to the Son:

John 1:6-8 says that John the Baptist came as a witness, to testify about the Light”.  John was the forerunner for the Son of God in human form.  John witnessed, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make straight the way of the Lord … among you stands One whom you do not know …” (John 1:23-26).  “The Light”, and therefore “the Word”, refers to Jesus, who is the Son of God in human form.

The True LightJohn 1:9-10 refers to “the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  He was in the world, and the world was made through Him”.  These verses confirm that the One through whom “all things came into being” (1:3) is also “the light of men” (1:4), and this One came into the world (1:9).  How could this be anybody other than the Son?

The Word became flesh.

Tested unto death
Son of God

John 1:14 again refers to “the Word”, and says “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us”.  This can only be the Son of God.  He “descended from heaven” (John 3:13; 6:38, 62).  “I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (John 8:23).  “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

But how can the Word be the Son?

There is therefore sufficient proof that “the Word” in John 1:1-2 refers to the Son.  But how must this be understood?  God did not create another Creator; He spoke the word.  All things came into being by the word of God.  But the Word is also a Person; “the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18).  That Person later became flesh (John 1:14).  Not only was He “in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2), He Himself Is “the Beginning“ (Col. 1:18; cf. 2 Peter 3:4; Rev. 3:14).  He is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). This is both a truth and a mystery.  Let us be content to accept that the God is beyond human understanding.

Comparing Three Key Creation Passages

Consider the following three quotations:

Gospel of JohnJohn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Colossians 1:13 His beloved Son15 … is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 … He is the beginning

Hebrews 1:1 God2 has spoken to us in His Son … through whom also He made the world 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

This is what theologians call high Christology; explanations with a high view of Christ. Various conclusions will now be drawn from the three passages:

God brought all things into being through the Son. 

All three quotations claim that God made “all things” “through Him”:

John 1:3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”.
Through HimCol. 1:16By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him”.
Heb. 1:1-2His Son … through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:2).

The presentation of the Creator as consisting of more than one Person is not unique to the New Testament.  On the first page of the Jewish Scriptures, describing the creation of this world (Gen. 1:1), God refers to Himself as “Us”, saying “Let Us make man in Our image”, which, with the knowledge we have from the New Testament, includes His Son.

We therefore conclude as follows:

A. God is the Source of all creative power and wisdom.
B. The Father is greater than the Son (John 14:29).

There was no time when the Son did not exist.

He is before all thingsHe is before all things” (Col. 1:17).  He is “from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2), “before the world was” (John 17:5).  Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

John 1:1 begins with the words “in the beginning”.  “The Word … was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2).  This phrase probably comes from the first verse in the Bible, which reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).

John 1:1-3 links “the beginning” to the creation event.  The beginning is therefore when all things were brought into being.  Colossians also relate “the beginning” (1:18) to the creation of all things (1:15-16).  Before “the beginningnothing existed.  There was no time before that, so to talk about the Son existing with the Father before that time is an anachronism; time did exist.

While the universe had a “beginning”, God has no beginning, for He is eternal (Rom. 16:26).  God exists beyond time.

We can therefore conclude that there was no time when the Son did not exist, for God also created time through the Son.  But to make any statement that He always existed co-equal with God is treading into an area which is beyond human comprehension.

All things” include the universe and everything in it.

All three quotations claim that the Son made “all things”.  Hebrews 1:1 says He made “the world”, but then verse 3 says He upholds all things, which implies that “the world” is a synonym for “all things”.  Colossians 1:16 defines “all things” as “in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities”.  The ancient people had no idea how large the universe is.  (Neither do we.)  We therefore can conclude that the Son created the universe and everything in it.

God continues to uphold all things through the Word. 

The title “the Word” also indicates the Son’s permanent role as the One through whom God continues to speak to uphold all things.

Upholds all things
Upholds all things

Col. 1:17In Him all things hold together”.
Heb. 1:2-3His Son … upholds all things by the word of His power”.

He became a human being as part of His work to uphold all things.  He became a human being to redeem this world.

Col. 1:13 God, through the Son, “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son”.
1 Tim. 1:16 “Just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself”.

The Son contrasted with God

As a child I was taught to think about God the Father and God the Son, but that is not exactly how the Bible presents the Son.  As shown in the previous article, the Bible consistently draws a distinction God and the Son, as if the Son is not God.  The three creation passages quoted above do the same:

The Word was with God” (John 1:1-2).
His beloved Son … is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:13-15).
God …  has spoken to us in His Son … through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1-2)

Consider some of Paul’s statements, randomly selected:

“Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father” (2Th 2:16)
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:1)
Our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus” (1 Thess. 3:13; cf. v11)

But between such statements we find statements such as “the Word was God” (John 1:1).  And it is said that God made all things through Him and that the Son “upholds all things by the word of His power“.  This series of articles is evaluating three option, as mentioned above.  The last article will bring the evidence together into a conclusion.

Series

This is the third in a series of seven:

(1) The three views of the Son of God.
(2) God is One, the Son contrasted with God and the Father is greater than the Son.
(3) What the Son does: He made and still upholds all things by the word of His power.
(4) What the Son is: Fullness of Deity
(5) The Son is worshiped.
(6) The Son is Yahweh of the Old Testament.
(7) Conclusion: Is He created, derived or eternally co-equal?

The Son of God emptied Himself to become a human being, but who is He really?

Jesus as babySome people propose that the Son of God is a created being.  Other say that He was derived from the Father.  A third view is that He always existed; co-equal with the Father.  When He became a human being, He emptied Himself of wisdom, power, knowledge, and became a helpless human baby named Jesus.  But who is He really?

Three views

Created – Some people propose that the Son of God is a created being; the first created being, who created all other things, but nevertheless a created being.

Fathers of the faithDerived – A second view, held for instance by the Fathers of the Christian church, was that the Son of God, as to His divine nature, was not created, but was “derived” from the Father; eternally generated by God the Father; came forth from the being of God. Hence, the Nicene creed speaks of him as:

Begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made”.

Co-equal – A third view is held by those who hold that a derived being cannot in any proper sense be “God”.  They argue that His Son always existed; co-equal with the Father.

Emptied Himself 

Emptied HimselfThis discussion is complicated by the information that, when He became a human being, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7).  He emptied Himself of wisdom, power, knowledge, and became a helpless human baby named Jesus, having to learn like any other human being.  But although He emptied Himself of supernatural powers, He remained the same Person as before.  We need to keep this in mind when we think about Him.  For instance, He said that He only does what the Father tells Him.  If that was because He “emptied Himself”, His dependence on God does not help us to understand Who He really is.

This article uses the title “Son of God” to refer to Him in His true identity, while the name Jesus is used to refer to Him as a human being.

Humility Required

This subject requires humility, for humans are unable to understand God.  “His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable” (Rom. 11:33).  The Lord warned:

As the heaven are higheras the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts
”. (Isaiah 55:9)

We must accept that “we know in part … now we see in a mirror dimly … now I know in part” (1 Cor. 13:9-12).  It is our privilege to study about Him, but we must do it with humility, for “the secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons” (Deut. 29:29).  Even with what is revealed in the Bible, we may feel frustrated because we do not understand, but we need to accept our inability to understand with joy, for it confirms His greatness.  If we able to understand Him, He would have been a very small God, indeed.

We do understand to some extent, and we will in all eternity know more and more of Him, but there will always remain an infinity beyond.  That may scare us, for we do not know what the future holds.  But let us then rejoice that God has revealed Himself in Jesus as trustworthy and merciful.

Logic distorts 

We must be very careful to not use logic to supply that which the Bible does not reveal.  Human logic will serve to lead us away from the truth.

Articles

To evaluate these views, this article first discusses a number of texts.  At the end of the article these concepts are brought together into a conclusion.  The articles in this series are:

God and His Son: God is One. The Father is greater than the Son.
What the Son does: created all things and continues to uphold all things.
What the Son is: fullness of Deity
The Son is worshiped.
The Son is Yahweh of the Old Testament
Conclusion: Is He created, derived or co-equal?

Recommended listening:  Does the NT Teach that Jesus is God? (White vs Malik)

Hebrews 1:1-2 The New Testament has a higher authority because God spoke it in His Own Son, who is heir of all things, through whom also He made the world and who still upholds all things.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son. (New American Standard)

The Two Testaments

These verses contrast the two testaments:

What God spoke long ago in the prophets represents the Old Testament.

Son of manWhat God spoke in these last days in His Son refers to the New Testament, or perhaps more accurately, the Four Gospels.

The writer is saying with this contrast that the Four Gospels have a much higher authority because God spoke it in His Own Son, who is heir of all things, through whom also He made the world and who still upholds all things (Hebrews 1:2-3).

Hebrews frequently quotes the Old Testament.  It uses the Old Testament to show that the Four Gospels have a much higher authority.  For this reason the writer starts in Hebrews 1:1 by affirming the Old Testament as the Word of God.

New TestamentSome Bible interpretations effectively classify the Four Gospels as part of the Old Testament, while the New Testament letters are used as the basis for Christianity.  But Hebrews tells us that the four gospels are the foundation of the New Testament.

 

 

God Spoke

In these verses it is God that spoke; not the prophets and not His Son.

We should be amazed that the infinite and eternal God should speak to man; a speck of dust floating in the unending expanse of the universe.  But this reflects His love for man; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

God exists outside the limits of space, time and matter. If God had not spoken, we would have known anything about Him, and we would have floating around in this immeasurable universe without hope. But God has spoken, and we therefore do have hope.

The fathers include Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They are also the spiritual fathers of Gentile Christians believers (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:29).

Last Days

Last DaysThe phrase last days is commonly understood as meaning ‘recently’.  However, Jesus said, His disciples believed and the entire New Testament—including Hebrews (9:26; 10:25, 36-37)—teach that the Lord is coming soon.  The phrase “these last days” therefore indicates the writer’s belief that his generation was to be the last generation before Christ’s return.  Please see Why did He Not Return in the First Century as He promised?

His Son

Even though 1:2 says that God “has spoken to us in His Son”, the writer and his readers had not actually heard Jesus (2:3).  They were second-generation Christians.  Hebrews was written more than 30 years after Christ’s death.

The title “His Son” (1:2) signifies His unique relationship to God, just like the title “Son of man” designates His relationship to man.

Jesus as babyGod created everything through His Son (1:2).  His Son therefore always existed.  To become a human being, His Son emptied Himself of glory, power and even wisdom.  He became a helpless human baby, had to develop like any other human being, and was utterly dependent on God.

The most wonderful event ever in the existence of mankind is that the Son of God should have come from heaven to teach mankind.  But equally amazing is how few listened to Him when He was on the earth, and how few still regard Him today.

Conclusion

This letter to the Hebrews does not have an introduction like we would find in other letters.  In Hebrews the first three verses serve as an introduction, but also immediately confront the reader with the main theme of this epistle, which is the superiority of Christ, and therefore the higher authority of His message.

This is a summary.
To read the full article, see God Spoke.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God spoke long ago in the prophets. In these last days He has spoken in His Son.

What God spoke to us in His Son has a much higher authority than the Old Testament.

 

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.

God … spoke

God spoke – In 1:1 God spoke in the prophets and in 1:2 God spoke in the Son, but in both verses it is God that spoke; not the prophets and not His Son.

If God had not spoken, we would have been without hope.God exists outside the limitations of our physical space, time and matter. He cannot be seen by our eyes or measured in a laboratory. He said,

My thoughts are not your thoughts“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, … For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

We are not equipped to know anything about God.  If God had not spoken, we would have been without knowledge of Him or without hope. But God has spoken, and we therefore do have hope.

Long ago to the fathers in the prophets (1:1)

The letter to the Hebrews was written for Jews.The letter to the Hebrews is very Jewish in nature.  It has a strong focus on:

Moses (3:1-6);
The Exodus generation (3:7-4:11);
The Jewish sacrificial system (4:14-10:31);
The Old Testament heroes of faith (chapter 11) and;
The “heavenly Jerusalem” in contrast to Mount Sinai (12:18-24).

On the basis of this strong Jewish emphasis it is usually concluded that the letter was addressed to Jews who converted to Christianity, or even that it was addressed to a Jewish synagogue of which some members have accepted Jesus as Messiah, but others not.

 The writer of Hebrews admits the Old Testament as the Word of God.  Both the writer and the intended audience were trained in the Jewish Scriptures.  The writer in 1:1 affirms the Old Testament as the Word of God.  His ultimate purpose was to show the superior claims of the gospel, and to lead them away from confidence in the Old Testament rites, but he will use the Old Testament to substantiate his arguments.  Therefore he first affirms their belief in the inspiration of the prophets.

God elected AbrahamThe fathers also belong to Gentile Christians.The fathers include Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Gentile believers may correctly assume that “the fathers” belong to them as well, for Abraham is the spiritual father “of us all,” that is, of all true believers:

so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law (the Jews), but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16)

if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).

God spoke … in many portions (KJV – parts) (1:1)

Law of Moses

God did not speak through the prophets all at once.  In the 39 books of Old Testament, God revealed Himself in many portions.

God spoke … in many ways (1:1)

By whom did He speak? – Sometimes the Spirit spoke directly to His servants; sometimes through angels, or sometimes God even appeared Himself as the Angel of Jehovah, as to Abraham in Genesis 18.

How did He speak? – His methods of communication include direct Still small voicecommunication, dreams, visions and impressions.  Elijah, for example, once stood upon the mountain before Yahweh,
and there was a great and strong wind which rent the mountains, and broke the rocks into in pieces; but Yahweh was not in the wind.
Then there was an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake.
Then there was a fire; but Yahweh was not in the fire.
Then Yahweh spoke to Elijah is a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12).

In what form did He speak? – The forms in which His word is delivered include prophecy, poetry, proverbs, historical events and religious ordinances.

In these last days (1:2)

Last DaysThe early church expected Jesus to return soon. – The phrase “last days” is commonly interpreted as meaning ‘recently’.  However, Jesus said, His disciples believed and the entire New Testament teaches that the Lord is coming soon.  The author of Hebrews similarly wrote:

Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (9:26)

all the more as you see the Day approaching. …   For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay” (10:25, 36-37).

The phrase “last days” elsewhere in the New Testament also implies the last days before Christ’s return:

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking” (2 Peter 3:3)

Mockers’and it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My spirit on all mankind’” (Acts 2:17)

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:1-2)

It is therefore proposed that the phrase “these last days” indicates the writer’s belief that his generation was to be the last generation before Christ’s return.  Please see Why did He Not Return in the First Century as He promised?

God … has spoken unto us (1:2)

This does not mean that the writer and/or his readers had actually heard Jesus, for they did not (2:3).

We should be astonished that the infinite and eternal God should speak to man; a speck of dust floating in the unending expanse of the universe.  But it reflects God’s love for mankind; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

In his Son (1:2)

Son of manTo become a human being, His Son emptied Himself of glory, power and wisdom.  Jesus said, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 7:58). The Son shared the Divine glory before the world was, but He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) when He came into the world. That means that He laid aside His glory and power, and even His wisdom, “taking the form of a bond-servant” (Phil. 2:7).  He became a helpless human baby, had to develop like any other human being, and was dependent on God for everything.  He said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19), and “I cast out demons by the Spirit of God” (Mt. 12:18).  But even though Christ emptied Himself, He remained Who He previously was before.  These things we have to accept by faith, for we are unable to understand it.

The title “Son” signifies His unique relationship to God, just like the title “Son of man” designates His relationship to man. The Jews understood the title “Son of God” to mean equality with God:

Jesus and the PhariseesJesus said, “My Father is working until now” (John 5:17).  “For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” (v18).

John 10 records Jesus saying “I am the Son of God” (v36).  For that reason the Jews wanted to stone Him, saying, “because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (v33).

The most wonderful event in history – The most wonderful event ever in the existence of mankind is that the Son of God should have come from heaven to teach mankind.  Yet, equally amazing, how few listened to Him when He was on the earth, and how few still regard Him today.  People have no interest in Him, and refuse to listen to what He has to say about of the unseen and eternal world.

New TestamentThe New Testament is God’s message in His Son.  The Four Gospels—the first four books of the New Testament—record God speaking to us in His Son, but Acts and the New Testament letters interpreted and elaborated what Jesus taught.  Therefore the entire New Testament may be considered to be what God “has spoken to us in His Son”.

The gospels are the foundation of the New Testament.  Some Bible interpretations view the gospels effectively as part of the Old Testament, and teach that the New Testament letters represents true Christianity.  But according to Hebrews the foundation of Christianity is what God spoke to us in His Son.

The New Testament has a much higher authority than the Old Testament.  The Old Testament contains solemn messages to mankind which God gave to the prophets, endowing them with more than human wisdom and eloquence. But how much more important is the message which is brought by his own Son?  Throughout the letter, the writer contrasts the old and the new and elevates the new above the old.  In the current verses the old is how God revealed Himself through the Old Testament prophets, and the new is how He revealed Himself through His Son.  With this contrast the writer is saying that, what God has spoken to us in His Son, has a much higher authority than the Old Testament, and therefore imposes on us the highest obligation to attend to what He has said.  This is the main message of Hebrews 1:1-3.

The New Testament clarifies many issues that were unclear in the Old.  There is a great variety of subjects which we now, with the benefit of Christ’s teachings, see clearly, which were very imperfectly understood by the teaching of only the Old Testament prophets. Among them are the following:

(a) The character of God:

No one has seen GodNo one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:18)

Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Mt. 11:27)

(b) How man may be reconciled to God: Even the sins committed under the first covenant are taken away through the sacrifice of His Son (Heb. 9:15; 10:4; 11:40; Rom. 3:25).

But I say to you
Sermon on the Mount

(c) God’s moral principles: Prophets had delivered many moral principles of great importance, but the purest and most extensive body of moral principles on earth are found in Christ’s teachings.

(d) The future state:  Jesus revealed the doctrine of the resurrection of the body and the certainty of a state of future existence.  What the Sadducees previously were able to dispute, is stated irrefutably in the New Testament.  The Saviour raised up more than one to show that it was possible; and He was Himself raised, to put the whole matter beyond dispute.  He also revealed the certainty of future judgment of all mankind.

Conclusion

Hebrews does not have an introduction like we would find in other letters.  The first word in Paul’s letters, for instance, is always his own name, followed by the name of the church or individual to whom he wrote.

In Hebrews the first three verses serve as introduction, but also immediately confront the reader with the main theme of the entire epistle, which is the superiority of Christ and His message.  The first three verses argue that Christ is superior to the Old Testament prophets, for He is God’s Son—the exact representation of God’s nature—and through Him God made everything and through Him God still upholds everything.  But that is not the writer’s ultimate goal.  His real message is that Jesus’ message, as recorded in the New Testament, is superior to the Old Testament prophets.