The Multi-faceted Life of Christ
By Arthur J Licursi
Many have tried to harmonize ‘the four gospels’ to make one story. However, God the Holy Spirit chose to write of our “One God” in Christ to emphasis of four aspects of His work and ministry to and for mankind. We see this by the amazing wonderful design of Scripture, written over 1,400 years, always pointing to the many elements of the life, work and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of believers. Unlike any other book ever written, the Holy Bible is compiled of writings that cover a span of about 1400 years and include some 40 writers. Within its pages are 66 books, yet it is considered one book, The Book, The Holy Scriptures, The Word of God. The time period recorded during those 1,400 years covers nearly 4,000 years of human history and God’s revelation of Himself to and through man. The history of the Holy Bible is the history of God’s involvement with mankind.
This 1,400-year-period begins with the writings of Moses, the first five books of the Holy Bible. These writings include a time recorded prior to Moses’ lifespan. It started out at the actual creation of the cosmos. By the time Moses completes the teachings found in Deuteronomy, we learn about the very beginning of mankind. The final writer was probably John when he was on the Isle of Patmos and wrote the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Between the days of Moses and John, a time period of about 14 centuries transpired, but the Holy Bible covers over 4,000 years of history. It has been nearly 2,000 years since the last of the writers lived. How could Moses have written about things that occurred before Adam? The same way the prophets could write about things that would occur hundreds and thousands of years later. The writers were penning God’s Word under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God revealed things to them that would have been otherwise unknowable.
The Holy Bible is divided into two sections. All that was recorded prior to the birth of Jesus Christ is referred to as the Old Testament focused upon Prophesy concerning Israel. The testament is a written account, proof, evidence, a record of events that took place. The Old Testament covers 39 books (in the Protestant Bible).
About four hundred years had passed from the writing of the last book in the Old Testament and the birth of Christ. These are referred to as the silent years. Four hundred years in which God did not speak through prophets. Some of the historical events that occurred during that period are recording in the Catholic Douay version of the Bible. These books are referred to as the Apocrypha. They fill in some of the 400-year period between the official canon of the Old Testament and the New Testament. It was the time of the Maccabees. These books are referred to as extrabiblical, meaning they are not in the accepted canon as Holy Spirit inspired word of God.
The silence was broken by a sudden appearance in the sky of the heavenly host announcing the birth of the promised one. The New Testament begins with the coming of Christ into the world as the prophesied Emmanuel (“God with us”) in the form of the baby of Mary, Jesus. God in Jesus took on a body of human flesh. The New Testament is composed of 27 books and ushers in the church age beginning with Paul’s 23 Epistles. From the writings of Moses through the prophets and other Old Testament books, God worked exclusively through the children of Israel. Today they are referred to as the Jewish people. The church opened up God’s grace to whosoever would come. This includes non-Jews and Gentiles of all nations and races.
The “BRANCH” as seen in the below is a title and name for the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will later correlate these with ‘The Four Gospels.’
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [KING David’s father], and a BRANCH shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1 (KJV) 5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous BRANCH, and a KING shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. Jeremiah 23:5 (KJV)
8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my SERVANT the BRANCH. Zechariah 3:8 (KJV)
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the MAN whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Zechariah 6:12 (KJV)
2 In that day shall the BRANCH of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. Isaiah 4:2 (KJV)
Let’s now consider the “Behold” Statements of Scripture:
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD, thy KING cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)
1 BEHOLD my SERVANT, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. Isaiah 42:1 (KJV)
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, BEHOLD the MAN whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Zech. 6:12
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, BEHOLD your GOD! Isaiah 40:9 (KJV)
The Design of God as Seen in the Throne Room of God with the Four Living Creatures:
“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a MAN, and the face of a LION, on the right side: and they four had the face of an OX on the left side; they four also had the face of an EAGLE.” (Ezekiel 1:10)
The four faces of the Lord are significant as they relate to the detail of the ‘four gospels’ unto Israel:
- “the face of a MAN” – Luke’s is the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth as a ‘MAN’ the “Son of MAN” in His human incarnation to die a human death for the sins of the world – Lk 3 Jesus’ lineage to Adam.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb, 4:15 (KJV) “For he [God] hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21 (KJV
- “the face of a LION” – Matthew’s is the gospel of the KING of Israel, King of kings – see lineage to David. Note how that Matthew 1:17 traces Jesus’ lineage back to David the King of Israel and to Abraham, to whom the land of Israel was promised for His “seed.”
- “the face of an OX” – Mark’s is the gospel of the suffering SERVANT who bears our burdens.
“But [Jesus] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a SERVANT, and was made in the likeness of men:” (Philippians 2:7 (KJV)
- “the face of an EAGLE” – John’s is the gospel of the ASCENDED ONE, Sovereign and above ALL.
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing [counting] their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ [as “the KING eternal, immortal, invisible” 1Tim. 1:17], as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (KJV)
The image of God as an EAGLE is found throughout the Bible but primarily in the Old Testament. It is a sign of strength and able to bear much weight, as Moses wrote, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Ex 19:4). This is further symbolized when Moses said of God “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions” (Duet 32:11). The eagle can bear up the young eaglets on its pinions, which are the outer wings. This is basically what God did when He brought Israel out of captivity from Egypt and continued to bear her up in her wanderings in the wilderness.
The Eagle as a sign of Strength. The psalmist often referred to God in the imagery or as having the attributes of an eagle and especially when he wrote that it was God “who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5). Isaiah also saw the symbolic strength of God as depicted in an eagle when he wrote “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
I’ve assembled a chart comparing these Title’s and metaphors as they relate to the Four Gospels. By these we see the multi-faceted ministry and work of Christ unto blessing us… as planned before the world began.
The Four Gospels
The Four "Branches" …
The Four "Beholds" for Israel …
The Four Faces of Christ
Behold ‘Thy King’
the face of a LION
Behold ‘Thy SERVANT’
the face of an OX
Behold ‘The MAN’
the face of a MAN
Behold ‘Your GOD’
The face of an EAGLE
God’s wisdom and design as seen in the Scriptures is absolutely amazing.