Biblical Biographies Archive

Why is Jesus Christ Called the Son of Man?

Why is Jesus Christ Called the Son of Man?

Why is Jesus Christ called the Son of Man?  While others in the Scriptures (particularly the Old Testament) who are called “son[s] of man” (Jeremiah 49:18, Ezekiel 4:16, Psalms 8:4), the word “son” is uncapitalized.  Elder James E. Talmage, a Biblical scholar, sheds light on the answer in his renown work, Jesus the Christ.  He says, “In applying the designation to Himself, the Lord invariably uses the definite article. ‘The Son of Man’ was and is, specifically and exclusively, Jesus Christ. While as a matter of solemn certainty He was the only male human being from Adam down who was not the son of a mortal man, He used the title in a way to conclusively demonstrate that it was peculiarly and solely His own. It is plainly evident that the expression is fraught with a meaning beyond that conveyed by the words in common usage. The distinguishing appellation has been construed by many to indicate our Lord’s humble station as a mortal, and to connote that He stood... Read the rest of this entry »

The Law of Sacrifice Part III – In Remembrance

The Law of Sacrifice Part III – In Remembrance

The evening before the Lamb of God was to be crucified for the sins of the world and hours before He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus was sitting with his Apostles in a “large upper room” (Mark 14:15). It was here that He first instituted the sacrament: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples,” (Matthew 26:26). Then He said, “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” 1 Corinthians 11:24). Then, “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25). Thus, the purpose of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is to look back and remember Jesus the Christ and what He has done for each of us. Everything points “to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice [is] the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal” (Alma 34:14).... Read the rest of this entry »

The Law of Sacrifice: Part II – A Great and Last Sacrifice

The Law of Sacrifice: Part II – A Great and Last Sacrifice

The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ “embraces, sustains, supports, and gives life to all other gospel doctrines.  It is the foundation upon which all truth rests and all things grow out of it and come because of it.”1 “The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history.”2 Because of these statements, all things also point to Christ and His atonement.  Those who lived before Christ looked forward to Him and His infinite and eternal sacrifice.  Those who live after Christ look back to this greatest of all events and “remember what was done.”3 There were many different ways in which the blood sacrifices before Christ were types and shadows of the great and last sacrifice.  Note a few of the details: First, like Christ, the [sacrificial] animal was chosen and anointed by the laying on of hands. (The Hebrew title Messiah and the Greek title Christ both mean “the Anointed One.”) Second, the animal was to have its life’s blood spilt. Third,... Read the rest of this entry »

The Law of Sacrifice: Part I – Looking Forward

The Law of Sacrifice: Part I – Looking Forward

The atonement of Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of Christianity, and all other Christian doctrines come out of and are appendages to it.1 Not only can these other doctrines be connected back to the Savior and His Atoning Sacrifice, but if they are not, “there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them,” to use a phrase by President Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.2 It is therefore not only important, but necessary, when studying any doctrine or teaching or appendage of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to connect it back to Jesus Christ and His eternal sacrifice. When Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, they were commanded “that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord” (Moses 5:5).  Yet M. Russell Ballard, another apostle of the Church, has said that some have wondered, “How could the slaughtering of an animal upon an altar... Read the rest of this entry »

Why is Jesus Called the Son of David?

Why is Jesus Called the Son of David?

In the first verse of the first gospel as it appears in our New Testament, Matthew calls Jesus Christ “the son of David” as if it were a sort of preface to the genealogy he is about to write, and perhaps, a preface to Matthew’s entire testimony of the Savior. Following this preface is the line of royal descent from Joseph, Mary’s husband, back to David, King of Israel (Cf. Matthew 1:1-16).  Because Joseph is listed as a descendant of David, Joseph can also be called a son of David. Joseph treated Jesus as if He were his own son, and by those who knew not of His divine origin Jesus was presumed to be “the son of Joseph” (Luke 3:23), or “the carpenter’s Son” (Matthew 13:55).  It may be said, then, that Jesus is the adopted son of Joseph.  However, Joseph was not Jesus’ literal Father.  As James E. Talmage explained, “That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation... Read the rest of this entry »

Who are the Magi?

Who are the Magi?

The account of the Magi, or Wise Men, is a well-known and loved part of the Christmas story. Nevertheless, Matthew’s account simply states that when Jesus Christ was born, “there came wise men from the east,” without specifying how many there were, exactly who they were, where they came from, or that they were kings. The traditional number of three wise men arose because of the association of one king for each gift given to the infant Jesus (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). The identification of these “kings” as Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar does not date before the sixth century.The historian Herodotus first uses the Greek term magoi to refer to a priestly caste among the Medes and Persians who were noted as dream interpreters. Later associated with the priests of the Zoroastrian religion, magoi was also used to describe various types of eastern diviners and wise men, including the Babylonian astronomers known as Chaldeans. By the roman period, the Latin... Read the rest of this entry »

Who was John the Baptist?

Who was John the Baptist?

John the Baptist was born to righteous and devout parents of priestly descent in a small village in Judea, traditionally identified as Ein Karem, a modern suburb of Jerusalem. He played a singular role at the beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry. Each gospel provides insights into John’s ministry as a prophet, preacher, baptizer, and witness in the Judean wilderness east of Jerusalem, culminating with the baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan. Moreover, each gospel author emphasized certain aspects of John’s life, providing a context for each author’s particular witness of Jesus. John the Baptist preached repentance and baptism, was sharply critical of the Pharisees and Sadducees, prophesied of one “mightier than [he], whose shoes [he was] not worthy to bear’ (Matthew 3:11), and identified Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36). Luke alone, however, provides details of John’s birth and childhood (see Luke 1 and 2). Read the rest... Read the rest of this entry »

Was Pilate a Christian?

Was Pilate a Christian?

The Gospel of Matthew reports that Pilate’s wife said to him, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19). This report may have found its way into the Gospels from a variety of different channels such as rumor, legend, or secondhand testimony. Some early Christians proposed that this report represents firsthand knowledge on the part of the evangelist; and therefore Pilate’s wife, or even Pilate himself must have converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read the rest of this entry »  Read More →

Who is Joseph Caiaphas?

Who is Joseph Caiaphas?

Joseph Caiaphas (AD 18-36) was a Jewish leader in the first century. All four Gospel accounts place Caiaphas at the center of Jesus Christ’s interrogation by Jewish authorities and his delivery to Pilate. What is surprising about the way in which Caiaphas’ story is told is that the synoptic Gospels authors largely pass over the subject of his motivation for acting against Jesus. Interestingly, the Gospel of John provides a glimpse into Caiaphas’ motivation to impede and thwart Jesus Christ’s growing popularity: Caiaphas’ was concerned that more people would follow Jesus once they heard about the raising of Lazarus (John 11:47-54). But during the trial scenes, it is Annas, his father-in-law, who directs the proceedings while Caiaphas waits patiently offstage. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not include the miracle of Lazarus or the motives of Caiaphas; all three find it sufficient to relate the story of a Galilean Messiah who travels to Jerusalem for... Read the rest of this entry »

Who is Pontious Pilate?

Who is Pontious Pilate?

Pontius Pilate, the Roman official under whose authority Jesus Christ was tried and sentenced, was the fifth governor of Judea, holding his position during the period of A.D. 26-36. As an equestrian, Pilate came from the Roman class that was second only to the senatorial order and from which the Roman emperors increasingly drew their administrative and military officials. Little is known about his career before his appointment as governor of Judea, although he may have benefited from the political patronage of L. Aelius Seianus (Sejanus), an important minister of the emperor Tiberius (ruled A.D. 14-37). Although Tacitus calls him a “procurator” (Tacitus, Annales 15:44), which is the title common for the equestrian governors of small imperial provinces from the time of Claudius (ruled A.D. 41-54, and important inscription from Caesarea, the capital of Roman Judea, confirms that he held the earlier title of “prefect.” Two first-century Jewish sources, Josephus and... Read the rest of this entry »