|THE INTER-RELATION OF THE FOUR GOSPELS.* THEIR STRUCTURE AS A WHOLE.|
SPEAKING "BY HIS SON" (Hebrews
THE REJECTION OF THE KINGDOM AND THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE KING.
MATTHEW. The Lord presented as Jehovah's KING. "Behold THY KING" (Zechariah 9:9), "Behold . . . I will raise unto David a Righteous BRANCH,‡ and a KING shall reign and prosper" (Jeremiah 23:5, 6; 33:15). Hence the royal genealogy is required from Abraham and David downward (1:1-17): and He is presented as what He is—before MAN (relatively)—the highest earthly position, the King.
MARK. The Lord presented as Jehovah's SERVANT. "Behold MY SERVANT" (Isaiah 42:1). "Behold, I will bring forth My Servant THE BRANCH"‡ (Zechariah 3:8). Hence NO genealogy is required: and He is presented as what He is—before GOD (relatively)—the lowest earthly position, the ideal Servant.
LUKE. The Lord presented as Jehovah's MAN. "Behold THE MAN Whose name is THE BRANCH"‡ (Zechariah 6:12). Hence the human genealogy is required upward to Adam (Luke 3:23-38): and He is presented as what He is—before MAN (intrinsically)—the ideal man.
JOHN. The Lord presented as JEHOVAH HIMSELF. "Behold YOUR GOD" (Isaiah 40:9). "In that day shall Jehovah's BRANCH‡ (that is to say, Messiah) be beautiful and glorious" (Isaiah 4:2). Hence NO genealogy is required; and He is presented as what He is—before GOD (intrinsically)—Divine.
* For the order of the Gospels and the other books of the New Testament, see Ap. 95. II. † For the "sundry times" and "divers manners" in which God has spoken to mankind, see Ap. 95. I. ‡ There are twenty-three Hebrew words translated "Branch" in the Old Testament. This word (zemach) occurs twelve times (see Appendix 10); but in the passages here quoted it refers specially to the Messiah, and forms a link which connects the four characteristics of "the Branch" with the four presentations of the Messiah, as set forth in the subject-matter of each of the four Gospels respectively.
In Jeremiah 23:5, 6, and 33:15, Christ is presented as "the Branch", the KING raised up to rule in righteousness. This forms the subject-matter of MATTHEW'S Gospel.
In Zechariah 3:8, Christ is presented as "the Branch," the SERVANT brought forth for Jehovah's service. This forms the subject-matter of MARK'S Gospel. He is seen as Jehovah's servant, entering at once on His ministerial work without any preliminary words.
In Zechariah 6:12, Christ is presented as "the Branch" growing up out of His place. This is the characteristic of LUKE'S Gospel, in which this growing up forms the subject-matter of the earlier (and separate) portion of the Gospel, and brings out the perfections of Christ as "perfect man".
In Isaiah 4:2, Christ is presented as "the Branch of Jehovah" in all His own intrinsic beauty and glory. This is the great characteristic of the subject-matter of JOHN'S Gospel.
The Four Gospels thus form one complete whole, and are not to be explained by any "synoptic" arrangement.
The four are required to set forth the four aspects of the LIFE of Christ, as the four great offerings are required to set forth the four aspects of His DEATH.
No one Gospel could set forth the four different aspects of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, as no one offering could set forth all the aspects of His death.
Hence, it is the Divine purpose to give us, in the four Gospels, four aspects of His life on earth.
God has so ordered these that a "Harmony" is practically impossible; and this is the reason why, out of more than thirty attempts, there are scarcely two that agree, and not one that is satisfactory.
The attempt to make one, is to ignore the Divine purpose in giving four.
No one view could give a true idea of any building; and no one Gospel "Harmony" can include a complete presentation of the Lord's life on earth.
See further on "the Diversity" and "the Unity" of the Four Gospels in Appendixes 96 and 97.
Through failure to recognize this fourfold Divine presentation of the Lord, the term "Synoptic Gospels" has been given to the first three, because they are supposed to take one and the same point of view, and thus to differ from the fourth Gospel: whereas the difference is caused by the special object of John's Gospel, which is to present the Lord from the Divine standpoint. John's Gospel is thus seen from the Structure above to be essentially one of the four, and not one standing apart from the three.
Return to Appendix 96
Return to Appendix 97