BACK TO CH 2 "ONE LORD"
ON TO CH 4 "ELOHIM--GOD--ANGELS."
In Ex.33v20 it is recorded that the Lord said to Moses "You cannot see my face, for no man shall see me and live". The way in which this was understood by the Israelites can be seen by the way in which they reacted when they thought God had appeared to them. For instance, when Gideon perceived that the one to whom he was speaking was "God", he exclaimed "Alas, O Lord, for because I have seen ---". (Judg. 6v22). When Manoah, the father of Samson, thought he had seen God he exclaimed "We shall surely die because we have seen God". (Judg.13v22). Both of these statements imply that they took Ex. 33v20 to mean exactly what it said: "no man shall see me and live".
In the New Testament there are five different verses which state no man has ever seen God:-
(1) Jn. 1v18: "NO MAN has seen God AT ANY TIME..................."
(2) Jn. 5v37 "You have neither heard his voice AT ANY TIME nor seen his shape".
(3) Jn. 6v46 "Not that ANY MAN has seen the Father ............".
(4) 1 Tim. 6v16 "Whom NO MAN has seen, nor can see".
(5) 1 Jn. 4v12 "NO MAN has seen God AT ANY TIME.......".
Notice how emphatic these statements are. It is emphasized that NO MAN (i.e. no exceptions) has seen God AT ANY TIME (i.e. throughout history). No one has heard His voice or seen His shape. But. whilst these scriptures are quite dogmatic that no man has ever seen God, other scriptures seem to be equally dogmatic that men have seen and conversed with God. Abraham entertained the Lord; Moses saw and conversed with God, and Jacob actually wrestled with God. Not only that, but Jesus is referred to as "Lord" and "God" on many occasions and many people saw him, conversed with him and handled him.
If those in Old Testament times actually saw God, and if Jesus was God, how can we reconcile this with the statements above that no man has ever seen God? Also, if God is "one" in a numerical sense, how do we explain the fact that the Hebrew word for God (elohim) is plural in form and is sometimes associated with plural pronouns? Can these seeming contradictions be reconciled? Do the Old and New Testaments harmonize in these vital areas of doctrine? The doctrine of the trinity represents an attempt to do this but unfortunately creates more questions and contradictions than what it answers.
The fact that God said no man could see Him and live, coupled with the fact that other scriptures refer to men seeing and conversing with God either means
(2) He did mean it but did not have the power to carry it out, or
(3) the passage in Ex.33v20 or the references to God appearing to men (or both) are incorrect, or
(4) Men have NOT seen God and the records which say they have mean something else.
If the New Testament means what it says about no man having ever seen God, then proposition 4 is the only acceptable one. Deeper investigation into this whole subject will vindicate this conclusion. The answer to the apparent puzzle lies in a correct understanding and full appreciation of the principles God Manifestation.
The basic Bible teaching on God-manifestation is this: The One true God who is Father of all, whom no man has ever seen nor can see, has been visibly represented and manifested in various agents upon whom His power has rested and through whom He has spoken and performed wonders. The invisible God has revealed Himself - His power, wisdom and glory through various agents - prophets, priests, judges, kings, angels, and finally His only begotten Son. Because these "agents" were the Lord's representatives - because they spoke and acted for Him - because they were invested with His name and endued with His power, the divine title "God" is applied to them and they are referred to as "God" in scripture. But this does not, and was never intended to detract from the fact that in the ultimate sense, THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE GOD, i.e. one supreme fountain and source of wisdom and power. "God-manifestation" is really, in a nutshell, the theme of the Bible. It is a grand and lofty subject and a very vast one. It brings us right down to the heart and soul of the divine purpose and can be a very rewarding study, tying up many "loose ends" in scripture.
A true appreciation of this subject explains how Jesus can be called "God" when the Father claims that He alone is God. It provides the secret as to why "elohim is basically plural in form while God claims to be "one". It reconciles the various passages of scripture which teach that no man has ever seen God with the passages which refer to men seeing, talking and even wrestling with God.
To fully appreciate this subject, it will firstly be necessary to pass some comments on the name and titles of Deity. The whole subject is vast and extensive and the problem is, not what to say, but what is not say. I will try and keep my comments down to a minimum, but it is necessary to say something about the name and titles to do reasonable justice to the whole subject.
When Moses asked God to reveal His name, He said, as the A.V. translates it , "I am that I am". And He said to Moses to tell the children of Israel "I AM hath sent you" (Ex.3v14). Then, in verses 15-16 God told Moses to tell the children of Israel that He was "The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob -------- this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
In the Hebrew language, "I AM THAT I AM" is 'EHYEH ASHER EHYEH". "I AM" is "EHYEH". In Hebrew "The Lord" is "YAHWEH" and comes from the same root as "EHYEH", and is the memorial name of Deity as Ex. 3v15-16 reveals. (In the past, the memorial name proclaimed at the bush has been commonly called "Jehovah" but most modern philologists and theologians agree that this is an incorrect pronunciation. It is now pronounced "Yahweh" by most authorities).
The word occurs some 6,800 times in the Old Testament, and also appears in a contracted form as "Yah". Both "Yahweh" and "Yah" have been incorrectly rendered in the A.V. by the words "Lord" and "God". Many modern authorities believe that "Ehyeh" is incorrectly translated "I AM" in the A.V. Evidence is available to support the translation "I WILL BE", and the footnote in the R.S.V., New English Bible, Living Bible, Companion Bible, Emphasized Bible, Moffat etc. give this rendering.
However, whether or not the memorial name should be pronounced "Yahweh" or "Jehovah", or whether or not it means "I AM" or "I WILL BE", is of very little consequence at this particular stage of the subject, and I don't want to get bogged down in it . What is important to note is that whatever view we take both agree on the personal pronoun "I", stressing the individual oneness of the Father.
Many different Hebrew words are used as titles for the Father, and the A.V. (and other English translations) have unfortunately indiscriminately rendered most of them by the words "Lord" and "God".
The common use of "God" in the English language, is as little justifiable as that of the word "Lord". "God" is an Anglo-Saxon word, and, when first coined, was a term that could be applied to anyone of goodness and authority, without profanity. "God" is a contraction of the word "good", a meaning which cannot be extracted from any of the original Hebrew titles from which it has been indiscriminately translated. Hence, the Anglo-Saxon word "God" simply signifies "good one". God is indeed good; exclusively so, as we are taught by Jesus himself when he refused to appropriate the word "good", saying to the one who styled him so, "why callest thou me good? No one is good except one, that is God" or "Good one" was probably suggested to our English ancestors as a suitable English title for Deity by this saying of Jesus. However, it does not carry the meaning of the original Hebrew, and the Father never chose to designate Himself by this term. The idea of goodness is not contained in the original Hebrew titles at all, although, as already emphasized, there is no question about God's goodness.
In ancient times a name or title conveyed a meaning; it was expressive of some characteristic or peculiarity of the person named. Names and titles were not mere labels to distinguish an individual from other members in the family or society. They were significant of the personality or character or attributes of the one to whom they were given. Many examples are available in scripture to demonstrate this.
Because the birth of Abraham and Sarah's son brought laughter, he was called "Isaac" which means "laughter". His name thus became a memorial to the goodness and power of God which provided a son in their old age. Pharaoh's daughter called Jochebed's son "Moses" (which means "drawn out") because she drew him out of the water etc.
The Father also has a name and many titles which convey specific meanings in their original Hebrew form, and the English words "Lord" and "God" do not express those original meanings at all. The Hebrew titles have not the remotest affinity to the English words "Lord" and "God". I think it would be true to say that the Hebrew word "elohim", translated "God" in our English Bible, is one of the most misunderstood and restricted words in the Bible. Most restrict its application to the Supreme Deity - the Father, or, in the case of the trinity; but scripture does not place this restriction on it at all as we shall see.
The first Hebrew title to consider is "EL" (pronounced"Ale") This Hebrew word has been translated "God" about 212 times, and "Elohim is derived from it.
As often as this word EL passed before the mind of a Hebrew, the idea of POWER MIGHT and STRENGTH would stand out in bold relief. Gesenies says "It always presented to the Hebrews the idea of strength and power". It is, in fact, translated "mighty", "great" and "strong" in a number of places in the Old Testament.
"EL", when applied to the Father, refers to Him as the great FIRST CAUSE - POWER UNCREATE. It refers to theabsolutee, omnipotent andindependentt power of the universe which emanates from the Father and is all pervading - the power by which all things are created and sustained.
Speaking of Himself in His address to the ends of the earth He says, "Look unto me, for I (not "we") am EL (power) AND NONE ELSE". (Isa.45v22). And to Israel He said "Ye are my witnesses, and My servant whom I have chosen, that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I, Yahweh, am He; BEFORE ME THERE WAS NO EL (power) formed, neither shall there be after Me". (Isa. 43v10).
In these passages, the title EL stresses that the Father is POWER "and none else". Before Him there was no power, neither shall there be after Him.
These passages in the Old Testament are basically teaching the same truth which is taught in 1 Tim.6v15-16. Here the apostle Paul speaks of the Father as "the blessed and ONLY potentate - who ONLY has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see --".
"potentate" comes from theGreekk word "dunastes" and is akin to "dunamis" which basically means "power". The English word "dynasty" comes from dunastes and signifies "of great authority". The same Greek word is translated "mighty" in Lk.1v52 and "of great authority" in Act.8v27. In both cases the reference is to mortal men of high rank. They were "potentates".
How is it then, that these men (and others) are styled potentates when Paul expressly states that the Father is the" ONLY Potentate"? Also, in view of the fact that Jesus and the angels are immortal, how are we to understand the statement that the Father "ONLY hath immortality"?
Well the answer is basically quite simple. While it is true that Jesus and the angels are immortal, and men of high rank are called "potentates", their immortality and authority is DERIVED from ONE SUPREME BEING - FATHER-GOD. They do not "have" it or possess it in an underived sense. It has been delegated or distributed to them from the one fountain-head. The Father "only HATH immortality" in the sense that He is the supreme and absolute SOURCE AND FOUNTAIN of it. With Him, it is an inherent and underived possession. No one gave it to Him; He has always had it from all eternity. He is completely self-contained and self-sustained, and depends on no one for His immortality and power. It belongs wholly to Him, and Him alone in this underived sense.
We read this in Rom.11v36: "For OF Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things". The word "of" comes from the Greek "ek" and literally means "out of" or "from". Literally, this verse teaches that God is the source of everything. Everything come "out of" Him. This is confirmed in 1 Cor.8v6: "To us there is but ONE God, THE FATHER, OF (out of) whom are all things - - - ". The Father is, therefore, the one sole supreme fountain and source of everything, including immortality and power.
The Father alone is the originator, source and fountain of all power and energy. He is self-existent - Uncreate. All other forms and manifestations of power and energy in the universe derive from Him.
The apostle Paul had this in mind when he said "There is no power but OF (from) God". (Rom.13v1). Or, as Jesus said to Pilate: "you could have no power at all against me except it were GIVEN thee from above". (Jn 19v11).
Every form of power, whether it be angelic or human, derives from the one and same great energy -source - EL. He rules and is total control of every situation in the whole universe.
The source of power, then, in the universe, is ONE. It is an undivided unit. He is the focal centre around which the wheels of the universe turn. From Him irradiates whatever exists. Therefore, everything which exists is "out of" Him, as Paul teaches in Rom.11v36 etc.
Sometimes the Christians encounter this kind of argument: "If God created everything, then He must have existed before everything, which means there must have been a time when God existed alone, without the stars, sun, moon and earth. (Ps.90v2). If so, where did God find the materials to build the universe? Did He make everything out of nothing?
There is a proverb which says: "Take nothing from nothing and nothing comes". but some schools of divinity have reversed this and taught that out of nothing God made everything. The school of atheism goes much further by saying there is no God at all and everything made itself out of nothing.
The answer to the question is found in the significance behind the Hebrwe title EL. God didn't make everything out of nothing at all. Everything came "out of" Him. His POWER was the source and basis of everything that was made. The prophet Jeremiah particulary stresses the fact that "Ah Lord God; behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth BY THY GREAT POWER and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee". (Jer.10v12; 27v5, 32v17, 51v15). Elsewhere His power is called "spirit".
Significantly enough, the Greek word translated "power" in many places in the New Testament is "energeo" from which our English word "energy" is derived. The Father's spirit is power or ENERGY which, because HE is creator, continually proceeds "out of "Him. His divine power and energy forms the basis of everything that exists from the star of the greatest magnitude to the minutest insect of the air or atom.
And, interestingly enough, Einstein the great Physicist propounded in his law of relativity that "energy is the basis of all matter" All matter is really compact energy.
It has taken almost 6,000 years for man to reach a conclusion which has been taught in the Bible since the very beginning.
Father-God, then, is an inexhaustible source and fountain of power and energy. His power and glory and brightness is beyond our comprehension. As Paul says in 1 Tim.6v16: "Dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see". The greatest atomic explosion and the light of the sun would receed at the brightness of the Father who created the atom and the sun. Man, in his present state, would have more chance of surviving close exposure to the sun than exposure to the immediate presence of the Father.
Such, then, is the basic significance behind the title EL. The Father is power. As Einstein once said: "Those who don't want to confess God, let them call Him THE NUMBER ONE POWER"
God is omnipotent. He is almighty. He has infinite power. "With God all things are possible". God's power originates within Himself. Jesus, on the other hand, was not omnipotent for the power he exercised to perform miracles was recieved from God. It did not originate in himself. His Father gave it to him.
The position of Jesus in relation to his Father is beautifully summarized by Jesus himself: "The Son can do nothing by himself" (Jn.5v19). "I can, by myself do nothing" (Jn.5v30). "I do nothing by myself" (Jn.8v28). Jesus could only work when His Father worked: "My Father worketh hitherto so I work" (Jn.5v17). Jesus, along with the rest of God's creation, "lived and moved and had his being" in the Father. If the Father set His heart against all creation and gathered His Spirit and breath to Himself, all flesh would perish together (Job.34v14-15).
Jn.3v34 tells us that God GAVE Jesus the Spirit without measure. The Spirit desended upon him in bodily shape at his baptism in the Jordan, and took possession of him. This was the anointing which constituted him "Christ" (or the anointed), and which gave him the superhuman powers to perform miracles. This is clear from the words of Peter: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; and he went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed".
This statement alone is sufficient to indicate Christ's dependence upon his Father. If Jesus were "Very God of Very God" why was it necessary for him to be "anointed" with Spirit and power? He did no miracles before his anointing. He had no power of himself. This is why he emphasized "By myself I can do nothing"; "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (Jn.14v10).
On the cross the power was withdrawn and Jesus was left to the utterhelplessness of his own humanity. He deeply felt the anguish of the hour, and cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Before his anointing, Jesus was simply a "body prepared" for the divine manifestation that was going to take place through him. The preparation of his body commenced with the Spirit's action on Mary, and concluded when Jesus, being thirty years of age, stood approved in the perfection of a sinless and mature character. After the Spirit's descent upon him, he was the full manifestation of God in the flesh. The Father, by the Spirit, tabernacled in Christ among men. "God was in Christ" says Paul, "reconciling the world unto himself".
Jesus constantly stressed throughout his ministry that in all his mighty works he was not exhibiting his own inherent power, but only exercising the power he received from his Father. It was delegated power, not inherent; derived and not underived.
Because Jesus derived power from his Father, he was called "Immanuel" which means "GOD with us ", or, more literally, "POWER with us", for "el" is the Hebrew title conveying the idea of "power".
To see Jesus in action was to see the power of God in action. El was in him and pulsating through him. Jesus was a manifestation of God. Hence, when the people saw his mighty works they "marvelled, and glorified God, who had GIVEN such power to men". (Matt.9v8). "And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God". (Lk.9v43). And there was no confusion on these occasions in the people's minds about Jesus being God Himself; i.e. the Supreme Deity. they clearly recognized that he was a man empowered by God; a man who manifested the power of God, and who was therefore fittingly styled "Immanuel".
Thus, when the anointing POWER was withdrawn from him as he hung upon the cross, he cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? which is to say, My GOD, my GOD, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt.27v46. Ps.22v1).
There are many verses in the New Testament which emphasize the fact that Jesus received and derived all things from his Father - that without his Father he could do nothing and be nothing. He was utterly dependant upon his Father for everything. He had no power or authority of his own. All was delegated by the Father to the Son. Consider the following examples:
Lk.1v32: "And the Lord God shall GIVE unto him the throne of - - - David"
Ps.2v8: Ask of me and I shall GIVE you the nations - - - ".
Jn.3v27: "A man can receive nothing except it be GIVEN him from heaven".
Jun.5v27: The Father "hath GIVEN him (Jesus) authority - - - ".
Jn.5v36: "-- the works which the Father hath GIVEN me to finish - - - ".
Jn.6v39: "and this is the Father's will - - that of all which He has GIVEN me I should lose nothing - - -".
Jn.6v65: "No man can come to me except it were GIVEN of the Father".
Jn.13v3: "Jesus knowing that the Father had GIVEN all things to him".
Jn.17v1-2: "Father - - glorify the Son - - As thou hast GIVEN him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast GIVEN him".
Jn.17v6: "I have manifested thy name to the men which you GAVE me out of the world: they were yours and you have GIVEN them to me".
Jn.19v11: "Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against me except it were GIVEN thee from above".
Eph.1v22: The Father "hath put all things under his (the Son's) feet, and GAVE him to be the head over all things for the Church".
Plp.2v9: "Therefore God has highly exalted him, and GIVEN him a name which is above every name".
Heb.2v13: "I (Jesus) will put my trust in Him (the Father) - Behold I (Jesus) and the children which God hath GIVEN me".
These are just a few of the many passages which refer to Jesus being given things by his Father. JESUS IS ALWAYS THE RECIPIENT. He depends upon and derives everything from his Father. We never read of the Father depending on the Son for life and power and possessions. No, because He alone is the source and fountain of all power and is self-sustained.
Some may feel that the Son's dependance on the Father was only a temporary arrangement during his days upon the earth in the flesh. It may be argued that once Jesus rose from the dead, things were different, and he attained to equality with the Father.
Such is not the case at all. After his reaurrection, before he ascended to heaven Jesus made this statement: :All power is GIVEN to me in heaven (i.e. over the angels) and in earth". (Matt.28v18). Here, once again, that important word "given" occurs, Jesus freely confessed and acknowledged that the power he possessed had been GIVEN to him. It was not an underived inherent possession. He derived it from the great fountain source - Father God. This rules out equality because it is generally recognized that the giver of authority and power is greater than the receiver.
Dan.7v14. confirms Matt.28v18: "And there was GIVEN him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom -----".
The apostle Paul, writing at a time when Jesus had ascended to heaven, insists that Jesus still, "LIVES BY THE POWER OF GOD" (2 Cor.13v4). From this we learn that Jesus' position in relation to his Father has not changed since he ascended to heaven. He still depends upon the power and energy of his Father to live and minister. His endless life is only endless because he is drawing from the inexhaustible reservoir of his Father.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the "wisdom of God". How do we understand this? Paul explains it in 1 Cor.1v30 where he says God MADE Jesus wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. Jesus is what he is because the Father has given it to him. Of his own self he could do nothing, and he freely confessed this on a number of occasions.
Jesus recognized the Father, the one true God, as his God. Jesus never claimed this position for himself. He did not pretend to be equal with God. He always regarded the Father to be superior to him, his God. In the following scriptures, Jesus refers to the Father as his God, or God is described as the God of Jesus:- Matt.27v46. Mk.15v34. Jn.20v17. Ps.22v1. 2 Cor.1v3. 11v31. Eph.1v17 1v3. Rev.1v6 3v12.
Jesus revealed that he was not himself God, and that he was dependant on God, when he prayed to his Father. If Jesus were one and the same person and equal with God, why did he pray to God? Trinitarians claim that God, Jesus, and the Spirit all have one intelligence and one will. If Jesus and God share one and the same will and power of decision, it would seem like mockery for one person of a trinity to pray to another person of a trinity. Jesus showed that he is inferior to his Father and that his Father alone is the one supreme by the fact that he prayed to him. Addressing his Father in prayer he said: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth - - - " Matt.11v25. "O my Father, if it be possible - - -" Matt.26v39,42). "Father the hour is come" (Jn.17v1). Jesus spent all night in prayer on some occasions (Lk.6v12). He "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save him out of death, and was heard for his Godly fear" (Heb.5v7).
It is commonly believed that Jesus was equal with his Father because divine attributes are attributed to him. Certain verses are quoted, for instance, to prove that Jesus was self-existent.
Those verses are:-
Jn.5v26: "For as the Father has life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself".
Jn.10v17-18 "--I lay down my life that I may take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received - - - ".
In these passages Jesus talks about having life within himself and power to take up life again after having laid it down. Many conclude from this that Jesus was self-existent, and therefore equal with his Father. However, the fact is quite overlooked that when Jesus spoke about having life within himself he made it clear that the life was not inherent but delegated by his Father. the Father "hath GIVEN to the Son to have life in himself" is how Jesus put it. There is no equality in this. The life that Jesus possessed was RECEIVED from a higher source - the only fountain source. He derived it from his Father and depended on his Father for it. Had the Father never given it to him he would never have possessed it.
Notice also that when Jesus referred to having power to lay his life down and take it again he added the very important statement:
Regarding Jesus' statement that he had "power" to take his life again: most authorities agree that the Greek word from which it is translated ("exousia") means "authority", "right", "privilage". Looking at the statement in this light it seems that Jesus was saying that he had the authority, right or privilage to come back to life after he had died. This is certainly true. Jesus had the right to receive life after death because he was obedient unto death. He lived a sinless life, and therefore the Father would not allow him to remain in the grave and see corruption. The "power" that Jesus had to take up his life again was his SINLESS LIFE. 1 Cor.15v56 tells us that the power of death is sin, so it is reasonable to conclude that the power of life is a sinless life.
Many Old Testament prophecies predicted the resurrection of Christ. (Ps.16v8-11 etc.). Jesus could legitimately claim, on the basis of the authority of those prophecies alone, not to mention any personal divine assurances that he received direct from his Father, that he had the right to resume life after death.
When Jesus he had the power to take up his life he expressed confidence that his Father would raise him. It was not the power in the dynamic sense for that left him as he hung upon the cross. It was "authority" - COMMANDMENT which he received from his Father; i.e. the taking up of his life would result from the Father's power and authority, exercised in accordance with the pledge given by the Father.
Literally, Jesus did not raise himself; the Father raised him as we shall see in a moment. But, because it was the Father's purpose and because the Father spoke through Jesus, Jesus could appropiately say that he had power to raise up himself. An example of this style of language, in which a person has a relation to in the divine purpose, is considered as under his control and referable to his power, occurs in Jer.1v10: "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant". Literally, the prophet did none of those things, but was overpowered and slain, as nearly all the servants of God were; yet the things he predicted came to pass, and this is taken as a sufficient basis for the highly-wrought lanuage quoted above, which imputes the result of Jeremiah's predictions to Jeremiah's own individual operations.
Jesus' statement "Destroy this temple, and in three days I WILL RAISE IT UP" can be compared in principle with a statement made in Ex.40v18: "And MOSES REARED UP the tabernacle - - ". In actual fact, Moses himself did not literally erect the tabernacle. This work was performed by other men acting under his authority.
In like manner we read in Mk.6v16 that "when Herod heard, he said, It is John whom I BEHEADED - - ". In actual fact, Herod himself did not behead John at all. He delegated one of his officers to do it (v27). But, because the action took place through his authority, it is referred to as being done by himself when not even one of his fingers were used in the whole operation.
There are many examples of this kind of language in scripture as well as our own contemporary speech. A pilot might say "I'm going to take a plane up today". In actual fact he has no power within himself to get the plane off the ground. The power by which the plane is propelled into the air is separate from, and external to himself. But, as a pilot, he has the right and authority for that power to be released on his behalf to take him up.
A statement made by the apostle Paul is worth quoting here in connection with our subject: "But we had the answer of death IN OURSELVES that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead". (2 Cor.1v9). We learn from this that faith in God becomes the power of life in ourselves. In this sense, we have the power to take up our life again after death.
Regarding the resurrection of Jesus: there is not a single reference in any part of the Bible to him raising himself from the dead. If Jesus had the power in a dynamic sense to raise himself from the dead why did he cry out as he was dying, saying, "My God (El) my God (El) why have you forsaken me?" The divine power was obviously withdrawn from him prior to his death. His body went into the tomb bereft of power.
If Jesus had total confidence in his own power and ability to raise himself from the dead, how are we to understand Heb.5v7: "In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears UNTO HIM WHO WAS ABLE TO SAVE HIM OUT OF DEATH - - - ".
Repeatedly throughout the book of Acts and the Epistles it is affirmed in clear language that Father-God raised Jesus from the grave. In fact, it forms a vital part of the confession that a man must make if he desires salvation: "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, you shall be saved". (Rom.10v9). Also see Rom.4v24.
In Act. 2v24,32 we read that it was God who raised Jesus up, having unfastened the cords of death. Also Acts 3v15,26. 4v10, 5v30, 10v40, 17v31. Rom.8v11. 1 Cor.6v14, 15v15. 2 Cor.4v14. Gal.1v1. Eph. 1v19-20: "-----according to His (the Father's) mighty power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead ---". Also Col. 2v12, 1 Thes.1v10. 1Pet.1v21.
There is an outstanding volume of scripture which unambiguously proclaims that God raised His Son Jesus from the dead by His own mighty power. It is impossible to offset this weight of evidence by pinning a couple of slightly enigmatical statements in the gospel of John against it.
We return to what we were saying earlier about "EL". We have seen how Jesus was called "Immanuel" because the power of God (EL) dwelt in him and was manifested through him. To see Jesus in action was as good as seeing the Father Himself in action because it was His power performing the work. To hear Jesus preach was to hear the voice of the Father, for the words he spoke were not his own but the Father's who spoke through him (Jn.7v16. 14v10,24).
Acts 2v22 expressess the position beautifully: "....Jesus...A MAN approved by God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which GOD DID BY HIM ....". In other words, it was all God's doing - it was His power and His wisdom channelled and manifested through His own Son. Hence, to see Jesus was to see the Father (Jn.14v9).
Now, as we read carefully through the Bible we discover that the names of othe men whose ministry manifested the wisdom and power of God (EL), also appropriately contain the same Hebrew title "EL". For example: SamuEL, EzekiEL, DaniEL, JoEL, ELijah,ELisha etc.
As in the case of Jesus, who was called "Immanuel", the names of these other men of God also contained the same divine title. Like Jesus (although their ministry was obviously greatly inferior to his) they spoke and acted for God. They were appointed, anointed, energised and inspired by the same divine power of the Father. Their position is expressed by the Psalmist in these words "It is EL who girds me with strength ....". (Ps.18v32). In relation to their contemporaries, each of these men of God were, to a lesser and inferior degree, "Immanuel" - "God with us", because God communicated with the people through them.
In saying this , let me stress that I am not placing Jesus on the same level as these men. He was clearly of an infinitely higher rank and status, being the only begotten of the Father. Jesus was the greatest of all the prophets - the only prophet who was the direct and intimate Son of God and who lived a totally sinlesss life. He alone had the Spirit without measure. It could be said that all the other prophets and prophetic ministries preceding Christ's were a foreshadow of greater things to come. As in the case of John the Baptists ministry, they were preparation ministries - ministries which, like John's had to decrease while Christ's increased.
Jesus himself revealed that the prophets and righteous men before him knew that his ministry would far trancend theirs when he said: "Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them". (Matt. 13v17).
"EL" has manifested Himself in many servants, especially and supremely in His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. By conferring His power upon His servants, He has worked His works and spoken through them. The invisible God, whom no man has ever seen, has made Himself visible in His works manifested through chosen vessels. In each case, and pre-eminently in the case of Jesus, it was "God manifest in the flesh". That is: the flesh or human body of these men became the receptacle - vessel - instument of God, through which He worked His works and manifested His thoughts, purposes, power and glory. To see these ministries in action was to see God. He possessed the men. To hear their messages was to hear God's voice. Hence, their messages usually started with "Thus saith the Lord". Today if you will hear my voice ...". Had the Father Himself personally come down to the earth He could not have spoken more plainly or truthfully than He did through these chosen vessels.
As this subject develops it will become apparent that because divinely chosen vessels contained and manifested God's power and gloty, they are referred to as "God". But the fact still remains, as taught in scripture, that no man has actually ever set eyes upon the Eternal One - the great Father and Creator Himself (except Jesus, of course, who has been elevated to His right hand).
So, the basic principle of God-manifestation is that the invisible God, whom no man has seen nor can see, has been visibly represented and manifested by specially appointed servants who have been invested with His name and endued with His power.
In relation to Jesus, Col.1v15 puts the matter in a nutshell: "Who is the image of the invisible God". Or, 2 Cor.4v4: "Christ, who is the image of God". (Also see v.6).
A very similar principle to the principle of God-manifestation is exhibited in businesses where one employed is vested with the name or title of the firm which employs him. Seeing he works for, and represents the firm, he speaks in its name and on its behalf.
A man working for Smith and Brown may answer the phone and say, "Smith and Brown". Yet, in actual fact, he is neither Smith or Brown, but someone with quite a different name. When a salesman goes out to do business for, and promote the firm for which he works and which he represents, he does so in in the full authority of its name and title. The firm delegates its authority to him. He merges his individuality in the name of the company he represents. His name may be Hodson, but when on official business, he can be described as "Smith and Brown calling", without confusion. To see and hear him is to see and hear the manager himself, for he speaks and acts according to the manager's wishes.
It is according to very similar principle that "Lord" and "God" is conferred upon those who serve and represent Him. This is particularly evident in the case of the angels as we shall see in the next chapter.
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