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God Our Owner, Christ our Redeemer

 

 

Weíve just completed observing the Day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks, as itís known in the Old Testament. Itís the day that pictured the giving of the great law of God in the form of the ten commandments which were thundered to all Israel at Mount Sinai in Arabia. In the New Testament, Pentecost was the day on which the New Testament Church of God was begun by the giving of the Holy Spirit to all 120 disciples of Christ.

 

Weíve now concluded the Spring Holy Days but we look forward with eager anticipation to the coming Fall Holy Days just four months ahead of us. We know they further outline the plan of God for all humanity but each year as we keep them faithfully, we gain more insight through the study of Godís word and unveil just a few more details of the future that awaits us. As we prepare ourselves, both physically and spiritually for the annual rehearsal of picturing the momentous times lying shortly ahead of us, we need to ask ourselves, are we merely observers of what transpires in our hectic societies or are we an integral part of something bigger?

 

We live in a sophisticated age and in societies where God has made his word, the Holy Scriptures, available to all. Weíve all heard many times that the Bible is the worldís best selling book. The widespread distribution of the Bible throughout the world means that there is virtually no corner of the earth were itís not possible for someone to read the Bible, if he or she tries hard enough to do so.

Many organizations have been established to freely spread Bibles throughout the world. Even now, there are groups devoted to freely spreading Bible study software throughout the world. One way to find out about such organizations is to visit your public library. You can search the internet for a listing of free Bibles or free Bible software and copy down their names and addresses. In fact, members of the Church of God Most High have supported the distribution of free Bibles for many years.

 

While the access to Godís word in most of the world is open and abundant, the personal desire and openness of mind to really understand and obey the scriptures is quite another matter. In Romans 11:7, Paul spoke of the hardened heart of mankind cutting itself off from God.

 

(Rom 11:7-8 NASB) What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; {8} just as it is written, "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."

 

Wait a minute. We just read right over the key. Read verse seven again, especially the last part: "but those who were chosen obtained it."

 

Therefore, things can be different. We can be obtainers if we are chosen. In 2 Corinthians 3:12, Paul addresses the difference in understanding that can occur if we change our lives and turn to God.

 

(2 Cor 3:12-16 NASB) Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, {13} and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. {14} But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. {15} But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; {16} but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

 

So, the veil of unbelief can be lifted from our eyes if we turn to God. How can one turn to God, though, if his mind is hardened? How can one have his mind "softened," so to speak. Is God prejudiced or is he a respecter of persons? In Romans 10:12, weíll find the answer.

 

(Rom 10:12-17 NASB) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; {13} for "WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." {14} How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? {15} And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!" {16} However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" {17} So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

 

So, belief and faith in Christ and his sacrifice for us is essential to our salvation. In Romans 8:28, Paul goes deeper to reveal that it is God the Father who is the mastermind behind our calling and it is according to the Fatherís purpose that anyone is called.

 

(Rom 8:28-31 NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. {29} For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; {30} and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. {31} What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

 

We see, therefore, that it is according to the Fatherís purpose that anyone is called but what is the significance of that calling? Are we merely given the knowledge of God without any responsibility? In 1Corintians 6:14, Paul shows the deeper significance of our responsibility of godly behavior that comes with the knowledge given us by God. He speaks directly of more spiritual matters and how our physical conduct should be a parallel picture of the higher spiritual plain in our lives.

 

(1 Cor 6:14-20 NASB) Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.

 

Look at that! There are two distinct personages. There is God the Father and there is the Lord Jesus Christ. It was by the power of the Father that Christ was raised from the dead. God is not one blob composed of two or three or more different parts. Though scripture says God is the master potter who forms and shapes the lump of clay into whatever he wills, God himself is not one big lump of clay. He did not tear off part of himself and form it into another being. God the Father is the source and owner of all things

 

Continue in verse 15.

 

{15} Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be! {16} Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH." {17} But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. {18} Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. {19} Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? {20} For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

 

In 1 Corinthians 2:12, Paul again makes a distinction by focusing on the significance of the loftiness of the spiritual knowledge we have been privileged to receive from God.

 

(1 Cor 2:12-16 NASB) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, {13} which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

 

You see, there are two plains of existence and two levels of knowledge. There was our former life based solely on the simple and physical aspects of life, void of the knowledge of God. There is also now our new life living on a higher plain where God has opened to us the doors of understanding the higher spiritual concepts and the knowledge of the other dimension of spiritual life that comes only from God.

 

Continue in verse 14.

 

(1 Cor 2:14) But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. {15} But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. {16} For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE SHOULD INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Continue in chapter three.

 

(1 Cor 3:1 NASB) And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. {2} I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, {3} for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? {4} For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men? {5} What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one [that is important to remember, we have been given an opportunity for a new life by the knowledge of God we heard through preaching].

 

Skip down to verse 16.

 

(1 Cor 3:16 NASB) Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? {17} If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. {18} Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. {19} For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; {20} and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS." {21} So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, {22} whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, {23} and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.

 

Read the last verse, verse 23, again: "and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God." Think about that. It shows us the true line of ownership. If you were to buy something of high value, like an automobile or a house, when you were finished paying the total price, you would receive a title. That title or deed of ownership, is proof that you paid the full price and are the full and true owner. If anyone else tries to claim ownership, you have the proof. You have the title to the property because you paid the full price. Likewise, we belong to the Father through Christ because God paid the full price for each of us in sacrificing the life of his son to fulfill the debt owed to Godís righteous laws by our violations.

 

In religious circles, you may often hear "Christ gave himself for your sins" or "Christ died for your sins." In fact, if you listen to religious programs on radio or television, itís almost the only thing you hear. When I hear it, it almost makes me sick because people and preachers say it without giving it any meaning or background. Christ died for my sins... so what? What does that have to do with me? On the surface, it doesnít seem to have anything to do with you and your daily life unless you know its significance. Who was Jesus the Christ and why did he have to die for our sins and why did Paul say that we now belong to Christ?

 

Christ the Creator of Mankind

 

First of all, who is Christ? Thatís a dumb question, everybody knows who Christ is. Well, is it so dumb a question, after all? Look at the worldís population. In East Asia, most people are communists, atheists, Buddists, Shintoists, or Confusionists. Consider Central Asia and India. Most of the people are communists, atheists, Buddists, Hindu, Sikh, or Moslem, with only a very small percentage of the population calling themselves Christians. Look at the Middle East and northern Africa where the majority of people are Moslems who even deny Christ as a savior. It is only in Central and Southern Africa, Australia, Europe and North and South America, along with scattered missionary pockets throughout the world, where a substantial portion of the population counts themselves as Christians. So, a large portion of the earthís people, even if they have heard of Jesus Christ, do not really know who he was. Letís look at the real Messiah as revealed to us by God in his word. We all know the famous passage about Jesus in John 1:1 but letís look at it more closely. Put a bookmark in John because weíll be coming back to it repeatedly.

 

(John 1:1-5 NASB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} He was in the beginning with God. {3} All things came into being by 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. {5} And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 

Thatís a very well known passage and many can recite it by heart but letís examine it for what it says and what it doesnít say. Read it again, bit by bit.

 

Verse one says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Just what was "the Word?" The Greek word for "the Word" is "ho logos." Logos is Strongís# 3056 but the root is from Strongís# 3004, lego, which means "to lay forth or to speak." Logos is defined by Strongís Greek Dictionary as: "something said (including the thought); also it is the Divine Utterance." Thayerís Greek Lexicon defines logos as: "a word uttered by a living voice which embodies a conception or idea." The Word Studies: Lexicon to the Old and New Testaments by Spiros Zodhiates defines logos as "the articulate utterance of human language." Herbert Armstrong used to say that the "logos" was the spokesman for God the Father. In short, we see that "the Wordí was the utterance of God to humans embodied in the being who became Jesus, the Messiah.

 

Verse two says: "He was in the beginning with God." That statement is a further enhancement of the beginning of verse one, which said, "in the beginning was the Word." It says that Christ existed "in the beginning" but most people read right over that without much thought. Just what does it mean?

 

The Greek word translated beginning is arche. It is Strongís# 746 and is defined by Strongís Greek Dictionary as "a commencement or chief." Thayerís Greek Lexicon states that arche is "1) the beginning or origin; 2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; 3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin."

 

So, itís obvious that arche means the beginning or origin of something. If that is the case, when it states in verse two "he was in the beginning with God," just when was that? Some say that means at the beginning of all time but in asserting that, those people donít realize that, by definition, if a being is immortal, it has no beginning. Others say in the beginning means at the beginning of the Universe; others say it means at the beginning of the earth; still others say it means the beginning of man but what does God say, in scripture, that it really means?

 

We could go back to the book of Genesis to look at the beginning but then we would be mixing definitions of Greek words with definitions of Hebrew words. Is there a place in the Greek New Testament where God specifies just what point in time he meant by the phrase "in the beginning?" In Hebrews 1:10, God does tell us specifically.

 

(Heb 1:10 NASB) And, "THOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING DIDST LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF THY HANDS;

 

So, the beginning in English or arche in Greek is specifically defined for us in Hebrews as when God laid the foundation of the earth. That probably was the same time as the creation of the rest of the universe because Genesis 1:1 states that "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." At any rate, the phrase in the beginning, by itself, certainly refers to no point in time later than the creation of the earth.

 

In Revelation 3:14, we can see the word arche used in reference to Christ.

 

(Rev 3:14 NASB) "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of GodÖ

 

Satan and the morning star

 

So, itís plain to see that Christ was the beginning of the creation of God. Was there any life already in existence at the time referred to as "in the beginning?" Certainly, at the original creation of the earth, man and woman had not yet been created but was there any other life in existence? John 8:44 gives us some insight.

 

(John 8:44 NASB) "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

 

Itís clear to see then, that Satan was in existence from the beginning but was that the time when Satan was actually created? Ezekiel 28:12 gives us some insight into an earlier time before Satan became corrupt. As youíll see by the description, the king of Tyre is symbolic for Satan.

 

(Ezek 28:12-15 NASB) "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. {13} "You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. {14} "You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. {15} "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.

 

James Schofield notes that "the language goes beyond the king of Tyre to Satan, inspirer and unseen ruler of all such pomp and pride as that of Tyre."

 

So, we can see that when Christ referred to Satan as being "a murderer from the beginning," he was not speaking of the state of perfection in which Satan was originally created by God as Lucifer. Lucifer comes from the Hebrew word heylel. It is Strongís# 1966, which means "the morning-star" and its root is from Strongís #1984 halal, which means "to be clear or to shine." So, now you know that when you see the name Lucifer, substitute the title "morning star."

 

In Isaiah 14:12, we can read more about Satanís life before the creation of the earth.

 

(Isa 14:12-14 NASB) "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! {13} "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. {14} 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High [thatís El Elyon, God the Father].'

 

So, it was Satanís ambition to make himself just like God Most High. In being just like God, it is evident that he wanted to replace the Father as the ruler of the entire universe. Again James Schofield notes that "Verses 12 - 14 evidently refer to Satan who, as prince of this world system, is the real though unseen ruler of the successive world powers, Tyre, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, etc. The "morning star" can be none other than Satan. This significant passage points back to the beginning of sin in the universe. When Satan said, ĎI will,í sin began."

 

Therefore, we can see that, prior to the creation of the earth, Satan had been created by God through Jesus Christ (because John 1:3 says that all things were made by Christ). As we earlier read in Ezekiel, Satan was originally created in a state of perfection as Lucifer, the morning star. We saw earlier, however, that Lucifer had already sinned against the Father by the time "in the beginning" occurred because Christ referred to Satan as a murderer at that time. A murderer is a commandment breaker and a sinner.

 

Who else was in existence besides God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Satan at the creation of the earth? In Job 38:1 we can find the answer.

 

(Job 38:1-7 KJV) Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, {2} Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? {3} Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. {4} Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. {5} Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? {6} Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; {7} When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

 

We have already seen that Satan, before his fall in sin, was named Lucifer, which means morning star or star of the morning. We just read in Job 38:7 that, at the creation of the earth, the "morning stars sang together" and "all the sons of God shouted for joy." That verse tells us at least two things.

 

First of all, we can see that there were more beings than just the one Lucifer who was deemed to have the rank or title of "morning star." In Revelation 22:16, we can see who else is referred to in scripture as being called a morning star.

 

(Rev 22:16 NASB) "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."

 

In addition to Jesus Christ and Lucifer, Revelation 2:24 shows us the qualifications established by God for others in the church of God to attain the title of morning star.

 

(Rev 2:24-28 NASB) 'But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-- I place no other burden on you. {25} 'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. {26} 'And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; {27} AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; {28} and I will give him the morning star.

 

The second thing we can learn from Job 38:7 is that, at the creation of the earth, besides the beings referred to as "morning stars," there were many other beings called "sons of God" who shouted for joy. So, far from being an empty place, at the creation of the heavens and the earth, the universe may have been populated by thousands or even millions of spirit beings.

 

 

The Fatherís Supremacy

 

Through multiple references and scriptures, we have now fixed the timing of the phrase "in the beginning" to be at the original creation of the earth. What more can we learn though, of Christís existence and status prior to the creation of the earth? We read in Isaiah just a moment ago how Satan sought, in rebellion against God, to rise above the clouds of earth and make himself "like the Most High."

 

Did Christ also have similar ambitions of rebellion against the Father? Philippians 2:5 shows us the true status of the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father.

 

(Phil 2:5-11 NASB) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, {6} who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, {7} but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. {8} And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. {9} Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, {10} that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, {11} and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [and the Greek word is Kurios, which means "master"], to the glory of God the Father.

 

Go back and read verse six again: "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."

 

Paul says that Christ existed "in the form" of God. According to James Schofield, "The Greek word morphe, here translated "very nature," [thatís in the King James Version] literally means form, and refers to the external appearance by which a person or thing strikes the vision." So, we can see that Jesus, prior to the creation of the earth, looked just like the Father in outward appearance. Verse six goes on to say though, that the one who looked just like the Father "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped." We saw earlier that Satan, in rebellion against the Father, did, indeed, regard equality with the Father a thing to be grasped because he didnít have equality with the Father. Now, if Christ did not regard equality with the Father a thing to be grasped, then itís obvious that Christ also did not have equality with the Father.

 

In John 14:28, Jesus even admitted the supremacy of the Father.

 

(John 14:28 NASB) "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

 

Now, if Paul stated that Christ did not regard equality with the Father a thing to be grasped and Jesus even admitted that the Father was greater than he, itís clear that Jesus is a being subordinate to the Father. Colossians 1:13 shows that, even though he is subordinate, Christ is the accurate representation of the Father for all to see.

 

(Col 1:13-15 NASB) For He [that is, the Father] delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, {14} in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. {15} And He [that is, Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.

 

Look at verse fifteen again. There are two important points here. Notice first that Christ is the image of the invisible God. The Greek word translated into the English word image is one that will sound very familiar to anyone who has any acquaintance with modern computers, even though we spell it a little differently in English. The Greek word is eikon. It is Strongís# 1504, eikon, and it is defined as "a likeness, representation, or resemblance." As a computer icon is a pictorial representation of the larger real thing, the Greek word eikon also is a likeness, representation, or resemblance of something else. It assumes a prototype or source from which it was drawn and it is used that way by Jesus in Matthew, Mark, and Luke when he referred to the image of the ruler shown on a coin.

 

If we have any doubt that Jesus was the physical manifestation or representation of the invisible Father, letís read even more specific language in Hebrews 1:3. The first verse of the book of Hebrews sets the stage at the foundation of truth established by the Father and given to our forefathers through his servants, the prophets.

 

(Heb 1:1-3 NASB) God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, {2} in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, 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. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

 

The Greek word translated exact representation is used only once in the Bible and it is in this very verse. It is Strongís# 5481 charakter and it is defined as "an engraver, an engraving, or the figure stamped, that is, an exact copy or representation."

 

We can learn another important point from Colossians 1:15. Read it again. "And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation." Paul says that Christ was the first-born of all creation. The Greek word is Strongís# 4416, prototokos, and it means, quite literally, "first-born."

 

Letís look again at our original text of John, specifically John 1:3-5. In the third verse, the apostle John speaks directly of Christís duties prior to his human birth.

 

(John 1:3-5 KJV) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. {4} In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

 

So, we can see that Christ was the one who made all things and that Christ possessed life and imparted that life as light and knowledge to the mankind he created for the Father. Otherwise, mankind would have lived in a world of darkness and death through spiritual ignorance. Was it always that way, though? Is there any scripture which gives us a picture of an earlier time? In John 5:26, we can get a glimpse of Christís abilities and attributes at a time even earlier than the creation of the heavens and the earth.

 

(John 5:26 NASB) "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

 

Letís look at the word gave. It is Strongís# 1325 didomi, which Strongís Greek Dictionary defines as to give. Thayerís Greek Lexicon defines didomi as 1) to give; or 2) to give something to someone.

 

Take another look at verse 26. It states dogmatically that the Father has life in himself. It also says that the Son has life in himself. The life that the Son has, however, he didnít always have because, at some time, the Son was given from the Father to have life in himself. If the Son already had life in himself, he would not have needed the Father to give him that life. It is clear, therefore, that the Father is the source or origin of all life and he gives that life to whomever he wishes.

 

We can read more of the pre-eminence of the Father in the same fifth chapter of John, beginning back in verse nineteen.

 

(John 5:19-30 NASB) Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. {20} "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. {21} "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. {22} "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, {23} in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. {24} "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. {25} "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. {26} "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; {27} and He [the Father] gave Him [the Son] authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. {28} "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, {29} and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. {30} "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

 

So, itís clear to see that, at some time in the past, Christ did not have all judgment nor did he have authority to execute judgment nor did he have life in himself. It is God the Father who is the source and possessor of those traits and gives them to whomever he wishes to give them.

 

What about the many centuries of time covered from Genesis to Malachi in the Old Testament? Where was Christ during those thousands of years before his birth as the son of Mary? In 1 Corinthians 10:1, we can turn to the apostle Paul for the answer.

 

(1 Cor 10:1-4 NASB) For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; {2} and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; {3} and all ate the same spiritual food; {4} and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

 

As the spokesman for God the Father, Christ was the mouthpiece that represented the Father to ancient Israel. In short, before his human birth, Jesus Christ was the being whom the ancient Israelites saw and heard as God. In John 5:37, Christ even said as much.

 

(John 5:37 NASB) "And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.

 

In John 17:1, at the end of the Last Supper with his twelve disciples, Jesusí own words made plain the purpose of his life and the true relationship between himself and the Father.

 

(John 17:1-3 NASB) These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, {2} even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. {3} "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."

 

Did you get it? Can you absorb the greatness of that statement? Look at verse three again, "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." This is a frank admission by the Messiah that there are two separate personages, God the Father and Jesus Christ. God the Father is "the only true God" and Jesus Christ is the one who was sent by the Father.

 

Therefore, one of the purposes in Christ being born in the flesh was to reveal to mankind the existence of the Father. The Father is the one who does the calling but it is by the Son that the existence of the Father is revealed to us.

 

As we can see in Matthew 11:27, Christ, as the agent of the Father, has had duties, obligations, responsibilities and authority delegated to him by the Father.

 

(Mat 11:27 NASB) "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

 

In Genesis 14.22, even Abraham recognized the Father [El Elyon] as the possessor of all things.

 

(Gen 14:22 NASB) And Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,

 

If God the Father is possessor of heaven and earth, what else is there? He is truly the possessor of all things that exist, both seen and unseen.

 

We said earlier that, by definition, an immortal being does not have a beginning. In First Timothy 6:13-16, we can find the definitive answer to the true structure of the godhead.

 

(1 Tim 6:13-16 NASB) I charge you in the presence of God [thatís the Father], who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, {14} that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, {15} which He [thatís the Father] will bring about at the proper time-- He [thatís still talking about the Father] who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; {16} who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him [thatís the Father] be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

 

These verses tell us much about the specific relationship between the Father and Christ. Let's look at them more closely. As we have said before, even though Christ is the one who was used by the Father to create all things, it is the Father who is the source of life and the one who really gives life to all things. It is the Father who will bring about and determine the proper timing of the return of Christ to the earth. That agrees with what we have read many times in Matthew 24 where Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour of his return, except the Father.

 

We also learned that it is the Father who is really the only Sovereign or Ruler of the Universe and is the ultimate holder of the title King of kings and Lord of lords. As we have seen earlier, God, as the ultimate possessor of all things, is the one who bequeaths to Christ rulership, authority and titles. So, it is not surprising to find in several places in prophecy that Christ is also given the title "King of kings and Lord of lords." Just remember that itís the Father who is the ultimate possessor of all titles.

 

Many people just assume there can only be one King of kings and Lord or lords. Letís go to the resurrection chapter and look at 1 Corinthians 15:25. Weíll see that, as the greatest Sovereign or ruler of the universe, the Most High God is excepted or exempt and is not under the authority which he bequeaths to the Son.

 

(1 Cor 15:22-27 NASB) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. {23} But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, {24} then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. {25} For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. {26} The last enemy that will be abolished is death. {27} For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.

 

Back in 1 Timothy 6:16, Paul really gets to the heart of the matter. If we had any doubts before about the true structure of the Godhead, verse 16 leaves no doubt as to the supremacy of the Father. It states that it is the Father "who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see." From this verse, as well as what we read earlier about the Father giving life to Christ, it is impossible not to conclude that the Father has always existed. The Father had no beginning and will have no end.

 

In the angelís prophecy to Mary in Luke 1:31 before the birth of Jesus, we learn of the never-ending rulership of Christ over the house of Jacob.

 

(Luke 1:31-33 NASB) "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. {32} "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; {33} and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."

 

It is clear from Luke 1:31 that Christ will live and rule forever. It is equally clear from First Timothy 6:16 that God the Father "alone possesses immortality." As such, the Father is the only being who has always existed and had no beginning. So, the Father who possessed all things, created and used Jesus Christ to make the universe. Then the Father bequeathed to Christ the inheritance of those things which the Father already possessed. So it is with us. We are unable to be called except by the calling of the Father. We are the possession of the Father through Jesus. Romans 8:28 says that we were called according to the purpose of the Father.

 

(Rom 8:28-30 KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. {29} For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. {30} Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

 

Ephesians 1:3 shows that our calling was not just a spur-of-the-moment decision by the Father.

 

(Eph 1:3-4 NASB) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, {4} just as He [the Father] chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

 

Scientists estimate that the earth is several million years old. We can see, then, that God the Father planned our creation and our calling millions of years ago and used his son as the instrument through whom we were both created and called. What an awesome Father we have! When God foreknew our calling, he also foreknew our failings. God knew we would need redemption from sin and, therefore would need a redeemer.

 

 

Christ the Redeemer of Mankind

 

In the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "redeeming" is spoken of in the following manner: "The idea of redemption in the Old Testament takes its start from the thought of property . Money is paid according to law to buy back something which must be delivered or rescued (article Redemption)."

 

You may well remember the sermon entitled, Righteous Slavery, about Godís endorsement of slavery as a positive, temporary solution for some of the destitute in ancient Israel, structured by Godís specific directions in the scriptures. We read a good portion of the book of Ruth and took an extensive look at Tamar, the widow of Judahís two sons. Both women pointedly illustrated the concept of the kinsman redeemer. We discovered many important issues, both in the physical aspects and in the spiritual symbolism.

 

The function of the kinsman redeemer is very important to God for several reasons. It is important for the preservation of the inheritance of land within a family. In connection with that land inheritance, procreation by the widow is important to God to perpetuate both the family name and the family inheritance within the nation. We saw, in both Ruth and Tamar, how the plan of God was furthered through the obedience of two women who voluntarily submitted themselves to obey God's commands regarding the kinsman redeemer. We saw also how Boaz, who was qualified in the family line of Elimelech to buy back Elimelechís property as the kinsman redeemer, was willing to pay the price for the redemption of the estate of Elimelech, including Ruth.

 

It is well known that the functions pictured by Boaz in the book of Ruth were a foreshadow of the Messiah to come. Christ was qualified to be our kinsman redeemer because he is our elder brother and of our same family line. Not only was Christ superbly qualified but there is no other being below God the Father who could be better qualified to be our kinsman redeemer. Look at it on multiple levels.

 

John 1:3 said that all things were created by God through Christ. If Christ is our Creator through the power of the Father, then, as our Creator, his life is of more value than all of our lives put together. All mankind has incurred a debt by sinning. The penalty for breaking the law of God is death. Our sins have placed each of us under the death penalty and that penalty must be paid. God the Father does not compromise with the righteousness of his laws. The debt must be exacted.

 

God the Father, in his infinite wisdom, though, had a better plan. Remember, the penalty must be paid. The only way to pay our debt without our permanent extermination was to have one of more value pay it for us. Jesus Christ, who was our Creator and whose life was of more value than all of our lives, stepped in line for us and paid our price as our kinsman redeemer. The debt was exacted and the price for us was paid in full.

 

In 1 Peter 1:17, Peter acknowledges both our need for a redeemer as well as the great price paid by our redeemer to purchase us.

 

(1 Pet 1:17-19 NASB) And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; {18} knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, {19} but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

 

The Day of Pentecost that we just observed was the beginning of the establishment of the government of God on earth in embryo within the Church of God. In the coming Fall Holy Days, we will reenact the annual celebration of the return to earth of God's worldwide government. This year look at it in a different light. Look at it from a fuller perspective. We are not just keeping some old Jewish holidays. They are days which are full of meaning and picture a glorious future for the whole world. We are preserving and joyfully acknowledging the beauty of the Fatherís great plan of salvation, both for us and all his created beings.

 

Hebrews 2:1 tells us the significance of the sacrifice that was made for us and the price that was paid to redeem us from the death penalty that hung over us.

 

(Heb 2:1-18 NASB) For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. {2} For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, {3} how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, {4} God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. {5} For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. {6} But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS MAN, THAT THOU REMEMBEREST HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT THOU ART CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? {7} "THOU HAST MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; THOU HAST CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAST APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS; {8} THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. {9} But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. {10} For it was fitting for Him [thatís the Father], for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings [thatís Christ]. {11} For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He [thatís Christ] is not ashamed to call them brethren, {12} saying, "I WILL PROCLAIM THY NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING THY PRAISE." {13} And again, "I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM." And again, "BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME." {14} Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; {15} and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. {16} For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. {17} Therefore, He [thatís Christ] had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. {18} For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

 

 

Conclusion

 

In 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul sums up the true relationship between the Father and Jesus, our elder brother.

 

(1 Tim 2:5-6 NASB) For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, {6} who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.

 

Look at what that says. There are two separate personages: God the Father and the Messiah, Christ Jesus. The Father is the one God and Christ Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. Furthermore, God willingly and lovingly sacrificed his son. Jesus voluntarily obeyed the will of the Father and gave himself as a ransom or payment to buy back all humanity from the sure penalty of death.

 

Just stop and think for a moment. Think about the greatness, the awesome greatness of our Father, God Most High. Millions of years ago, he planned our home, the earth. He planned our creation. He planned our spiritual calling. He planned our redemption from the death penalty. He planned our spiritual salvation. He planned our eternal lives. By his word and through Jesus, our elder brother, God the Father executed all his plans.

 

God gave us a choice and a glorious destiny if we make the right choice. Our destiny is not to "become God as God is God." Thatís a statement we used to hear many years ago. Remember, there is only one Most High God, El Elyon, God the Father. Our destiny is to become sons of God and to rule under the Father with Jesus Christ for all eternity. That is the gospel message, the "good news" which Christ and the apostles preached.

 

This year, be sober and be mindful of the great sacrifice of Christ made for us by our Father. Remember the words of Jesus in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

 

Letís rejoice, yes, truly rejoice! Rejoice in our awesome Father and the gifts he has provided for us. We should give thanks for our new chance at eternal life through the righteous payment made by the sacrifice of our master, Jesus Christ!

 

 

 

Sermon given by Philip Edwards

June 2, 2007

 

 

 

Studies in the Word of God
 

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