Category Archives: GOD

How could Jonah flee from God’s presence?

HOW COULD JONAH FLEE FROM GOD’S PRESENCE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Book of Jonah opens: “[1] Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, [2] Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. [3] But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. [4] But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”

According to Psalm 139, the God of the Bible is omnipresent (“ever-present,” everywhere): “[7] Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? [8] If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. [9] If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; [10] Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa… to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” (Jonah 1:3). How could Jonah actually believe he could flee from God’s presence? Wherever he would go, would not God be there? Yes, but “presence” here takes on a distinctive meaning. Since JEHOVAH God is God, He is indeed everywhere. Also, since He is God, He can choose to manifest His Person in a unique way at a specific place. Such is the case of the Jerusalem Temple, and the “Shekinah” (“that which dwells”) glory of God.

About 920 B.C., King Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem centuries prior to Jonah, as 1 Kings chapter 8 reports: “[10] And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, [11] So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. [12] Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. [13] I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.” Did you see how God is manifesting His Person in the Temple—and it is called His “house?” In “time past,” no other nation but Israel had such a place and a God as this (Romans 9:4-5; Ephesians 2:11-12)!

In Jonah’s time, Solomon’s Temple is still functioning in Jerusalem. Jonah lived at least 750 B.C. (2 Kings 14:25)—possibly a century earlier. Until the Babylonian Captivity (beginning 606 B.C.), God’s presence is in the Jerusalem Temple. Jonah was fleeing from the land of Palestine wherein was the Temple, the place God had chosen to manifest His glory at that particular time. Even so, as the rest of the Book of Jonah bears out, God found Jonah hiding aboard that ship in the Mediterranean Sea and fleeing to Tarshish (Spain?). He caused a great sea storm that played a significant role in Jonah’s correction.

Once the Prophet Jonah was reformed, he prayed to God out of the fish’s belly: “Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple (Jonah 2:4). “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple(Jonah 2:7). Jonah is now focused on the Jerusalem Temple, mindful of the LORD who lives there, and ready to preach to Nineveh as He instructed!

Also see:
» Did Jonah live in the whale’s belly?
» What swallowed Jonah—a fish or a whale?
» How can God hear all the prayers of all Christians?

Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?

DOES GOD SUFFER FROM ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

According to the American National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s disease is “an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.” It is absolutely ironic to find Bible verses that describe God “remembering” Israel’s sins and other verses that speak of Him “not remembering” them. After all, is He not omniscient? Does He not know everything? Then how should we handle these passages? Does Alzheimer’s disease afflict God’s mind? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

GOD REMEMBERING ISRAEL’S SINS

  • Jeremiah 14:10: “Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.”
  • Hosea 8:13: “They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.”
  • Hosea 9:9: “They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.”

Here, the LORD God certainly brings Israel’s sins to mind. He will not let them escape the consequences of their breaking the Old Covenant. Curses or punishments must follow, as per Deuteronomy chapter 28: “[14] And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. [15] But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:….”

GOD NOT REMEMBERING ISRAEL’S SINS

  • Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
  • Jeremiah 31:34: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
  • Hebrews 8:12: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
  • Hebrews 10:17: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

While Israel broke the Old Covenant with her repeated idolatry, God will make another agreement with her. This is the New Covenant first promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34, and repeated in the Book of Hebrews (chapters 8 and 10). Yet, how can God simply overlook Israel’s transgressions? What does He do with those sins? He cannot just pretend like they are not there, like they never occurred. Why, He does not remember those sins because He places them under the shed blood of Jesus Christ! Once He ratifies the New Covenant at Christ’s Second Coming (Romans 11:25-29), He will not see Israel’s sins but rather Christ’s righteousness applied to their national account! Instead of concentrating on Israel’s filthy past, He will focus on them washed in the blood of Christ!

Hebrews chapter 10 pronounces: “[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. [2] For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. [3] But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. [4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

“[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 

“[11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: [12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; [13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. [14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [15] Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, [16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

“[18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Is God finished with the nation Israel?
» Are we under the New Covenant today?
» Does the New Covenant take away Israel’s free will?

Why does the Bible say, “Have no other gods before Me?”

WHY DOES THE BIBLE SAY, “HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME?” ARE THERE OTHER GODS? I THOUGHT THERE WAS ONLY ONE GOD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The First Commandment, Exodus 20:3,: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (These “other gods” appear some 60 times in the King James Bible.) It is the adjective “other” that causes people to stumble. If Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic—adherents worshipping and serving one God—then why would the Judeo-Christian Bible speak of “other gods?”

Simply put, sin causes counterfeit gods or usurpers to creation’s throne. These are those “gods” (lowercase “g” not capital “G!”). In this world, innumerable ideas and individuals are competing for the loyalty we owe to the Creator God alone. What we have to be most cautious about is ourselves—we want to worship and serve self, to be our own god, our own authority. That is what sin is. Romans 1:25 describes this as such: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” And, Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way….”

The “other gods” of which the Scriptures speak are idols that actually represent evil spirits (fallen angels). Gentiles, the nations, were given over to this heathenism back at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapters 9–11, especially 11; cf. Romans 1:18-32). The evil spirits behind the idols rebelled against the Creator God when Lucifer (Satan) rebelled. They are connected to the heavenly bodies, which is why Deuteronomy 17:2-3 says to Israel: “[2] If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, [3] And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;….” Worshipping and serving the idols of wood or stone, or the heavenly bodies, is a form of aligning with the evil spirits that the idols and heavenly bodies represent. Hence, JEHOVAH God forbade the Israelites from engaging in the heathen religion of their Gentile neighbors. “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;…” (Deuteronomy 6:14).

It is important to know that Satan himself heads the universe’s current rebellion against the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Satan is rightfully called “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is ultimately he who is worshipped and served when the Creator God is neither worshipped nor served.

Also see:
» Why does God let Satan exist?
» Why are the heavens not clean in God’s sight?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?

Was Jesus’ last name “Christ?”

WAS JESUS’ LAST NAME “CHRIST?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. “Christ” was not Jesus’ last name but rather an office He holds (see #6 in the ensuing list). He is Father God’s “Anointed” (Hebrew, “Mashiyach;” Aramaic, “Messiah;” Greek, “Christos;” English, “Christ”)—see Psalm 2:2, Acts 4:26, and John 1:41. The idea here is being ordained to serve in a specific capacity. Jewish kings, priests, and prophets were “anointed” (smeared, dabbed) with olive oil before they were allowed to discharge the duties of their respective offices (Exodus 29:7; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Kings 19:16; et cetera). Likewise, Father God poured out the Holy Spirit on the Lord Jesus at His water baptism, “anointing” Him to serve as Prophet, Priest, and King (see Matthew 3:16-17; Acts 10:38; Hebrews 1:8-9; Psalm 45:6-7; Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27).

Considering the cultures and times of Bible characters, they do not have “last names” as we do. So as to distinguish individuals who had a common first name, various qualifiers were affixed (although there are some exceptions, and these make it impossible to separate people). This too makes a fascinating study, as we will see now.

  1. The father’s name or mother’s name was attached to their own name. We can think of “James and John the sons of Zebedee” (Luke 5:10), “Gomer the daughter of Diblaim” (Hosea 1:3), “Joshua the son of Nun” (Joshua 1:1), “Hosea the son of Beeri” (Hosea 1:1), “Adonijah the son of Haggith” (1 Kings 1:11), “Anna… the daughter of Phanuel” (Luke 2:36), “James the son of Alphaeus” (Mark 3:18), and so on. This was especially useful if a man had several wives; his children could be differentiated by their mother’s name. Also, if you noticed, there were two Apostles named James—one was the son of Zebedee and the other was the son of Alphaeus.
  2. Their wife’s name or husband’s name was added to their own name. “Mary the wife of Cleophas” (John 19:25), “Joseph the husband of Mary” (Matthew 1:16), “Deborah… the wife of Lapidoth” (Judges 4:17), “Abigail the wife of Nabal” (1 Samuel 30:5), and so on, fall in this nomenclature group.
  3. Their child’s name was incorporated into their own name. Examples include: “Mary the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14), “Mary the mother of John” (Acts 12:12), “Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses” (Mark 15:40), “Bathsheba the mother of Solomon” (1 Kings 1:11), “Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor” (Joshua 24:2), “Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah” (2 Kings 11:1), “Machir the father of Gilead” (1 Chronicles 2:21), and so on. For example, this is helpful in distinguishing the various women in the New Testament that are known by the name Mary.
  4. Their birthplace, hometown, or current city was part of their name. Think of “Saul of Tarsus” (Acts 9:11), “Mary Magdalene” (from Magdala, northern Israel; Matthew 27:56), and “Jesus of Nazareth” (Mark 16:6). The Apostle “Simon the Canaanite” (from Cana, northern Israel; Matthew 10:4) is not to be confused with Simon Peter the Apostle, or Simon the sorcerer of Acts chapter 8. Note there were two Apostles named “Simon.” Furthermore, the Apostle “Judas Iscariot” (“Iscariot” meaning “man from Kerioth,” southern Israel; Mark 3:19) is not the same as the Apostle “Judas the brother of James” (Acts 1:13).
  5. Their brother’s name or sister’s name was part of their own name. “Nahor, Abraham’s brother” (Genesis 24:15), “Laban… the brother of Rebekah” (Genesis 28:5), “James the brother of John” (Acts 12:2), “Shem… the brother of Japheth” (Genesis 10:21), “James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19), “Miriam… the sister of Aaron” (Exodus 15:20), and so on, are examples of this title.
  6. Their occupation or function was part of their name. “Simon a tanner” (Acts 10:32), “Chuza Herod’s steward” (Luke 8:3), “Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 1:3), “Matthew the publican [tax collector]” (Matthew 10:3), “Alexander the coppersmith” (2 Timothy 4:14), and “Erastus the chamberlain [treasurer] of the city” (Romans 16:23) are just a few instances.
  7. Their tribe or nationality was part of their name. “Ehu the son of Gera, a Benjamite” (Judges 3:15), “Hagar the Egyptian” (Genesis 21:9), “Anna… of the tribe of Aser” (Luke 2:36), “Ephron the Hittite” (Genesis 49:29), and “Laban the Syrian” (Genesis 31:20), and “Goliath the Gittite” (1 Chronicles 20:5) are some examples of this category.
  8. They occasionally had a second name or “nickname.” For example, “John Mark” (Acts 12:12) is to be distinguished from “John Baptist” (Matthew 14:8) and John the Apostle (Matthew 10:2). We cannot forget the Apostles “Simon Peter” and “Lebbaeus Thaddaeus” (Matthew 10:2-3). The man “Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus” (Acts 1:23) is not to be confused with other men named Joseph or Justus.

Also see:
» Who was the father of the Prophet Zechariah?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Is the Bible wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar the “father” of Belshazzar?

How is Jesus Christ “Prophet, Priest, and King?”

HOW IS JESUS CHRIST “PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

You have probably heard the expression—“Jesus Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.” Is there a biblical basis for this? If so, what is its importance?

Hundreds of Old Testament Messianic promises foretold God’s “Anointed” (Hebrew, “Mashiyach;” Aramaic, “Messiah;” Greek, “Christos;” English, “Christ”). This special Man—the God-Man—would function in three specific capacities or roles. He would occupy the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Deuteronomy 18:15,18: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee [Israel] a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;…. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him (cf. Acts 3:22-23).
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Zechariah 6:12-13: “[12] And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: [13] Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
  • KING/MONARCH. Second Samuel 7:13-14: “[13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. [14] I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:…” (cf. Hebrews 1:5).

According to Matthew chapter 12, Israel refused to have the Lord Jesus Christ serve them in all three offices.

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Matthew 12:41: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas [Jonah the Prophet]; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Israelites believed they knew all there was to know about religious and spiritual matters, so Jesus’ preaching was of no importance to them. Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Matthew 12:6: “But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” The Israelites did not think they needed a Saviour, believing rather they could access God through their own merits. Romans 10:1-3: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
  • KING/MONARCH. Matthew 12:42: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” The Israelites were their own rulers, doing their own thing, throughly enjoying the path that they had chosen in life. Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Book of Hebrews applies all three offices to the Lord Jesus Christ. In spite of Israel’s rejection of Him, one day, He will still be Prophet, Priest, and King!

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Hebrews 1:1-2: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;….”
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Hebrews 3:1: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;….”
  • KING/MONARCH. Hebrews 1:8-9: “[8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: KING DAVID, A THREE-FOLD TYPE OF CHRIST

Everyone familiar with the Bible understands David was king of Israel. Very few, however, realize he was also a prophet and a priest. David—as prophet, priest, and king—is a preview of the Lord Jesus Christ some 1,000 years in advance.

The ephod was a priestly garment that resembled a vest. Even though he was not a priest by blood (David was from the tribe of Judah and not the priestly tribe of Levi), David wore an ephod when praising the LORD. “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14). “And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen” (1 Chronicles 15:27). David even offered animal sacrifices as a priest would. “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel” (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

David, as the Holy Spirit moved him, wrote nearly half of the Book of Psalms. “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:1-2). He spoke for God, and is thus called a “prophet.” Acts 2:29-31: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”

By the way, when King Saul attempted to usurp the priest’s office by sacrificing a burnt offering, God took the kingdom from him and gave it to David (1 Samuel 13:8-14)!

Also see:
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?
» How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?
» How can Jesus Christ be a priest if He is of the non-priestly tribe of Judah?

Why is Jesus called “the Son of Man?”

WHY IS JESUS CALLED “THE SON OF MAN?” DOES THAT MEAN HE WAS A MERE MAN, AND NOT GOD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The title appears some 210 times in the Holy Bible. Just under half of those occurrences—93 to be exact—are God addressing the Prophet Ezekiel himself. One verse applies it to Daniel the Prophet (8:17). Most of the instances of “the Son of Man” concern the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Occurring 81 times in the Books of Matthew through John, it is actually His preferred self-designation. Why is Jesus called “the Son of Man?” Does that mean, as sometimes assumed, that He is not God? What is the significance of the appellation, especially as it relates to Jesus Christ?

Of course, at the bare minimum, the expression “the Son of Man” highlights one’s humanity. Certain Bible passages make this apparent, especially those in Ezekiel and Daniel (as stated earlier). Moreover, “man” and “son of man” are nearly synonymous in Isaiah 56:2; Jeremiah 49:18,33; Jeremiah 50:40; and Jeremiah 51:43. (There is a subtle difference, and we will delineate it in this study.) The term is also applied to a human when being compared to Almighty God. Let us look at a few sample verses.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?” (Job 25:4-6).

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help…. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:3,5). “And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith” (Ecclesiastes 1:13). “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass” (Isaiah 51:12).

Two key Bible passages identify the significance of the title “Son of man.” The first is Psalm 8: “[1] O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. [2] Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. [3] When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; [4] What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

“[5] For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. [6] Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: [7] All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; [8] The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. [9] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”

“Son of man” is associated with God appointing mankind—Adam and his children (us)—as His king or ruler over the Earth. It is man functioning in accordance with God’s will for him. We compare this to Genesis 1:26-28, the final day of the Creation Week before the first Sabbath: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The Book of Hebrews provides us with even more light. Read chapter 1: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; [3] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. [5] For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? [6] And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. [7] And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

“[8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [10] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: [11] They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; [12] And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. [13] But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? [14] Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

Now, Hebrews chapter 2, the second passage: “[5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. [6] But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the writer of Hebrews applied Psalm 8 to the Lord Jesus Christ. What Adam and his children failed to do because of sin, Jesus Christ will do for Father God’s glory. In the Garden of Eden, Adam handed over to Satan his political authority in the Earth (Genesis chapter 3). Satan thus boasted of his earthly power: “Again, the devil taketh him [Jesus] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” (Matthew 4:8-11).

Here is a great Bible theme: just as Adam is the federal head of the human race (leading to condemnation), so Christ is the federal head of a new human race (leading to justification). Read all of Romans chapter 5. See 1 Corinthians 15:45-47, which also compares Christ and Adam: “[45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. [46] Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” It is expected that, in order to head the new human race, Jesus Christ’s humanity or relation to Adam must be stressed (although He is certainly God as well—verse 47 in a King James Bible, unlike the modern English versions, says He is “the Lord [JEHOVAH God] from heaven”).

Again, Jesus Christ will accomplish what sinful Adam refused to do. Christ will reign in the Earth for Father God’s glory, functioning as Father God’s King of the Earth. Read Daniel chapter 7: “[13] I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. [14] And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Here is Jesus Christ approaching the throne of Father God, the Father anointing Him as King. This loops back to Hebrews chapter 1 (which also ties together Psalm 2, Psalm 45, Psalm 104, Psalm 97, Psalm 110, and so on). This will all occur at Christ’s Second Coming in Revelation chapter 19, Christ actually reigning in chapter 20.

It is also important to note that, when Jesus presented Himself to Israel as her King—as Earth’s King—Israel refused Him. She preferred to have Satan continue ruling her! “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). Matthew 8:20 is the first occurrence of the title in the New Testament Scriptures. The term appears one final time in the Bible in Revelation 14:14: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” Notice again the “crown,” His right to reign as King!

We will now look at various other supplementary verses to reinforce our understanding thus far. Remember, the term “Son of Man” as touching Jesus Christ deals with His governmental authority, His Kingship, His political power or might, His God-given right to be Ruler over creation.

  • Matthew 13:41: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;….”
  • Matthew 16:27-28: “[27] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. [28] Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
  • Matthew 19:28: “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
  • Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
  • Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:….”
  • Matthew 26:64: “Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
  • Mark 13:26: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”
  • Mark 14:62: “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
  • Luke 21:27: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
  • Luke 22:69: “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
  • John 1:51: “And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
  • John 5:27: “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
  • Acts 7:56: “And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

Lest there be any misunderstanding, we close with an important remark. Never should we suppose that Jesus calling Himself “the Son of Man” is in any way a denial of His Deity. He is both “the Son of God” and “the Son of Man”undiminished Deity and full humanity. Actually, He used the term “the Son of Man” in the very same sentence He claimed to be God in human flesh. “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8). “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:28). “And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Luke 6:5). The Greek word for “Lord” here is “kurios;” the Hebrew equivalent is “Jehovah” (“LORD” of the Old Testament). Even as the Son of Man, Jesus also claimed to be the JEHOVAH God who created everything and then rested on that first Sabbath Day (Genesis 2:1-3)!

Also see:
» Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
» Why is Jesus Christ called “the Word of God?”
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?

Can you explain Job 32:8?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN JOB 32:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Could you shed light on Job 32:8? “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

The Book of Job details the experiences of a materially prosperous saint, Job, whom Satan has chosen to target with extreme hardship and loss (chapters 1 and 2). Job’s three “friends”—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—are much older than his father (Job 15:10). These aged men come to “comfort” Job during this time of his great distress. Chapters 3–31 contain their speculations as to why he is suffering, and Job’s responses to each. Essentially, they all agree against Job that he is a sinner and deserves his troubles. Their exchange deteriorates into a contest of name-calling and other insults. Of all those words spoken, nothing meaningful is actually accomplished. No light has been shed concerning Job’s plight!

By the time of chapter 32, a new character enters. This fourth friend of Job, Elihu, takes the discussion in a whole new direction: “[1] So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. [2] Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. [3] Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. [4] Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. [5] When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled. [6] And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. [7] I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. [8] But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. [9] Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. [10] Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.”

Note that Job 32:8 actually serves as key support for Elihu’s advice (running all the way through to the end of chapter 37). While he lacks a great deal of insight into Job’s predicament, he has more wisdom than those three friends who have just rambled on and on with their religious traditions, vain philosophies, and baseless assumptions. In fact, as the following verses demonstrate, Elihu claims to be speaking to Job on God’s behalf.

Job 33:1-6: “[1] Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words. [2] Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. [3] My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. [4] The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. [5] If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up. [6] Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.”

Continue with verses 29-33: “[29] Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, [30] To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. [31] Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak. [32] If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee. [33] If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.”

Job 36:1-4: “[1] Elihu also proceeded, and said, [2] Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. [3] I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. [4] For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.”

Again, Job 32:8 says, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” “God is a Spirit,” John 4:24 says. Not only has God given every person a spirit (starting with the first man Adam), He has given every person that same spiritual component to commune with Him. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3). That spirit that God breathed into Adam—thus passing down to all men—is the means whereby we can connect with our Creator.

Once more, although spiritually immature, Elihu was willing to let the LORD God speak through him to Job to some degree. He wanted to actually be a consolation and beacon of truth to Job instead of attacking and berating him like those three “friends” had already done. Thus, Elihu counseled with Job in Job 32:8 (paraphrased): “Job, you have a spirit, so listen to what God the Holy Spirit has to tell you! Here is how you can gain comprehension into your tragic experiences.” Elihu speaks for the next six chapters.

If you read the rest of the Book of Job (chapters 38–42), you discover how God Himself finally speaks directly to Job and explains that an enemy (Satan) is active in creation. Yet, God reassures Job that He will conquer and destroy that adversary in due time. Concluding, the Book of Job has Job finally liberated from Satan’s oppression and doubly blessed of God. While beyond the scope of this study, suffice it to say that Job’s sufferings and deliverance provide comfort to Israel’s believing remnant as they suffer during the latter years of the Antichrist’s reign (cf. James 5:10-11; 1 Peter 4:19). The Book of Job has been preserved in the Bible record so that Israel of the future can learn what God is doing with them—and what Satan is doing to them. Like Job, they will also be delivered… to enter the Millennial Reign of Christ and be immensely blessed of God!

In closing, let us say more about the Bible itself. The word “inspiration” appears only one other time in the English (King James) Scriptures. Of course, that passage is 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” In Greek, “given by inspiration of God” is one word—“theopneustos” (literally, “God breathed”). “Spirit,” “air,” “wind,” and “breath” are closely related in the Greek language. Therefore, the Bible is words God spoke forth or breathed out.

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). Scripture is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3; cf. Matthew 4:4). “The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake…” (Acts 1:16). “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,…” (Matthew 22:31). The Psalmist in Psalm 119:13 spoke of the “judgments” (decrees, conclusions, laws) originating from God’s mouth: “With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.”

Almighty God uttered “words,” not just thoughts. The Holy Spirit gave these inspired words to special men and He led them to write those Divine words. Either we believe this is the Bible’s origin (faith), or we do not (unbelief). There is no middle ground. Additionally, He gave those inspired words to preserve them throughout the centuries via a multiplicity of manuscript copies. We have those inspired, preserved words even now: in English, it is the King James Bible. That is, the Spirit of God can communicate with our spirit as we read the words on the pages of (inspired) Scripture. Again, Job 32:8: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

Let us conclude with 1 Corinthians chapter 2: [9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. [16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”

Also see:
» How does one know if he or she is maturing in the Word of God?
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?
» I have trusted Christ, so why do I see things in Scripture I have never noticed before?

How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?

HOW IS JESUS CHRIST THE “FIRSTBORN” OF EVERY CREATURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

This question stems from Colossians 1:15: “[God’s dear Son; verse 13] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:….” Lest we misunderstand the matter, it is better to read all the way through to verse 20 to grasp the sense of the verse.

“[15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

God the Son, Jesus Christ, made creatures (angels and humans, respectively) to occupy the offices of government in Heaven and Earth. These offices are the “things” in the above passage—“thrones, dominions, principalities, powers” (verse 16). In the original creation, creatures ruled for Jesus Christ’s glory. Alas, angels and humans sinned. Satan and his angelic cohorts corrupted the heavenly places with sin (Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:12). When the first man, Adam, willfully followed that rebellion in Genesis chapter 3, he allowed sin to spread to the Earth’s governmental offices (Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4).

The Holy Bible is the record of how the God of Scripture invented and enacted a plan to restore to Himself the offices of government (“things”) in Heaven and Earth. In the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we see the final pieces to that scheme laid out. Both God’s earthly people (the nation Israel—the prophetic people) and His heavenly people (the Church the Body of Christ—the mystery people) are formed through Jesus Christ’s shed blood. Calvary’s finished crosswork makes it possible for both groups of sinners to become saints, people set apart for God’s purposes. Where Adam failed on Earth, redeemed Israel will succeed. What Satan and his angels defiled, the Church the Body of Christ will take over. This is the first step in understanding the excerpt from Colossians chapter 1. (We will return to this shortly.)

In the physical world, the “firstborn” son is said to be “the beginning of his father’s strength.” See Genesis 49:3: “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power….” Moreover, Deuteronomy chapter 21 says the firstborn son received the double portion of his father’s estate: “[16] Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: [17] But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

When we consider Colossians 1:15-20, we should think of the firstborn son being the heir of his father’s estate. The governments of Heaven and Earth are Christ’s Father’s estate. Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of every creature” (verse 15) in that He is the Man who holds the place of headship over His Father’s house. Christ is the leader of both groups of creatures—redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—who will reign in their respective offices in eternity future. Father God has appointed His Son Jesus Christ as head of all governmental offices in Heaven and Earth. It is through the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—both of whom He is the Head—that Jesus Christ reigns in Earth and in Heaven throughout the endless ages to come.

Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). When Colossians 1:18 says He is “the firstborn from the dead,” it refers to Him being resurrected to subsequently reign as King over Heaven and Earth. Having shed His sinless blood to form the redeemed nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ, the offices of government in Heaven and Earth will return to His Father’s authority (and no longer under the control of Satan and sinful man). Post-resurrection, Christ possesses His Father’s governmental power or political strength. Consider these two passages from the Book of Hebrews. Pay attention to Christ’s death and resurrection, and how His reign follows.

Hebrews chapter 1: “[3] [His Son, verse 2] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. [5] For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? [6] And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

“[7] And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. [8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [10] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: [11] They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; [12] And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. [13] But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Verse 12 is the change in governmental officials, saints replacing sinners in both Heaven and Earth.)

Hebrews chapter 2: “[5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. [6] But one in a certain place testified [Psalm 8:4-6], saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (The “sons” of verse 10 are Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock of Luke 12:32.)

Here is the government in the heavenly places to follow Christ’s resurrection as regarding us, the Church the Body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 1: “[19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, [20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Of course, the actual reigning of Christ in Heaven and Earth has yet to be brought to pass. He is currently a royal exile in Heaven, where He has been for the last 2,000 years since Israel rejected and crucified Him. Yet, in due time, the Dispensation of Grace will close, the Church the Body of Christ will be complete, and we will be brought up to reign in the Heavens (at the Rapture). Then, the nation Israel will be redeemed to reign in the Earth (at the Second Coming). It is Father God’s will that all power in Heaven and Earth be consolidated in one Man—the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Ephesians chapter 1 thus summarizes: “[8] Wherein he [Father God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (The purpose of our salvation from Hell to Heaven, verses 11-12, is to make us be in the heavenly places the corresponding unit to redeemed Israel in the earthly realm, verses 9-10! Yes, it is God’s wise and prudent plan.)

SUPPLEMENTAL: COLOSSIANS 1 AND “THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION”

It is no secret that the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”—better termed “the Russellites,” after their founder Charles Taze Russell—consider Jesus Christ “a god” and not JEHOVAH God. This is apparent in their controversial rendering of John 1:1: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (cf. King James Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”) The official Russellite position is Jesus Christ is a mere created being, Someone who is not co-equal and not co-eternal with God the Father. Allegedly, God created Jesus Christ, then God used Christ to create “everything else.” They use a depraved version of Colossians 1:16-20 to justify this claim. To them, Jesus is the “firstborn” of every creature in that He was the first being “Jehovah God” created. What nonsense!

Without any manuscript evidence whatsoever anywhere, they add the word “other” to the passage five times in their “New World Translation:” “[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; [16] because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. [17] Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,…. [20] and through him to reconcile again to himself all [other] things by making peace through the blood [he shed] on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Bold emphasis mine. Notice “by” has been changed to “through,” which is how modern English versions—including NKJV—read here as well. Also, did you see how the New World Translation did not use “cross” but “torture stake?” Jesus dying on a pole or stake is another unorthodox or peculiar belief of the Russellites.)

Their insertion of “other” five times is an unmistakable indication of their spiritual blindness. The Holy Spirit did not inspire or originate such garbage. “Things” in this context does not refer to any creatures (check verse 16). The noun “things” points to governmental positions or offices. Could Jesus Christ be “another throne?” Could He be “another dominion/lordship?” “Another principality/government?” “Another power/authority?” The language refers to the political influence being exercised, not the people exercising that influence.

“Other” is completely unnecessary; hence, the Greek Bible never had it! The Russellites translators added it—not once but five times. Such is nothing but a deliberate alteration to teach a pet denominational idea. It is awkward language, a sure testament to the false doctrine found among the Russellites and their authority (their sectarian “bible,” the New World Translation). No matter the cost—even if it means perverting God’s eternal words and diminishing the Lord Jesus Christ—they will keep their “traditions of men!” Again, the Holy Spirit would certainly not be involved in such a translation or denomination. When approaching Colossians 1:15-20, be careful not to fall in this trap!

Also see:
» Did Jesus Christ ever claim to be God?
» Is Jesus Christ God’s “one and only Son” or “only begotten Son?”
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”

Exactly what is “eternal life?”

EXACTLY WHAT IS “ETERNAL LIFE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Just as death is not the cessation of existence, eternal life is not simply living forever. Lost people live in eternal hellfire forever, yet they are eternally dead. The word “death” in Scripture means “separation.” While there are various types of death in the Bible, they all have that basic definition of separation. Once we understand this, then we are able to comprehend what life—especially true life, or eternal life—entails.

For example, consider Romans chapter 4: “[18] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. [19] And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: [20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;….” Abraham and Sarah were both certainly alive in Genesis chapter 17. Yet, their old age had resulted in sterility and barrenness. Abraham’s body and Sarah’s body were separated from their procreation ability. It was not that they lost their reproductive organs; those organs, while present, were functionally dead, separated from their purpose.

Physical death occurs when the spiritual body (soul and spirit) separates from the body of flesh and blood. Genesis 35:18 describes this as such: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Physical death does not result in becoming nonexistent; it is a separation of the human spirit and soul from the physical body. Again, death is separation.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We would do well to notice that “wages” is a plural noun; sin causes two deaths. One death is physical death, which is what we already covered. The other is spiritual death, when the spirit of man (as an individual) is unable to commune with the Spirit of God. Here again is a type of separation: man is spiritually separated from his Creator. There is no unity or fellowship between the two. You may read 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 to learn how sin has made the spirit of man incompatible with the Spirit of God.

Ephesians chapter 2 speaks to this point of spiritual death: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” You will see, here also, the issue of eternal life. When a lost person trusts Christ as his or her personal Saviour, the person can connect with Almighty God as Adam did before the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3.

There is also positional death. As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4); we have been crucified with Him and been raised again with Him. Romans chapter 6 speaks about positional death: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

We are “dead to sin” in that we are no longer “in Adam.” God has reckoned us separated from Adam’s damnation; we are now a “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new nature produces good works, as opposed to the old nature of sin that could produce nothing pleasing to God. Again, this is positional death. Through personal faith in Christ’s finished crosswork, our position “in Adam” has been exchanged for our position “in Christ.” Now, we have the ability to be vessels of God’s power and exhibitions of His grace!

There is one final “death” (separation) in the Bible. We have covered functional death, physical death, spiritual death, and positional death. The last “death” is “the second death,” and it is connected to spiritual death. While a lost or unsaved soul on Earth is spiritually dead—separated from God’s life—that can be remedied by personal faith in the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If that spiritual death is not replaced with eternal life before physical death arrives, that spiritual death will be replaced with the second death. As the spiritual body separates from the physical body, now the spiritual body separates from God’s Spirit forever. All hope of ever gaining a right standing before God is now permanently gone. The second death occurs when the lost souls in Hell are judged, and then tossed into the Lake of Fire.

Revelation chapter 20 mentions “the second death:” “[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Also, Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

With all that said, we can now define what “eternal life” is all about. Again, “eternal life” is much more than “life without end” or “living forever,” for lost people under God’s eternal wrath live forever. They are not consumed in Hell, but are transferred to the Lake of Fire to serve out their sentence without end.

John 17:3 is the best definition of “eternal life” in the Bible: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Here is a personal relationship with the one true God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is the demolition of the barrier that sin has erected between sinners and their Creator. Romans 6:23 once again: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Whereas we were once separated from God, we are now united with Him forever through Christ! With that new nature, we can now experience “eternal life” on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, eternal life is not dying and going to Heaven; it is experiencing God’s life right now on Earth!

Romans 5:21 says of victorious Christian living: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Chapter 6, verse 23, is actually about victorious Christian living also: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Moreover, 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” And, verses 19-20: “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” This is daily Christian living, a reflection of the new nature we have been given in Christ!

Read Mark chapter 10 now: “[28] Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. [29] And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, [30] But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” In Israel’s prophetic program—her earthly kingdom program—the word “eternal life” takes on a slightly different meaning than it does concerning us. “Eternal life” for them is the entrance into that earthly kingdom of God. They do not experience communion with Almighty God to the fullest extent until the Millennium (1,000-Year Reign of Christ), when Israel is under the New Covenant, nationally resurrected, and God causes them to enjoy His life to the maximum.

Ezekiel chapter 36 says of this New Covenant for Israel: “[25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (See also Jeremiah 31:31-34.)

Like us Christians today, believing Jews in Israel’s prophetic program (whether in Acts or beyond our dispensation) have eternal life as a present possession—otherwise, they would be Hell-bound! Notice these verses from the epistle of 1 John: “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (2:25). “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (5:11). “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (5:13). “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (5:20). Yet, there is a national eternal life they will enjoy as well… and this is their earthly kingdom. Jude 21 is redeemed Israel waiting for Christ’s Second Coming, when they receive eternal life nationally: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

One more thing about “eternal life:” it is the life of Jesus Christ, the life that God Himself lived during His earthly ministry. This is the same life He wants to live in Israel by faith, and what He wants to live in us by faith. Eternal life is living as God lives, enjoying His life. Both redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ will be the vehicles whereby He exhibits that life throughout the endless ages to come!

“[1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; [2] (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; ) [3] That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3).

Also see:
» What happens after death?
» Will living in Heaven forever be boring?
» “So shall we ever be with the Lord?”

Why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”

WHY IS THE GOD OF THE BIBLE CALLED “THE LIVING GOD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? (Deuteronomy 5:26). Exactly why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”

The title “the living God” appears 30 times in our King James Bible. Its first occurrence in God’s Holy Word is Deuteronomy 5:26 (above). In the context, Moses is rehearsing for this new generation of Jews what happened 40 years earlier to him and their parents. There, at Mount Sinai, God had spoken to them His words. Moses had received the Ten Commandments, and the other demands of the Law. He had faithfully given those commands. They heard a grand voice that thundered from darkness, on a mountaintop that burned with fire. Deuteronomy 5:26 is Moses quoting what Israel’s leaders had told him 40 years prior to Deuteronomy. How they trembled to hear the Creator God’s voice!

Read Deuteronomy 5:26 in context: “[23] And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; [24] And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. [25] Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. [26] For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? [27] Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.”

Yes, Israel called the Creator God “the living God,” but they demonstrated they had no idea what it meant! Israel, in Deuteronomy 5:26, acknowledged JEHOVAH as “the living God.” Additionally, they had told Moses in verse 27: “Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.” This was their problem—they wanted to “do” something.

Indeed, Israel was terrified to hear “the living God” thundering words on Mount Sinai. Why? They had agreed to a works-religion covenant with Him. They wanted Him to deal with them on the basis of their performance. He gave them their wish (note Exodus 19:3-8, and chapter 20). The Mosaic Law was a very strict system, especially dominated by fear. God, once their Blesser (Exodus chapters 14-18), now their Judge. Moreover, save for Moses, He would not tolerate man or beast ascending—or even touching—Mount Sinai. Trespassers approaching Him were to be immediately stoned or shot through with a spear (Exodus 19:12,13)!

Centuries earlier, God had selected Abraham and promised to make of him a special nation. God in His grace would make Abraham a blessing and then bless the world through Abraham—God’s gift! Abraham had to do absolutely nothing to get it. Notice, it would be what God would do, not what Abraham would do! Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and [I will] make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and [I will] curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The living God wanted to do something for and with Abraham and Israel. Israel, however, wanted to do something for the living God. They got death!

The Jews, sons of Abraham but also (sinful) sons of Adam, had been barred from entering the Promised Land because of their unbelief (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14; cf. Hebrews 3:7-19). Refusing to take God at His Word, Israel doubted He would surely drive out their enemies. They doubted they would dwell safely in Canaan. So, once that generation had died off in the wilderness, at the end of 40 years, Moses addressed Israel’s new generations in Deuteronomy (see Deuteronomy 5:26). He reminded them just how strict God is under the current Covenant of Law. Not long after Deuteronomy 5:26, Moses died, making Joshua God’s leader for Israel. We come to the second instance of “the living God.”

Reading Joshua 3:10: “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.” Israel is where she was with Moses 40 years earlier, before the wilderness wanderings. Joshua reaffirmed that Israel had “the living God” on her side. There was great power to give them victory. While Israel under Joshua’s command had some notable military triumphs, Israel once again doubted God’s Word to her and was never faithful in remaining separate from her pagan neighbors.

The next two instances of “the living God” concern little boy David’s victorious fight with Goliath: “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?….Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God (1 Samuel 17:26,36). There is power with “the living God!”

The fifth and sixth occurrences of the term “the living God” are 2 Kings chapter 19, verses 4 and 16. About 710 B.C., Assyrian King Sennacherib attempts to invade and destroy Judah and Jerusalem. Judaean King Hezekiah, seeking the LORD’S counsel, sends men to speak with the Prophet Isaiah. These men tell Isaiah in verse 4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.” And, Hezekiah prays in verse 16: “LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.” This is similar to when young David, anticipating military victory, spoke of “the living God” on Israel’s side (1 Samuel 17:26,36).

When the Psalmist saw God as his Deliverer, he wrote Psalm 42:2: “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This closely resembles Psalm 84:2: “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

Isaiah, commenting on the events of 2 Kings, used the term twice more. Isaiah 37:4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.” Verse 17: “Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.”

The Bible’s definition of “the living God” is becoming more pronounced.

When we get to the eleventh time the phrase appears in our King James Bible, it is used to contrast the God of the nation Israel to the idols of the Gentiles. Notice Jeremiah 10:10: “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.” Jeremiah 23:36 is a rebuke of Israel’s religious leaders for their deceiving the nation in the name of the one true God: “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”

We find the term twice in the book of Daniel. After Daniel the Prophet was thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to a pagan king, Darius, King of Media, we read what happened the next morning. Daniel 6:20: “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” During the ordeal, Darius was evidently converted to Israel’s God. Observe what Darius said in verse 26: “I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.”

So, we see that, in addition to denoting power and victory, the term “the living God” is used in contradistinction to idols, the gods of the heathen. There is still much to learn about “the living God,” for we are only halfway through our list of references.

We learn about Israel’s restoration in the last days, prophecy that will be fulfilled after our Dispensation of Grace ends: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God(Hosea 1:10).

The next occurrence of the term is in the Apostle Peter’s famous profession of faith. Matthew 16:16: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” When the Lord Jesus is on trial, the high priest quotes the Old Testament, although in unbelief: “But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63).

Peter, spokesman of the 12 apostles, told Jesus in John 6:69: “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God(cf. Matthew 16:16, quoted above). Paul and Barnabas, travelling in Lystra, urged idolaters in Acts 14:15: “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:”

In reference to Israel’s future restoration in the Millennium, Romans 9:26 is Paul quoting Hosea 1:10, which we looked at earlier: “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

The 21st through 25th instances appear in the Pauline epistles. They are associated with us, the Church the Body of Christ. Paul penned in 2 Corinthians 3:3: “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” And, 2 Corinthians 6:16: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Referring to grace assemblies in Crete, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” And, 1 Timothy 4:10: “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Finally, 1 Timothy 6:17: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

While we will discuss this more fully later, for now, suffice it to say “the living God” that was once exclusive to the nation Israel can now be the God of the nations (Gentiles). That is, the one true God who did not deal with non-Jews apart from the nation Israel, is now offering fellowship with all people (Gentiles). In Paul’s writings, the Gentiles are urged to “turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Let us look in the Bible to see where Israel is urged to do the same!

Recall how we discussed Deuteronomy 5:26 when we began these studies. Although Israel declared their God was “the living God,” they really did not believe it. Remember, not long after they accepted the Covenant of Law, they fashioned and worshipped a golden calf idol (Exodus 32:1-35). Their behavior never improved. As the centuries passed, the Israelites became increasingly idolatrous. They embraced additional gods and goddesses the Gentiles had worshipped and served. (Hence, as our earlier studies show, JEHOVAH repeatedly reminded them He was “the living God.”)

We have finally reached the last five occurrences. After our Dispensation of Grace (mystery program), Israel’s prophetic program resumes where it paused 2,000 years ago. Notice what Hebrews 3:12 says to Israel in those last days: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” And, Hebrews 9:14: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Also, Hebrews 10:31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And, Hebrews 12:22: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,….” Finally, Revelation 7:2: “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,…”

The Jews are encouraged during Daniel’s 70th week to turn from their spiritual blindness, renounce their idols, trust the living God, and not return to that ignorant idol worship. During that seven-year Tribulation, Israel will be greatly pressured into accepting the Antichrist’s false religious system. If they are to survive God’s wrath, they cannot embrace the Antichrist’s idols and Satan’s policy of evil.

Now, to summarize!

The term “the living God” elicits cross-references. Psalm 135:15-18, for example: “[15] The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. [16] They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; [17] They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. [18] They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them” (cf. Psalm 115:4-7).

Note, “neither is there any breath in their mouths” (verse 17)—opposite of “the living God.” In Scripture, we see JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, “the living God.” We also see Gentiles’ silver and gold idols—unable to speak, see, hear, and breathe. They are dead; they can do nothing for their worshippers. Those who worship them must carry them around, and yet, those who carry them around pray to these inanimate idols for help. (Ludicrous!)

Habakkuk chapter 2: “[18] What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? [19] Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.” “The living God” versus heathenism’s dead gods.

When Scripture mentions “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15), or “turning to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), this is monotheism. There is only one God, not hundreds, thousands, or millions. He, not dead idols, is the living God. He is powerful; idols are powerless. He can commune with us, and we with Him. Idols cannot. Remember, Genesis 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

CONCLUSION

The God of the Bible is living. He can actually do something for you. Idols can do nothing for you. The “living God” has a Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:16). As He gave us physical life in creation (Genesis 2:7), He offers us spiritual life. There is no life apart from Him (John 1:1-4). If you want life, you must find it in the God of the Bible. You can only find God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

Life is not in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, mysticism, or any other religion. We must go beyond dead gods, false prophets, fake gods, and false religions, to find “the living and true God.” It is not we striving to find life in and of ourselves (religion), but rather Christianity, the living God offering us His life a free gift because we are spiritually dead.

While there was a dead goddess in Ephesus, Diana (today’s “Queen of Heaven,” Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary)—Acts chapter 19—there was also in Ephesus the Church the Body of Christ, “the church of the living God(1 Timothy 3:15). We become a member of it by simply trusting exclusively Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. He died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again to give us His resurrection life (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

In the future, Israel will learn that the living God must give her life. She will not find life in heathen religion. She will not find life in her works-religion (the Mosaic Law). She is spiritually dead, unable to do anything that God instructs. But, as she experienced the living God delivering her from Egyptian and bondage to idols, He can (and will) redeem her from Satanic captivity and hellfire as well. No idol can or will ever do it… for Israel… or for us! 🙂

Also see:
» Are we all God’s children?
» How can the Bible say, “No man hath seen God at any time?”
» Is it not enough that “I believe in God?”