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God the Father
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Would you please help me to understand this thinking? I can see that there are two, but God the Father, having an offspring makes another God, does it not? Then how do we say that there is only one God, since the Father and the Son are distinct and individual beings? The two are one in mind, purpose, Spirit, but two in beings.
You bring up some good points. It is true that Jesus is the offspring of God the Father, and by very nature Jesus is God. However, when the Bible uses terms like Most High God, only true God, one God, it is always speaking of the Father and not His Son. The phrase one God is used seven times in the Bible. Two times it makes it very clear who is being referred to. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1 Corinthians 8:6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:6)
The Father and Son are both God by very nature, yet the Bible refers to the Son as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), and the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the express image of his person. (Hebrews 1:3) An image is a likeness of the original. The original and true God is the Father. His Son is a distinct and separate individual who is God by nature, yet He is not the original, or true, God. (The Greek word that was translated true contrasts realities with their resemblances. Thayers Greek Lexicon. See also Hebrews 8:2.)
This question and its answer were printed in the August 2000 issue of Present Truth.
I have a question that I did not see before, concerning the counsel of
peace. Maybe I do not correctly understand the wording. It says: The counsel
of peace shall be between them both, which sounds like a prophecy of a
This is a very good question. All the translations I have read, except the Youngs Literal Translation, indicate that the counsel of Zechariah 6:13 was a future event at the time it was spoken. The Youngs Literal Translation says, a counsel of peace is between both. However, the original Hebrew seems to indicate that shall be is more accurate than is in this verse.
The counsel of peace is the plan of redemption, and it is a plan that is being worked out in this world until sin is finally destroyed. This plan had been devised long before Christ died on the cross. It was foretold in the book of Genesis when God told the serpent who had deceived Eve, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:14, 15)
When God spoke to Joshua in Zechariah 6:12, 13, the counsel of peace, or plan of redemption, had already been decided, but the working out of the plan had not yet been accomplished. I believe the real meaning of this text is that both the actual counseling together about the peace of mankind, and the accomplishing of that counsel are between the Father and His Son. The plan to save mankind has already been discussed and decided by the Father and His Son, but the plan has not reached its final conclusion until sin is finally destroyed and the righteous are living with God eternally. Then and only then, can it be said that the plan of redemption is completed.
The fact that this text uses a future tense regarding the plan in no way gives any justification for the idea that the Father and His Son were only one being before Christ was born on earth. In fact, if it did prove this it would contradict many verses in the Bible that clearly indicate that two divine beings existed in the Old Testament times. Here are a few examples:
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalms 110:1)
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his sons name, if thou canst tell? (Proverbs 30:4)
Christ says of Himself, When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. (Proverbs 8:27-30)
The Father said to His Son, 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. (Genesis 1:26)
There is much more evidence of this, including the words of Jesus Himself. He prayed to His Father, Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:5)
I have written two studies on this subject which I have never printed for distribution. I would be glad to send them to you if you like. I may print them in upcoming issues of Present Truth.
I can see that there are severe negative implications if we accept the idea that Christ had no existence prior to Bethlehem. Please allow me to explain. God manifested His love toward us by giving up His only begotten Son. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9) The measure of Gods love is understood by the value which He placed upon His only begotten Son. The more exalted we understand this relationship, the more we will love God in return. We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) If the Bible says that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son into this cursed world to die for us, then I believe it. A great part of the sacrifice on the part of the Father or the Son was the fact that Christ left heaven to become a feeble baby in a manger. In doing this, God the Father risked the chance that His only begotten Son would fail when He was tempted. Jesus Christ risked the chance of failing, and the result would have to have been eternal death. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Praise God that He did not fail.
If we degrade the Father-Son relationship in any way, we are depriving ourselves of a full comprehension of Gods love for us. In so doing, we deprive ourselves of the chance to love God perfectly like He has commanded. In proportion to the way that we perceive Gods love for us, we will love Him in return. If we perceive that God loved us a little bit, then our love for God will be very little. But if we perceive that God loved us to a great degree, then our love for God will be much greater.
Over and over again, Christ lifted up the Fathers character before the people. He always focused the attention of the hearers on the love that His Father had for them. The greater our understanding of God the Fathers love for us, the greater will be our appreciation for Him, and hence the more we will love to serve Him.
The key lies with our understanding of the relationship between the Father and His only begotten Son. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5) There is something about us understanding the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that enables us to overcome the world. Certainly Satan would try to distort this understanding.
As we can see, the key to our overcoming the world is a correct understanding of the relationship of the Father to His only begotten Son. Any deviation on this point from the revealed Word of God is a deviation from our ability to overcome the world. This is a serious matter my friends. Please take the time to examine this thoroughly.
All untruthfulness regarding the Father and His Son, by which their characters are presented in a false light, is to be regarded as a grievous sin.
May the Lord abundantly bless you as you continue to study this subject.
I hope this helps to answer your questions.
This question and its answer were printed in the December 2001 issue of Present Truth.
Does 1 Timothy 6:16 mean that we will never be able to see God the Father? Is there any scripture that clearly shows that we will be able to see the Father? Also study the words invisible God in Colossians 1:15.
Referring to God the Father, 1 Timothy 6:16 says, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. At this present time, in our sinful condition, we cannot see the Father for, if we would, we would be consumed by His brightness. God wishes to directly fellowship with us, but because of our sins He must use His Son as a Mediator. Yet there will be a time when, if we are faithful unto the end, we will see His face. Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
In Revelation chapter four John saw, in vision, four living creatures and twenty-four elders bowing before the throne and worshipping the Father. John wrote, And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:9-11)
Considering the question under consideration, this would not be significant if John had not written verses 8-10 of the next chapter. But here we read, And when he [Christ] had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:8-10)
The four living creatures symbolically represent people who have been redeemed from this earth by the blood of Christ. The twenty four elders also have been redeemed from the earth by the blood of Christ. Yet, these people are bowing before the Fathers throne and worshipping Him, indicating that the redeemed will see the Father.
John saw the New Jerusalem, the great city of God, come down from heaven to the earth after the millennium, and in his description he wrote, And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:22-24)
This indicates that the Father will live in the city of the redeemed, and they shall walk in his light. The Father is invisible now, but so are the angels, yet we will see them.
I hope this helps to answer your questions.
This question and its answer were printed in the February 2002 issue of Present Truth.
Do you believe the Father loved us more than the Son? To me it seems like they both love us equally. Could you please explain?
I believe they both love us infinitely more than we will ever comprehend. I believe that the Father revealed more love to us than the Son by giving up His beloved, only begotten, holy child. (Matthew 3:17; John 3:18; Acts 4:27) I am not saying that the Father loves us more, but that the Father revealed more love to us by giving His Son. Two people can each have $1,000,000, and one can reveal to you all $1,000,000, while another reveals to you $900,000. They both have the same amount but you can see more of the money of one person than you can of the other. In a similar way I can see more love on the part of the Father because I can see the immense struggle it would take to willingly give up my own beloved son to die. I see this as even more of a struggle than if I would die myself. I like to think of the story of Abraham and Isaac, when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. I believe it was a greater struggle for Abraham to go through than it was for Isaac, revealing more dedication and love to God on the part of Abraham than on the part of Isaac. That is not to say Isaac was any less dedicated, but that His test was less severe than that of Abraham.
Many parents would give their own life for their child, proving that they value the life of their child above their own life. God loves His Son more than any earthly parent has ever loved their child, yet He gave Him up for us. Paul expressed it this way, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32) What Paul is saying here is that if the Father gave up what was most valuable to Him, it proves that He is willing to give up everything for us. For this argument to be true, the Father had to value His Sons life above His own, therefore making a greater sacrifice by giving up His Son, than if He had given His own life.
It is likely and probable that the Son of God loves us just as much as the Father, yet the Father revealed more of His love to us by giving up His Son, than the Son revealed by dying for our sins. The exceeding love of the Father is the primary focus of Christ and the apostles throughout the New Testament. This is a fact that many people overlook, because of their preconceived ideas that Christ is not really a true Son of God but either playing a role, pretending to be a son, or else that He is the same being as the Father. The trinity doctrine in all its forms, along with the unitarian doctrine, the Muslim teaching, the Jewish teaching, and the teachings of countless other religions, purposely and expressly denies the fact that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, the very foundation upon which Christ said He would build His church. By doing this, the trinity doctrine limits mankinds perception of the love of God. Thanks be to God that He has not allowed this truth to be completely lost in this world. He has made it plain in His Word if we will only study it. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5)
I hope that this helps to answer your questions.
This question and its answer were printed in the March 2002 issue of Present Truth.
Since both the Father and Jesus are called God in Scripture several times, how do you answer from the Scripture if someone says: Well then, you have two Gods?
This is an excellent question, and filled with far reaching implications.
In the Bible, the word god has several different meanings. In a very limited sense, men are called gods. Both the Greek word theos and the Hebrew word elohim, which are most often translated god are used in reference to men. (See Exodus 7:1; Psalm 82:6; John 10:34) When the word god is used in that sense, then there are hundreds and thousands of gods.
In a less limited sense, angels are called gods. David wrote about man, For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels [elohim]. (Psalms 8:5) The word angels in this verse comes from the Hebrew word elohim. The way elohim is used here it denotes a type of being that is higher than man but, it is still used in a limited sense, and with this definition there would still be many gods.
The Bible says, To us there is but one God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:6) So, to us Christians, there is only one God, the Father. If Jesus was exactly like the Father in every respect, then we would have two Gods, but He is not. Let me explain. In reference to Christ, the word god is used in a much less limited sense, to denote His nature as being on the same level as His Fathersomething that cannot be said about any other being in the universe. The Bible says that Christ was in the form of God. (Philippians 2:6)
But even when the word god is used of Christ, it is used in a limited sense, because Christ has a God who is the head of Christ, above all, and greater than He. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:6; and John 14:28) When the word god is used in its absolute and unlimited sense, there is only one person to whom it can apply, and that is God, the Father, alone. Jesus said that His Father is the only true God. (John 17:3) Paul said, there is none other God but one God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:4, 6) Of the 1,354 times the word god is used in the New Testament, more than 99% of the time it refers exclusively to God, the Father, while it only applies to His Son four times. (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:16)
So, to clarify, there are many gods when the word god is used in a limited sense, to include men and angels. When the word god is used as an adjective to describe the nature of God, as in John 1:1, then there are only two divine beings, God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. The Son of God is completely divine by nature because His Father is divine, just as I am completely human, because my parents are human.
When the word God is used in its absolute sense, to denote the most high God, the sovereign of the universe, or the only true God, then there is only one God; God, the Father, beside which there is no god.
I hope this helps to answer your question.
This question and its answer were printed in the August 2003 issue of Present Truth.
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