KNOWING THE FATHER
KNOWING THE FATHER Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth that He might reconcile us to God. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No person can come to the Father except through Him. No one knows the Father except the Lord Jesus, and that person to whom Jesus will reveal Him.
KNOWING THE FATHER
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)
When we begin the program of salvation we receive the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ. We come to understand Jesus is the promised Anointed One and also Lord of Heaven and earth. Then we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus each day.
At that time or at some point later we are made aware of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is here now as our Helper while the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
But all of this is to bring us to the Father that God might be All in all.
For he "has put everything under his feet. "Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27,28)
There are three Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are baptized in water into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Because Jesus Christ is the perfect Representation of the Father, and because the Father dwells in Him, speaks through Him, and acts through Him, there is confusion as to whether Christ and the Father are two Persons or actually one Person in two different forms.
To the present hour there is not complete agreement among Christian people as to the Oneness or the Threeness of God.
The theological doctrine of the Trinity has been advanced and is quite widely accepted by Christian people. Sometimes it is said the three Members of the Godhead are coequal, coexistent, coeternal.
It is difficult for Jewish people to accept our teaching that there are three Gods. They know from the Scriptures this is not the case. "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." This is the Shema. I think Jewish people could accept that Jesus is the Son of God. But they will never agree to three Gods.
There are several passages of the Scripture that appear to deny some of the aspects of the revered doctrine of the Trinity.
For example, the agony of the Lord Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. Here we find two distinct wills. "Not My will but Yours be done."
Obviously, at this point, it appears the Father is greater than the Son and the Son is obedient to the Father.
If such is the case, how can we say that the Father and the Son are coequal?
Is a son equal to his father? Yes, in some ways. No, in others.
Either the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, or He is another God, or He is God the Father in a different form.
It appears the theologians have approached the Scripture with a preconceived axiom and thus have explained, explained, explained until it appears both the Scripture and the theology remain true.
The Scripture is stretched to fit the theology. The theology is a Procrustean bed. If the bed is too long you add to the Scriptures. If the bed is too short you remove part of the Scriptures.
Notice the following:
You heard me say, "I am going away and I am coming back to you." If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)
"The Father is greater than I."
Again, verbal gymnastics are performed to show that the Lord Jesus did not mean exactly this.
The actual truth is, it is God who has made Jesus God. God is not a name but a title. It is the Father who has made Jesus both Lord and Christ. It is the Father who will make the enemies of Christ His footstool.
For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27,28)
"The Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put everything under Him."
The Son is subject to the Father. They are not coequal in this sense, it seems to me.
By the way, the fact that the Son is subject to the Father does not in any manner diminish the glory and authority of the Son. He remains Lord and Christ.
I think it is time for Bible students to discard the idea that the Father and the Son are expressions of the same Person. They assuredly are two different Persons.
But then, how are they One?
They are One in the same manner in which the Apostle Paul and Christ are one. Paul stated that he is crucified with Christ and that he is living no longer but Christ is living in him. If this is true, if Paul is living no longer and Christ is living in him, then Paul and Christ have become one just as the Father and the Son are One.
Also, the Lord Jesus, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of John, prayed that we might be one in Himself and the Father as well as one with one another.
Perhaps we can understand the Oneness among the Persons of the Godhead by thinking of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were one in the sight of God. He called their name "Adam."
He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man." (literally Adam) (Genesis 5:2)
Eve actually was Adam in another form, having been created from Adam. But Adam and Eve certainly were two distinct people having wills of their own. Also, God declared that Adam would rule over Eve.
So it is that we are becoming Christ in another form, being created from His body and blood. This does not mean we are Lord and Christ or that Christ does not rule over us. But it does mean we are being made one in Spirit and Substance with Him. Thus we are one with the Father through Christ.
Because the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in us as one holy city, one new Jerusalem, it is important for us to understand the Godhead is not an inscrutable, unapproachable entity. Rather it is true that there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spiritthree Divine Persons. Are they one person in three forms? No, they are not. They are three Persons who are one in Substance.
We also are partakers of the Divine Nature. We also are being embraced by the Divine Godhead so we may enter that eternal Oneness. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
All I am saying is that we are learning to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ means we are one with Him in all He is and does. As He is, so are we in this world.
We have been saved through the blood atonement. We have been given Gods Holy Spirit so we might have the wisdom and power to enter the Kingdom of God. The rule of God, the Kingdom of God, is an inner Presence of God so we become the expression of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we see what Jesus meant when He said "the Father is greater than I." Jesus is totally one with His (and our) Father. Yet, Jesus joyously serves the will of God, as we must also.
There are three Persons in the Godhead existing in love, joy, and peace. They live together in unsullied harmony. The destiny of Gods elect is to become an incorruptible, eternally inseparable part of this Oneness. This is the rest of God toward which we are to be pressing.
This Oneness is the Kingdom of God, and it is coming to the earth to govern the saved nations. This is the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The Throne of God and of the Lamb are in it. Incidentally, we have been called to sit on that throne.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
It often is taught that Jesus is the way to Heaven. This is not what the Scripture teaches. The Scripture teaches that Jesus is the Way to the Father.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
But isnt going to the Father the same as going to Heaven?
Not at all.
Two years ago our church sent my wife and me on a vacation to the green and pleasant land of England. While there we went to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. If you have an opportunity this is a ceremony worth going to watch.
However, we were not invited into Buckingham Palace to see the Queen. I wish we had been. This would have been the experience of a lifetime. We were in England, it is true. But the Queen was not aware of our presence.
So it is true that going to Heaven is not at all the same as going to the Father. The Lord Jesus is the Way to the Father, which is infinitely superior to merely being the way to Heaven.
The Lord Jesus came from God to reveal the Father to us. There is not enough preaching about this, it seems to me.
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:27-30)
The Father has committed all things to the Son.
No one of us knows the Son except as we become one with Him by living by His body and blood.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
And no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.
The knowledge of the Father. Christ came to reveal the Father to us.
The rest for our souls is the knowledge of the Father. We are in a tumult until we find rest in the Father and the Father finds rest in us.
There is a famous passage in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. The words of Christ have been interpreted to mean Christ is building elaborate homes for us in Heaven. Heaven is the Fathers house, and when we die we will be given a mansion in which to live.
This is not what Jesus is speaking about.
First of all, Heaven is not Gods house. God has only one house, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ dwells all the Fullness of God in bodily form.
In Christ there are many rooms, many places in which to abide. Jesus went to the cross, and then to Heaven to sprinkle His blood upon and before the Mercy Seat there. Then He poured out the Spirit of God on us. He did all these things so a place might be prepared for us in Himself, for no individual ever was able to abide in Christ until Christ was crucified and raised from the dead.
Also, He is preparing a place for Himself in us. This is the rest of God, Gods eternal dwelling place in us.
Further on in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John we see the interpretation of the announcement concerning mansions:
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:19-23)
It appears, from the above passage, that the Lord will make Himself known to His disciples prior to His appearing to the world in the clouds of glory. We will live because He lives; this is to say, we will be part of His resurrection life.
I personally believe this "coming" is taking place today.
In the day He appears to us we will realize He is in His Father, we are in Him, and He is in us. Scholars have sought to understand the Godhead. The Godhead cannot be understood by human reasoning. To be understood the Godhead must be experienced. Then we know there is a Father and we cry out to Him with the gladness and affection of a little child.
He is our Father just as He is the Father of the Lord Jesus.
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (John 20:17)
My Father. Your Father. My God. Your God.
The one who loves Christ is the individual who has His commands and obeys them.
During the past century an unscriptural doctrine has been advanced. This destructive teaching maintains we are unable to keep the commands of Christ and must therefore be saved by a sovereign grace. This is not scriptural.
The commands issued by Christ in Person and through His Apostles must be kept. The Holy Spirit will enable us to keep them. If we do not keep the commands of Christ and His Apostles, we do not love Him. Furthermore, we will not be able to press forward to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, in which we enter the will and Person of the Father through Christ.
The program of redemption is aborted when we accept the current Christian teaching of sovereign grace. It is "another gospel." It is not the new covenant. It was invented by the mind of man to provide an alternative to the rugged demands of Christian discipleship.
As we obey the commands of Christ the Father loves us. Then Christ loves us and reveals Himself to us.
Finally the Father and the Son come and make us Their eternal abode (mansion, same Greek term as John 14:2).
There are passages that leave the impression Christ is the Father in visible form.
The following are examples:
Jesus answered: "Dont you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father? Dont you believe I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:9-12)
In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me. Then they asked him, "Where is your father?" "You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also." (John 8:17-19)
"If you knew me, you would know my Father also."
But let us look closely at what is being said.
Christ is saying the Father is in Him and He is in the Father. This is why anyone who has seen Christ has seen the Father. It is not that they are the same Person. It is that they are in complete union One with the Other.
Then Jesus said "The testimony of two men is valid." If Jesus and the Father are not two separate men, then the testimony of Christ is not valid. If Jesus and the Father are the same man, then the testimony is not valid, according to Jewish law.
Of course it is true that if we know Christ we also know the Father. In addition it is true that if we know Paul we know Christ, for Christ is living in Paul and Paul in Christ.
In fact, it is Gods will that every member of the Body of Christ be able to say "whoever sees me has seen Christ, because He is in me. The words I speak, the actions I take, are not mine but Christs who is living in me."
But that does not mean the member of the Body of Christ is the same Person as Jesus, or Jesus in another form, except in the sense the member is married to Christ and is part of His Body.
The confusion concerning the Members of the Godhead is understandable. But today, when God wants us to move past the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost into the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, it is necessary we realize we are related to the Lord Jesus as He is related to the Father.
Some have mentioned that there is a difference in kind between the Godhead and the Christian. This is true as long as the Christian is living in the adamic nature. But when the Christian is crucified with Christ, and Christ is living in that person, and the individual is living by the body and blood of Christ, then there no longer is a difference in kind. There is a difference in authority and rank in the Kingdom, but not in kind.
Christ is not ashamed to call us brothers, because we have the same Father. When we were born the second time it was not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. We have been made partakers of the Divine Nature.
God is making us part of Himself and is enlarging Himself through us. We carry His Name and are of His family.
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2;11)
One time we were in the First Assembly of God Church in Fremont, California. Judson Cornwall had just finished preaching. We all were singing and worshiping in the Spirit.
A kind of impression came to me. I "saw" a huge figure, a galactic Christ. He was seated on a great throne. I was looking at His left profile.
He slowly began to arise. His hands were lifted up in worship. He started to turn toward me. I knew He was going to turn to face the Father, who was at His left, to worship Him.
Then the impression faded.
But the Word of God came to me:
He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." (Hebrews 2:12)
Then I realized when we sing praises to God, Christ is there with us praising the Father.
His disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray.
This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name," (Matthew 6:5)
Of all the prayers in the Book of Psalms, not one of them is addressed to "Our Father."
We conclude from this that Christ came to teach us about the Father.
The Apostle Paul a number of times uses the expression "God our Father."
I believe if one studies the Epistles of Paul it is clear Paul makes a distinction between God the Father and Christ the Son.
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 1:3)
And notice particularly:
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55,56)
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, (Revelation 1:1)
Now consider. If God gave the Book of Revelation to the Lord Jesus Christ, then God had it before Jesus did. How then could they be the same Person?
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:35)
In Christian theology the Son has been put on an equal footing with the Father. The Father is not greater than the Son.
But if the Son obeys the Father, if the Father gives the Son a revelation that only the Father possesses, then it is as the Lord said: "The Father is greater than I."
I understand making Christ coequal with God occurred centuries ago as scholars argued about the Divinity of Christ. Is Christ truly very God of very God?
I can appreciate the desire of devout teachers to make sure that Jesus Christ receives His proper glorification.
However, we always cause problems when we depart from the plain language of the Scriptures and attempt to reason away what is stated clearly.
Now, in the present hour, when Christ is ready to draw us into the great Oneness that God is, we cannot fully grasp what is being offered because of our concept of the Trinity as an unapproachable, inscrutable Being who somehow is one and somehow is three at the same time.
The Bible says it best. The Lord Jesus Christ is Gods Son. Furthermore, God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, giving Him all authority in Heaven and upon the earth that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow.
So I think we can remain with the clear teaching of the Scripture and at the same time hold up the Lord in His lawful place.
At the time of this writing I am 76 years of age. I have been a devout Christian since the age of nineteen. If I am counting correctly this is a period of 57 years.
One can learn a few things over that long a time if his attention is focused in one direction.
I can truthfully say that I am becoming increasingly aware of God as my Father. I still pray in the name of Jesus. But I know Jesus came to earth so I could be reconciled to my Father in Heaven. I hope to see His face one day. To tell the truth, I would like to sit in His lap and put my arms around His neck; for He indeed is my true Father. How do you feel about this?
How kind of Jesus to pay such a terrible penalty so one day I can come with confidence into the very Presence of the Spirit who is the Father of our Lord.
I was not raised in a Christian home. Yet, even as a young boy I used to pray to God. Somehow I always knew there was a God.
Later, after having enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, my faith in God diminished until I was not certain there was a God.
A few months went by and I found myself in Hawaii. There I moved into a tent with a backslidden Baptist boy. I dont know how it started, but I began to ask him about the Gospel. What he told me sounded like the truth. That night I prayed that God would give me faith to believe there is a God.
That prayer was answered speedily.
But you know what my problem was? I felt nervous about transferring my faith in God to this Man, Jesus. "You believe in God, believe also in me"; that sort of thing.
My reasoning was, "If I cannot come to God except through Jesus Christ; if this is what God wants; then I will do this in obedience to God."
"All who the Father gives me shall come to me."
I realized that previously I had belonged to God. Now God was giving me to Jesus.
From that day to the present hour I have been a cross-carrying disciple of the Lord Jesus. I have made many mistakes. When I stumble, I get up and press on, and encourage others who stumble to do the same thing. I humble myself and take my knocks, but keep pressing forward in the Lord.
I did what God said. I transferred my faith in God to faith in Jesus. Now Jesus is bringing me to His Father and my Father.
It is wonderful to know the Lord Jesus as our elder Brother, as well as Savior and Lord.
It is wonderful to have the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, who helps us overcome sin and also to minister the Gospel.
It is wonderful to know I have a Father in Heaven who loves me as a son, and whose Face I will see one day.
Nothing can separate me from that love; not war, not sickness, not death itself. I am in the hands of Christ and there is no power that can remove me from those nail-pierced hands.
So I say to whoever reads these words: "There is a Father in Heaven. No person can come to the Father except through Christ His Son."
The people of the world lost their fellowship with God because of the sin of Adam and Eve.
God longs to have fellowship with us, but He cannot because of the vileness in our personality.
God has designed a great plan. His plan is to create a church, a living temple, through which God can reach out and bless and heal people, having fellowship with them as in the beginning with Adam and Eve.
The task now is to make the members of the Church new creations, transforming them morally so their personalities are wholesome and acceptable to God; for only then can they serve as the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the Temple of God.
The people of the world cannot see Jesus but they can see us. We Christians cannot see the Father but we can see Jesus.
One day we shall be able to see our Fathers Face, since we are His children. Jesus came to make that possible.
There is no greater goal, no greater hope than to see our Father (as the angels of little children can). That will be in an hour so utterly holy that in our present condition we are perceived as the miserable wretches we are.
But the Lord Jesus Christ is giving us grace, and will continue to give us grace, until the day arrives when we are sufficiently in His image that we can approach that awful Throne from which emanate the rays of power that uphold the creation.
He is God, the Father of all. He so loved the world He gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins.
And, best of all, He is my very own Father!