|- J. Preston Eby -
It has pleased the Lord to leave great truths obscure and well hidden from the prying eyes of the curious and the unbelieving. He shrouds His precious truths in mystery so that none but the earnest seekers who partake of the spirit of revelation are ever permitted to see beyond the outer shell of the letter, and behold the unfolding glories which lie concealed within the inner kernel. There is a grand statement of infinite truth which fell from the lips of God's spokesman, Moses, more than thirty-five centuries ago: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). For long ages men have read this amazing declaration about God and supposed it to be nothing more than a doctrinal statement about the Godhead. It is the basis for the belief in only one true and living God, which belief is called "monotheism." This verse of scripture has become the most distinctive and important statement of faith for the Jews. They call it the Shema, after the first word of the phrase in Hebrew, and they often quote it in English as "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is One." Traditionally, a devout Jew always tried to make this confession of faith just before death.
This surface truth of the oneness of God cannot be denied by any who believe the testimony of the scriptures. All through the Old Testament God revealed Himself to His people as one God. All the nations around Israel had many gods. They had a god for almost every need, but Israel had one God who was the all-sufficient One, and this was emphasized very strongly to the children of Israel. The Ten Commandments begin with, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex.20:3). God said there is no other God with Him. There is none like the LORD and there is no God beside Him (II Sam. 7:22; I Chron. 17:20). He alone is God (Ps. 86:10). There are the emphatic declarations of God in Isaiah: "Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour" (Isa. 43:10-11). "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6). "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isa. 44:8). "I am the LORD that makes all things; that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth by Myself" (Isa. 44:24). There is none beside Me. I am the LORD and there is none else" (Isa. 45:6). "There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 45:21-22). "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me" (Isa. 46:9).
This truth of one God is accentuated in the New Testament by both Jesus and His apostles. "Seeing it is one God which shall justify" (Rom. 3:30). "There is none other God but one" (I Cor. 8:4). "But to us there is but one God, the Father" (I Cor. 8:6). "But God is one" (Gal. 3:20). "One God and Father of all" (Eph. 4:6). "For there is one God" (I Tim. 2:5). "You believes that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).
God is the universal source of all things. He is invisible and unapproachable. The scriptures refer to Him as "the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see" (I Tim. 6:16). Again, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God" (I Tim. 1:17). The Bible declares that "God is a Spirit" (Jn. 4:24) and since God is a Spirit, He is invisible and unknowable unless He chooses to manifest Himself in some form visible to man. God told Moses You can not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live" (Ex. 33:20). "No man has seen God at any time" (Jn. 1: 18; I Jn. 4:12). How can we see the invisible Father? If God is only an invisible, unapproachable light, He would be totally inaccessible to man. The physical eyes of man have never beheld a spirit. Since God is an invisible Spirit and is omnipresent, He does not possess a body as we know it. Although man cannot see directly the invisible Spirit of God, throughout the Old Testament, every time God wanted to talk personally with someone or manifest Himself, He embodied Himself in a form that could be seen, touched, handled, understood and comprehended on the earth plane. He borrowed, as it were, a body to veil Himself in and manifest Himself through. In Old Testament times God revealed Himself and dealt with man on man's level through what theology calls THEOPHANIES. A THEOPHANY is a visible manifestation of God, and we usually think of it as temporary in nature. To make Himself visible, to communicate Himself on the material plane, He manifested Himself in a physical form. Even though no one can see the Spirit of God, he can see a representation of God.
The apostle Paul frequently spoke of the vast mysteries of God and, in speaking of them, he left no shadow of doubt that naught but the revelation of the Lord could unfold those eternal mysteries. One of the grandest of those mysteries is set forth by the apostle John in these wonderful words: "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (Jn. 1:18). The Amplified Bible renders this verse thus: "No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son ... Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him - He has revealed Him, brought Him out where He can be seen; ... He has made Him known." Note the marginal rendering in the Scofield Bible; the Greek rendering is: "The only begotten Son has LED HIM FORTH, that is, into FULL REVELATION. Jesus was, therefore, the FULL REVELATION of the INVISIBLE GOD Who indwelled Him. God put Himself into His Son in order to make Himself available to man.
Concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God, it is written, "Who is the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1: 15; II Cor. 4:4); "the EXPRESS image of His person" - R.V. "the VERY image of His substance" (Heb. 1:3). Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Son is the brightness and glory of God, and the express image of His Person. He bore the image of His Father, as many an earthly son does of his father. I have known boys, that as soon as one sees them it is not difficult to tell whose son they are; they are so much like their father. They can resemble dad so much in build and physical features; they will walk, talk and act so much like their dad that there is no mistaking whose son they are. But these are never the EXPRESS image of their father, because they inherit some characteristics from mother's side as well. So though they may look much like dad, there is always some little difference. It was not so with Jesus. He was the EXPRESS IMAGE of God! In every aspect He was exactly like His Father, so much that He was able to say, "He that has seen Me has seen the Father. He bore His image, His likeness, and in this He manifested to the world what God was like.
But more than this! All the fullness of the Father dwells in the Son (Col. 1:19; 2:9) and is expressed through the Son (Jn. 1:18). The Father, as the inexhaustible source of all things, is embodied in the Son. The incomprehensible God is now expressed in Christ, the WORD of God (John 1:1); the invisible God is revealed in Christ, the IMAGE of God (Col. 1:15). So, the Son and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30), and the Son is even called the Father (Isa. 9:6). There was a day when the questioning Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and it suffice us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Phillip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I AM IN THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IN ME" (Jn. 14:8-11).
Now let us read Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given ... His name shall be called ... the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. "It does not say mighty man, but Mighty God. A little child is called the Mighty God. All Christians agree with the prophecy of this verse. The child mentioned here refers to the child born in the stable in Bethlehem, who is not only named the Mighty God, but also the Everlasting Father. As a child born to us, He is called the Mighty God; as a Son given to us, He is called the Everlasting Father. This is very strange, is it not? When the child is called the Mighty God, is He the child, or God? And, when the son is called the Everlasting Father, is He the son or the Father? If you try to figure it out, you cannot do it. You must take it as a fact, unless, of course, you do not believe the scriptures. If you believe the authority of the scriptures, you must accept the fact that since the child is called the Mighty God, it means the child IS the Mighty God; and since the Son is called the Father, it means the Son IS the Father! If the child is not the Mighty God, how could the child be called the Mighty God? And if the Son is not the Father, how could the Son be called the Father? And if we believe the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, we must believe that HE IS THE FATHER! So, then, how many Gods do we have? We have only one God, because the child Jesus is the Mighty God, and the Son is the Everlasting Father.
Furthermore, II Cor. 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is that Spirit." According to our understanding, who is the Lord? Jesus Christ IS LORD! But Paul tells us that the Lord is also the Spirit. Who is the Spirit? We have to admit that the Spirit must be the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Son is called the Father, and the Son, who is the very Lord, is also the Spirit! This means, in a way not understood by most Christians, that the Father, Son, and Spirit A-R-E O-N-E! All of God's children, from Adam forward, believed in this one God. It is only when we come to apostate Christianity that we find all these various ideas about who God is, and all these different concepts have come about by men studying the Bible without the aid of the blessed Spirit of Truth.
God no longer needs to "borrow" or produce a "body" in which to express and reveal Himself to men, no more does He send the burning bush, or the pillar of fire, or the cloud, or the angel or the form of a man, as in Old Testament times. For the first time Jehovah has a permanent, eternal body in which to walk and talk with mankind - THE CHRIST, Head and body, the house of sons. In the Old Testament manifestations, the revelation of Himself was in fragments. No one manifestation could speak all truth, each was but one or two syllables in the mighty sentences of God's speech. At the best, the view caught of God was partial and limited. But in Jesus there is nothing of this piece-meal revelation. "IN HIM dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, says the inspired apostle, hastily adding, "and YOU ARE COMPLETE IN HIM" (Col. 2:9-10). It is my deep conviction that there is but One God; truly, but one PERSON OF GOD. There is only one Person of God, and the fullness of the Godhead is manifested in and through His ELOHIM COMPANY, the sons of God, the many membered Christ of God, Head and body. Surely these are simple truths that even a child can understand. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ. And YOU are complete, or He is completed, by your UNION WITH HIM! If you can receive it, the Christ IS GOD! And you are THE BODY OF THE CHRIST!
Writings in This Series: