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This book answers the big questions that theologians have debated for many centuries in regard to the origin and nature of Christ. We start with the foundational issue of the virgin birth of Christ and the incarnation of Christ and then move on to the idea of the image of God and Christ's pre-existence. All of this leads to the Father-Son relationship and the discussion about the Godhead.
Category - Long Book
From the beginning, the purpose of creation was to bring about heaven’s duplicate in a physical dimension. The earth in particular was to be a mirror image, reflecting the glory of heaven on a new level. In accomplishing this, God intended to create a double witness in accordance with His law, desire, and will.
Bearing witness to God, then, is how a double witness praises Him and glorifies Him. In fact, there is no genuine praise without reflecting His glory back to Him. Adam’s sin did not nullify God’s purpose, nor did it cause God to fail. His intention was to fill the whole earth with His glory, so that all of creation praises Him, and His purpose will succeed. Sin only caused a temporary delay in time. Sin did not take God by surprise, for God is all-knowing, and we know that He had already built in the solution to sin even before the sin occurred.
Creating the material universe was, in effect, heaven coming to earth—pictured as a cosmic marriage in Rev. 21:1, 2. The marriage principle was to take two and make them one by the law of identification and unity. The biblical concept of the Logos, where the word is made flesh (John 1:14), gives us understanding not only of Christ’s incarnation but of the overall purpose for creation. Just as Christ gave praise by reflecting the nature and will of God in the earth, so also do we give God the same praise as we conform to His image.
When Leah gave birth to her fourth son, we read in Genesis 29:35,
35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
Judah (Yehudah) means “praise.” The root word yada means “to hold out (extend) the hand, to show or point out with the hand.” Hence, the idea of praise involved raising one’s hands in thanksgiving or confession.
In my view, raising one’s hands toward heaven was a gesture suggesting the idea of bringing or receiving the glory of heaven into the earth, as well as reflecting His glory back to heaven.
Such external gestures, of course, are invalid apart from a genuine heart change, without which one cannot reflect truth. Many have claimed to praise God without understanding truth, and their praise falls short of “the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3). So Paul tells us in Rom. 2:28, 29,
28 For he is not a Jew [Ioudeos, “praiser”] who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew [praiser] who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise [i.e., his position or status as a Jew or as a “praiser”] is not from men, but from God.
In other words, God’s definition of a “Jew” (i.e., a Judahite or Judean) is determined by the quality of one’s praise coming from the heart—not by one’s fleshly circumcision. Virtually all Jews raised their hands in worship at the temple and elsewhere, but they defined a Jew by his outward circumcision and fleshly genealogy. This, Paul said, was inaccurate. A true Jew was one whose heart reflected the glory of God. This could be done only through Jesus Christ, the Image of God, who was and is the Mediator of the New Covenant.
Fleshly circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant, and those who depend upon it can only present, at best, a warped mirror image of heaven’s glory. While religious people may receive glory, honor, and praise from men who admire their outward show of piety, the only opinion that really matters is God’s. A true Jew, or praiser, is one whose “praise is not from men, but from God” (Rom. 2:29).
In Exodus 3:14, 15 we read,
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’.” 15 And God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
God’s identification as “I AM” indicates perpetual existence, or immortal life. The same can be said of the name Yahweh, which, I am told, breaks down into “was-is-will be.” This comes out again in Rev. 4:8, where we read,
8 … Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
Speaking of the Logos, John 1:4 says, “In Him was life.” One’s “name” is a reflection of one’s nature, and so LIFE is the first revelation of God’s nature. The Aaronic blessing involves God’s name, as we see in Num. 6:24-27,
24 “The Lord [Yahweh] bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord [Yahweh] make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. 26 The Lord [Yahweh] lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” 27 So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.
The purpose of this blessing was to make God’s face shine in us, as illustrated by the story of Moses, whose face was glorified when He came down from the mount in Exodus 34:30. We should not picture a spotlight shining out of heaven upon our face, as if we were mere actors on a stage, but we should see this as the inner glory of God shining out from us.
We are temples of God and enjoy His presence within us. We have this treasure within us even now, but it is veiled by the flesh, because Old Covenant people would run in fear if they truly saw the glory of God. That is why Moses himself had to put a veil over his face.
When the glory of God is seen in our face, we become the image of God, reflecting His NAME on earth as it is in heaven. The Aaronic blessing, then, was a prophecy that the people would have His name within them and that they would then speak in His name and do all things in His name. In other words, such people were to be mirror images of God, reflecting His nature, and doing all things as God’s double witness. Like Jesus, the pattern Son and forerunner, we are all destined to become fractals of the Logos of God.
Angels, too, bear His name and act in His name, for we read in Exodus 23:20, 21,
20 Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him.
Angels bear His name. In fact, the name of an angel reflects a particular word that describes some portion of the nature of God. I believe that in the case above, God was speaking of the angel Peniel, the angel of His face/presence which led Israel out of Egypt and guided them until they worshiped the golden calf. Isaiah speaks of this in Isaiah 63:9, 10,
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence [Peniel] saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
The angel of God’s face is the angel who has the authority to transfigure us as well, so that the Aaronic blessing might be fulfilled in us. When our faces are unveiled and shine forth with the glory of God, then we know that Peniel has fulfilled his calling.
This angel, however, was replaced by Michael after the Israelites worshiped the golden calf. On that occasion, God told Moses that He was going to give them another angel (Exodus 32:34; 33:2, 4), who ultimately led them to the Promised Land by another route. Peniel would have led them into the Promised Land from the south without having to pass through the Jordan River. They might have entered God’s rest by means of transfiguration. Instead, Michael led them through the Jordan, i.e., through death and resurrection. (Dan. 12:1-3.)
Peniel is God’s Face; Michael is “who is like God.” Most people will receive the promise through death and resurrection, but some will be “changed” without dying (1 Cor. 15:51). These are simply two paths by which we may receive the promise of the Aaronic blessing. His name is being written on our foreheads (Rev. 22:4), as our nature is changed to conform to the image of Christ.
When we speak and act in His name, we show that we are becoming the word made flesh. By faith in the Mediator of the New Covenant and by believing the promises of God, we are imputed righteous and are even now individually a logos of God. That is the blessing of Passover. We then develop through the feast of Pentecost, growing spiritually until we come to the place of maturity, so that His imputed righteousness is fully expressed in our nature.
A few will come to maturity as firstfruits and receive their inheritance at the time of the first resurrection. These will then manifest the glory of God to the rest of creation, so that they too may find the path to their inheritance. When all have come to this place, the great Creation Jubilee will be declared, and then God will be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
Most religions throughout past history have been based on the idea of dualism. God and Satan have been set forth as being equal in power. Light and darkness, heaven and hell, good and evil, they say, will always exist, for supposedly, one cannot exist without the other. Coexistence and dependence upon each other are the foundations of such religions. The disruption and fall occurred when light and darkness mixed together, and the age ends when they are again separated. The next great cycle will then start with light and darkness mixing together, ending once again with their separation. So they say.
Such dualistic religions stand in contrast with biblical truth, which makes the Creator all powerful. History does not end in a draw but with the total and complete victory of God. The universe does not have two equal gods, one good and the other evil. Light and darkness both stand below the one true God, for Isaiah 45:5-7 says,
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7 the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being [shalom] and creating calamity [ra, “evil”]; I am the Lord who does all these.
Isaiah refuted the doctrine of duality that dominated the religions of other nations. To believe in two coequal gods, one good and the other evil, is to remain polytheistic. Isaiah was a monotheist. His God was the only true God, and all other beings were subordinate. The point Isaiah was making was to assure us that the one true God is sovereign and will win in the end.
The nature of this total victory is seen when heaven and earth are married, not divorced. When the earth becomes heaven’s double witness, when the earth is full of His glory, when all men are in the image of God, when the logos is made flesh in everyone, when creation fully praises God without reservation and without admixture, then and only then will the love of God be satisfied.
Every God-Particle which was used to create the physical universe will thus return to Him (Rom. 11:36), and God Himself will no longer feel the pain that currently plagues His creation. He planned this pain and was willing to suffer creation’s disease with us, knowing that it would be temporary and would end with a total cure.
God has not stood aloof from the human experience. He has never considered matter to be evil. He has never refrained from indwelling material things or human flesh. Hence, He has always been an active participant in earth’s history and substance on a foundational level.
The question is WHY? Why would a sovereign, all-powerful, all-wise God subject Himself to the suffering of sin that is contrary to His own nature? I believe the answer lies in the fact that God is love. Love needs to express itself in action and experience.
The love of God goes beyond the ability to love those who are lovable. Rom. 5:6-10 says that men’s love is limited to loving good men that we admire. The love of God is demonstrated in that He loved us while we are yet sinners and enemies.
For this reason, the wisdom of God formulated a plan whereby He would win in the end. All men would be saved (Rom. 5:18), all creation reconciled (Col. 1:20), and the logos would be seen in all physical matter, beginning with Christ, the first to become the word made flesh. Only then can we be “praisers” of the one true God.