Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

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ALL are born with an inherent tendency to worship a higher power—a Supreme Being. Some have tried to dismiss the idea of GOD, and to get along without religion, but sooner or later come back to the worship of some kind of a higher power. Others, in their anxiety not to overlook any advantage that might accrue to them from allegiance to deity, have had a multiplicity of gods. The Athenians of old even went so far as to erect an idol to the “unknown God” (Acts 17:23).

The true Deity of the Bible has been an “unknown God” to most people in all ages, and is even today.

The Bible tells is that there is one GOD, whose name is Jehovah, Yahweh who is addressed by Christians as their Heavenly Father.

The Bible also tells us of the “Son of GOD,” who is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of the world. The first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John states that Jesus, in his prehuman existence was known as the Logos,” that is, the “Word,” or mouthpiece of Jehovah, the Creator. In his relationship to mankind, as Savior and Redeemer, Jesus is prophetically spoken of as the “Prince of Peace”; the “Mighty God”; “Emmanuel”; “Michael”; “King of kings”; “Mediator”; etc. These various titles do not describe different gods, but various characteristics of this one Son of GOD, whom the Father has commanded shall be honored even as he himself is honored (Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 1:23, Daniel 12:1, Revelation 19:16, 1 Timothy 2:5).

The Bible also speaks of the “Holy Spirit.” Through a misunderstanding the Holy Spirit has been construed to be a personality, a third mighty being, equal in power and glory to the Father and Son, yet in some mysterious way, one in substance with them. But this view is not scriptural, as we shall see. Rather, the Holy Spirit mentioned so prominently in the Scriptures is the holy power or influence of GOD—a power which operates for the accomplishment of the Divine purposes wherever and whatever they may be. This fact will become readily apparent as we examine the Bible scriptures.

1. JEHOVAH –  a GOD of Love

In a more or less widespread misconception of Jehovah, he is thought of as being austere and unsympathetic, demanding cruel punishment for all who deviate from the doing of his will. In this view, Jesus is looked upon as the loving GOD of the Bible, the One who stepped between the stern Creator and man as a Redeemer and Savior of the human race.

In our search of the Scriptures to find what they say about the “GOD of love and mercy,” it is important, first of all, to note that Jehovah himself, as well as Jesus, is clearly shown to possess the quality of love. In Titus 3:4, in fact, He is spoken of as our “Savior,” and is there said to be kind and loving. This, the scriptural view of Jehovah, reveals Him as being the Author of the plan of salvation, and Jesus as heartily co-operating.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10; Hebrews 10:5-7).

The name Jehovah means the Self-existent, or Eternal One. (Dr. James Strong) In the Bible it is applied exclusively to the Creator, the great First Cause of everything.

“From everlasting to everlasting,” is one of the scriptural expressions used by the Holy Spirit to emphasize that Jehovah is not a created being, but the Creator of all things (Psalm 90:2).

The name Jehovah is never applied to Jesus.

The name Jehovah is, of course, an Old Testament word. It is not used by the New Testament writers, evidently for the reason that they considered it too sacred a name to translate into another language, or, perhaps because there was no suitable Greek word to use in translating it. But this does not mean that Jehovah is merely a tribal god of the Jews, as some would try to make us believe. He is the one true GOD, the Creator of the universe, and the one in whom all animate creation lives and moves and has its being (Acts 17:24-28).

Other Gods in the Old Testament

There are other Hebrew words in the Old Testament translated Lord and God. These, while sometimes applied to Jehovah, are also sometimes prophetically applied to Jesus; sometimes to one or more of the angels; and sometimes even to heathen rulers, and heathen gods. There are three of these Hebrew words—adon, Adonai, and elohim.

  • The most frequent application of adon is to great and mighty ones of the earth.
  • Adonai is always applied to deity, but not always to Jehovah. E.g. Psalm 110:5, the Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” Here the name Lord is a translation of the Hebrew word Adonai, and refers to Christ, while the pronoun “thy” refers to Jehovah.
  • The Hebrew word elohim in the Old Testament is a plural form most frequently translated “God” and “Gods,” and is sometimes used with reference to Jehovah, sometimes prophetically of Christ, occasionally, by way of deference, to magistrates, sometimes to angels, and sometimes to false gods. We mention the use of these various Hebrew words translated Lord and God in order to emphasize the fact that Jehovah is the one and only Almighty GOD, who is “from everlasting to everlasting.” There are other lords and other gods referred to in the Scriptures, but Jehovah, even when mentioned as Adonai, or Elohim, is The Adonai, and The Elohim.

Attributes of Jehovah’s Character

Jehovah has been belittled in the minds of many by a traditional misconception of his personality that has been handed down to us from the Dark Ages, in which he was depicted as an old man with a beard. The Bible does not attempt to give us a description of the bodily appearance of the great Eternal One, because our finite minds could not conceive of his glory even though it were described to us.

The Bible does, however, reveal a great deal concerning the outstanding attributes of the Divine character. It tells us of his infinite wisdom, justice, love, and power. These attributes of Jehovah’s character are in perfect balance; and by their manifestation through his dealings with the human race, his glory is revealed. However, it is largely to the degree that we understand the Divine plan for the human race, that we can appreciate the beauty of the Divine character.

While the Bible, of course, does say that GOD is love, that he is just, and wise and powerful, yet it is only as we see the outworking of these glorious attributes in the Creator’s designs toward the children of men that they become truly meaningful to us. While we can, it is true, behold the power of Jehovah in the works of creation with which we are surrounded, yet God’s plan for a resurrection of the dead; and especially his resurrection of Jesus, is a display of his power surpassing even that of his creative work (Ephesians 1:19,20).

Without a knowledge of God’s plan as a whole, one might wonder why he does not use his power to put an immediate stop to human suffering, especially in view of the fact that he is reputed to be loving as well as powerful. But we must remember that GOD is just and wise, as well as powerful and loving. Everything he does must be fully in harmony with all these attributes of his character (Psalm 89:14).

If GOD was only loving and merciful he would not have condemned our first parents to death, although he had told them if they sinned they would die. One of the fundamentals of GOD’s law is that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). His justice, therefore, demanded that our first parents pay the penalty of their sin.

Some may argue that GOD’s plan to raise the dead is, in effect, a setting aside of GOD’s justice in demanding the death sentence for the violation of his law. But that is where GOD’s wisdom and love can be seen. If only justice alone had been considered, no provision would have been made to set aside that original sentence of death; but divine wisdom and love found a way whereby God could be just, yet use his power to restore the dead to life. This way is through Christ, the Redeemer. Jesus was the world’s “ransom,” which means a corresponding price. It was Divine love that allowed for this, for the Scriptures say that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, Hebrews 2:9).

Jehovah has changed his mind concerning the “wages of sin.” GOD’s Divine wisdom saw that it would be highly desirable that man obtain a thorough knowledge of sin and its disasterous consequences so that all men can learn obedience to GOD’s standard principle = RIGHTEOUSNESS, which shall be the ultimate result in due time.

GOD could have created enough human beings to fill the whole earth, and thus have the planet populated without the process of procreation. This would have meant that each one would have been individually on trial for life. In this case, if those who transgressed were to be redeemed from death, it would have required a separate Redeemer for each one of them. Hence, we can see the wisdom in the divine arrangement whereby Adam was held the responsible head of the entire human race. Thus his sin not only brought condemnation upon all, in that from the very start they were born imperfect, but it also made possible the redemption of all through the death of but one Redeemer (Romans 5:12).

SO all the human race has been receiving an experimental knowledge of sin and its results, and then they have been passes away temporarily in the sleep of death, to be restored during the coming kingdom period when their present experience will be a most valuable asset to them in weighing the advantages of obedience to the divine law then in force.

By this infinitely wise arrangement every child of Adam will be given an experimental knowledge of both good and evil, and thus will be equipped to choose intelligently between the two. Those who choose the good, and accept of GOD’s grace through Christ, the Redeemer, will then live forever.

GOD’s Diversified Wisdom

In Ephesians 3:10, Paul speaks of the “manifold” wisdom of GOD. The Emphatic Diaglott translation of this text uses the word “diversified.” The apostle also shows that this “diversified” wisdom of GOD is being manifested even to the angelic beings in the universe, being revealed to them specially through GOD’s dealings with the church (the 144,000 Elect and the Great Company – as explained in the Book of Revelation) of this age.

In the selection and preparation of the Church to co-operate with Jesus in the future kingdom work of rehabilitating the lost race, there is a still further manifestation of Divine wisdom. How wise that representatives of the fallen race should be chosen, tested, and then equipped to deal with and bless their fellows in the mediatorial arrangements of the new age soon to begin.

And the qualification test placed upon these is that they love GOD’s will supremely and their fellow men so unselfishly that they gladly lay down their lives in service now—imperfect though that service may be—in order that they may be exalted to a glorious future service which will actually give life to all mankind. It is this that Apostle Paul refers to as a baptism for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29).

Yes, those who will follow in Jesus’ footsteps now, will reign with him in his thousand-year kingdom.

The purpose of that kingdom is the restoration of the entire human race to the lost earthly paradise. During those thousand years Christ and the church will serve as a mediatorial board to instruct and bless the world; and finally, to restore the people to atonement with the Creator (Revelation 20:4, Acts 3:20,21, Acts 15:16,17).

2. JESUS

Jehovah of the Old Testament Scriptures is the Heavenly Father of the New Testament.

Thus, Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven.”

Jesus is the Son of GOD, this being the relationship he has always enjoyed with Jehovah, the Creator. The Scriptures make it plain that Jesus had been actively associated with his Father since the earliest dawn of creation. They tell us, in fact, that he was the “beginning of the creation of GOD” (Revelation 3:14), and also, “the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15).

These passages indicate that Jesus was the direct creation of the Father, and therefore properly spoken of as his only begotten Son.” The apostle also tells us that Jesus was the active agent of Jehovah in all the creative work. He says: “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” (Colossians 1:16, Hebrew 1:2, John 1:3, Ephesians 3:9).

In John 1:14, Jesus in his prehuman existence is referred to as the “Word” of GOD. Verse 14 says that the “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The term “Word” here used is a translation of the Greek word Logos. Ancient kings when addressing their people, customarily sat behind a lattice in front of which stood a representative who proclaimed the king’s message to the people. The representative was styled the logos—the king’s word, or mouthpiece.

God’s Son, as the Logos, has always been the active agent of Jehovah, and the Bible assures us that he always will be. Not only in the work of creation, but in the call and preparation of the church in this age, and also in the gigantic task of restitution scheduled for the approaching 1000 years of Mediatorial Reign, this beloved Son of GOD acts for the Father, expressing his will, and doing his work. In the millennial age Christ with his church, will speak peace to all the nations, and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks (Micah 4:3, Psalm 46:9).

The Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 15:25-28, “He must REIGN, till he hath put ALL enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He [Jehovah] hath put all things under his [Jesus’] feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him [Jesus], it is manifest that he [Jehovah] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Jesus]. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [Jehovah] that put all things under him, that God [Jehovah] may be all in all.

Considerable confusion has resulted from an inaccurate translation of John 1:1,2, where the King James Version makes it appear that the “Word,” or Logos, is the same personality as GOD. The “Word was God,” is the way this faulty translation puts it. But in the original Greek text the matter is made clear. There a distinction is made between the Logos, who was “a” God, and the Father, who is referred to as “The” GOD. The translation should read, “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was a God. The same was in the beginning with The God.”

The Greek word Theos is the one in this text that is translated God. Theos simply means a mighty one, and it must be determined from the text in which it is used, whether the reference is to Jehovah, the Great and Almighty One, or to His Son, Christ Jesus, formerly the Logos, who is “a” mighty One. As a matter of fact, this same word Theos is used in 2 Corinthians 4:4, where the reference is to Satan, the “god [theos] of this world.” However, in the Greek text, the definite article “The,” makes it clear who is meant.

Thus we see that it was the Logos, as “a” God, the one who was the active agent of Jehovah in the creative work, who was “made flesh.” It is interesting to note, in this connection, the form of expression used in the Genesis account of creation, where we read, “Let US make man in OUR image,” etc. Here Jehovah is speaking to the Logos, outlining and directing the work in hand (Genesis 1:26).

And, in keeping with this spirit of oneness and co-operation, when the time came for fallen man to be redeemed, the Logos “humbled himself,” becoming a servant in lowly form, for the suffering of death upon the cross. (Philippians 2:7,8) During the whole period of his earthly ministry Jesus remained humble, always reminding those to whom he ministered that the words which he spoke, and the works which he did, were not his own, but those of the Heavenly Father. This was in full keeping with his plain assertion, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

Jesus’ Oneness with the Father

Jesus declared to his disciples, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) This statement has been misused in an effort to prove that Jesus and his Father were one and the same Person. But all will concede, we believe, that there are forms of oneness other than that of a similarity of being. In John chapter 17, Jesus is quoted as praying for the oneness of his church. In this prayer he asks his Father to bring about the same kind of oneness between his church and himself as existed between himself and his Father. This, obviously, is a oneness of will and purpose.

During Jesus’s ministry, he emphasized over and over that he came not to do his own will, but the will of the Heavenly Father who sent him. When Jesus was facing mockery, ignominy, and death, he asked the Father to let this cup pass from him if it were possible. “Nevertheless,” he said, “not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42; Matt. 26:39; John 5:30; 6:38) The Heavenly Father’s will was ever paramount in the Master’s life, hence he could truly say, “I and my Father are one.”

This is also the reason Jesus could truthfully say, “He who hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) This statement of Jesus does not mean that in seeing him one actually saw Jehovah, as throughout the Bible we have statements to the effect that no one can look upon GOD and live. (Exod. 33:20; I Tim. 6:16; 1:17; John 1:18) If those who looked upon Jesus in the flesh thereby actually saw GOD, it would mean that GOD, the creator of the universe, is a human being. What Jesus meant was that his life and ministry served to reveal the Father to those who had “eyes to see.”

And besides, it should be remembered that Jesus in the flesh was an exact counterpart of father Adam, of whom it is said, that he was created in the “image of God.” This, of course, refers to a moral image, not a physical likeness. It means that Adam was capable of discerning between right and wrong, as those principles were enunciated in the law of his Creator. This is the reason he was held responsible for his sin.

Jesus, like Adam before the fall, was also in the image of God—a perfect, sinless human being. It was necessary that Jesus be thus, else he could not have redeemed Adam and his race from death. He came to earth as a representative of the Heavenly Father, and everything he did and said was just what the Father would have done and said had he personally visited the earth. Thus it was true that, in a very wonderful way, those who saw him saw the Father. It was the only way that a fallen human being could I see GOD and live.

We should honor the Son even as we honor the Father. (John 5:23) God so highly regarded and honored the Son that he even commanded the angels to worship him, (Heb. 1:6,7) If we take the view that Jesus was GOD himself, then we have the inconsistency of the Master praying to himself, as well as other incongruities in connection with his earthly life and ministry.

Jesus Now Highly Exalted

The Bible shows that in carrying out the Divine plan of redemption for the human race, the only begotten Son of GOD has experienced two changes of nature. Before his human existence, he was a glorious spirit being, next in honor and authority to the Heavenly Father himself. Jesus referred to his prehuman glory, when he prayed, “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5) That glory was laid aside when the Logos was “made flesh.” Jesus was made flesh, the apostle explains, “for the suffering of death.” (Heb. 2:9,14) As a spirit being he could not give himself as a corresponding price for father Adam and his race, so he humbled himself that he might die as a ransom to save the human race from eternal destruction.—Phil. 2:7, 8; I Tim. 2:5,6

In raising the Master from the dead the Father did more than restore his Son to his former position of glory in the heavenly realm. He highly exalted him to a place next to himself on the throne of the universe. GOD exalted him to the Divine nature, also, so that now he is truly the Divine Christ—the “express image of the Father’s person.” (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:34,36; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3,13) Hallelujah, what a Savior!

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT

Through mistranslation and otherwise, many have been led erroneously to believe that the Holy spirit is a person, the third person of a trinity God; but the Scriptures, when properly understood, do not warrant this thought. One of the mistranslations contributing to this misunderstanding is where the Greek word pneuma is rendered by the English word “ghost.” This makes the holy Spirit to be a holy “Ghost.”

But this is a gross mistranslation, and so recognized by the American Revision Committee who translated the Revised Version. In a number of instances, both the British and American Revisers corrected “Ghost” to “Spirit.” The American Revisers use the word “Spirit” where the King James Version reads “Ghost.”

The King James Version was translated at a time when superstition was rife, hence the word “Ghost” would command a great deal more respect and reverence than it does today. Back in the days when the KJV Bible was written, ghosts were very real in the minds of most people, yet very mysterious. They were always associated with the thought of personality, and the translators, believing in a personal holy Spirit, conceived the idea of calling it a holy “Ghost.”

In the Old Testament the word “spirit” is a translation of the Hebrew word ruach. The primary significance of this word is wind. We do not mean to imply by this, however, that the holy Spirit is a holy wind. This is merely the root meaning of the word. Wind is both invisible and powerful, hence the ancients applied this word to various invisible and powerful influences. Since Divine power is exercised through channels and by agencies beyond human sight and understanding, this word ruach came to be applied more and more to all of GOD’s dealings.

The word ruach, in addition to being translated “Spirit,” is also translated in the Old Testament by the English words “blast,” “breath,” “tempest,” “mind,” “smell,” “wind,” and “windy.” It will be seen that in each of these translations the thought behind the word is that of invisible power, or influence. There is power in the mind, for example, but it is a power that is invisible, and its operation but little understood.

As already noted, in the New Testament the Greek word translated “Spirit,” or “Ghost,” in the expressions holy Spirit or holy “Ghost,” is pneuma. The primary meaning of this word is also wind, or air. It is the word from which our English word pneumatic is derived. In addition to being translated Spirit and Ghost, it is also translated in the New ‘testament by the words “life,” “spiritual,” and sometimes “wind.” In Revelation 13:15 it is translated life, and here the reference is to life that is given to the image of the beast.”

The holy Spirit then is the invisible power of GOD, a power that is manifested in a great variety of ways. Speaking of GOD’s creative power we read that his “Spirit moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) That was a life-giving Power.

The influence of the holy Spirit in our lives as Christians is primarily that of GOD’s mind—the power of his expressed will for us.

Various manifestations of the holy Spirit are referred to as “The Spirit of Christ,” the “Spirit of holiness,” the “Spirit of truth,” the “Holy Spirit of promise,” the “Spirit of meekness,” the “Spirit of grace,” the “Spirit of prophecy.”

The various manifestations of the spirit of Satan are described as the “spirit of fear,” the “spirit of bondage,” the “spirit of the world,” the “spirit of error,” the “spirit of divination,” the “spirit of antichrist,” and the “spirit of slumber.” No one would conclude that because the word spirit is thus used to describe the various manifestations of Satan’s influence in the world, that there is a personal unholy spirit, that is one in substance with the Devil.

Born of the Spirit

There are a number of expressions used in the Scriptures to describe the work of the holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of Christians. One of these is “born.” This is a word which suggests the coming into existence of a new life, and this is one of the things accomplished by the Power of the holy Spirit. This new life, when it conics fully to birth, will be so different from the human life that concerning it Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canal not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

The Greek word in the Bible translated “born” is also correctly translated “begotten”. When one comes to GOD in repentance and, through faith in Christ as his Redeemer, surrenders himself in full consecration to do GOD’s will, what occurs is properly described as a “begetting” of the Spirit of GOD. In other words, a new life is then begun.

But this new life, to continue the symbolism, is merely an embryo. It needs to be nourished by the Word of GOD, and thus to develop, growing strong in the Lord and in the power of his night. It is not until the resurrection that this new life comes to the birth. Not until then is one truly born of the Spirit. Not until then are the words of Jesus true that one thus born is able to go and come invisibly as the wind.

Baptism of the Spirit

The Scriptures also speak of the “baptism” of the Spirit. The word baptize means to bury, and to be baptized by the Spirit of GOD simply means to be so fully surrendered to the doing of GOD’s will that one comes fully under its control, having no will of one’s own.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized,” and he explains that for the individual this baptism occurs when one comes into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). It is a burial of our wills into the will of God as expressed through Christ, the Head of the “body.”

When we understand what to expect as a result of placing ourselves under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will not be wondering why we cannot speak with tongues as did the disciples at Pentecost and for a short time thereafter. Speaking with tongues as practiced by the early Church was a necessity at that time. At Pentecost, for example, Jews were gathered at Jerusalem from all parts of the known world. They spoke various languages, yet it was the Lord’s will that they should receive a witness of the truth as proclaimed by the apostles. In order for this to be accomplished, the disciples were miraculously empowered to speak in these various languages. As the church grew, and conversions were made among these various language groups, the need for speaking with tongues no longer existed, for there were disciples among all the various groups capable of witnessing to the Gospel in their native tongues.

Filled with the Spirit

The Scriptures declare, “Be ye filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) How void of meaning would this expression be if the Holy Spirit were a person! But when we recognize that it is simply the power, or influence, of GOD, exercised in the Christian life largely through his written Word, then we can understand how it is possible to have either more or less of the Spirit influencing our lives.

To be filled with the Spirit calls for an emptying of self and self-will, and a diligent application of ourselves to the study of GOD’s Word and to putting into practice all of its righteous precepts.

In the Scriptures, Christians are also said to be “sealed” by the “holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13) GOD’s Spirit directed the minds of the prophets in writing the Old Testament in which are recorded many promises vouchsafing GOD’s blessing upon His faithful people. The New Testament was also written under the direct inspiration of the Spirit, or power of GOD, and it contains additional promises by which GOD guarantees victory through Christ for every faithful follower of the Master. Thus He “seals” us by His promises; that is, He assures us that if we are faithful to Him He will give us Grace to help in every time of need, and in the resurrection will give us a crown of life.

All Flesh to be Blessed

GOD’s Spirit will be poured out in various ways for the blessing of mankind during the 1000 Year Messianic Reign of CHRIST and His Bride, the 144,000 Elect.. He will cause the knowledge of his glory to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9) His power will also operate to restore the dead to life, for the promise is that there “shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15).

In a promise of a New Covenant which the Lord will make, first with the house of Israel, and then with the whole world, the statement is made that the Lord will write His law in the hearts of the people. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) This, too, will result from the operation of His Holy Spirit in the lives of those who obey the laws of Christ’s kingdom.

During this 1000 year Mediatorial Reign,  Satan and all his army of evil angels will be bound, thus his spirit will not be influencing people to do wrong. Instead, every condition of the new social order will be favorable to the doing of GOD’s righteous will. Love will take the place of selfishness as a motivating power in all human activity. The people will learn that the greatest and only enduring joy comes from DOING RIGHTEOUSLY to others rather than from selfishly seeking always to take care of one’s own interests first.

Thus the whole outlook of the human race gradually will be changed as a result of the outpouring of GOD’s Spirit upon all flesh.

How glad we should be that the power of GOD is thus to be manifested for solving the problems of a distressed and dying race! When the blessings accruing from this outpouring of the holy Spirit will be recognized as coming from the great and true GOD of the universe, the Creator of heaven an d earth, the people will be glad to give glory to him, for they will then know that he is truly a GOD of PERFECT AGAPE LOVE -what more could one ask for then this level of PURE LOVE?

Acknowledgment

The Dawn Bible Students Association for content from the Booklet, “Father, Son, Holy Spirit.”

Suggested Further Reading

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet

Click to access DoctrineChrist.pdf

The Truth About Hell
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/18/what-does-the-word-hell-really-mean/

What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-baptized-into-christ/

Is Mere Faith In God Enough?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/08/06/2-peter-15-11-is-mere-faith-in-god-enough/

 

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How Does “the Son of Man” Title, Speak Volumes About Jesus?

sun on hand gesture

What better name to talk about, then that of JESUS whom we wish to become a copy of in character likeness.

If our goal in life is to BECOME LIKE Jesus and to SUFFER with Jesus so we can reign with him and bring joy to our Heavenly Father, helping all mankind walk up the highway of holiness in the Messianic Kingdom soon to begin, then this involves to “see him” (Hebrews 2:9) through study and reflection upon the Divine words of God in the Bible so we can understand and appreciate our Lord and Master’s character and in this way, develop into Christ.

Jesus had many titles throughout the Bible, such as: High Priest, Lamb, Bridegroom, Lord, Christ, Captain of our Salvation, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Savior etc. Each title gives us a little different dimension of the character of our Lord Jesus—his attributes and his accomplishments.

The title “the Son of Man” is not used just by the prophets, or by God, or by many others… but, Jesus uses it many times in reference to himself, and it appears nearly 200 times in the King James Version of the Bible, and in 14 different Books of the Bible from Numbers to Revelation. Almost half of these instances are in the 4 Gospels and the other half, in the Book of Ezekiel.

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son (STRONGS # 5207 – ‘huios’) of Man (STRONGS #444 – ‘anthropos’) and drink his blood, you have no life in you’ “ (John 6:53).

Why is this title so profusely used?

Because God doesn’t want us to miss the important significance and meaning of this very special title.

1. WHAT DOES THIS TITLE “THE SON OF MAN” MEAN?

“How much less man, (STRONGS #H582 enowsh’) that is a worm? and the son (STRONGS #1121 ‘ben’) of man, (STRONGS #120 ‘adam’) which is a worm?” (Job 25:6).

Two different men being contrasted in this verse are:

  • the first “man” mentioned is Adam—the fallen man and his progeny;
  • the second “man” mentioned is Jesus—the Son of Man.

The word “son” here comes from a Hebrew word that means a builder of the family.

The second “man” word mentioned is the word Adam and it means a human being.

This teaches us that the son of man (Jesus) is a relative of Adam and is a builder of the human family.

Let us contrast this now with the New Testament scripture in John 6:53. Here the word “son” simply denotes “kingship.” The word “man” here, comes from the Greek word “anthropos”—from which our English word “anthropology” comes from which denotes a human being.

So we are taught here that the son of man is related to the human family.

As we examine things further, we see far greater beautiful lessons beyond just the word study basics in this title “the Son of Man.”

2. TO WHOM DOES THIS TITLE “THE SON OF MAN” APPLY?

It applies of course to Jesus. BUT, to which phase of Jesus’s existence, as Jesus has 4 phases of existence:

  1. The Prehuman Logos—before he was born of a woman on earth as a perfect human?
  2. The man Christ Jesus?
  3. The man in the grave Jesus?
  4. The exalted Divine Immortal Jesus?

Let us look at all four phases of Jesus’s life for the answers.

A cautionary note: not all verses in the Bible that talk about the son of man refer to Jesus, hence the context of the scripture(s) must be examined to determine who is being referred to.

E.g. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:3).

Obviously this is not referring to Jesus but rather to ordinary lowly man; an ordinary member of the human family. The Psalmist here is not teaching us about Jesus, but teaching us to put our TRUST IN GOD in contrast to ordinary man.

Let us begin by considering some verses that deal with the SECOND phase of Jesus’ life.

PHASE 2 of Jesus’ life: THE MAN CHRIST JESUS

In the Book of Ezekiel the term “the son of man” appears 93 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

Why is this title used so many times here in this Book?

Well, in Ezekiel, God frequently refers to the man and prophet himself, Ezekiel, as “the son of man.”

E.g. When God first called Ezekiel to be a prophet for Israel, he labelled him, or called him “Son of man.”

“And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee” (Ezekiel 2:1).

In many instances in the Book of Ezekiel, there is a striking parallel between the prophet Ezekiel and the man Jesus.

Let’s look at some of these “connectors” between the man Jesus and the man Ezekiel:-

  • Ezekiel’s name means “the strength of Jehovah.” Jesus is prophetically referred to as ‘the strength or the arm of Jehovah’ E.g. Psalm 98.
  • There is a striking resemblance between the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation. The Book of Ezekiel is full of symbolism (often labelled as the Apokalypse of the Old Testament), just as the Book of Revelation is full of symbolism too.
  • Ezekiel’s prophetic work overshadowed the prophetic work of Jesus’ ministry.
  • God sent Ezekiel to prophecy amongst a rebellious people. God sent Jesus to minister amongst a rebellious and stiff-necked generation.
  • God instructed Ezekiel to speak in symbols or parables as we read in Ezekiel 17. Jesus was directed to speak in parables.
  • God instructed Ezekiel to prophecy against the selfish leaders of the nation of Israel. God directed Jesus to condemn Israel’s selfish leaders.
  • Ezekiel foretold the restoration of Israel and the times of restitution. Jesus likewise taught restitution and he taught that he came to save that which was lost.

So as pointed out, many of the Old Testament scriptures in the Book of Ezekiel apply to Ezekiel but also apply to Jesus. In one sense we might think of Jesus as being “The Greater Ezekiel” just like Jesus is referred to as “The Greater than Jonah.”

Let us now look at some scriptures referring to Jesus as the son of man.

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psalm 8:4-5)

The “man” in this prophecy is the first man Adam, who was created perfect.

“The son of man” here refers to Adam’s posterity, and God’s intended design for them, but, this term is also connected to Jesus as the Apostle Paul quotes this exact verse in Hebrews 2:9:

 “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

God created Adam one step below the angels, and perfect. God gave Adam to be King of the Earth, so long as he obeyed God. Adam was to be the supreme Earthly ruler over the Creatures of the land, air, and water. He was crowned. Similarly when Jesus became a man, God created him one step below the angels. God intended that the Son of Man would purchase the right to be earth’s supreme leader and be the king over the creatures of the air, land and water.

But “the Son of Man” title means more than gaining the legal right to be king over all the earth. In Hebrews 2:9, the Apostle Paul explains, that “the Son of Man” title means that Jesus was destined to suffer death.

This leads us to the next scripture that talks about the son of man referring to Jesus.

“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).

In this text Jesus describes himself but tells us two more things about “the Son of Man”:-

  1. That he would give his lifehis death would not be an ordinary death but a unique, “one of a kind” death and Jesus gives this death a name. He calls it a RANSOM death. This idea of the ransom means a corresponding/purchase price that would be used to buy out everything that Adam and his progeny lost, this includes Adam’s crown. The son of man’s sacrificed life would be substituted for Adam’s forfeited life. This transfers the death sentence from the man Adam to the man Jesus. So the son of man’s death creates the redemptive price to free every human being from the curse of death.
  2. The Son of Man would be humble… and he would humble himself to the very MAXIMUM…to death on a cross.

Yet another text referring to Jesus as “the son of man” is in John 3:14-15:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Jesus here reflects back to Ancient Israel. We can see this if we look at the Holy words of the Bible, in the Book of Numbers 21:8:-

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”

Similarly in John 3, Jesus is telling us that he is the anti-typical copper serpent. And anyone believing that the son of man is the great antidote for sin, will be healed.

The pole represents the crucifixthe pole on which our Lord Jesus died. It was an extremely painful death. So not only was the Son of man destined to die, but was to do so in the most painful way.

The sufferings of the Son of man are directly related to the eradication of sin.

What is the connection between the sufferings and the healings?

The Apostle Paul answers this in Hebrews 2:10, where he explains that the son of man’s sacrificial sufferings and painful experiences perfected him as a New Creature.

Our beloved Master and King Jesus and the world’s Saviour suffered throughout his ministry. He was was abused, neglected, opposed, betrayed, humiliated, accused, exhausted and the list goes on!

All of our beloved Lord’s sufferings were part of the great Son of Man’s offering for sin. We are sure of this, as we are explained of it, in Isaiah 53:10.

“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”

All of Jesus’s sufferings are what qualified our Lord the MEDIATOR for sin. It was part of the “SIN OFFERING PROGRAM” which develops the Mediator (headChrist Jesus, and his body—the 144,000 Bride of Christ; the Elect members), and the Mediator eradicates sin through the future, soon to begin, New (Law) Covenant “Program” which will be inaugurated once the 144,000 Bride is complete and the wedding of the Lamb has taken place, when the Mediatorial Kingdom shall commence and this New Covenant will begin with natural Israel being ministered to by the Ancient Worthies (i.e. the Prophets of Old from Esau right up to John the Baptist) who will be the first to bring peace on earth after their resurrection and during the end of Armageddon / Jacob’s Trouble (Micah 5:5).

In future when humanity shall look upon Jesus CHRIST (complete)the copper servantand follow and obeythey shall be healed.

PHASE 3 of Jesus’ life: JESUS IN THE GRAVE

In Matthew 12:40 we read, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

The scribes and the Pharisees told Jesus they wanted a sign from him and not just wanted his teaching and miracles. So Jesus identified himself as “the greater Jonah.”

The prophet Jonah’s incarceration in the great fish pictured Jesus’ 3 day death. For parts of 3 days (50 hours), our Lord Jesus was in oblivionhe did not exist for parts of 3 days because that is what death means.

“Sheoul” (in Hebrew) and hades” (in Greek) means oblivion or death.

Jesus was faithful to the very end of his life, and when he drew his last earthly breath he was still faithful…

Jesus did not make any mistakes …

Jesus did not sin …

Jesus did not go astray …

Jesus did nothing wrong …

And at the moment of Jesus, death, he had irreversibly secured the title “the Son of Man” and all of the rights and privileges that were destined to be a part of that.

Jesus dies an unjust death.

Jesus died a perfect man, who’s life was taken from him.

And even though the son of man was dead, he still held the LEGAL RIGHT TO BE ALIVE. So, it would be entirely right to refer to Jesus even when he was in oblivion (death) as still the Son of man.

PHASE 4 of Jesus’ life: THE RESURRECTED & EXALTED JESUS

“And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of Man be risen from the dead” (Matthew 17:9).

Jesus here makes the point that the son of man would be RAISED after his death. But raised to what? Not raised to manhood, as Jesus came to forever sacrifice his humanity.

When Jesus was raised he was immediately rewarded with the Divine nature. We are sure of this, when we read in John 5:26, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself…”

God did not give the Logos immortality.

God did not give the man Jesus immortality.

God gave the resurrected Jesus immortality.

Yet, even though Jesus was given Divine nature, he still said he would be the “Son of Man;” he did not renounce his title upon his resurrection.

Let’s look at Daniel 7:13-14:

“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man was coming, and He came up to the ancient of days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

As we consider all of Daniel chapter 7, we recall God gave Daniel a huge vision of 5 universal empires and at the end of his vision, he sees one likened to “a son of man”–the Divine Jesus.

At his resurrection, God gave Jesus ALL power.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

So how do we harmonize Matthew 28:18 with Daniel 7:13-14?

Daniel’s vision teaches us when Jesus would begin to exercise his power (and not just when he would acquire his power) over the kingdoms of this world at his return (invisible presence—parousia,” in 1874) during the time of trouble (as represented in the clouds.)

In Matthew 24:30 Jesus confirms that after being rewarded with Divinity, he was still rightly called “the Son of Man” upon his “parousia” since 1874:-

“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.”

PHASE 1 of Jesus’ life: JESUS AS THE LOGOS

In John 3:13 (Diaglott) we read,  “And no one has ascended into heaven except the Son of Man who descended from heaven.”

Here Jesus is recalling his prehuman existence with the Heavenly Father, and as the Logos.

How could Jesus be called the son of man BEFORE he became a man?

Well because the man Jesus is the same personality as the Logos.

The Logos did not die when his spirit nature was exchange for his human nature.

Rather we believe that the life principle (that was infused in the Logos, whereby the Logos was begotten of the Father) was transferred to the womb of Mary and put into the foetus of Jesus. It was a transfer of the life principle not a death. Hence the LOGOS DID NOT DIE. Proof of this is in John 1:14: “And the Word (Logos) was made flesh…” There is nothing here that talks about a death, but rather there was a transfer of life.

3. WHAT IS THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS TITLE?

In some ways it seems like this title “the Son of Man” is meagre…insignificant… inconsequential… just an ordinary title… one that merely refers to the fact that Jesus was human… there would perhaps seem other far greater titles to use, such as “Son of God” or “Christ–the Anointed.”

So why did Jesus use “the Son of Man” title (in reference to himself) over 85 times in the KJV?  Here are 2 possible suggestions why:-

Firstly, the Logos held a position of very high honour and dignityabove the angels and above all other spirit beings. He was God’s only firstborn, begotten Son (John 1:14). God appointed the Logos as His master craftsman (Proverbs 8:30). And Jesus made a contract with our heavenly Father to give up the second highest place in creation! He humbled himself to manhood, and not just manhood but to the poorest level of manhood and to temporal deprivation. As we read in Matthew 8:20, the Son of man did not even have a place to lay his head. Jesus was definitely no home ownerwhich we all today may take for granted.

Besides giving up his glorious celestial nature and his position next to our Divine Father’s place in heaven, Jesus voluntarily attached himself to the dying human race, to the diseased and degenerate human race.

Would we attach ourselves to such an undesirable situation?

Jesus humbled himself to abuse…

Jesus humbled himself to misrepresentation…

Jesus humbled himself to pain…

Jesus humbled himself to opposition…

Jesus humbled himself to accept death… to accept crucifixion (the worst death sentence humanly possible).

Nobody ever humbled himself more than our beloved Jesus,
and nobody ever will.

Jesus’ humility was not just an exercise, like a “see if he could do it” kind of thing. It created the ultimate purchase price that Jesus would not use to buy a single thing for himself – not one thing!… and it was Jesus’ humility that fully developed him as a New Creature.

So Jesus stressed this title ‘the son of man’ as in it, is embedded unsurpassed and incomparable humility.

Secondly, in this title is the answer to God’s universal rule for advancement and promotion, as brought to our attention in Luke 14:11 :

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Because Jesus exercised incomparable HUMILITY and ABASEMENT, God gave him an incomparable name (and position) above any other name that is named (Philippians 2:9).
Jesus’ exalted name is not just an honorary title, but one of full of meaning and action. It means OVERCOMING… it means VICTORY over Adamic death. Jesus was given all power over heaven and earth to rebuild everything that he bought and to re-install God-likeness in everything in heaven and on earth, including the earth itself.

Jesus will use his incomparable power (not as a great leader to oppress but) to liberateto buy back Adam’s lost possessions—happiness, life, health, kingship over the earth, which Adam was meant to get at the beginning, but had lost.

Jesus does not buy one of these things back for himself but buys them back to give then away… to give them back to Adam and his progeny.

Our Lord Jesus’ HUMILITY qualified him to be the chief part of the Mediator of the New Law Covenant.

The son of man title speaks volumes about Jesus.

It speaks volumes about his incomparable humility and his incomparable exaltation.

It speak volumes about every aspect of Jesus’ life and about his sacrifice; about his sufferings; about his generosity; about his willingness; about his faithfulness; about his loyalty; about his purpose; about everything Jesus has already accomplished and everything he will yet accomplish; they are all contained in this “son of man” title.

Perhaps this title “the Son of Man” speaks more about Jesus than any other single title we know. Why?

Because perhaps we could say that the most important character quality we must possess is HUMILITYthat allows one to OBEY Godly principles with patient cheerful endurance.

HUMILITY IS THE ANTIDOTE to the most dangerous and most poisonous character failure of all: Pride.

It was PRIDE that caused Lucifer to disobey, rebel and eventually be destroyed forever.

The opposite of pride is HUMILITY.

It is HUMILITY that will allow one to be more than an overcomers, by surrendering one’s entire will to doing what our Heavenly Father would indicate is HIS will and doing so moment by moment, surrendering up that that which would feed the flesh, and rather feeding  the spiritual mind in Christ so that the embryonic New Creature can develop in maturity into the likeness of our Bridegroom who is the love of our life and our EVERYTHING.

——- “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). ——-

Acknowledgement:

The following post was created from the words of a discourse by Br. Wes Cramer about the SON OF MAN.

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/10/how-does-the-son-of-man-title-speak-volumes-about-jesus/

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