Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Understanding the Godhead

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary.
The Godhead is not difficult to understand. In the account of the Lord's meeting with the woman of Samaria, the woman said that the Jews say that Jerusalem was the place to worship God but the Samaritans said that Mt. Gerizim was the right place. The Lord Jesus told the woman of Samaria in John 4:21-24,  "...Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." So we understand that in His basic nature, "God is a Spirit."

So what is a spirit? A spirit is an incorporeal being, without body, without a natural substance. The Mirriam-Webster online dictionary give several definitions, #2 says, 
": a supernatural being or essence: such as 
capitalized : HOLY SPIRIT
b : soul 2a
c : an often malevolent being that is bodiless but can become visible; specifally  :GHOST 2 
d : a malevolent being that enters and possesses a human being"
But what is a spirit. Is it breath? The Bible says in Luke 24:36-39 after His resurrection that "... Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." So if Jesus told the woman of Samaria that God is a Spirit and He told His disciples after His resurrection that He wasn't a spirit does that mean that Jesus wasn't God? Not at all. Jesus in the flesh was the Jewish Messiah. Apostle Peter said when asked by the Lord in Matthew 16:15-17"...But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

A good understanding of the Godhead includes the understanding of the Man, Christ Jesus. Was Jesus God Almighty? In the Spirit, yes. In the flesh He was God's only begotten Son! In the flesh, through Mary, He was the One who was foretold in Deuteronomy 18:15 where Moses said, "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken..." God confirmed what Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:17-19. Apostle Peter said in  Acts 3:22-23"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people."

So how is the Lord Jesus God? Every Christian loves the passage found in John 14:1-3 where the Lord said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." But Jesus did not stop there. He said that they knew where He was going and they knew the way. It was at this point in John 14:5-7 that, "Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

They were having a hard time understanding the Lord. So in John 14:8-11,  "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not 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 dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:3b-4 that Jesus,  "...was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead..." Jesus was both the son of man and the Son of God. This fully agrees with the heavenly revelation that Peter received in Matthew 16:17.

Does this mean that God is a trinity of persons? Not at all! The Bible declares in Deuteronomy 6:4-5,  "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." To the Trinitarian, the words of Moses here imply the unity of three persons in the one God. It is interesting to me that the Lord Jesus in quoting these verses used the Greek "heis," which according to Strong's Hebrew-Greek dictionary means numerical one. So it would seem that the Lord Jesus put forth the concept of there only being one God who He said was a Spirit.

The rest of the story. The New Testament was written by mostly Jewish writers, with the exception of Luke's Gospel, and they believed in the one God of Israel. They recognized the Messiahship of Jesus and knew the Messiah had to be from among their brethren. They also recognized that the Messiah was to be from the lineage of King David. What they perhaps did not understand before the resurrection was how the Messiah could be both God and man. But after the resurrection they recognized that Jesus was their God. In John 20:27-28, Jesus said, "...to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." There can be little doubt that Thomas recognized in the resurrected Lord the one true and living God that he had always worshiped.

Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:8-10a"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him..." Also in 1st Timothy 3:16 Paul wrote, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Friend, you ought not to let any man, "spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ," whether it be a preacher, priest or pope. In Jesus Christ the Messiah of God, God has chosen to permanently make His residence. Paul and the other apostles  recognized the Lord Jesus as  God Manifested in the flesh. Let me close with the final words of Jude 1:24-25,  "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." 

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