(937) 669-3090 support@cffm.org
The Messenger logo

The Eternal God (Part 6 of 6) – Volume 1 – Day 30 – May 30, 2023

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27).

Like I said yesterday, the more I learn, the more convinced I am of how little I do know.  I’m sure thankful for it, however.  We’ll never know it all.  God doesn’t expect us to.  What He’s revealed is enough to keep us going for our lifetimes.  There is a time coming when we will know even as we are known (I Corinthians 13:12).

Psalms 8:4-6:
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels [God], and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:  [Both Adams received the dominion.]

Hebrews talks more about this reality.  This scripture is applied to Jesus Christ in Hebrews 2 of whom the Bible says he is “the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Hebrews 2:6-11:
But one in a certain place [That’s referring to Psalms 8:4-6 which we just read.] testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels [God]; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

While God alone is eternal in an infinite sense, God can bestow an eternal nature to a creature who has a beginning such as angels and mankind.  Eternal life can be communicated to them but it is not part of their essential nature, it is not called their own.  It dependent on another for the duration of their existence since they are created as temporary.  God can provide new life, eternal life, so that they will never perish.  Everyone will either spend eternity with Him or pass from existence with a second death.

As creatures we grow in all things, especially knowledge, we can acquire somethings and lose somethings, we mature.  God’s nature is not like that; His being is always one and the same receiving nothing in addition nor can He lose anything He is always the same:  perfect, infinite, magnificent.

Our heavenly Father is the one Who decided how things were going to be.  It is right to honor our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to declare God (to make Him known) not to replace Him (John 1:18).  Jesus came to glorify God not replace Him.  Yes, Jesus has been given all power in heaven and on earth, but he did not come to replace God.  Rather he gave us access to God as Ephesians 2:18 says.

Jesus is still a man.  However, he is not a man like us, but he is a man, a new kind of man.  He is called the forerunner in Hebrews 6:20.  He has gone before us, and we will be like him at his return (I John 3:2; Philippians 3:21; I Corinthians 15:42-49).  Jesus is second in command and sits on God’s right hand.  God is the one on the throne, and Jesus is at His right hand exercising all the power and authority that God has granted him.

Hebrews 12:2:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  [Hebrews 8:1 also records this truth.]

God paints a beautiful picture of the relationship He has with His son in Genesis, portraying it in the lives of Pharaoh and Joseph.  After Joseph tells Pharaoh the dream and its interpretation, Genesis 41 records:

Genesis 41:37-44:
And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

The phrase “I am Pharaoh” (v 44) is a declarative reminder of his right to make the decision which follows the statement.  Pharaoh was the one who decided that without Joseph’s permission and oversight no man would lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.  In other words, they couldn’t do anything or go anywhere unless Joseph allowed them to do so.  Remember what Paul points out when he talks about all the magnificent power Jesus has been given in I Corinthians 15.

I Corinthians 15:27-28
For he [God] hath put all things under his [Jesus’] feet. But when he [God] saith all things are put under him [Jesus], it is manifest that he [God] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Jesus]. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him [Jesus], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [God] that put all things under him [Jesus], that God may be all in all.

“All in all” is often explained as “all things in all people” or “all things in all places.”  However, it is also used idiomatically of the dearest object of one’s affection.  Jesus has done, is doing, and will continue to do all he does so that God may be the dearest object of our affection.  Jesus made God known and gave us introduction to Him so that He may become the dearest object of our affection.

Psalms 102:25-27:
Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will have no end.

This is quoted in Hebrews 1 referring to Jesus.

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

Jesus is our forerunner.  We will be like him when we see him as he is.  Until then rest assured that all things are under his feet, and we can absolutely count on him to do what the Word says he’ll do.

The Eternal God (Part 5 of 6) – Volume 1 – Day 29 – May 29, 2023

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, with whom we are seated in the heavenlies. (Ephesians 2:6).

One of the problems I initially had with what we have been learning is that Jesus was a man.  He did not become God when he ascended into heaven.  He will never be God.  He is the son of God.  However, he has become a new version of man — “Man 2.0” if you please.  The great thing is that when he returns, we will be changed to be like him.  We shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.

I John 3:2:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

He has also shown us the unlimited possibilities of mankind.  He is the second Adam, and just as we have borne the image of the first Adam, we shall also bear the image of the second who shall change our vile bodies to be like his (I Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21).  So, however he is now, we will be like him.  We, too, will receive the same kind of body and exist in the same dimension of eternity as Jesus does now (II Corinthians 5:1-2).  Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and so are we in God’s foreknowledge (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).

I John 3:2 says we shall be like him, but it does not say we will be identical.  Although we are God’s children, we are not monogenes, only begotten.  Christ is the firstfruits, we will get our full measure later.  I John 4:17 also says, as he is so are we in this world.  This is in many respects but not every respect.  We are complete, but not completed (Colossians 2:10; Philippians 1:6).  Our likeness or resemblance will not be complete until Christ returns for us.  That’s part of our hope.

I Corinthians 15:20-23:
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

As a man, I surmised that he could only be at one place at one time.  After all only God is omnipresent.  Yes, Jesus is still a man, but not a man like us.  He has ascended through the heavens into the realm of eternity where God dwells.  Ephesians 4:10 says, “he ascended up far above all heavens.”  Being now with God and existing outside of the dimension of time, he can interact with mankind at any point in time and return there as many times as he likes.  He’s a man, but he’s not like me anymore.  God has changed him, and has promised to do the same for us.

Jesus passed through the heavens, he is at the right hand of God, which is not a place.  It’s not a location.  It’s a domain of authority from which he rules the world now that God has put it under his feet.  He has “passed through the heavens” (Hebrews 4:14) he has become “higher than the heavens” (Hebrew 7:26) he “is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty” (Hebrews 8:1), and Hebrews 9:24 declares, “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven [God’s domain] itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.  He is in the realm of eternity with God.

Please don’t quote me on this, but I don’t think God ever wanted to be Lord.  In Genesis 1 He made Adam Lord, and now Jesus is the Lord.  God had to step in between the two to provide that function after the first Adam committed high treason, but lordship was intended to be in the hands of a man.

God wanted Adam to do it but he blew it.  Now, He has put it in Jesus’ hands and praise God Jesus has not blown it.  He is handling God’s affairs like God wants them handled.  All dominion and all power are under Jesus’ feet, and he’s ruling well.

I don’t claim to know it all.  Just the opposite!  The more I learn, the more convinced I am of how little I do know.  I’m sure thankful for it however.  We’ll never know it all.  God doesn’t expect us to.  What He’s revealed is enough to keep us going for our lifetimes.  There is coming a time when we will know even as we are known (I Corinthians 13:12).  Wont that be a great day!

The Eternal God (Part 4 of 6) – Volume 1 – Day 28 – May 28, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, in whom we trust so we would be to the praise of God’s glory. (Ephesians 1:12).

Scripture reveals that God lives outside the bounds of time as we know it.  Our destiny was known “before the beginning of time” (II Timothy 1:9 NIV; Titus 1:2 NIV) and “before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4 NIV; I Peter 1:20 NIV).  “God is spirit” (John 4:24), and, correspondingly, God is timeless rather than being eternally in time or being beyond time.  Time was simply created by God as a limited part of His creation for accommodating the workings of His purpose in His disposable universe.  [Remember the Bible speaks of three “heavens and earth.”]

II Peter 3:10-13:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Upon the completion of His creation activity, including the creation of time, what did God conclude?  “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).  Indeed, God is spirit in the realm of timelessness, rather than flesh in the sphere of time.  As believers, we have a deep sense of comfort knowing that God, though timeless and eternal, can interact with us in time right now.  He is not unreachably transcendent, but right here in this moment.  He is with us just as He has been throughout all time past.  He can see all time at one time or any point in time.  He can insert Himself in time at any moment.  Therefore, He can respond to our needs and prayers.

Although God dwells in eternity, He doesn’t dwell there alone.  Jesus is seated at His right hand.  God has also made it available for man to join Him there.  By giving us eternal life, we are able to join Him in eternity.

Isaiah 57:15-19:
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  [We will be resurrected or changed and have new incorruptible bodies capable of living forever with God in eternity.] 16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.  [He wants man to be with Him throughout eternity] 17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. 18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners 19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.

Jesus encouraged us to lay up treasures in heaven.  When we die, we can’t take anything with us.  The real deal is to send it on before we go.  Hebrews 6:20 calls Jesus our forerunner.  He went on before us, and He’s living in eternity with God.  You and I will also get that privilege one day.  Jesus will come again and get us and so will we be forever with our Lord.

The Eternal God (Part 3 of 6) – Volume 1 – Day 27 – May 27, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18).

The linear view of time is exemplified by our frequent resort to “time lines.”  When we were in school, our teachers would draw a line on the blackboard.  The left end of the line might represent the begin­ning of something — the birth of a person, or the founding of a nation, or an era.  The right end of the line would mark the termination of that subject—the death of a person or the ending of an era.  Therefore, when we consider the concept of “eternity,” we tend to view it as a line of infinite length — from “infinity” on the left and continuing toward “infinity” on the right.

When we think of “God,” we naturally assume that He is someone “with lots of time.”  But this linear view suffers from the misconceptions carried over from an obsolete physics.  Today we owe a great debt to the efforts of Dr. Albert Einstein.  It was the insight of Dr. Einstein, in considering the nature of our physical universe, that we live in more than just three dimensions, and that time itself is a fourth physical dimension. This insight led to his famous Theory of Relativity — and the discovery that time itself is also part of our physical reality.

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”  Albert Einstein

If you are a sci-fi lover, you have heard of the time-space continuum.  When God created the universe in Genesis 1:1, He spoke space, matter and time into existence.  They are among the “all things” which were created by Him (Revelation 4:11).  Time exists when matter exists.  But God is not matter; God, in fact, created matter.  Time began when God created the universe.  Before that, God was simply existing.  Since there was no matter, and because God does not change, time had no existence and therefore no meaning, no relation to Him.

And this brings us to the meaning of the word “eternity.”  “Eternity” is a term used to express the concept of something that has no end and/or no beginning.  God has no beginning or end.  He is outside the realm of time.  Eternity is not something that can be absolutely related to God.  God is even beyond eternity.

The God of the Bible is not affected by time, space, or matter.  If he were affected by time, space, or matter” he would not be God.  God is so much bigger than His creation.  Time, space, and matter are what we call a continuum.  All of them have to come into existence at the same instant.  Because:

1)  If there was the matter and no space, where would you put it?

2)  If there was matter and space and no time, when would you put it?

3)  You cannot have time, space or matter independently.  They have to come into existence simultaneously.

The Bible answers that conundrum in 10 words, and we find them in Genesis 1:1.

1)  In the beginning ― There’s Time

2)  God created the heavens ― There’s Space

3)  And the earth ― There’s Matter

So, you have time, space, and matter creating a trilogy of trilogies.

1)  Time:  past, present, future

2)  Space:  length, width, height

3)  Matter:  solid, liquid, gas

You have the trilogy of trilogies created instantaneously.  Obviously, the God who created them has to be outside of them.  If he is limited by time, space, or matter, He is not God!  The guy who created this computer is not in the computer; He is not running around in there changing the numbers and making the graphics on the screen.  Right?  The God who created this universe is outside of the universe; He’s above it, beyond it.  He is unaffected by it!

The Eternal God (Part 2 of 6) – Volume 1 – Day 26 – May 26, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, through whom we can do all things. (Philippians 4:13).

It just amazes me that this eternal, infinite, fathomless God Who is beyond our comprehension and imagination (Zechariah 2:8) chooses to work within us, His children, to will and to do of His good pleasure.  We are the apple of His eye, and He wants us involved with Him in His kingdom.  He has made this universe for us, and His portion is His people (Deuteronomy 32:9-10).

Just how great a God do we serve?

Isaiah 40:28:
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

His greatness is undefinable and indescribable.  God proves He is outside the time dimension by foretelling events before they occur.

Isaiah 44:6-8:
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Neither do I!

Isaiah 41:21-23:
Produce your cause [Present your case for your idols – NLT], saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. 22 Let them [the other gods] bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, [How did Moses know what to write in Genesis?  God was able to show him the former things.] what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. 23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.

Isaiah 48:3, 5:
I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. . . 5 I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

While philosophers throughout history have debated almost every idea under the sun since the world began, the one thing that they all have presumed—from the beginning—is that time is linear and absolute.  Most of us assume that a minute a thousand years ago is the same as a minute today and that we live in a dimension in which time inexorably rolls onward yet is totally intractable to any attempt to glimpse ahead.

The Eternal God (Part 1 of 6) – Volume 1 – Day 25 – May 25, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, through whom we have life eternal, that we might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent. (John 17:3).

We live in a physical world with its four known space-time dimensions of length, width, height & depth and time.  However, God dwells outside those dimensions in the spirit realm which is beyond the confines and perception of our physical senses.  God isn’t limited by the physical laws and dimensions that govern our world.  (We’ll see this when we read Isaiah 57:15 later.)

In Psalms 90:4, Moses used a simple yet profound analogy in describing the timelessness of God:  He said, “For a thousand years in thy sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”  In a sense, the marking of time is irrelevant to God because He transcends it.  II Peter 3:8 (which quotes Psalms 90:4) cautions us not to be ignorant of one critical fact — that God’s perspective on time is far different from ours.

Psalms 102:25-27:
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

God’s years have no end but this world’s will.  We live in a disposable universe.  God is going to get rid of this one and give us a new one.  The first one is past; we live in the second heaven and earth; and there is a third one coming.

The Lord does not count time as we do; He transcends it.  He is above and beyond and outside of the sphere of time.  God sees all of eternity’s past and eternity’s future.  He sees the beginning and the end at the same time.  The time that passes on earth is of no consequence from God’s timeless perspective.  A second is no different from an eon; a billion years pass like seconds to the eternal God.  God is unaffected and unrestricted by all succession of time.  Now this may be difficult to get our heads around for time is a current reality we cannot avoid and a dimension we cannot control.  It is relentlessly pressing onward.

Time is what makes change and motion possible.  Indeed, we mark time with motion.  What’s one revolution of the earth on its axis?  [A day]  What’s one revolution of the earth around the sun?  [A year]  Ravi Zacharias, a preeminent Christian apologist in a teaching entitled Raised to Run said that, “We live in time which is a punctuated calibration of change for us, but God is unchanging.  He lives in the eternal now.  God works at appointed times and in the fulfilment of those times God does His marvelous bidding.”

God is not subject to the rules of time and space like His creation.  He does not experience that succession of moments, that continuous onslaught of seconds and minutes and hours like we do.  He is outside of time, able to view all of the reality of time and space as one succinct and timeless reality.  God’s existence is truly timeless, and we describe Him as a God without a beginning or end, eternal, infinite, everlasting.  Psalms 90:2 declares, “From everlasting to everlasting You are God.”  He always was and always will be.  There is no measure or limit to His wisdom, strength or understanding.  God does not weaken, fail or change in anyway with the passage of time.  In the midst of an ever-changing world that seems to be getting worse and worse, let’s find hope, rest, and assurance in the God who not only is Himself not subject to time, but uses time most wonderfully to the good of His people and the purposes of His glory.

The Original Word May Not Have a Precise Equivalent in English – Volume 1 – Day 24 – May 24, 2023

Word Study Wednesday

God bless in the name of Jesus Christ which is praised in every language.

Sometimes Hebrew words don’t have precise equivalents in English.  Take the Hebrew word bara for instance.  The English word “create” often does a good job capturing it, but there are two unique features to bara, that “create” and other English words fail to capture.  First, the objects of bara are remarkable and bring glory to God (Isaiah 43:7).  One scholar calls the things brought into existence as “special, extraordinary, new,” noting they include the heavens, the earth, people, and wonders. (W. H. Schmidt, TLOT, 1:253-256)

Second, only God can bara.  Biblically, humans don’t bring into existence what has never existed before.  There are synonyms that can have humans as subjects, such as the Hebrew verbs for “make” (asah) and “form” (yatsar).  But bara is reserved for God alone.  When bara appears in the Qal conjugation (the one in which 67% of all Hebrew verbs occur) only God is the subject.  However, there are other conjugations in which bara does appear with subjects other than God.  This unique occurrence is more than coincidental.  It’s not just by chance that bara only appears with God as its subject. 

Bara appears in the Qal 37 times; the Niphil 12 times, the Piel 4 times; and the Hiphil once.  Every occurrence in the Qal has God as the subject.  The 12 times it appears in the Niphil (simple passive) it has other subjects that received the action, but the context clearly shows that God was the One Who acted upon them.  Bara is only translated “create” or “Creator” in the KJV when occurring in those 2 simple conjugations.  When it occurs in the Piel and Hiphil it is translated “choose,” “cut down,” “dispatch,” or “make fat” in the KJV

Although “create” comes close in meaning to “bara,” it doesn’t capture the remarkable, astonishing nature of that which was brought into existence, nor does it communicate that God is the only One who can do it.  Bara means to cause to come into being, as something unique and remarkable that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.  It requires God to act.  That’s hard to communicate in one English word.  In English “create” has a much broader meaning.  We have computer aficionados creating software and programs.  We can even take classes on “creative writing.”

To communicate bara properly would require more than one word.  Perhaps that’s why English translations tend to be much longer than the original Hebrew and Greek texts.  (The NIV has 33% more words than the combined Hebrew Masoretic text and the Nestle -Aland Greek text (27th ed), and the NRSV has approximately 64 percent more words than the same.)  Adding more words of explanation may give readers a better idea of the biblical text, but they also make it awkwardly swollen or clumsy.

Nevertheless, there are times when there’s no better word than bara.  For example, Isaiah 44-45 addresses a group of Israelites returning to their homeland.  Decades earlier, Babylonians conquered their homeland and brought them into captivity.  These refugees were told that Jerusalem fell because Babylon’s god was supreme.  God didn’t like that, and He had Isaiah address the affront in no uncertain terms.

Some of the Israelites were still messing around with idols, and God spoke up for Himself.  In Isaiah 44:9, idol-makers are dressed down, noting that the smiths can’t make idols without growing hungry and thirsty (44:12).  The absurdity that a carpenter uses part of a tree for firewood, part for sitting, and part for a god to worship is noted in (44:13-20).  The idol that emerges can neither see nor understand anything (44:18), and its maker has been deceived by lies and has made an object of disgust (44:19-20).

In sharp contrast, the God of Israel stretches out the heavens and hammers out the earth (44:24).  This Creator declares His supreme uniqueness (45:5-6).  His people who have long endured disgrace will know humiliation no longer!  Instead, the taunting idol-makers will find themselves ashamed, confused, and exposed as the frauds that they are (45:16).

Isaiah 45:18:
For thus says the LORD, Who created [bara] the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create [bara] it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Isaiah 44-45 contrasts Israel’s God and foolish idol-makers.  In this context, what could be more appropriate than bara which can only take God as its subject?  The devastated Israelites are given strength and hope and are assured that they have a God who is with them, despite all they have endured.  He is not just any god; He alone can create remarkable things.  No human, no idol, no idol-maker can do what only the Lord, the God of Israel can do.  Such a messages reinforced by the unique nature of the Hebrew verb bara show us what a magnificent God we serve.

Although bara does occur six times in Genesis 1, there are only three times when God’s omnipotent word brought something into existence which had never been before.  The first is in Genesis 1:1 when God brought into existence the heavens and the earth (the great space/mass/time cosmos which we will look at further in the next six days).  This is the domain that is now studied in the physical sciences.  The second is in Genesis 1:21 when God brought into existence soul life.  This is the domain of the life sciences.  Soul life had to be created in addition to the space/mass/time cosmos.  Because life required a separate act of God, we realize it will never be possible to describe living systems solely in terms of physics, chemistry and the other physical sciences.  The third is in (Genesis 1:27when God created spirit in man.  It is said with great emphasis repeating bara three time although all three are spoken of one unique act.  “God created [bara] man in his own image, in the image of God created [bara] he him; male and female created [bara] he them “  This additional act of creation was necessary because spirit will never be possible to describe by the physical sciences or the life sciences.

Human beings can be analyzed chemically and our living processes biologically, but the exceptional, extravagant, and extraordinary effulgence of mankind can only really be understood and appreciated in terms of our relation to God, whose image we share.  Apart from knowing Who He is and reflecting His image as we live and move and have our being, we will never grasp the full magnificence of how remarkable we really are.

Next Wednesday we will handle the third tip:  The word in the original language may have a multiple meanings.

The Gates of Hell – Volume 1 – Day 23 – May 23, 2023

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Rock who satisfies our thirst (John 7:37; I Corinthians 10:4).

There is a verse I’ve taught many times that documents how the church is built on Jesus and not on Peter.

Matthew 16:18:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [petros, a pebble, stone, or fragment of a rock], and upon this rock [petra, a large mass of rock, a ledge, or cliff] I will build my church; and the gates of hell [hades] shall not prevail against it.

The word play* upon petros and petra was intended to draw our attention to them and bring them into special prominence.  The two words differ in both gender and meaning.  Christ and not Peter is the rock or foundation stone upon which the church is built (I Corinthians 3:10-12).  The Old Testament associated the idea of the rock with the strength, greatness, and steadfastness of God (Deuteronomy 32:3-4; Psalms 18:2, 46), and Jesus as His only begotten son represented Him in these respects.

However, I always seemed to glide over the phrase, “gates of hell” without explanation.  Several identify the gates of hell with the gates of the grave and suggest that it is a euphemism for death (Isaiah 38:10).  However, Revelation 20:14 separates death and hades noting both are cast into the lake of fire.  To understand what “the gates of hell” properly communicates, we must consider the biblical culture and the figure of speech metonymy.

Ancient cities were surrounded by walls.  The gates by which they were entered were the ordinary place for transacting business, administering justice and conducting trials.  People met there to discuss news, engage in commerce, and deliberate on public matters.

The council of the elders met in the gates (Proverbs 31:23).  Lot sat as an elder in the gates of Sodom (Genesis 19:1).  Abraham negotiated a land purchase with Ephron in the gates of the city (Genesis 23:10).  In Genesis 34:20, Hamor and Shechem, came to the gate and in a forum asked if Israel would approve of a marriage between Shechem and Dinah (This did not end well (Genesis 34:1-31).  Boaz conducted the kinsman redemption of Ruth with the elders in the gates (Ruth 4:1ff).  Eli conducted priestly administration in the gates (I Samuel 4:12-18).  Absalom made kingly decisions in the gates while stealing the hearts of the people away from his father David (II Samuel 15:2-5).  Nehemiah 8:1 tells us that Ezra the scribe read the law to the people gathered together in the broad place before the water gate.  Gates, the place where leadership was exercised, became the natural symbol of the people who exercised power there.

Gates is put by metonymy for the persons that exercised power there (II Samuel 19:8).  The phrase, gates of hell, is intended to figuratively bring to mind those who exercise power there.  It mainly refers to the devil who has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).  Although the devil and his entourage will by all means imaginable attempt to prevail, they shall not succeed.  Neither the plots and strategies nor the strength of Satan and his evil spirits will ever prevail against Christ’s Church.  “Hell” is put in Matthew 16:18 in contrast to “heaven” in Matthew 16:19 (Matthew 11:23) juxtaposing the two kingdoms.

Although there will be antagonism and hostility, be fully assured hell will not prevail against heaven.  Prevail in Matthew 16:18 is the first of three uses of katischuō which means to be strong to another’s detriment, to prevail against, to be superior in strength, or to overpower.  There is nothing any of the principalities, the powers, or the rulers of the darkness of this world can do to prevail over Christ’s church (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Jesus assures us that we are his and nothing can pluck us from his hand (John 10:27-29).  We have the whole armour of God at our disposal.  The final chapter has been written, greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).  Let’s be sure we believe Christ’s words and act like it.

  * Paregmenon is the repetition of words derived from the same root when the words are similar in origin and sound, but different in meaning.

Alpha & Omega (Part 5 of 5) – Volume 1 – Day 22 – May 22, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15).

God called every believer to be His son.  He gave His Word so that we could know what is going on around us.  Otherwise, without His Word, man would be completely lost.  God raised Jesus Christ from the dead so we could live a more than abundant life today and look forward to eternal life in His presence.  God will never send another savior.  Jesus Christ of Nazareth was “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.”

Jesus hasn’t left us alone either.  He is a most vital part of our lives through holy spirit.  Never make the mistake that Jesus is still a man like each and every one of us.  Yes, he started out that way.  He was born of Mary.  He learned obedience by the things he endured, but now he has been changed.  He has been transformed by the power of God and is head of all principality and power.  He is super human and we will be like him one day when we see him face to face (I John 3:2).  There is a change a comin’!  What a joy that will be.  Jesus is our forerunner (Hebrews 6:20).  He went there first and will usher us in, in the fullness of time.

Before we close this series, I’d like to share one more hidden insight from God’s Word.  I love to find hidden gems in the Bible.  Hidden in the very first verse of the Bible is this wonderful truth we are looking at in this series.  You are aware by now that alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  Well, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet are aleph and tau.

There is an untranslated word in Genesis 1:1.  It is comprised of two letters aleph and tau.  It’s important to note that this aleph-tau combination is used as a grammatical element to indicate a direct object.  Most grammarians consider what I am about to share with skepticism thinking these two occurrences are coincidental or contrived.  However, I think God hides things like this in His word to bless those who are willing to think and search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2).

Those of you who took the Esther teaching series should remember the hidden names of God around which the Book of Esther revolves.  God does indeed hide truths for those who want to search out the matter.  I believe we find another one in Genesis 1:1.

The Greeks had many prepositions, but the Hebrews had few.  Hebrew preposi­tions in the Old Testament had various meanings and functions which had to be inferred from the context.  (When aleph-tau is used to indicate a direct object, it is usually accompanied by a maqqepha kind of “connector dash,” which bonds two words together into a single unit.).

According to my Bible works program aleph-tau occurs over 7300 times in the Old Testament.  It occurs 668 times in Genesis, which is more than any other book of the Bible.  Of those 668 occurrences, only 50 times does it stand alone as an untranslated word, not attached as a prefix connected by a maqqeth.

In the KJV the phrase “the heavens and the earth,” “the heaven and the earth” and “heaven and earth” occur 31 times and Genesis 1:1 is the only one where alpha-tau before the phrase stands alone and is not attached with a maqqeth.

We find the same idea as the Greek alpha and omega, the Hebrew aleph and tau, used of both God and Jesus in the Old Testament.

Here’s the interlinear Hebrew of Genesis 1:1: [https://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/1-1.htm]

Look at what God had hidden in this untranslated word.  In the beginning God, the aleph and tau, created the heavens and the earth.  This God who created the heavens and the earth was the aleph and tau, the one and only.

Let’s look at another verse Zechariah 12:10

Zechariah 12:10:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son. . . .”

Of who do you think this is speaking prophetically?  Who was pierced?  Who was an only son for whom people mourned?  This is speaking prophetically of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We find the same untranslated word in Zechariah 12:10.  This passage speaks prophetically of the Messiah of Israel as the “One Whom They Have Pierced,” an allusion to the crucified Messiah.  Here’s how in looks in the Hebrew Interlinear.  [https://biblehub.com/interlinear/zechariah/12-10.htm]  Remember, the Hebrew reads from right to left.

Notice that there is the same untranslated word between the “me” and the “whom.”  It is simply two letters, the aleph and the tau, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  The aleph can signify the first in a list or rank; the tau, the last, or completing, element in a list or rank.  I’d like to suggest a more revealing translation:  “…and they shall look upon me, the Aleph and the Tau, whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son. . . .”

You might say it’s contrived.  I’d say it’s hidden.  It’s hidden by God just like the acrostics of the names of God in the Book of Esther.  This gem illuminates the unique and unequaled majesty of God and His only son Jesus and discloses the unity of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  The Aleph and the Tau, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the one and only God and His one and only begotten son, Jesus.


Alpha & Omega (Part 4 of 5) – Volume 1 – Day 21 – May 21, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, who ever-liveth to make intercession for the saints (Hebrews 7:25).

The resurrection is the reason we all became Christians in the first place.  It sounded like something better than anything else we had ever heard.  Someone said, “Hey, how would you like to have eternal life?”  It sounded pretty good.  None of us really know what it is all about; we have not “been there” yet.  When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, then we will know what it is all about.  Right now, it is just a promise of God.  And it is something that sounded so great and so wonderful to us, we gave up everything we ever had before.  We gave ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ so we could have eternal life.  Just two words — eternal life — made the big difference in our lives.

“Eternal life” has put us in a position we can’t get out of.  Whether we like it or not, we can’t get out of it.  We are born of incorruptible seed.  Our standing as sons of God cannot be changed.  We are going to be gathered together when Christ returns whether we like it or not.  You cannot sit around and hold onto your chair and think you are going to stay here, because you’re “going up” when he returns.  That’s what the Word of God says — because God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.  He is the first and the last, the only one.

Man can worship a lot of other people if he wants to, and that is basically what religion is all about.  People end up worshipping some man in any religion they get involved with — it always comes from some man.  There isn’t a “great elephant” somewhere teaching people doctrine.  Although some people worship the cow in Buddhism, there’s still Buddha at the head of that religion which man set up and promulgated.  There is always some man in any religion who spoke the words that made the doctrine.

We do not worship a man or anything manmade, we worship God.  Yet the man who fully declared God by his life is the only begotten Son of God, our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the only one that God has ever raised from the dead.  The Devil is the author of death (Hebrews 2:14).  The devil is not in the business of raising people from the dead.  But God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and that is our guarantee, our proof, that God has complete power over the Devil and over death.  There is nothing the Devil can do to stop the power of God and the power of God’s Word.

Revelation 2:8:
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.

That repeats what we read in Revelation 1:17 & 18.  “Which was dead and is alive” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.  “He is the first and the last.”  He is the only one God ever raised from the dead, the only messiah, the only saviour of the world.  Christianity is what God wrought in Christ Jesus — who is “the way, the truth and the life.”  It is the only answer.  It is the only way to live; it is the only way to believe rightly according to the accuracy of God’s Word.

  God called every believer to be His son.  He gave His Word so that we could know what is going on around us.  Otherwise, without His Word, man would be completely lost.  God raised Jesus Christ from the dead so we could live a more than abundant life today and look forward to eternal life in God’s presence.  God will never send another savior.  Jesus Christ of Nazareth was “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.”

Reach out to Christian Family Fellowship

We would love to hear from you.
1575 W. State Route 571, Tipp City, Ohio 45371
937.669.4087 Fax

Leave A Message