The Apple Of God's Eye

June 27, 2010

Is Jesus God?

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God is not merely one Person. God is a divine Family – only one Family – but more than one divine Person. Jesus Christ spoke of His divine Father as GOD. He said He was the Son of God (Matt. 27:43; John 10:36).

Jesus is called God in Hebrews 1:9, John 1 and elsewhere. All the holy angels are commanded to worship Jesus (Heb. 1:6), and none but God may be worshipped.

So the Eternal Father is a Person, and is God. Jesus Christ is a different Person and is God. They are two separate and individual persons (John 1:1). The Father is Supreme Head of the God
Family – the Lawgiver. Christ is the Word- the divine Spokesman.

In Genesis 1:1, the word for “God” in the Hebrew is Elohim. In certain contexts, it is a uniplural noun. It is uniplural, like such words as group, church, crowd, family or organization. Take, for example, the word church. You will read in I Corinthians 12:20 that the Church is only “one Church” – the “one body” – yet is composed of “many members.’’ Even though many individual persons constitute the Church, it is not many churches – it is only the “one Church.”

As explained in Gen. 1:1 the Hebrew word for “God” is Elohim. But, when the historical account first begins to record the fact of God speaking to the man He created, a new and different Hebrew
name is used. In Gen. 2:15 (and previous verses beginning in verse 4) the English words “Lord God” (in the King James authorized version) are translated from the Hebrew YHVH Elohim. The Hebrew Elohim already has been defined as uniplural.

But, YHVH is a name meaning “the Everliving,” or “the Eternal.”T here is no one word in the English language that translates it exactly. God always names beings what they are. Actually, YHVH means “the Self-Existent, Ever-living, Eternally Living, Creating One.” The “Lord” (YHVH) of the Old Testament in nearly every case is the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. That is, Christ was YHVH prior to His birth as a human of the virgin Mary. In John 1:1-3, this same Personage is spoken of as The Word – the Greek wort, is Logos, meaning “Word,” or “Spokesman. Jesus the Christ (Messiah) is, and always has been, the individual Person of the God Kingdom (Family) who is the Spokesman.

The Father of the God Family is the Head – the Lawgiver – the Creator. Yet He created everything by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Thus in John 1:3: “All things were made [created] by him” – by the Logos or Word, who is Jesus Christ (verse 14).

The specific Person of the Godhead who spoke to Adam, then, was YHVH – the Eternal – the One who became Jesus Christ.

So God is presently a Family of two Persons – God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. And the wonderful truth is that human beings may be born into this same ONE God Family as distinct, separate Personalities by a resurrection from the dead.

Jesus Christ was the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29) – having been born again when God the Father resurrected Him from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

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December 15, 2009

Human Reproduction Pictures Spiritual Birth

In the fifth chapter of Ephesians you find a husband-wife relationship pictured as corresponding to Christ and the Church. Scriptural teaching assures us that, at His coming, Christ is going to marry the Church. Also, the Scriptures teach that the Church will, at His coming, be born of God, by a resurrection of all who have died, and the instantaneous conversion from mortal to immortal of those then living (I Cor. 15:50-53).

Immediately the question arises: “If those in the Church are to be just then born of God, how can they marry Christ before they grow up?”

Let’s understand!

Why were we born in the first place? What is the real purpose of human life? God Almighty the Creator is reproducing Himself! As truly as we mortal humans have been given power to reproduce ourselves–to bring forth progeny in our own image, born with our very nature–even so the Great God is bringing forth sons in His image, born with His very divine nature! The very purpose of our existence is that we be begotten as God’s children, and become born of Him.

And human reproduction is the very type of spiritual reproduction. What God created at the time described in the first chapter of Genesis was a physical creation. You’ll find nothing spiritual there. In physical man, made of the dust of the ground, God created the material with which He may mold, shape, form, and create the spiritual being. He pictures us as the clay, Himself as the Potter–forming us into the spiritual image of His designing.

Now human reproduction pictures spiritual reproduction. Each human, since Adam and Eve, started from a tiny egg, called an ovum, the size of a pinpoint. It was produced in the body of the mother. The egg is incomplete, of itself. It has a life of only about 48 hours, according to some authorities. Unless fertilized by the life-giving sperm cell from the human father within that limited lifetime, it dies.

Each human, spiritually speaking, is like an egg. The average human lifetime is said to be 70-80 years. Adam was created incomplete, and each of us was born incomplete–that is, we were made to need the Holy Spirit of God. And unless, within our limited lifespan of some 70-80 years, we are begotten of God–by His Spirit which is His immortal divine LIFE, entering to impart eternal life to us–we shall die–and that shall be the end–except that God has appointed a resurrection of all who have lived, and, for those who reject His gift of eternal life, the final second death in the lake of fire.

But, in the case of the human ovum, once fertilized as a begotten human, the egg–now called an embryo–is kept within the body of the mother, and is nourished and fed material food through her and protected by her. And there it must grow, being fed physically through the mother, large enough to be born. After a number of weeks, the embryo is called a fetus, and at birth it is a human baby.

In like manner, the Bible calls the Church the “mother of us all.” That is, the mother of Christians–those begotten of God. It is the function of the Church to protect and feed, spiritually, on the spiritual food of God’s Word, those begotten children of God, so that we may grow spiritually, in the divine character, ready to be born.

Surely this is a wonderful comparison. Yet types and antitypes are not always alike in every detail.

When a physical baby is born, it is not ready for marriage. When the spiritual child of God is born he will be fully mature for the spiritual marriage. How can this be?

The unborn human fetus is only growing physically. At birth the human baby knows nothing. He is helpless. He must be taught. He must learn. He is born merely with a mind capable of learning, knowing, thinking. He is not yet of mature size physically or mentally. Many do marry who are still entirely immature spiritually and/or emotionally. But we do assume that one has reasonable maturity physically and mentally before marriage. In the human, this development takes place in the human state after the human birth.

Therefore, the human baby is not ready for marriage at birth.

But the spirit-born are different!

Just as the fertilized ovum–the embryo which becomes the fetus–must grow physically from material food, so the Spirit-begotten child of God must grow spiritually before he can be born. But there is a difference!

The fetus does not attain to complete physical maturity before birth, and has no mental maturity. But, in the spiritual rebirth, one must attain reasonable spiritual maturity before he is spirit-born.

Now what is spiritual growth? Just as the physical embryo-fetus must grow physically large enough to be born, so the Spirit-begotten Christian must grow spiritually or he will never be born of God. But spiritual growth is CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

The Spirit-begotten starts out with a MIND from the beginning. God is perfect character–divine, spiritual character. God is also love. And perfect spiritual character is the way of love! Such character is the attainment of the ability, in a separate independent entity of free moral agency, to be able to discern right from wrong–the true values from the false–truth from error–the right way from the wrong, and then to make the right choice or decision, even against self-desire, impulse or temptation; plus the will and self-discipline to resist the wrong and to do the right.

No human, with human nature, has the power–alone by himself–to do this. But God has made available the spiritual power and help man lacks. Man must desire to know–must hunger and thirst for truth; man must make his own decision, exercise his own will, even against the pulls of his nature. But without the help of God–without spiritual power from God–man is utterly unable.

That is why truly converted Christians sometimes actually do sin. They are like the apostle Paul, as he describes himself in Romans 7. With his mind he wanted to go the way of Gods law, yet he found himself unable. Another law warred within him against the good resolutions of his mind. But the sequel to Romans 7 is Romans 8–the Holy Spirit chapter. Who, Paul cried out, could save him from this body of death he struggled against in vain? The answer is, God, through His Holy Spirit.

A true Christian doesn’t want to sin–should not. But sometimes he finds himself caught in the vise of habit, or overwhelmed by temptation or by circumstances from which he is unable to free himself. Surely, had such a one been continually praying, keeping himself close to God, and detached from the world or its lures or the temptations of the flesh, he probably would have had sufficient divine help to have prevented the sinning. But only Jesus Christ ever did keep that close to God!

God looks on the heart. In such a case, the Christian does not sin maliciously, with malice aforethought. He is merely caught in the vortex of a temptation which sucks him helplessly down into the sin. Then he is terribly sorry. He is disgusted with himself. He repents. He goes to work to overcome. He may not succeed, due to human weakness, at once. But he remains determined and finally does, with God’s help, overcome completely. Many a true Christian has had such a struggle over a particular human weakness and temptation, and after even several setbacks, finally, through God’s power, won the victory and fought his way free.

God looks on the heart. God forgives in such cases. The living Christ, our High Priest, has compassion, is filled with mercy–as long as the attitude is right, the desire of the inner man is to conquer the flesh and overcome the temptation and be free from it entirely. In the end, it is God who gives the victory. But, in such a struggle, the Christian develops character.

Now character, I have said many times, is something God does not create automatically. It is developed through experience. The development of that character is the very purpose of our being alive. Also the development of that character, unlike the purely physical growth of the unborn baby, actually is growing toward spiritual maturity, right now in the begettal stage prior to spirit birth–in this present mortal human life.

Notice how the “mother of us all,” the Church, is to protect and feed those in it, until they reach spiritual maturity. In I Corinthians 12 you’ll read how God gives spiritual gifts for various administrations, or functions of service. In Ephesians 4:11-14, Christ has given special spiritual abilities or talents to certain ones in a chain of authority under Him in the Church–and notice for what purpose:

“And his [Christ’s] gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ [the Church], UNTIL we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (RSV).

In other words, to full spiritual maturity!

Now why should we count the troubles and problems and temptations that beset us as all joy?

Simply because we cannot hurdle these obstacles successfully in our own power. They drive us to seek help from God. To go to God for the wisdom to know what to do, and the power to be able to do it, requires faith. This is a living faith. It is alive. It is active.

When we meet such trials, we often do not know what to do. We lack the wisdom to make the right decision. So open your Bible to the first chapter of James. Notice verse 5.

If you lack wisdom, in such trials, go to God for it! But ask in faith–no wavering–no doubting. Be sure God will not fail, but will give you this wisdom. Depend upon Him for it. If you waver, you are like a wave in the ocean–tossed back and forth–going nowhere! So, instead of wavering, be steadfast. And if you don’t get the answer immediately from God, have patience. Don’t give up. Trust Him.

Now notice verses 2-3: “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (Revised Standard Version). These trials force you to your knees. You must have faith to meet them. They test your faith. They develop spiritual character!

In the King James Version, it says the trying of your faith produces patience. It produces that kind of patience that is steadfastness. That is character!

Sure, it may be unpleasant for a while. But, Paul assures us that if we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him–and the glory to be revealed in us is so incomparably greater than anything we now are, that this promised future for eternity is something to rejoice over!

Yes, count it all joy! Even if unpleasant. It is maturing you, now, for the marriage to Christ. The Church of God shall be born into the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom of God will not be composed of spiritual know-nothings and infants.

When we are born again–born of God–resurrected in spirit bodies, those bodies will not be small, like a human physical infant which must grow to full physical size. We shall look as we do now, so far as form and shape and features are concerned. But the resurrected body will be a different body–composed of spirit instead of flesh and blood (I Cor. 15:35-44).

The original twelve apostles were Christ’s witnesses. That is, they were actual eyewitnesses that Jesus rose from the dead–that the living resurrected Christ was the same Jesus who had been crucified. They were with Him forty days after His resurrection. But nobody will be foolish enough to suggest that when Christ was born very Son of God by the resurrection (Romans 1:4) that He was resurrected in a tiny infant’s body composed of spirit. He was resurrected full grown, as He had been when crucified. How did the apostles know He was the same Jesus? Because they knew what Jesus had looked like–and in His born-again, resurrected body He looked the same, except He now was composed of spirit instead of matter!

The resurrected Christ was perfect–He was very God! But He did not grow up into perfection after He was resurrected. It was during His human lifetime, setting us the example, that He was made perfect, as you read in Hebrews 2:10 and 5:8-9.

Thus it is plain that we must develop spiritual character, growing to spiritual adulthood, during this life–not after our resurrection in glory! This is the spiritual growth, of which the physical growth of the unborn child, from tiny embryo to a size and weight of some six to eight pounds at birth, is a type. The physical growth of the unborn human is a growth of physical size and weight. The spiritual growth of the begotten but yet unborn spiritual child of God is a growth in spiritual character, not of physical volume, size or weight. The human baby merely grows large enough to be born prior to birth–not to physical or mental maturity. But he does grow. And this physical growth is the type of the spiritual growth by feeding on the Word of God, and prayer, and Christian fellowship, and participation in the Work of God in the life of the begotten child of God.

The difference is merely the difference between matter and spirit. One is a material growth. Material growth is measured by volume, size, weight. The other is spiritual growth, measured by character development.

Jesus was born very Son of God by His resurrection (Romans 1:4). He was born fully mature. He was born in a spirit body, which was manifested to His apostles in the same apparent size and shape as when He died. When He appears on earth the second time, in His spirit glorified body, we shall be resurrected, or instantaneously changed, to a body that will be like Him (1 John 3:2)–full grown–adult!

Source: Plain Truth, 1978

May 10, 2009

Will Aborted, Stillborn, or Miscarried Babies Be Resurrected?

angela-stevens.com

angela-stevens.com

In this past century, the world has changed from abortion being unacceptable (with minor exceptions) to abortion being an accepted form of birth control.

But the fetus is indeed human, as evidence proves. By seven weeks, the unborn child has its own measurable brain waves. Brain waves are among the legal criteria to determine whether a person is dead, so also, brain life, or the point at which brain waves are first detected, should determine the viability of a fetus.

Since brain waves can now be detected at seven weeks, doctors are in fact aborting living humans. And of course the fetus is already alive before the seven weeks!

If one has any doubt when a human life begins, one should give the baby the benefit of the doubt. As U.S. President Ronald Reagan once wrote, “If you don’t know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it.”

A matter of attitude

Consider this: A woman rushes to a hospital in labor. Within minutes she gives birth to a 22-week-old premature baby. Since the mother wants the child, the hospital will do everything within its power to save the life. Great sums of money in health care may be spent on the effort.

Now go down a corridor and into another room. There a woman has her 22-week-old fetus aborted. The mother didn’t want the baby. We are told that her 22-week aborted baby isn’t a viable human being! How can it be human in one room and a nonviable human in another?

The difference is the woman’s — and the doctor’s — attitude.

Proabortionists want to believe that the growing baby within the woman is nothing but “fetal tissue.” They either avoid or conceal the fact that the baby is actually a human and dies a painful death when aborted.

Science shows early life

Since 91 percent of abortions within the United States, for example, occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, let’s look at fetal development of the unborn:

  • Within 18 days after conception the beating heart already pumps blood through its own bloodstream.
  • By six weeks the nervous system begins to function. The kidneys and stomach begin working.
  • At around seven weeks, the unborn embryo has its own brain waves. (Brain waves are among the legal criteria that determine whether a person is alive or not.)
  • At nine and 10 weeks the thyroid and adrenal glands function. The embryo can squint, swallow and respond to noise.
  • By 10 weeks the unborn basically has everything a newborn baby has.

What happens when an attempt is made to end this life? To kill the unborn 10-week embryo may require the D&E (dilation and evacuation) technique. The abortionist basically draws and quarters the embryo.

When the abortionist’s instrument first touches the uterine wall, the embryo immediately recoils and the heart rate increases. The unborn responds by attempting to escape the instrument. The abortionist grabs an arm or leg and rips it from the body. Blood begins oozing from the baby. Then the abortionist finds another arm or leg and tears it off. He continues until everything is severed.

Finally the dead, dismembered embryo has its skull crushed. The parts are then sucked out. It’s all over in about 15 minutes. To say this embryo perceives no pain is, at the least, not telling the entire story. Today’s society doesn’t tolerate convicted murderers to die this kind of death!

Prenatal research also reveals the unborn responds to pain, touch, cold, sound and light. The unborn gets hiccups, sucks a thumb, passes through waking and sleeping stages and respond to hearing their mother’s voice.

It seems that the womb is not the quiet place some thought it was.

Source: Plain Truth, 1985

Are the unborn resurrected?

It is God’s great master plan to make salvation and eternal life available to every human being who has ever lived or will live in the future. He will resurrect those who die without having had this opportunity.

We have seen that unborn babies are fully human at the earliest stages, and so it is no small leap of faith to say that the spirit in man (Job 32:8), which goes up to God upon death (Ecc. 3:21), enters at conception. So if after conception, the zygote (a fertilized egg cell) has the potential to produce a human life, we can logically conclude that babies who die before they are born will be raised in the second resurrection. There is of course no way to know with 100 percent certainty, but we do know with certainty that God is merciful and, with His infinite wisdom, will maintain His master plan.

April 8, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be Born Of Water – And Of Spirit?

117Here is a verse which really confuses mainstream Christianity which believes in the false notion of going to heaven when one dies. In fact, there is not one verse in the Bible which backs up this assumption. John 3:5 states:

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” 

Jesus here spoke of a literal birth — the entrance into the Family of God as a spirit being, and the process by which one attains that goal. It DOES NOT speak about going to heaven. Hence, both water and God’s Spirit are involved. 

What does the Bible say about being “born of water”? The apostle Peter explained that upon repentance one should be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism pictures the washing away of past sins and the burial of the old self (Rom. 6). In addition, Ephesians 5:26-27 and John 15:3 show that Jesus Christ is sanctifying and cleansing His Church with the “washing of water by the word [the Bible].” Why? So He might present it to Himself as a Church without any spiritual blemishes.  The crowning glory of each person’s life will be his resurrection. Then the saints will be changed from mortal to immortal to become children of God.

I Corinthians 15:51-54 gives an amazingly clear description of this process. Jesus here attempts to describe this spiritual process to a carnal thinking Nicodemus. He explains that “what is born of the spirit is spirit.” This does not merely mean that we are renewed “like the Spirit,” or that we are renewed by the Spirit of God, while still in our physical forms. That would be trivializing what is really said here. Jesus Christ said that we are to literally be born into the family of God – to be Spirit beings in the Father’s family. This is made plain by the emphasis on the fact that none yet reside with God in heaven:

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even  the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

Further proof is in Acts 2:34:

“For David is not ascended into the heavens…” This despite David being long dead, and surely worthy of being in heaven as he is a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

Could anything be plainer? We do not go to heaven or hell upon our death. Those doctrines are man made myths. But we do have the choice of eternal life in the family of God. If we understand, repent, are baptized (Acts 2:38) and then walk in the ways (commandments) of God, we will inherit eternal life as a Spirit member of the family of God. THIS is the concept Jesus tried to explain to Nicodemus.

If we do not accept the conditions God imposes on us – in complete love – will not be written in the book of life and will end up in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). This IS NOT HELL. This concept is of God, who destroys the wicked quickly and with the least amount of suffering possible, to lose out on eternal life and joy with God. There is no such thing as suffering eternally with God, as He is a God of love, not hatred. It’s time we banish the foolishness of denominational doctrines meant to enslave man in pagan fears and superstitions. They only destroy the beautiful message of the gospel, which Jesus Christ died for.

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