Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by John David Clark, Sr.
“Then comes the end, when he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has done away with all government, and all authority, and power.
And when all things are subdued under him, then will the Son himself submit to Him who subdued all things under him, that God might be all things to all people.”
1Corinthians 15:24, 28
When the apostle John wrote, “In the beginning, the Word was there, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” he was confessing a newly revealed truth: the existence of two divine persons in heaven.
Verses existed in the Old Testament that had indicated that God had a Son, but God did not allow the men who wrote those verses to understand their own words. However, the earliest New Testament believers preached the gospel of God’s Son everywhere they went, for their eyes had been opened to the hidden meaning of those ancient Scriptures. They saw the Son of God in every book, though none of the ancient authors themselves saw him there, “For no prophecy in the past came about by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the holy Spirit” (2Pet. 1:21).
So, John’s stunning message of two divine persons in heaven was not new to the Scriptures. What was new was that John understood what he was saying, whereas Old Testament men of God were kept in the dark concerning their own prophecies about God’s Son (1Pet. 1:9–12).
Centuries before he came to live among us, the Son spoke through Isaiah of his dependent relationship with the Father and of his future sufferings on earth: “The Lord Jehovah has sent me and His Spirit.” And again, “The Lord Jehovah has given me the tongue of the learned, that I might know how to help the weary with a word. . . . The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious.” And, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (Isa. 48:16b; 50:4a, 5; 61:1). The Old Testament books are replete with references to the Father and the Son; nevertheless, that glorious truth was hidden from all men, even the ones who wrote those precious words.
An excellent example of this mysterious inspiration can be found in the eighth chapter of Proverbs. There, Christ, “the wisdom of God” (1Cor. 1:24), speaks of the beginning of his life with the Father: “The Lord created me the beginning of His way, the first of His works. I was anointed from eternity, before the beginning, before the earth existed” (Prov. 8:22–23). In Revelation, the Son testified again of being created by the Father; there, he called himself “the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14).
In Proverbs 8, ignorant of the meaning of his own words, King David continued his testimony of God’s Son: “When He decreed the foundations of the earth, I was at His side, like a master workman, daily His great delight, always laughing in His presence.” Just imagine! Prior to the creation of anything else, Christ was ecstatic with joy – just to exist in the presence of his Father! In this same chapter, the Son declares himself to have been “brought forth” before the oceans and mountains were created. He also tells us that “when He prepared the heavens, I was there.” Before anything existed, the Father created for Himself a Son, who then created everything else (Jn. 1:3). And they were both very happy.
In saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13), the Son of God was declaring that he was the first and the last thing the Father created. All else was created by the Son: the heavens, the earth, humans and heavenly beings, animals and plants – everything, everywhere – was created by the Son. When, in Genesis 1:26, the Father said, “Let us make man in our image,” the “us” in that verse was the Father speaking to His Son, who then created man according to the will of his Father. By his Father’s power and wisdom, the Son created everything – except himself. Therefore,
“All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
We may learn much about parents by observing their children. Especially is this the case with the Son of God. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Amen. Anyone who has seen or known Jesus has seen the Father because the Son is “the Amen; the faithful and true witness” (Rev. 3:14). My sons are like me in many respects, but Jesus is much more like his Father than my sons are like me. Jesus said that he did and said nothing but what God willed for him to do and say. Accordingly, the author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is “the exact representation” of the Father (Heb. 1:3). Incredibly, this phrase has been misconstrued by some to mean that Jesus is the Father Himself! Pray, child of God, to avoid this grievous error, for “He is the anti-Christ, who denies the Father and the Son” (1Jn. 2:22).
Jesus is not the Father, but he walked so perfectly in the Father’s will that anyone who saw Jesus was seeing God in action (Jn. 14:7). Jesus showed us the Father (Jn. 14:8–9) by doing the Father’s will. To know Jesus is to know the Father because Jesus and his Father are of the same mind, the same judgment, the same love and purpose. This is the unity Jesus prayed would be given to us, and if there is any prayer that is acceptable with the Father, it must be that we who believe in His Son may experience the harmony they share.
There was never a misunderstanding between Jesus and the Father. There was never a dispute over doctrine or authority, no suspicion or malice. They were in perfect accord as to faith and purpose, and Jesus suffered and died to make that same oneness of heart available to us – not a oneness in body, but in spirit! In Christ, we are “partakers of His divine nature,” and so, we are to be “perfectly united.” And if we all obey the Spirit, we can live together as one, just as Jesus and the Father did.
Jesus plainly said, “My Father and I are one” (Jn. 10:30). So, the issue is not, “Are the Father and Son one?”; rather, it is, “How are they one?” The answer is found in Jesus’ prayer to his Father, just hours before his crucifixion. In that prayer for those who believed in him, Jesus pleaded with the Father “that they may be one, just as we are” (Jn. 17:11). Believers, then, may be “one” the same way that the Father and the Son are one. That is what Jesus prayed for; therefore, it must be possible!
This “oneness” is obviously a unity in spirit, not in body. If we who believe are to become one as he is one with his Father, and if Jesus were the Father Himself, then we who believe must all become the same person. That is absurd. That can never be. That is not what Jesus prayed for. When we are made one as Christ and his Father are one, we are made one in spirit, not in body.
You are you, and I am I. We will never become one person, and neither will Jesus ever become the Father, or the Father become Jesus. They are two separate beings, just as you and I are separate beings. In Christ, believers may “think the same thing, having the same love, as united souls, thinking one thing” (Phip. 2:2), but we will never dwell in the same body and be the same person. Nor will the Father and the Son.
“I urge you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you all speak the same thing and that there not be divisions among you,
but that you be perfectly united in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
What a powerful witness it would be to the world if God’s saints were one with each other as Jesus is one with the Father! How can the world believe Jesus is the only way to the Father when those who believe in him are divided, teaching conflicting doctrines?
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
The Father has a body. Jesus also has a body. They can look at each other, just as you and I can. The Father did not take on a fleshly body and die on the cross; the Son of God did. The Son, after he was raised from the dead, ascended and sat at his Father’s right hand. They are two persons, one greater than the other (Jn. 14:28), one more knowledgeable than the other (Mt. 24:36), one worshipped by and feared by the other (Heb. 5:1–8), one sanctified and sent into the world by the other (Jn. 10:36). One was the Husbandman; the other was the Vine (Jn. 15:1). One was the teacher; the other was taught (Jn. 8:40). One gave life to the other (Jn. 5:26; 6:57). In all things, the Son is subservient to the Father.
It is true that all power in heaven and in earth has been given to the Son (Mt. 28:18), but it is obvious that He who gave that power to the Son is not under the Son’s power. Every knee will bow to Jesus (Phip. 2:10) except the knee of the Father. He will not bow to His own Son. Quite the contrary, for in the end “will the Son himself submit to Him who subdued all things under him, that God might be all things to all people.” Amen!
While some teach that there are “three in one”, others say Jesus is the only God, but the truth lies between these two errors. The Father created the Son, “the firstborn of every creature”, and the Son created everything else. Both the doctrine of a “Trinity” and the doctrine of “Jesus only” are wrong. There are in heaven two persons worthy to receive worship: The Father and the Son.
by Sandy Sasser
The couch is empty, oh dear Lord,
where once we watched his face,
so full of holy Spirit,
radiating love and grace.
The couch is empty, oh dear Lord.
Though others come and go,
we miss his humble presence,
and the wisdom he bestowed.
The couch is empty, oh dear Lord.
‘Twill never be the same.
We loved to hear his witness
and his prayers in Jesus’ name.
Dear Lord, the couch is empty;
still, we hear the words he said.
His guidance still instructs us,
just as if he were not dead.
Yes, Lord, the couch is empty.
This used to be his home.
He’s found a place with Jesus,
now an heir of heaven’s throne!
In Loving Memory of George C. Clark, Sr.,
One of God’s Faithful Servants.