In This Lesson
Eternally-Existent Father & Son | The Testimony
Everlasting Union of the Son with His Followers
Deuteronomy 6:4 says: "The LORD our God, the LORD is one." If that were the only verse we ever knew about God, that would be sufficient on which to build a true, albeit weak, belief system. But that's not the only verse that teaches us about God.
- The Prophet Isaiah wrote about the Messiah who was to come:
"...his name shall be called . . . Mighty God, Everlasting Father..." (Isaiah 9:6 emphasis added)
- The Prophet Micah wrote about the Messiah who was to be born:
"...He shall come forth to Me, to become Ruler in Israel, He whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2 MKJV emphasis added)
- The Apostle John wrote in His gospel record:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3 emphasis added)
- John the Baptist testified:
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.'" (John 1:29-30 emphasis added)
- The night before His death Jesus prayed:
"Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made." (John 17:5 GNB emphasis added)
- In the book of Revelation, Jesus told the Apostle John:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega . . . who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)
"I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore..." (Revelation 1:17-18)
This is one of those areas/topics where, as unbelievers claim, the Bible appears to contradict itself. For instance...
- To whom was God speaking when He said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" in Genesis 1:26 or when He said: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" in Isaiah 6:8? (emphasis added)
- Why did God tell Isaiah that the Messiah not yet born would be called the "Mighty God" and "Everlasting Father"?
- How could the child not yet born be from eternity past, as Micah wrote?
- How could the person John the Baptist was talking about be after him and yet before him?
- How could Jesus be "the Alpha and Omega", "the Almighty", and yet die?
- And who was Jesus praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane if He's "the Almighty"?
This is precisely why Bible study is so important. A simple daily reading of the Bible will not answer these questions nor did God intend it to when He authored the Bible. He didn't give us a dead book of religious rules and nice stories. He gave us His living Word, and it requires deserves our devoted and prayerful daily in-depth study so we know what we believe and why.
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Eternally-Existent Father and Son
Although we cannot answer the questions above at this point in our lesson, we can say that the Bible verses above teach us that Jesus existed before He was born in Bethlehem. He has always been with God His Father, working with Him in the creation of the world, in dealings with humankind, and in God's plan of redemption.
To answer that question, it is helpful for us to go back to the original Hebrew. The first Hebrew name used for God in the Old Testament is in the very first verse:
- In English: "In the beginning, God..."
- In Hebrew [as pronounced]: "be-re-SHIYT ba-RA eh-lo-HIYM..." [translation: "In the beginning, Elohim..."]
The name "Elohim" is a plural noun and is used in the Hebrew Scriptures more than 1300 times. Translated "God" in most English Bibles, it is usually used with plural first-person pronouns ("we", "us" and "our"). When God is presented interacting with His creation especially in the Pentateuch the name "Elohim" is used most often. Variations of the name are "Elohai" (as in "my God") and "Eloheinu" (as in "our God"). [Note: For a more in-depth study of the names of God, go to "Names & Attributes of God".]
Although the name is plural, it often employs a singular verb as if more than one person were acting in unison as one. The word "one" in the Bible can be used to express the specific number or the unity of more than one.
If we consider the verses at the beginning of this lesson as well as the following verses, we can assume that the divine Being whom we call "God" is made up of more than one Person because:
- In Isaiah 44:6, God says: "...I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." But in Revelation 1:17, Jesus says He is "the first and the last".
- In Genesis 17:1, God tells Abraham: "...I am God Almighty..."; in Genesis 35:11, God says to Jacob: "...I am God Almighty..." And yet, in Revelation 1:8, Jesus calls Himself "the Almighty".
- Another clue into the true identity of our God can be found in Isaiah 45:23: "To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance," while the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:10-11: "...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord..."
At this point, we must ask the question: Does the Bible contradict itself? Or, has God graciously revealed a unique attribute about Himself that truly sets Him apart from, and above, all the other 'gods'?
"In the beginning, God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth. . . . Then God [Elohim] said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...'" (Genesis 1:1, 26a emphasis added)
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Scripture teaches that on the basis of the testimony of two or more witnesses, we can know a thing to be true (cf. Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). Of course, the best testimony is that of God's Word itself, which says: "in him [Jesus Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." (Colossians 2:9) The Bible also gives us four other witnesses:
...by the Son to His Father
Jesus knew God was His Father and He let others know it, too. He continually spoke of God as His Father, even from when He was 12 years old (see Luke 2:49). He always addressed God as "Father" in His prayers, and He told people to whom God had sent Him, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 emphasis added)
Jesus honored His Father by doing what God had sent Him to do. He taught the people how wonderful God is. He let them know that His marvelous teachings and miracles were all from His Father. "I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him." (John 8:28,29)
Following are other verses where Jesus refers to God as His Father. (Matthew 7:21; 10:32-33; 11:27; 12:50; 16:17; 18:10,14,19; 20:23; 25:34; 26:29,53; Luke 2:49; 10:22; 15:18; 22:29; 24:49; John 2:16; 5:43; 6:32,40; 8:19,38,49,54; 10:18,25,37; 14:2,7,20,21,23; 15:1,8,10,15,23,24; 20:17)
Write at least two of the above verses here:
...by the Father to His Son
God honored Jesus and testified that Jesus was His Son through:
- Angels announced to shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem that the Savior had been born. (see Luke 2:9-14)
- Angels told Joseph and Mary that the Baby to be born of the virgin would be the Son of God. (see Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-37)
- At two times of great crisis in Jesus' life, angels came to strengthen Him and to reassure Him.
Angels rolled away the stone from Jesus' tomb and told His followers He had risen from the dead.
And when Jesus ascended to heaven, angels appeared to the watching crowd. They said that just as Jesus had gone to heaven, He would come back again some day.
- The Holy Spirit:
- God sent His Spirit to honor Jesus and let people know who He is.
- The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Mary, and Anna and spoke through them. They told people that the Baby Jesus was the Messiah.
"And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.'" (Luke 1:67-79)
(see also Luke 2:25-38)
God filled John the Baptist with His Spirit and sent him as a special messenger to introduce Jesus as the Son of God and "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29,36)
The Holy Spirit came down on Jesus like a dove when He was baptized.
- Supernatural Signs:
- A star guided the wise men to the Baby Jesus.
- On three occasions the people heard God speak from heaven honoring Jesus.
(see also Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35)
God gave four of His disciples a glimpse of His Son's glory in what we call the "transfiguration"."And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light." (Matthew 17:2)
God testified for His Son when Jesus died. The earth shook. Darkness covered the sun. The veil of the temple was torn in two.
"It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two." (Luke 23:44-45)
Three days later God honored His Son by raising Him from the dead.
List the Scripture references for this event:
Later God took Him bodily home to heaven in the sight of a great crowd of witnesses. List the Scripture references for this event:
Afterward He enabled several people see Jesus in Heaven beside His Father.
"And he [Stephen] said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'" (Acts 7:56)
(see also Revelation 1:13-16)
Surely, all those who believe in God should believe His testimony about His Son Jesus!
...of the Son by His Followers
Just as there is mutual recognition between the Father and the Son, there is also mutual recognition between the Son of God and His followers. As the result of this recognition we have eternal union with the Son of God.
Those who followed Jesus when He was on earth did so because they recognized that He was who He said He was the Son of God. And they openly expressed their faith in Him. "Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16)
What about Jesus' followers today? How do we recognize Him? Just by becoming a member of a church? Or by being called a Christian? No. To be real Christians, we must put all our faith and hopes in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. We must recognize our own sinful condition, spiritual bankruptcy, and need for a Savior; we must repent and accept Him as the Son of God and Savior of the world. How do we do this? We turn our lives over to Him, trust in Him, and follow wherever He leads us.
In addition to Peter's declaration in Matthew 16:16, other Scripture that testifies to the Disciples' belief in Jesus as the Son of God are:
- Matthew 14:33
- John 20:31
- 1 John 5:11-12
- (See also Mark 1:1; John 1:34; 49; 11:27; Acts 9:20; Romans 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 4:14; 1 John 5:5; 10-13; 5:20.)
...by the Son of His Followers
Long before we were born, God knew us. Before the world was formed, God saw us in His plan for the human race. He saw us and claimed us as His own children, sharing His love, enjoying the good things He would prepare for us, and us living with Him in perfect happiness.
"He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." (1 Peter 1:20-21)
2 Timothy 1:9
But God also saw that the human race would turn away from Him in rebellion and would choose the paths of sin and death. God saw us suffering the results of sin in the world and ultimately condemned to eternal death. Rebellious and ungrateful as we were, however, He loved us with an everlasting and unreasonable love. And He worked out a perfect plan for our salvation.
While we were yet sinners, the Son of God chose us to be His followers. He saw our guilt and took the sentence of death in our place. He saw our weakness and gave us His strength. He accepts all those who come to Him and sets them free from the power of sin and sin's penalty of death.
"...he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:4-5)
The names that Jesus used for His followers when He was on earth demonstrate His love for all those who follow Him. He refers to us as His "little children" (Matthew 11:25; 19:14; Luke 10:21; John 13:33), "sons of God" (Matthew 5:9; Luke 20:36), "light of the world" (Matthew 5:14), "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13), His "bride" (John 3:29), His "witnesses" (Luke 24:48), His "little flock" (Luke 12:32) of sheep, His "chosen ones" (John 15:16,19), His "brothers" (Matthew 12:49; 28:10; Mark 3:34; John 20:17), part of Himself as "branches' in the vine (John 15:5).
Write the verses for at least three of the above Scripture references:
Do we recognize Jesus as our Savior and Lord? If so, He recognizes us as His own!
"So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12)
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Everlasting Union of the Son and His Followers
Jesus wants us to be with Him because He loves us and knows that our life, happiness and future all depend on our union with Him. He gives us new life for body, soul and spirit. In Him we find real happiness, fulfillment, and His power to overcome evil. All those who walk with Him day by day now will live with Him forever in heaven.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6.)
"The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:35, 36)
Our union with Jesus should be so close that all who believe in Him are in Christ and He is in us. He is the vine; we are the branches.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5.)
The Apostle Paul describes our union with Christ as being members of His body. Jesus is the Head. His church is His body. All the rights and privileges of the sinless Son of God, all of His riches in glory, all of the love and fellowship between the Son and His Father become ours too as members of His body!
"And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. . . . To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ." (Colossians 1:17-18)
"To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.Christ is in you, which means that you will share the glory of God. So we preach Christ to all men ... in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature individual in union with Christ." (Colossians 1:27-28)
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