THE WORD MADE FLESH
The Father is either like Jesus or Jesus is a liar, a fraud and a deceiver, as the Jews alleged. Which will it be for you? The Jewish view of God at the time of Christ, which is a God of hatred, jealousy, vindictiveness, violence and death or the Jesus view of God, which is a God of infinite love, compassion, wisdom, mercy and justice? This view of God pictures Him as always gentle, always kind, never hurting or killing, but always helping, always saving those who want to be saved, but who cannot and will not interfere with a person’s free choice to reap the result of His own stubborn will. This is what the Bible calls God’s anger, wrath, and punishment. See Psalm 78:49; Romans 1:18, 24, 26, 28. For a God who is not only Omnipotent (all powerful), but also Omniscient, (all knowing and seeing), would never have to resort to our carnal, fleshly methods to win the battle. See 2 Cor. 10:4, 5.
The Beloved John wrote of the Father’s character in the first chapter of his Gospel. “AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWELT AMONG US, [AND WE BEHELD HIS GLORY, THE GLORY AS OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER] FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.” John 1:14. The word GLORY in the Bible means character. Just think of it, through Christ we may obtain the attributes of God the Father, as Jesus did. Since the law is a transcript of His Eternal character, this happens when His law is fully implanted in our minds and hearts. Doesn’t that just make you want to shout for joy!
GOD’S PRESENCE SYMBOLIZED BY A BEAUTIFUL DOVE
When Jesus began His ministry the sign or symbol of God’s presence descended upon Him in the form of a dove. If God’s character is violence, force, destruction and death, then He should have sent a falcon or a hawk. But these arbitrary methods are not the tools of His trade. He sent a sweet, little, beautiful and innocent dove. No wonder the Jews hated Him and rejected Him and hanged Him on a cross. And no wonder that “modern spiritual Jews,” today, with their Jewish concept of God, do not accept the principles of the sermon on the mount which teaches us not to hit back, but to bless and pray for the happiness of our enemies, whom Jesus has told us to love. Modern man does not want that kind of a Messiah to rescue him anymore than the Jews did 2,000+ years ago. “AWAY WITH HIM,” is their cry again today.
THE LAMB OF GOD WHICH CONQUERS THE WORLD
Again, when Jesus looked for a fit symbol to represent Himself 700 years before He came to earth, He selected a lamb, not a dragon, and put this concept into the heart and mind of His prophet Isaiah who depicted the coming Deliverer as a weak and helpless baby sheep who is “BROUGHT AS A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, AND AS A SHEEP BEFORE HER SHEARERS IS DUMB, SO HE OPENETH NOT HIS MOUTH.” ISAIAH 53:7. At both the beginning and at the close of Christ’s ministry He chose non-aggressive animals to depict and symbolize the character of His work. When I verbalized this “LAMB” concept in a question and answer period after a preaching service in a church , someone pointed out that Christ was also pictured as the “LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH.” I agreed that this is true, and although there is a seeming contradiction here, there is in reality no contradiction at all, but very beautiful harmony and symmetry in this animal imagery of the prophets. It is not the lion of this earth which is used to depict the kingly traits of Christ, but the lion of the earth made new, when “The Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together …and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my Holy Mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9.
The Word of God promises that the true power of God is in holiness and Godlikeness, and that characteristic will indeed crush the head of the serpent. “Thou shalt tread upon the Lion and adder: the young Lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver Him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” Psalm 91:13, 14. Will the name of God be written in your forehead, friend of mine? Will it be written in mine? Or will we receive the mark of the beast? The choice is ours entirely. No one is going to force us, for arm twisting and coercion is contrary to the principles of God’s government. “And they [those who understand and possess the character of Christ], shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Rev. 22:4. God is always found by those who are looking for Him with all their hearts. On the night of Christ’s birth only a few shepherds were ready to receive the wonderful story of the SAVIOR’s birth. What about us today? Do we recognize the final message of truth anymore than the Jews recognized the beginning of it?
SIX MONTHS BEFORE
Only six months before, John the Baptist had been born to an old woman talking excitedly (fanatically, they no doubt said), about the appearance of an angel who had appeared to her husband announcing the forerunner of the Messiah. She was to be the mother of this forerunner, so her husband had told her. Zacharias was dumb, due to his unbelief, and could only write her notes, but she believed his story, especially after she became pregnant. But the priests didn’t believe. “So, he had a stroke,” they intoned piously, no doubt. “What is so unusual about that? After all, he is getting pretty old. As far as your pregnancy is concerned, we have no comment,” they probably concluded as they dismissed her and her “ridiculous” prophetic utterances. “When the Messiah gets ready to come,” they told themselves, as they went back to their scrolls, “God will tell us first. We will know about it before anyone else. Jehovah would not bypass us for we are His most loyal, dedicated and faithful servants. Yes, we will know the Messiah when He comes. Our interpretation of Holy Writ is infallible.” At the time of Christ’s first Advent, pride and envy had closed the door of the hearts of Israel’s leaders. They were primarily interested in maintaining their theological positions and their power, influence and control over the people which guaranteed them a fixed yearly income as well as proof that they were indeed the elect of God. Later when Christ Himself was born they treated the reports of the shepherds as unworthy of their notice. They might have found the Messiah themselves and been ready to lead the wise men to His birthplace, but instead the situation was just reversed.
These so-called “men of God,” showed their contempt for the heaven sent reports that were troubling King Herod and all Jerusalem by refusing to even go to Bethlehem to check things out. There and then they began rejecting Christ by leading the people to regard the interest in Jesus as a fanatical excitement. Their pride and stubbornness developed into hatred which closed the door to themselves, but opened it to the Gentiles. How did the Jews die? How did Jerusalem die? Did God kill them? No, they were killed by the Romans whom they hated, but whom they should have loved. They sowed to the wind in all their words, actions and attitude and they reaped the whirlwind. So it will be in the final day of judgment. The wicked will kill and be killed by their enemies, for there will be no friends in this final age among those who refuse the truth about God’s true character. Every man will count his neighbor an enemy. Ezekiel 28:6-10. In chapter 12 we dealt with the mechanics of that destruction and how it is effected. See also, Ezek. 38:21; Zech. 14:13.
GOD’S FIRE OF TRUTH AND LOVE
Jesus said unto them, [Jewish leaders arguing with His declaration that He is the Messiah], verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58. Who was this speaking? Why, it was the Ever living One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. This is the Jesus of the Old Testament standing before the leaders of Israel, who did not know him. Christ said in Luke 12:49, I am Come to send fire on the Earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Question: did the fire of the burning bush in Moses’ day or the fire that Jesus brought when He was upon earth burn anybody? Did Moses or the Jewish leaders or the disciples receive third degree burns as a result of coming into the presence of Christ?
No, they didn’t. Why? Because the FIRE OF GOD in this instance was the fire of His very presence, which is infinite purity, love, truth and total righteousness. Song of Solomon 8:6, Isa 10:17. Man in his mortal state and carnal mentality cannot stand in the presence of such a being without having a total mental and physical breakdown, unless God shields His glory from them. This is what Jesus did in the case of Moses as well as in the case of the Jewish leaders, especially the Jewish leaders.
When the demons came into the veiled presence of Christ’s glory when He was upon earth in the body of a man, they went into a frenzy. “Let us alone; what have We to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou Come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” Mark 1:24. Again in the country of Gadara the demons cried out with a loud voice, and said, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not.” Mark 5:7. Notice the doctrine of this devil. He believes that God torments His creatures. Since we exist on a different plane, we cannot see the unseen world as the good and evil angels do. Perhaps their mental and physical vibrations are so speeded up that we are unable to see them with our eyes of flesh. They are not encumbered with matter as we are, and yet they exist in a very real world of their own. God has wisely and lovingly veiled the brightness of His glory (character) so we can communicate with Him on our level and live. The more we read His Word and desire to live according to His perfect will, the more of His beautiful likeness we can absorb and the more we absorb, the closer we are able to come to Him without being aware of our unfitness to be in His Eternal presence. And as His mind, will and likeness are more and more impressed upon us, we will feel more and more comfortable in His presence.
When an evil angel or human being comes into the presence of truth and righteousness in the form of an angel of God, (who is in charge of a large company, no doubt), guarding a special agent of God, that evil angel or unsaved person is often very uncomfortable and anxious to get away from that presence as soon as possible. Why? Because they are convicted of their sinfulness. This causes tremendous mental torture. They are afraid of God, for they are living in their sin and love it instead of God. But the born again believer is not afraid, for his sins have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment [decision]: because as he is, so we are in this world. [We have become perfect in Jesus], there is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:17,18. A good example of this is Saul of Tarsus. When the bright “light from heaven,” Acts 9:3, 4, which was the presence of Jesus, shined upon Saul, it frightened him so much that he “fell to the earth.” Saul realized immediately that he was in the presence of infinite purity. Saul’s experience is just a little sample of what the wicked at the end of the world will suffer when the eyes of Jesus look upon the wicked with His fiery look of love. Rev. 1:7, 14; Song of Solomon 8:6. This is the final judgment. Our minds record every bit of information which comes into our experience, conscious and unconscious and is able to be recalled instantly with perfect accuracy when God permits it to happen. If God is love, why would He permit this torture of mind? I can only believe that it is one last effort on His part to bring the lost to an awareness of their true condition. Everything else has failed. This is all that is left and He will leave no stone unturned to bring us to repentance. Every decision each person ever made is clearly revealed and every effort on God’s part to save the sinner from himself, (the passions or fire of his own carnal desire) and from the tricks of Satan. Every invitation slighted. Every opportunity ignored. “For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known,” Luke 12:2. And they went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them. Rev. 20:9. Rev 11:4,5. To fully understand what this means one has to consider the word FIRE in its total aspect and usage throughout the Bible. DEVOURING FIRE, doesn’t always mean a literal fire, but is often referring to a fire such as Moses saw when he approached the burning bush on Sinai. It was the Eternal Presence of Christ in the OT. Now notice this: “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” Isaiah 33:14.
Is it possible that this fire, which is His GLORY OR CHARACTER, will cause such a chemical reaction in the bodies of the lost when he comes in our age, that they will begin to deteriorate as they stand on their feet in the very presence of CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS? Listen to this description of their fate. Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. Zech. 14:12.
When a person has a fire of guilt, remorse, hate, jealousy and revenge burning away inside of him and a literal fire he himself has started burning the world up around him, it isn’t likely that he will last more than a few hours or days. The fire that burns on the inside will burn first as the wicked see what they have lost and how they have unfitted themselves to dwell in the presence of God. This burning inside will lead to the literal fire which is started by the wicked, not by God. Isa. 9:18-20, Ezek. 38:21; Zech. 14:13, Psalm 140:7-10.
The more sins a person has to recall, the longer he will suffer and burn. Where their worm dies not and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:46. The worm here is obviously the worm of sin (Pride ego or the carnal mind which separate us from God) and since Satan’s worm is bigger and longer than anyone’s he will suffer longer than anyone else. But God does not kill him. “They [the terrible of the nations] shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slays thee, I am God? [compare Isa. 14:12-14] But thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of Him that slays thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.” Ezek. 28:8-10. This will happen twice. Once before the 1,000 years begin, and once afterward. The first will be physical and spiritual but the second time, after the 1,000 years, it will be totally spiritual and symbolic.