[ 865 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Theophanies (The Son appearing in human form) |a
[ 866 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Theophanies (The Son appearing in human form) |b
[ 867 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Theophanies (The Son appearing in human form) |c
[ 868 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Theophanies (The Son appearing in human form) |d
[ 869 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Incarnate Christ (God Becomes Man) |a
[ 870 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Incarnate Christ (God Becomes Man) |b
[ 871 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Incarnate Christ (God Becomes Man) |c
[ 872 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Incarnate Christ (God Becomes Man) |d
[ 873 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Holy Spirit (Pneuma Hagion) |a
[ 874 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Holy Spirit (Pneuma Hagion) |b
[ 875 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Holy Spirit (Pneuma Hagion) |c
[ 876 ] Les Feldick [ Book 73 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Holy Spirit (Pneuma Hagion) |d
THEOPHANIES: GOD THE SON APPEARING IN HUMAN FORM
Genesis 17:1 and Various Other Scriptures
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in again this afternoon. For those of you out in television, we’ve checked and have out-of-state from all over the country with us today. We’re just praising the Lord for you and for all of you regulars. Again, we just thank you for your faithfulness.
I don’t like to repeat things unnecessarily, but for benefit of any new listeners, we’re just an informal, simple Bible study. I don’t try to get deep and get theological, per se, but on the other hand, a lot of people write and say they appreciate the deeper things. So, maybe we’re hitting a natural average or something.
Anyway, for those of you in the studio, we’re ready to look at Genesis chapter 2. Again, for the benefit of our TV audience, we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to look at the “Theophanies.” I’ve had several questions over the years on what is a theophany. Well, it’s a great big Greek word, but it simply means—when God appeared in human form. He was the invisible God.
I should have had Sharon put my circle on the board, but I’m going to have to do it myself. Bear with me. I still think it’s the easiest way to explain the Triune God is that in the Godhead. And that’s what it’s called in Colossians chapter 2—the Godhead. We have the Father; we have the Son; and, of course, the Holy Spirit. Now, they are invisible until one or the other steps out of that invisible realm.
I think the best way we can explain that is to turn back to Colossians. I’ve done this so often over the years. I have the studio audience ready to go someplace, and then I think of something else. So, go back with me to Colossians, so that you’ll know where I’m coming from when I say that it was the invisible Godhead.
Colossians chapter 1—so that you’ll see it from your own Bible. I usually like to start in verse 12. Now, we were on this not too long ago, but some of these things can never get repeated often enough. Here, Paul is praying, of course, on behalf of the Colossi believers. He comes down to verse 12 and he says:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet (or who hath prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13. Who (speaking of God the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14. In whom (Now we’re talking about the Son.) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Now, that’s not a period; it’s a colon. So the thought carries right on down to the next verse.) 15. Who…”
Now, most of you know I’m a stickler for grammar. Except, as I’ve shared with the audience, and I shared with an English teacher again today. I have one glaring error that I can’t get rid of. I’ll still say that Christ died for you and I. And I know that’s wrong, and all of you know it’s wrong. But nevertheless, I like to emphasize grammar and English because otherwise Scripture can be misinterpreted. All right, so getting back to the rule of grammar, the word “who” is a pronoun modifying the Son. Not the Father up there in verse 12, it’s modifying the Son in verse 13. All right, so it’s the Son–
“Who is (Now watch this carefully.) the image of (What kind of a God?) the invisible God,…” See that? God the Son became the visible image of the invisible God.
All right, now I just mentioned a verse since you’re in Colossians anyway, just go over to chapter 2 verse 8 and 9 and then you get the term that I referred to – the Godhead.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” You’ve heard me emphasize over and over that tradition is a bad word in Scripture. Tradition is sending millions if not billions to an eternal doom.
You know, I had one guy call one time and he said, “Les, I have to believe this way because this is what my dad believed, and this is what grandpa believed.” I said, “But what if they were wrong?” Well he says, “I guess then I’m lost.” Well, that’s a horrible way to look at it. And Scripture is constantly condemning tradition. If you’re locked into tradition, that’s wrong – break out of it! Get into the truth of the Scriptures. That’s what Paul is saying—Look out! Beware, lest you get wrapped up in the tradition after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ. Now verse 9:
“For in him (in Christ, in God the Son) dwelleth all the fullness of the (What?)… Godhead bodily.” So, He is like chapter 1 said. He is the visual manifestation of that invisible God.
All right, if I may get back to the board a minute. We’re going to show how that as time goes by and creation is now rolling, one of these members of the Godhead, predominately God the Son, is going to step out, and He’s going to become the communicator. Now, in order to make that point, since you’re back in the New Testament anyway, drop in at John’s Gospel chapter 1—God the Son, the Communicator.
If you know anything of Scripture at all, how does God always accomplish what He wants done? In other words, at Creation what did He do? He spoke the word. And all through Scripture, the things that have been kept secret, Deuteronomy tells us that once He speaks it, it’s no longer secret, now it’s for the human race. But it can’t be applied until it is spoken. All right, so this is my basis for calling God the Son the communicator. If you’ve got John chapter 1, you all know the verse.
“In the beginning…” And again, it doesn’t bother with telling us when. It doesn’t matter. You know, I told someone the other day, you ask a geologist digging for oil or natural gas if he ever stops to consider whether the world’s a million years old or ten thousand? Do they care? It doesn’t make a bit of difference where they drill. But you see people get all hung up on some of these things—is this old universe millions upon millions of years old, or is it a few thousand years old? You know what I say? What difference does it make? God knows. And that’s why He doesn’t see fit to tell us. It doesn’t say ten thousand years ago. It doesn’t say one million years ago. What does it say? “In the beginning…,” and leave it at that.
“In the beginning (whenever it was) was the Word, (capitalized) and the Word was with God, (Contrary to the Jehovah’s Witness Bible; keep reading.) and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made (or created) by him; (Now don’t forget who we’re talking about—the Word.) and without him was not anything made that was made.” Because He alone would speak the word and things could happen. Now come down to verse 14, and that just puts the frosting on the cake, doesn’t it?
“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.” So, what person of the Godhead is the Word? Well, God the Son. God the Son stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became the Communicator representing the whole. He spoke the word out of which came Creation as we know it and all these other revelations from Scripture and so forth.
Now, we’re not going to ignore the Holy Spirit. We’re going to touch on Him in, hopefully, a later taping. I don’t think I’ll get that far this afternoon. But, anyway, in the New Testament—we have to realize that in the New Testament we do not have theophanies because it’s no longer necessary, because God the Son has taken on human flesh never to have that abrogated.
But back in the Old Testament economy, He still has not taken on flesh. He has not become the incarnate Son of God. So, whenever God the Son had to communicate, like with Adam and Eve and Abraham, as we’re going to see now in the coming moments, it was through a theophany. He would appear in human form. And evidently it was such a form that probably didn’t look the same two times in a row. Because I don’t think Abraham recognized Him as such, even the second go around.
So, whatever we have to take on this is that He appeared in human form, and then after He finished what needed to be done, He simply went back into the invisible Godhead. And whenever it was time for Him to reappear to someone, He would step out and He would be another theophany.
We’re going to look at these this afternoon throughout the Old Testament, remembering that when He appeared in the flesh at Bethlehem, no more theophanies. Now, it’s always the appearance of the incarnate Word, God the Son, who has taken on human form or human flesh.
All right, now if you’ll come back with me to Genesis chapter 2, and I kind of hedge on calling this a theophany, because the Scripture lacks the word appeared. But on the other hand, logic tells me that He must have looked and appeared to Adam first and then later on to the two of them in a human form. All right, now let’s go back to Genesis chapter 2 and start at verse 20. Now again, we don’t know the time element. I don’t even venture a guess as to how long it was from the time that God created Adam—and then the part that really throws people when I put Eve in Adam, but it has to be—until He takes Eve out of Adam and brings her to him. I don’t know how long a period of time. Everybody’s got their own guess, and I don’t even try. But here in verse 20 we have come far enough beyond Adam’s creation that he is naming the creation.
“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an helpmeet for him.” Now don’t forget, where is Eve? Well, she’s in Adam. That goes back to Genesis 1:26. She had to be. She had to be because of these next verses, as well as the theological concept. Because you see, Adam is the Federal Head of the whole human race, not just the male element. He’s the Federal Head of the whole human race, male and female.
Now stop and think logically. Had Eve not been created within Adam, back there in Genesis 1, then the female of the species would need a separate redeemer. It’s just logical, because Adam would not have been the Federal Head of the women. But he was. Romans tells us that “by one man sin entered and by sin death.” So we have to come back and theologically understand that Adam is the Federal Head of the whole human race, male and female, lest none of them escape the Fall. The same way as the Second Adam then, Jesus the Christ was capable of bringing redemption for all. The two offset each other.
All right, back here in Genesis chapter 2 Adam gives names to all the cattle. We don’t know how long even that took, or how long it’s been since he was created, but—and I always make the point when I teach this—can you get the mind of Adam? I’m sure God did it just like He did at the flood. I think every creature came with its mate. I think, without apology, that everything was coming to be named with its mate. Why wouldn’t it?
All right, so what was within the mind of Adam? Everything’s got a mate, why haven’t I? And now God recognizes it. That’s exactly what He said up in verse 18. You’ve got to go to that.
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make an helpmeet for him.” Someone who is called alongside to be equal with him. All right, so after naming all the animals and impressing again, like I said, on his mind, why does everything have a mate and I’m alone? Now then, verse 21:
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; (Of course, I call this the first anesthesia. God put him to sleep and did surgery.) and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;” So, God took the Eve that was implanted when Adam was first made. I’d better go back and show you. Because you know, this has thrown people a curve. They just can’t get it through their heads that when God created Adam, only Adam appeared. But on the other hand, Eve was also there. Go back to Genesis 1 verse 26.
“And God said, Let us (The Triune God, that’s why it’s a plural pronoun.) make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them (mankind) have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image,…” Now we always have to stop there.
Did that mean that God already had the features of a human being? No. God has been invisible. So, what part of God was passed on to Adam? The invisible. The personality. I had to go over this on the phone yesterday. When a lost person dies—don’t you believe these false teachers who say that’s annihilation. That they don’t—no. Every human being was created in the image of God, and that human being is going to live as long as God lives. And how long is that? Forever. No human being will ever die spiritually. They can’t. They are eternal, because God is.
That’s why we have to stipulate that the Lake of Fire is not just for a short period of time. It’s not annihilation. The Scripture says over and over that it’s forever and ever. It has to be, because man is eternal and will last forever.
All right, back to Genesis chapter 1. So, “God created man in his own image.” In the area of the invisible. That part of us that’s invisible—the mind, the will, and the emotions. We know they’re real. They’re there. You’ve got a mind or you wouldn’t be here today. You’ve got a will or you wouldn’t be here today, because the will has to make you make the move to get where you’re going. And you’ve got a seat of emotions. I know you do, because some of you smile and some of you don’t. Why? You’ve got a different set of emotions. But it’s the human makeup. So has God.
In fact, I’ve told people over and over. You go back through your Scripture and study, and you will find that God the Father has a mind, has will, and has emotion. God the Son has mind, will, and emotion. God the Spirit, believe it or not, has mind, will, and emotion. So, they are all three personalities, and the human makeup is patterned after that.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” But now you’ve got to be logical. How could he create Adam and Eve, both living beings, when way back later Adam’s already named all the animals and he’s still alone? Doesn’t add up. So, Eve was not a visible helpmeet until, now go back to chapter 2, until God puts Adam to sleep. Anesthetizes him, does surgery on him and brings the female out and makes her a fellow human being. All right verse 22:
“And the rib, (I like the Hebrew word much better – the Tselaw, which better translated is a side chamber and so the Tselaw) which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Now, is that so hard to understand? He just took something out of Adam that He had placed there at the day of creation, and with it He formed the female of the species, the woman. All right? And this is much later. He has already named all the creatures of creation. And don’t tell me he did that in a split second of time. I just won’t buy that.
All right, now in verse 23 Adam wakes up. What’s the first thing he sees? Well, it doesn’t say it, but good grief, use a little imagination. What’s the first thing he sees? That beautiful woman! And don’t tell me she wasn’t beautiful. God had a way with making women beautiful in the Old Testament. Do you know that? There dear old Sarah was 90 years old and she was still so beautiful that the king of Egypt wanted her in his harem. So don’t ever try and tell me God wasn’t interested in beautiful women back here. So I know that Eve was something to behold. That’s the first thing he sees. And now look what he says in verse 23.
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, (Why? Because, she was taken out of him.) and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Now, do you need any more? That’s so simple a five-year-old can understand it.) 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
All right, now I have to feel that God did all this in human form. But, I say I shrink from it, I don’t like to call it a theophany, because the word appear isn’t used here like it is in the others, so I’m assuming, which normally I don’t like to do. But now come across, at least in my Bible, to chapter 3 verse 8. Again we still don’t have the word appear, but logic tells me that He must have been walking in human form. This is just after they’ve sinned. They’re hiding, and verse 8 says:
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:…” Now what’s the key word there to establish whether He’s in human form? Walking.
You know where I’ve learned little things like that? Our Jewish guide in Israel. One time he said to our tour group, do you know that this happened in the springtime? No, the Bible doesn’t say it does. Well, he says you have to learn to read between the lines. Where does he tell them to sit? Down on the grass. Now, he says, in Israel there’s only green grass for just a few months in the springtime. The rest of the time it’s brown and dry. So, you have to do that with Scripture. You have to take what you have got along with what you know and you can establish something that’s pretty solid. All right, so here we’ve got the Lord walking. An invisible Spirit isn’t spoken of as walking.
“and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God, amongst the trees of the garden. 9. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
Now that always raises my eyebrows. Didn’t God know where they were? Of course He did! Nothing can be hidden from Him. So, why the question? Well, now I’m going to remind you of something. Do you realize that almost always in His earthly ministry, if not always, when He approached someone and opened a conversation, how did He start? With a question. Always with a question. Well, He started out that way with Adam. The first thing He says is “Adam, where art thou?”
Not because He didn’t know. So, what’s the purpose? He had to put Adam on the soapbox. Come on, Adam, tell me where you are. Speak up. And after he tells him where he is, God says, “Who told you were naked?” Well, God knew. But He wants Adam to speak it. Always remember these things. That as the Lord, especially in His earthly ministry, opens a conversation, He does it with a question. I think it’s a good lesson for us.
Iris and I have learned. You know, we’re not normally among a lot of people. We’re out there in the boondocks on the ranch. But yet we meet a lot of people in our seminars, and you know, we’ve learned. How do you break the ice and get acquainted with people? You ask a question. Just a simple question. How did you meet your spouse? When did you get saved? All these things break the ice.
Well, I take this as a lesson from Scripture that the Lord always started out with a question of one sort or another. Well anyway, here the Lord is confronting Adam and Eve after their sin. I think I’m going to spend the last two minutes of this half hour on verses 20 and 21 and 22, when once again I’m sure the Lord appeared in human form. It doesn’t say it, and I’m careful to remind you of that. But according to the details, I think He must have been in human form.
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; (Now you want to remember, all through these chapters since she appeared it’s been “the woman.” The woman—but now, all of a sudden out of the blue, Adam calls her Eve.) because she was the mother of all living.” Well, how in the world did Adam know that she was going to be the mother of all living? All they had heard was that the day they eatest thou shall surely what? Die.
Well, dead people don’t have children. So, how did Adam understand that she was going to live to see the day of raising children? Now come on, think! God must have told them. When God tells us something, what does He expect us to do? Believe it. And when you believe what God says, He calls it what? Faith. Now, I did this not too many weeks ago. What are the prerequisites for salvation? “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission,” and “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
All right, Adam and Eve fulfilled those right here. Adam shows his faith by believing what God has said concerning the woman, and he calls her Eve because she is the mother of all living. All right, now you come over to verse 21.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Now goodness sakes, you know God didn’t skin those animals live, so what did He have to do? He killed them. And in the killing what do you suppose He used? The blood. Because it was a prerequisite, it was mandatory “that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin.”
All right, so now we’ve got Adam’s faith by calling his wife’s name Eve. We’ve got God supplying the sacrificial animals; their blood was shed. Then by virtue of their saving relationship, they’re brought back into fellowship. God clothed them with what? Righteousness. Exactly. We haven’t got time to look, but you go to Isaiah 61, and I think it is verse 10, and what does it say?
“…for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” That’s what God has done. Not just for Adam and Eve, but for every believer. We’re covered. We’re clothed with His righteousness. And you know, I don’t know about you, but I know how I feel. I’m glad God doesn’t see me, but only the righteousness of Christ that covers me.
LESSON ONE * PART II
THEOPHANIES: GOD THE SON APPEARING IN HUMAN FORM
Genesis 17:1 and Various Other Scriptures
I want to again remind our audience of the one and only book we’ve ever published, and yet it’s been so well received. It’s just amazing how they keep going out. We go to seminars and they go by the box full. If you are interested in that, it’s eighty-eight questions and answers taken from our program material and covers the whole gambit, and the cost is only $11. This book saves me a lot of letter writing, instead of having to answer them all.
I do answer questions in long hand, and you know why? I don’t want people to think that someone like a staff member is answering my mail. We do it ourselves. And they may have a hard time reading my handwriting. We thank you so much out there in television for all your prayers and your letters of encouragement. My, as I’ve said before, mail time is the best time of the day. And then your financial help, we never ask for money, never have had to and the Lord provides, but we still have to thank you for it. And it is the same way with all of you here.
All right, we’re going to keep on with our teaching this afternoon on Theophanies. If we get beyond them, we’ll go on to some of the appearances of God in the incarnate. But hopefully we can spend the afternoon on the Old Testament Theophanies. We’re going to bring you now up to Genesis chapter 12, where we have the next direct spoken appearance of God the Son. As I mentioned in the last half-hour, whenever you have God speaking or creating, or doing anything, I think I’m without danger of being in error when I say it’s always God the Son. God the Son is always the Creator. He’s always the One who speaks things and they happen. And He’s the One that always has direct contact with the human race.
Now, like I said, in programs to come we’ll be dealing with the work of the Holy Spirit, but that’s something totally different. When God the Son speaks and creation happens, yes, the Holy Spirit is involved; so is the Father. But the Scripture, especially in the New Testament, gives all the credit for it to God the Son.
All right, let’s come back to Genesis chapter 12 for a moment. We’ll start at verse 1. We’ve jumped several hundred years now from Adam. We’re up to Abraham at about 2,000 B.C.
“Now the LORD…” Now again the word LORD, capitalized, is Jehovah. And Jehovah is the I AM. And the I AM is God the Son. So, here we come right back full circle. We’re dealing with God the Son.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.” All right, but now the word appeared still doesn’t come up, does it? And as I said in the last program, I am a little uncomfortable if I can’t use the word appeared.
Now, I’m going to bring you all the way up to Acts chapter 7, where we have Stephen giving the whole rehearsal of Israel’s history starting with Abraham. And he uses the word that I’m looking for. Acts chapter 7, starting at verse 1, I always like to give you time to look. I had a letter the other day thanking us for giving time, because I think all of our listeners must use their Bible while they listen to the program. And that’s the only way we would have it. So we do want to give you time to find these verses and see them with your own eyes, because most people just do not know how to read and see what they’re reading. They read, but they don’t see it. All right, chapter 7 verse 1, and we’ve been dealing with Stephen up in chapter 6.
“Then said the high priest, Are these things so? (And Stephen answers.) 2. Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory (What’s the word?) appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran.” Now the word appeared there is the Greek word optomahei, from which we get optometry. And it literally is translated—visibly seen.
Stephen, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes it plain that the God of glory appeared visibly, physically, in a theophany. He did not take on human flesh like Christ did at Bethlehem, but He merely appeared to Abraham in human form and then went up from Abraham, as we’re going to see in one of the other accounts in a little bit. He left off and went up from Abraham. No doubt back into that invisible Godhead that we pointed out in our last program.
All right, now if you’ll come back with me to Genesis chapter 12, here God appears to this pagan citizen of Ur of the Chaldees, evidently knowing that he had the ability to believe and be obedient to what He would have done. So Abram then becomes the key player from 2,000 B.C. right on up through to our present day. Because everything in our Christian gospel—our Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior, however you want to refer to Christ—naturally has to go back to this promise made to Abraham. All right, chapter 12 verse 1 again.
“Now the LORD had said (having had appeared) unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation,…” Now, never forget or lose sight of the fact, who’s making it happen? God is! This isn’t just an accident of genealogy. This is a particular act of God that brings about the nation of Israel.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:…” And history has proven that over and over. When a king or a kingdom or an empire turns on the Nation of Israel, in time, not always immediately, the wrath of God will fall upon them. And that’s why we are so stressing constantly that you pray for America that we will never turn on His people, the Nation of Israel.
All right, but then the last part of verse 3 is where you and I come in. Two thousand years before Christ but already we have the plan of salvation for the Gentile world alluded to.
“…and in thee (In this man Abram, as he’s still called here, in this man Abram.) shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Now of course, that’s a reference to the fact that the Messiah would come to the Nation of Israel, and as the rejected Messiah then became the epitome of the work of the cross. All right, so here we have God the Son starting the Nation of Israel on its role through human history by an appearance to this great man of faith, Abraham.
All right, now then, if you’ll go with me to chapter 17. We come over to the birth of Ishmael. Isaac has not yet been born. Abram thinks, of course, that Ishmael is all he needs to get a nation of people going. But in Genesis 17 verse 1, we’ve got the word that I’m always looking for.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, (That’s almost a hundred.) the LORD (Now what’s the word?) appeared (Visibly. Physically. In human form. Temporarily.) unto Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; (Now, the Hebrew word there is El Shaddai, the Almighty.) walk before me, and be thou perfect.” In other words, be upright and be a mature man of faith.
“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. (Now, you see how this has to come from Deity? Nobody but the Creator God could make those kind of statements. But God can.) 3. And Abram fell on his face: and God…” Don’t forget, where does God the Son come out of? The invisible Godhead.
In fact, I always have to do this, can’t help it. Jump up with me to Exodus chapter 3. The burning bush, it has got to be Exodus chapter 3. Just to make the point how that these terms of Deity become interchangeable. Even though we’re only dealing with One person of the Three, and it’s God the Son, all the terms of Deity apply. Exodus chapter 3 verse 5, it’s when Moses is confronted with the burning bush out there on the desert.
“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6. Moreover he said, (Now watch this carefully.) I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”
All right, now as you come down through the account of Moses dealing with God in the burning bush, you come all the way down to verse 11.
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12. And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” All right, now we come to verse 13, where Moses said:
“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” Remember when we taught this not too long ago on the daily program? Why was Moses immediately interested in His name? Because every god in Egypt had a name. That was just part of his Egyptian culture. If you’re a god, you’ve got to have a name. So that is what Moses is anticipating. The children of Israel are going to say, well, what is His name?
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Now, all the way through here we find this burning bush voice. I don’t think it was an appearance here. That’s why it’s not in my list of Theophanies. But here this voice is the voice of God, and what person of the Godhead? God the Son. Well, now the first question the doubter may say is, how do you know it’s God the Son? Well, the I AM THAT I AM.
Turn back with me to John’s Gospel. That’s why we have to go back Old and New, it’s the only way it makes sense. Now, you come back to John’s Gospel chapter 8, and we’ve done this before. But repetition is the mother of learning. So, I never really apologize for repetition. But on the other hand, I sometimes shrink from it a little. All right, here in John’s Gospel chapter 8 you remember that the religious leaders of Israel are trying to trap Him one way or another. And then in verse 48:
“Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon? (What an accusation, just awful.) 49. Jesus answered, I have not a demon; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.” So, the conversation carries on up to verse 52.
“Then said the Jews unto him, (Now this is Jesus, of course. I trust you know that. This is His earthly ministry.) Now we know that thou hast a demon. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54. Jesus answered, If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my father who honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55. Yet ye have not known him;…”
Boy, now that was quite an accusation to the Jew, wasn’t it? Because the Jew figured that by being the child and son of Abraham they had everything they needed. No, they didn’t. They were still without saving faith, even though they were under the covenant promises. All right, so Jesus makes it so plain that of “whom you say he is your God yet you have not known him.” They were religious, but what? Lost. Lost. Oh, they had all the religion in the world, but they knew nothing of God. And Jesus makes it plain.
“Yet ye have not known him; but I know him; and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: (What a statement! Almost unbelievable, isn’t it?) but I know him, and keep his saying. 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” See how this fits with our theophany? Of course He did. Face to face! All right, then verse 58, here’s why I know the I AM of the burning bush was God the Son.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, (What?) I AM.” And what was the name of God in the burning bush? I AM. And so all through the Book of John, especially, He is constantly referring to Himself as the great I AM.
All right, now if you’ll come back with me to Genesis once again, to chapter 17. We find that–oh, I knew a point I was going to make at the beginning of the last program. I mean maybe that’s where I should make a note or two. That might help. You know a lot of people question, “Well, doesn’t the Bible say that no man can ever look on God at any time and live?”
Yes, that’s what the Bible says. Well, then how can you sit up there and teach that here He appeared to Adam and Eve. He appeared to Abraham, and they looked on God. All right, now what’s the big difference? No human being has ever looked in on or has seen the invisible Godhead. And if they were to, it would be instant death. That’s what the Scripture means when it says that no man has ever seen God. They have never seen this invisible Godhead. But that doesn’t mean they can’t see God the Son.
Got that? And that’s why we can take these verses, and you’re going to see more and more. I think the most obvious one is Jacob, and he names the place Peniel. Why? For I have seen God. How? Face to face. Well, it didn’t kill him, because he wasn’t looking at the invisible Triune God. He was dealing with God the Son. Okay, so back to Genesis chapter 17. And again, God appeared unto him and He said:
“…I AM the Almighty God;…” I AM the El Shaddai. And He promises this covenant promise between God and the Nation of Israel. And then it’s up here in verse 4.
“As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”
Now, you want to remember that He does the same thing with Sarai. He changes her name from Sarai to Sarah, which brings in the letter ‘h,’ which is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. That is the letter of, or the number of, Grace. So, it is God’s Grace that brings about the promises made with Abram and Sarai.
All right, now I think we can go from Genesis 17 to, let’s see, let’s go to another one. Back up a chapter to chapter 16. Now we’re going to deal with Hagar, which means that God doesn’t appear just to the godly men. He sometimes appears to the secular, the unbelieving. And Hagar, of course, would be in that category. Hagar was the Egyptian gal from whom Ishmael was born. But nevertheless, God deals with her on a face-to-face basis. All right, in Genesis chapter 16 we’re going to take…it’s been a long time since we’ve taught Genesis. Even though you’ve been seeing it in the reruns, I’m comfortable with going over it again.
Here in chapter 16, after having been promised a son that would bring about a nation of people, Abram gets impatient, doesn’t he? Well, time is going by. Years are going by and still no son. So, of his own volition and Sarah of course encouraging it, he has a child by the slave girl Hagar. All right, now you know the story. I think I can bring it in up at verse 4, where he and Sarai have connived together that he would have a child by this slave girl, which was in accord with the laws of Hammurabi. It wasn’t immoral according to their custom. So, we can’t put any sinful connotation on it, except that God wasn’t in it. This is something they did without God’s instructions.
“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.” Well, of course that goes back again to Middle Eastern customs. To have a son is the greatest thing that a woman can do. All right, verse 5:
“And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid unto thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: Now the LORD judge between me and thee. 6. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; (She’s yours. You’re the one that’s in control of Hagar.) do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” Now verse 7:
“And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.” Now, I’ve got to stop again. I have to be careful, because there are some of our, what we call cults, who claim that Christ is nothing more than an angel, and they like to quote a verse like this to back up their false teachings. So, let’s right off the bat stop and let’s pick up who the angel of the LORD is, so that there’s no mistaking it.
Come ahead with me to Genesis chapter 48 verse 16. Genesis 48. We have to use these little tidbits of Scripture to solidify our thinking. Just because He’s now called angel of the LORD doesn’t mean that He’s less than Deity. It doesn’t mean that He’s part of the angelic hosts at all, because here Scripture defines it. Genesis 48 verse 16. Jacob is of course on his deathbed, and he’s pouring out his blessing on the sons, verse 16.
“The Angel who redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” All right, but the key part here is, the Angel who what? Redeemed. How many Redeemers in Scripture? One! There is one Redeemer in Scripture. So the Angel of the LORD, the Angel who redeemed, is still God the Son.
So, when Hagar—now come back with me to Genesis 16—we find that Hagar is confronted in a theophany the same way that Adam and Eve were. The same way that Abraham was. And now she says it in plain English in verse 8. But first I’ve got to read verse 7 so that you don’t forget where we came from.
“And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain on the way to Shur. 8. And he (the Angel of the Lord) said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence comest thou? (Where’d you come from?) and whether wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 10. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;…” Now, who but God could make statements like that? Well, they can’t. So we’re still dealing with God the Son. All right, now come all the way down to verse 13.
“And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? 14. Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. 16. And Abram was fourscore and six year old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram. “
But the point we want to make is that she says here that, “have I also looked after Him that seeth me?” She was on a face-to-face confrontation with God the Son.
Now we can come back once more, I think we’ve got a minute of time. If not, we’ll continue it in the next program. And that’s right on into chapter 18. And once again we come back to Abraham. Genesis chapter 18, and we start right at verse 1. The word is just going to jump right off the page, isn’t it? What is it? Appeared!
“And the LORD appeared unto him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3. And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:”
Well, now I haven’t got time to go any further here in this program. We’ll pick it up in the next one. But I usually make the emphasis that here in verse 3, when he uses the term “My Lord,” he’s not using the term Deity, Adonai. He’s merely respecting these three wayfaring men. So he refers to them like we would say, “sir,” “If now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away.”
Now again, I’m making that point because I do not think that he recognized the Lord in His theophany here, as he saw him back in a previous one. But, we’ll cover that in the next program, maybe to your satisfaction. But always remember, that the Scripture is so adamant and is so clear that when there were these appearances, it was Deity who was speaking—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and the God of Scripture. So, we’ll leave it at that, and we’ll pick it up in our next program.
LESSON ONE * PART III
THEOPHANIES: GOD THE SON APPEARING IN HUMAN FORM
Genesis 17:1 and Various Other Scriptures
We want to welcome our TV audience and thank you for everything that you do on our behalf: the prayers, your gifts, and everything. We’ve been on a lot of seminars lately. What a joy to meet people person-to-person. I guess the favorite word we hear is “I watch you every day.” That word “every” just sort of puts the frosting on the cake. There’s a gentleman right there, and we like that, that they get interested in the Word and not Les Feldick, but it’s the Word of God that is interesting.
All right, Genesis chapter 18, we’ll start back at the beginning, again. We’re still talking about the Theophanies, where God the Son steps out of the invisible Godhead and becomes a visible appearance to these men and women in the Old Testament. Remember, that once we get to His birth at Bethlehem, we call it the incarnate. And I didn’t realize until the other day that incarnate is not a biblical word. You know, we’ve got a lot of words we think are biblical and they’re not. Trinity is one. Sovereign is one. And this is another one. You don’t find the word incarnate in the Scripture, but all of the things that it pertains to are. So anyway, once we get to the incarnate Christ after His birth at Bethlehem, we’ll have no more Theophanies. Don’t need to, because He now appears in a literal, physical body. All right, so Genesis 18, we have another theophany in verse 1 where it begins “The LORD.” Now, here it’s all four letters capitalized, so it’s Jehovah, God the Son, the great I AM.
“And the LORD appeared (visibly) unto him (that is Abraham) in the plains of Mamre: (Which is down there south of present day Jerusalem toward the area of Beersheba.) and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;” Now this is Middle East. This is desert. And of course Middle Eastern customs have been the same for centuries upon centuries. And part of the desert culture was hospitality. When strangers came by, it was only natural to offer food and drink. And this is what you have here. You have a typical Middle Eastern act of hospitality. Abram had no idea, or Abraham now, he had no idea who these three men were.
“And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men (doesn’t say angels) stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground, 3. And said, My Lord,…” Now, as I mentioned in the last half-hour, this was merely a term of respect, recognizing a stranger and giving him welcome.
And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee from thy servant: 4. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched,…” Now, I don’t have to tell you that water is the chief commodity in the Middle East. And we find that out especially during some of the times we’ve been over there. The Sea of Galilee is way, way down, and we were clear down at Petra.
Here was water all the way down to the far end of Petra and the washrooms and everything were still flushing. And I asked one of the guides, “Where in the world do you get the water. Here we are in the middle of the desert?” Where do you suppose? The Sea of Galilee. That was all part of an agreement between Israel and Jordan—that Israel would provide so many millions of gallons, or so many acre-feet, of water from the Sea of Galilee. And even though it was drying up, they would not relinquish those contracts. You’ve got to remember that Israel has to put up with an awful lot that the world knows nothing of. But they kept their word and provided the water. But, my point is made. When you get into the deserts of the Middle East, water is preeminent. All right, so he says:
“Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5. And I will fetch you a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: (He wasn’t expecting anything more.) for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.” So he does. Now, I don’t know how in the world he got a calf dressed and fixed this quickly, but maybe they were there longer than we thought. But anyway–
“And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and made cakes upon the hearth. 7. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, (Now this really blows you away.) and they did (What?) eat.” Now, we know who these three men are. Abraham didn’t. But knowing that they are angels, doesn’t it kind of throw a curve at you that they ate? But they did.
Well, if I had time, we’d go all the way up to Christ’s resurrection body. You remember on one of those mornings the guys had been fishing all night. Yes, heads are nodding. You know what I’m going to talk about. And He asked them, “Have you caught any fish?” They answered, “No.” We Okie’s would say “skunked,” didn’t get a bite. And you know what He did. He said, “Throw the net on the other side of the boat,” and they came in. But in the meantime, what did He already have cooking on the fire? Bread and fish. And then it goes on to say that—what did He do? He ate—in that resurrected body.
Now, those are all just little tidbits of information, you see, that enlighten us on some things. When we get into the eternal abode, yes, we’re going to be able to eat. There won’t be any need for sanitation and so forth, because it’s going to be a body that will totally consume whatever it eats, evidently. But here we have it again, that even these angels, one of whom, of course, is the Lord Himself in a theophany, and they ate. That’s what the Book says.
“And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.” Now again, I always have to stop because these come from experiences. One of the early trips we made to Israel was back in about 1975, and we could still go just about everywhere. There was no intifada in those days. And one of the places we stopped was an Arab Sheik in his tent clear out there on the desert. Way out beyond even Beersheba. He had this big tent in the front. I’m sure it was a tourist trap, but whatever. It made good tourism. We were about 30 people. We get out and go in this old, big open tent, and the Sheik is fixing coffee, if you could call it that. But anyway, the amazing thing was, while we were sitting there in the tent, there were about 30 of us, and about 24 little Arab kids were all over her (Iris). Just all over her. Picking at her hair and looking at her ring. Where in the world could 24 kids come from? And the old man made just one bark after a little while, and they all disappeared.
Well you see, after we finished our coffee and were heading back to the bus, all these kids come back again, and she was their main target. Then we asked the guide, where do all these kids from? He said, “Look out behind.” Well, there were four tents. What were the four tents? Four wives. Between the four wives the old boy had 24 kids. But, you see, that’s Middle Eastern life. It’s still the same. You go over to Israel today, and you drive between Jerusalem and Jericho, and you’ll still see the Bedouin tents out there. Black as coal. That’s their lifestyle. It hasn’t changed a bit in all the millennia of time.
All right, so here’s Sarah, no doubt in her own tent, behind the main tent. So he says, “She’s in the tent.” Now then verse 10:
“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life, and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. (Now remember, how old is Sarah? Ninety) And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.”
“Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (Now the word lord there is used with a small l.) 13. And the LORD (Jehovah again. God the Son. The Theophany.) said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh,…”
Now, are you picturing this taking place now, like four ordinary human beings, five now with Sarah? Are you picturing it that way? Here we have all the appearances of three wayfaring strangers, men, Abraham and Sarah. Nothing of an angelic aura or anything about them.
“And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14. Is anything too hard for the LORD?…” Now, I have to stop again. What do you suppose Abraham is now suddenly realizing? I’ve talked to this individual before! He must have looked different, or he would have recognized him. I’ve talked to him before! When? When He appeared at the time of the Abrahamic Covenant, and when He appeared unto Hagar, and all these other times. All of a sudden, I’m sure; it dawned upon Abraham who he was really talking to. All right, now it even gets plainer as we go on.
“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Now stop and think. Who but God can make a statement like that? Well, nobody can. But God can. He knew what He was talking about, and it happened. All right, verse 15:
“Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; (Can’t you hear her? These people are just as human as anybody else. Now all of a sudden she’s got to start backtracking. She’s talking to the Lord of Glory, no, I didn’t laugh.) for she was afraid. And he (the Lord) said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.”
“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17. And the Lord said, (one of the three) Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18. Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” See, there’s a repetition of the Abraham Covenant, again.
“For I know him, (the Lord says) that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20. And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;” And you all know what that was.
“I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: (That is the other two of the three.) but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23. And Abraham drew near, (To God the Son in a theophany, a human form, face to face.) and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”
All right, you all know the account of how God and Abraham are going to discuss the future of these wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And I think it’s a good way to look at America today. We’re getting closer and closer to this whole Sodom and Gomorrah situation. I know I pray, and I want you to pray, “Well, Lord, if you’d have spared Sodom for 50, won’t you spare America for a few million?” I’m not saying He will, but I think it’s a legitimate prayer, that God will spare America for the sake of us believers.
But then on the other hand, I have to remember, and I remember stressing it when we were teaching the Book of Isaiah. Even though there was a remnant of righteous in Israel when God’s wrath fell, like with the invasion of the Babylonians, were the believers spared? No. They suffered right along with the rest of the nation. So, we have to take these things for what they’re worth. But on the other hand, I love these verses just for that basis that I can go to the Lord and I say, “Now, Lord, as long as there is a remnant of believers, can you spare America until we hear our trumpet call?” Which we trust is coming close.
In fact, I guess I can share this. When the Virginia Tech thing happened, of course my phone rings off the wall with, “Well, what is all this?” Well, yes, this is end-time. This is a sign of the times. That’s the way I’ve been starting most of my seminars lately. When the Lord confronted the Pharisees, or they confronted Him, what did He tell them? He said, “You hypocrites. You can look at the sky this afternoon and foretell the weather tomorrow. You look at the sky in the morning and it’s red and lowering, and you say, it’s going to be a poor day. But you can’t discern the signs of the times.”
Well now, what was He talking about? Those religious leaders of Israel should have known, on the basis of Old Testament prophecy, that they were now in the fourth of Daniel’s empires. Everything concerning the coming of Christ in His first Advent was in place. They should have known that this was the promised Messiah. But did they? They didn’t have a clue. Well, we’re the same way today. My, we should be able to look at the signs of the times and know that the end is upon us. But do they? They haven’t got a clue.
You know, we’ve got a lady up in Twin Cities, Minnesota. I’ve been interviewed on her radio program more than once, and she’s on the same page scripturally with me 100%. And she was interviewing—I don’ t like to name names, but since it was on the radio and there was nothing secret about it, he was a Lutheran pastor. In fact, he was the pastor of the huge church where we always hold our seminars when we’re up there. She had called him in for an interview, because she had heard that he had just recently come out of that replacement theology, covenant theology, and had recognized that indeed Israel was where they belong according to prophecy.
Somebody taped it for me. I can quote from that tape without apology. She asked him, “Now pastor–” (He was a Ph.D. Now this will be playing in Minnesota, so I’ll probably get feedback.) She said, “Now, Pastor, when you were in seminary, didn’t you students ever talk about end-time prophecy?” He said “Never. Never.” “Well,” she said, “up until just (then) recently, didn’t you ever get together with your fellow pastors and talk about end-time things?” “Never.” She said, “Well, then what in the world got you to change your mind?” “Israel.” And that’s the point I’m constantly making. If ever there is a sign of the times, it’s the Nation of Israel. They’re there by no human endeavor. They should have never survived these last 2,000 years, but there they are! A miracle of history! And yet people cannot see it. But here we have it—that over and over the signs of the times should tell us something.
So anyway, getting back to Virginia Tech, why do I call this a sign of the times? Well, the Lord Himself says that, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man.” Well all right, now all people think of as the sign of Noah is the flood. But go back before the flood a little ways. What was the picture? The world was filled with what? Violence. You want to see it with your own eyes? Come back to Genesis chapter 6, because this is what we mean by the signs of the times. Not just necessarily the flood waters, the destruction, but what was the moral climate of the world in general just before the flood.
I guess I can find the first one real easy, verse 13, but I thought there was another one. Verse 5. Yeah, we can use that one. See, this is the moral climate, that’s the best way I can explain it. Just before the flood, verse 5, of Genesis 6.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6. And it repented (In other words, it made the Lord sorry.) the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” But then you come all the way down to verse 11.
“The earth also was corrupt…” Oh, you see that word in the paper every day lately, don’t you? Everybody is corrupt. The corporate big wigs are corrupt. Politicians are corrupt. Everything is feeding on corruption. And it isn’t just America, it’s all over. My, the traffic in women and children, it’s just sickening. But what’s at the root of it? Corruption. Men that are nothing but greedy for the filthy lucre that they can gain. All right, that’s the way it was before the flood.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with (What?) violence.” What’s violence? Killing each other. All right, then come on down to verse 13. It’s repeated for emphasis.
“And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh has come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” In other words, I put it this way. To instantly kill all those innocent, little children in the opening hours of the flood was an act of mercy. Because had they kept on living, what would they have finally succumbed to? Murder. And violence.
All right, we’re getting there fast. So, whenever you see these horrendous acts of violence, whether it’s in Baghdad or whether it’s in Virginia Tech or whether it’s in California, it makes no difference. It’s just a sign of the times, beloved, that the end is getting near.
Okay, where was I—back in Genesis chapter 18? And now start at verse 24, and we’re going to pick this up. Like I said, just picture ourselves in America today. Go before the Lord and just beg Him, that Lord, for the sake of the believers spare America, because we know that judgment is coming.
“Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty that are righteous that are therein?” Now, for sake of time, verse 26.
“And the LORD said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake. 27. And Abraham answered…” Now evidently Abraham had a pretty good idea, don’t you suppose? Or he wouldn’t have kept coming down.
“And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes. (Now see, he knows who he’s talking to, remember? He knows he’s talking to the God of glory.) 28. Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for the lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five I will not destroy it. 29. And he spake unto him yet again, (Can you just, can you sense Abraham? My, how he was pleading, and he says:) Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. 30. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there? And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there? And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. (And he still keeps going.) 32. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”
Now, isn’t it amazing that in these cities, now they were not like New York, of course, but they were pretty good-sized cities for that day and time, and not even ten believers could be found? Now, the verse that I wanted you to see before we go on from here is verse 33.
“And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” Of course the Lord went on up into the invisible again, until it was time to reappear in another theophany.
All right, now to pick up the other two angels, so that we know what we’re talking about, you’ve got to go into chapter 19 for a moment. Here are the other two of the three in chapter 18. Verse 1:
“And there came two angels…” The same two that ate with Abraham and the Lord back in chapter 18. Those were all three heavenly creatures in what we would call a theophany.
All right, now let’s jump up to chapter 26. Now we come to the next generation, and it’s Isaac. And still God is going to appear in human form, temporarily, and then go back up into the invisible Godhead.
“There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.” Now you’ve got to know your Old Testament geography. Gerar, of course, was on the border between present day, like Gaza and Egypt now, on that neck of the Mediterranean Sea.
“And the LORD (What’s the word?) appeared (Here we have it again, the same word. All of a sudden, in human form out of the invisible Godhead, He comes down.) unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:” Now, I don’t know how many of you thought of it anytime all afternoon. How long does it take the Lord to travel from Heaven to earth. That’s an ambiguous question, isn’t it? But even on resurrection morning, where did the Lord go after He had told Martha, don’t touch Me? Well, He went to Glory. He went up to the heavens. And He presented His shed blood as the atoning blood in the holy of holies in Heaven, and then before time goes by, He appears again to Thomas and the rest of the Twelve.
Well I wonder, how long did it take? Must be a split second. And the same way here. I don’t think the Lord had to travel hours and hours to come down and appear to these people. It’s an interesting thought, you know, because one of these days we’re going to make that same trip ourselves. And it’s not going to take long, and we’re going to be translated from here to there.
Well, anyway, we’re not going to get very far with Isaac. But we’ll do like we did before, we’ll go as far as we can, and then we’ll come back. He appears to Isaac, because this is an important change in everything pertaining to God and the Children of Israel.
“And the LORD appeared unto him and said, Go not down into Egypt; (Now, that was a specific instruction to Isaac. Go not down into Egypt. Well, he’s on the border you see. He’s not very far from Egypt.) dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: (That was the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.) 3. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham thy father;”.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
THEOPHANIES: GOD THE SON APPEARING IN HUMAN FORM
Genesis 17:1 and Various Other Scriptures
Again, I want to thank all you folks for coming in and making this possible. For those of you out in television, again we never want to forget to thank you for everything. Your loyalty and your faithfulness—how we appreciate that.
All right, we’re going to keep right on going on the Theophanies today. I think we can finish up most of them. We’re going to jump back to where we left off in Genesis chapter 26 with Isaac. And the reason I’m using this is because again the word is used that the Lord “appeared” to him.
“The LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt;” Plain language? Can’t get any plainer, can it? Go not down into Egypt.
All right, now here’s where people get curves thrown at them. They say, “Well, the Scripture contradicts itself.” Well, on the surface maybe it does. But God changes His program from time to time. Now come back with me just for comparison sake to chapter 46, where God doesn’t give us a theophany. He, in a vision, speaks to Jacob. Now this is interesting. On the one hand, face-to-face with Isaac, He says don’t you go down into Egypt. You stay back here in Canaan, and I’ll take care of you. But now 100 years later look at the difference. Genesis chapter 46 and we’ll start at verse 1, just for comparison sake.
“And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.” This is all down in what today is called the Negev. This is that area south of Jerusalem, south even of Hebron, which is due east of Egypt.
“And God spake unto Israel (that is Jacob) in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. (Now watch verse 3.) 3. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; (For what reason?) for I will there (in Egypt) make of thee a great nation:”
Opposite directions? Just as opposite as you can get. On the one hand Isaac is told you stay here in Canaan. Don’t even think about going down into Egypt, because Egypt was the world. That’s where later on the nation in general got in trouble. Because if they heard of a Babylonian invasion, who would they run to for help? Well, the Egyptians. If they thought the Egyptians were invading, who would they run to for help? The Syrians. And God said you don’t need outside help. You rely on Me. But now here God has the whole plan of the establishment of the Nation of Israel. While they were under slavery in Egypt is when they really became a Nation.
So, if it ever comes up in your Sunday school class or a discussion about where did the Nation of Israel really come together – it’s while they were in Egypt. And then when the Nation is now well on its way, all the tribes are established. Then God raises up Moses. He sends Moses in to bring the Children of Israel out of Egypt.
If you noticed in the programs lately, I made the point that when they came out of Egypt did they come out like a bunch of ragtag know-nothings? No. They were what. Organized. Every tribe had its own banner, its own standard. And when they encamped, it was always in the same order—Judah to the east, and then three tribes and three tribes and so forth. But just for the sake of comparison now, yes, God told Isaac go NOT down into Egypt. Then He turns around and He tells Jacob to fear not, because after all food was down there; Joseph was down there. And God knows that the Nation will begin to appear under slavery in Egypt.
All right, now then, if we can come back to chapter 26 for a little bit. Reading on in verse 3 the instructions to Isaac are:
“Sojourn (or remain) in this land, (That is the land of Canaan, up there between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.) and I will be with thee, and I will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham thy father:”
Now to me, the very fact that He’s standing there before Isaac as one man to another, this makes it all the more believable than if it would have been a vision or if it would have been a prophet. This is from God Himself. He means what He says. It’s going to happen. And it did, see? Exactly as God has promised here to Isaac, the Nation of Israel received those covenant promises, and they began to grow in numbers and in occupying the land of promise.
All right, now you go on through these succeeding verses. We won’t take time to read all of them, but come all the way down to verse 23. Of course, in the meantime he’s had that run-in with Abimelech over his beautiful wife Rebecca. Much like Abraham and Sarah. And again God spared the King Abimelech for not having touched Rebecca. But then, of course, they more or less got booted out of the country. So verse 17, if you want to stop there a moment.
“And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.” He’s still in the border area. He’s not removing too far. But come down to verse 23.
“And he went up from thence (Gerar) to Beersheba. (Now like I said, Beersheba is further inland from the border of Egypt.) 24. And the Lord (What?) appeared (In a theophany, in human form once again) unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake. 25 And he built an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.”
So Isaac then becomes more obedient, and things begin to move on. They have Jacob and Esau, and then we have the account of Jacob’s getting the blessing some 37 years later. He gets the birthright first, and then 37 years later he gets the blessing. So 20 years have gone by. Now jump up to Genesis chapter 32. This will be the last real theophany of God the Son appearing in human form to one of the patriarchs. If we’ve got time yet this afternoon, we could go on into Ezekiel and Daniel where God appears to them in a theophany, but in a vision experience. Not literal man-to-man like we have here.
All right, in chapter 32, if you remember the story of Jacob and how his family is growing up there, working for his Uncle Laban up in Syria. Remember he’s up there in Syria because he had to flee for his life, because Esau is mad at him for having stolen the blessing. And at the same time it fulfilled a statement that Rebecca made when she told Jacob to flee. She didn’t want to have Esau kill him, and she loses both her boys at one time. So she made a vow and helped Jacob to escape. But one of the sad things of Scripture is Rebecca never again saw Jacob in this life. Those are what I call tragedies in Scripture. Jacob had more than one.
All right, as you come into chapter 32, Jacob is now coming back from his sojourn up with Laban. He’s established his flocks and herds, but he’s still scared to death, as I put it, of Esau. What is going to happen when he meets Esau? So he sets apart a great number of livestock to pacify him, bribe him, or whatever. He’s going to send that ahead. Then he’s going to put all of his family and his flocks and his herds across the River Jabbok. Now, we’ll pick it up in verse 19.
“And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, (of animals) saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when you find him. (Tell him that these are all his. They’re my present, if we can just have peace between each other.) 20. And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept me. 21. So went the present (Or the bribe, whatever you want to call it.) over before him: and he himself lodged that night in the company.” In other words, he’s going to be surrounded by all of his other wives and children and so forth.
“And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons,…” Now remember, little Benjamin hasn’t been born yet. That’s going to be another several years later. So, he’s got eleven sons.
“…and he passed over the ford Jabbok. (or the little River Jabbok. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful, scenic area) 23. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. 24. And Jacob was left alone;…” Now, that’s the part you’ve got to get down first. He’s all by himself in the dead of night.
“…and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” Now some may try to water that down, that it was just an imagination or it was a dream. But I don’t buy that. I think it was a literal knockdown wrestling match. And these two men went at it for a good portion of the night.
“…until the breaking of the day.” And that’s what it says. “And there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25. And when he (Jacob) saw that he prevailed not against him, he (the stranger) touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with him.” In other words, he crippled him.
“And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he (Jacob) said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” What does that tell you? What does Jacob now know? That this is a theophany. He now knows that this is another appearance of God the Son. Now I’ll show you it from Scripture definitely, but nevertheless, we have to make the assumption that when Jacob demands to be blessed, he knows who he’s been wrestling with.
“And he (The LORD in this theophany, in this appearance in human form.) said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Now, if you know anything about Scripture, what was the meaning of the word Jacob in the Hebrew language? The deceiver. The supplanter. And that’s what his life was comprised of all the way along. He was constantly taking advantage of one person or another, and that’s why Laban finally got after him.
But after this experience, Jacob was never like that again. Never. It’s a good example of a new birth when a person becomes a true believer, a child of God, and these people experienced that. Don’t think for a minute that they didn’t have an experience of a new lifestyle. They became men of faith. Oh, they still failed. But they were basically born from above believers. Jacob is the prime example of someone who has a complete change of lifestyle as a result of their faith. Verse 28 again.
“And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.”
That’s always uppermost on the ancient’s thinking. And the reason was that every pagan society had gods and goddesses, and they were all named. My, if you want to get an interesting read, just read a little bit of mythology. It’s enough to turn your stomach, but on the other hand it gives you an idea of what these people were up against. I mean it’s just unbelievable what the multitude of people have been believing over the centuries. But it shows you over and over what the Lord meant when He said, “Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many go in thereat. But narrow is the way and straight is the gate and (How many?) few there be that find it.” It’s always been that way, beloved, and it still is today.
All right, now moving on with Jacob, he asked for His name in verse 29. “…And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? (What’s that to you?) And he blessed him there.” That’s the thing that mattered. All right, Jacob understood the blessing. I don’t know what it was, but now verse 30.
“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God (How?) face to face, and my life is preserved.” Now, that’s just exactly what we’ve been seeing all afternoon. Adam and Eve did. Hagar did. Abraham did. Isaac did. And now Jacob, they see God face-to-face, but only in a temporary human form that goes back up to the invisible Godhead. Whereas when Christ becomes flesh in Bethlehem, we no longer need a theophany. We no longer need a temporary appearance, but rather we now believe in the One who is flesh and blood and bone, and once He resurrects from the dead, He is still flesh and bone. All right, so the part I want you to remember is verse 30.
“…I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 31. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted (or limped) upon his thigh.” He was a marked man, of course, until the day he died.
All right, now in the few minutes we have left, that’s the end of the literal Theophanies that I can find back here in the Old Testament account, we have to go all the way up to Ezekiel. Ezekiel and Daniel both see God but in a vision form of a human being. Ezekiel and I want chapter 40 verse 3. We won’t have time to cover all these verses, but you can read them in your spare time. But nevertheless, we know that here we have again the appearance of God the Son to the prophet Ezekiel while he’s out there during the Babylonian captivity, out there in the area of present day Persian Gulf. Let’s start at verse 1 so we get the full flow of it.
“In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, (Which totals 70 remember? This is the 70-year captivity down in Babylon.) in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. 2. In the visions…” Now we’ve got to realize we’re not confronting man-to-man like in the past, now we’re in a vision experience.
“In the visions of God he brought me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. 3. And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a (What?) man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. 4. And the man said unto me,…” So, we know now that we have another appearance of God the Son, but it’s in a vision experience rather than a literal face-to-face.
“And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither:…” In other words, God has a distinct purpose in bringing Ezekiel all the way up to this mountaintop. But only in a vision, his body is still back there in Babylon.
“…declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.” Now, beginning at verse 5 all the way to end of the Book of Ezekiel, God the Son, in this vision experience, is explaining to Ezekiel this glorious temple that’s going to come on the Nation of Israel there in Jerusalem during the thousand year reign. I can just hit bits and pieces of it. Come all the way up to chapter 44, if you will, verse 4. This gives us a little glimpse of the millennial temple that will be established on the planet while Christ is ruling and reigning those thousand years.
“Then he brought me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.” Can you imagine what’s that’s going to be like? When the glory of God will come in and just literally fill that millennial temple? The result of it was that Ezekiel, even in the vision, had to fall on his face. And, oh again, this is everything pertaining to the glory that’s awaiting us, and we can take heart that it is coming.
Well, let’s see. I just want to hit a few of these. Come to Chapter 47, this is all part of this same vision being described by God the Son in this vision experience with Ezekiel. You just follow the pronoun all the way through. This comes from the lips of this same person, the man who we know is God the Son.
“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward:…” Now we’re talking about Jerusalem. And if you understand geography, Jerusalem sits up there on the hills and down 1100-1200 feet to the west is the Mediterranean and down 2500-2600 feet to the Dead Sea. All right, this river is going to flow both directions from underneath this glorious millennial temple in Jerusalem. If that can help you picture it in your mind, this glorious river of supernatural water is going to flow both directions.
“…and the waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 2. Then he brought me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; (toward the Dead Sea) and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
“And when the man (Here it is again. This is God the Son.) that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. 4. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees.” That sounds like preachers about the flood, doesn’t it? But this isn’t. This is the flow of the water coming out of this temple complex.
“Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 6. And he said, unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.”
“Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8. Then he said unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country,…” Now, that’s desert today. That’s down through the mountains leading down to Jericho and the Dead Sea.
“…and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: (into the Dead Sea) which being brought forth into the sea, (The Dead Sea, which today won’t even give life to a shelled-fish, to a mollusk or anything. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea.) the waters shall be healed. 9. And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the river shall come, shall live: (It’s going to be a literal river of life.) and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; (In other words, they’ll lose all their minerals and all their saltiness, and it’ll become a glorious fresh water sea.) and everything shall live wherever the river cometh.”
Now verse 10, for those of you who have been there, you’ll know exactly what this is talking about. There are a bunch of hotels and a park now in what is called here En-gedi.
“And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 11. But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. 12. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and that side, shall grow all trees for food, (That’d be the dates and the figs and you name it.) whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”
Here we have, from the Lord Himself, the description of this glorious Kingdom, whatever you want to call it. It starts with the sanctuary, the temple, but it will affect everything wherever the Lord will have His control. So it’s nothing to scoff at. It’s coming. It’s going to happen. And everything we see coming in the Middle East is going to bring it about.
In fact, I like to ask the doubters once in a while; do you ever stop to think why all the oil is in the Middle East? Was that an accident? Well, of course not. All of these things should prompt us to realize that everything is coming according to God’s plan.
LESSON TWO * PART I
INCARNATE CHRIST: GOD BECOMES MAN
Genesis 3:15 and Galatians 4:4
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in the studio this afternoon. We trust that the Lord will bless you richly. Again, we want to welcome our television audience in to study with us. I always like to make it plain for new listeners that we’re just an informal Bible class, and we don’t have a church service. We don’t have music. We just simply teach the Book. And again I have to thank all of you out there, as well as all of you in the studio, for all your letters and prayers.
This last month was a big month. Most of you across the country know we’ve had some health problems. But along with that, it was my 80th birthday and our 54th wedding anniversary, so we’ve been covered up with cards and letters in all three categories.
We just thank you from the depths of our heart. We do. We read every one of them. Takes a good portion of the day sometimes, but that’s the way we operate. We don’t slough anybody’s card or letters aside as unimportant. And the same way with so many of you, you complain that you can only give $5.00 or $10.00 dollars, well, sometimes I just write a quick note back – never forget that with God small things become mighty. Don’t ever apologize for not being able to give more.
Okay, now I only have one or two announcements. Again, we like to keep our people aware of the one and only book we’ve ever put out. It’s the Question and Answer Book of 88 questions for a small cost of $11. And if you are not in our computer and getting our quarterly newsletter, just call the office and give us your name and address. You will not receive junk mail. You will not receive appeals for money. It’s simply a quarterly update on our stations and our seminars, and the girls in the office usually put in a note. Laura usually puts in a note. That’s all our newsletter really is. It is just to keep you up-to-date with what we’re doing.
Okay, I think that’s all the announcements. We’re going to look at something a little different today. At the last taping you’ll remember, the last four programs were on the Theophanies in the Old Testament – how God the Son stepped out of the Triune Godhead and appeared temporarily in various times and places up through the Old Testament and then went back into the invisible Godhead.
Now we know that beginning with Christ’s earthly ministry, of course, He became the incarnate. I had Sharon put it on the board—incarnate. Again, it’s not a word you’ll find in your Bible. It’s a word that has been coined by the theologians down through church history. It simply means God became man. We refer to Christ, then, as the God-Man.
You know, that’s one problem that so many people have. They can’t understand how He can be God and Man. But He was, because He was God. And I always make the point that He never let the two supersede each other. In other words, when He spoke from humanity, or if He got in a tight place like at the temptations and He was hungry, He never let His Deity override His humanity. Always remember that. When He spoke from humanity, He was totally human. He prayed. He suffered. And we’ll be seeing all that. But on the other hand, when He acted as God, He was totally God. And He knew everything from beginning to the end and all in between as God. And we’ll be looking at that throughout the afternoon. We’re going to look at the incarnate Christ.
But before we look at Him in the New Testament, we’re going to start back in Genesis chapter 3 and see how that this old Book is not just a bunch of myths and stories like a lot of people are trying to tell us, now, but it is the inspired, supernatural Word of God. And I never get tired of emphasizing that. So, if you’ll go back with me to Genesis chapter 3. Adam and Eve have just eaten of the forbidden tree. Sin has entered. Death came by sin Romans tells us, and along with that the curse fell. Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. But at the very same moment that all that took place, God did something tremendous. He promised a “scarlet thread of redemption” all the way from Genesis 3 to the last book of our Bible.
So, if you’ll go with me a minute to Genesis chapter 3, we’re going to see the first prophetic statement concerning the incarnate Son of God. How He had to become flesh in order to bring about mankind’s salvation. All right, Genesis chapter 3 verse 15, and God is speaking to the serpent.
“And I will put enmity (In other words, a constant line of demarcation between these two forces that are going to be at enmity from here until the end of time.) between thee and the woman,…” Now I’m fairly well convinced, although I don’t put it in concrete, that this is already a reference to the Nation of Israel. Otherwise, I can’t see why there would be a line of enmity just between the female of the species. But I think the woman here is a definite forecast of the demarcation between Satan and Israel, and how there will be a constant, constant battle between the two.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;…” Now, you say, well, now that doesn’t fit Israel. Yes, it does. Because after all Mary, even though this is the woman that it may have been referring to, Mary was a citizen of the Nation of Israel. She was a Jewess. So, I think it fits all the way through that here’s the promise that God would put enmity between Satan and the woman.
“…between thy seed…” And I think that’s just a reference to all his demonic powers. Now we need to jump all the way up to Ephesians for a moment, because this question comes in every once in a while. What is the seed of Satan back in Genesis 3:15?
Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 6. This is a series of verses I’m sure just about all of you know. I think these best answer the question and is probably the best biblical answer to Genesis 3:15. What is the seed of the serpent?
“For we (Now remember, Paul always writes to the believer. He never writes to the unsaved world. Writing to us believers he said,…) wrestle not against flesh and blood, (not just the ordinary physical opposition) but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Now, all of those are references to whose underlings? Satan’s. They’re Satan’s powers.
This is our main opposition, and especially as we see today, even in our seminaries and in the tops of our denominations. That’s where Satan is working overtime. Always remember, if Satan can bring one rotten professor into a seminary, and that guy influences a lot of these young men preparing for the ministry, and they go out across the country filling pulpits, and they pass on the rot that they got from that one professor, what’s the end result? Satan’s the winner. This is what we’re up against.
I may, if I’ve got time, refer to something on that order later today. But here is what I think was already referenced back in Genesis, where there was going to be a running controversy between the seed of Satan and all of his demonic hosts and the seed of the woman, because that is what is really referenced.
Come back to Genesis a minute. But since you’re in Ephesians, keep your hand in it. I’m going to go back to Romans in about ten seconds. But come back to Genesis chapter 3, again. This is immediately after the fall. Adam and Even have just been expelled, and we have an immediate response to the spiritual side of it all, where God will put–
“…enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, and between thy seed (or Satan’s seed) and her seed; (or the seed of the woman.) it (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head, (Which, of course, was a reference to Christ defeating the Satanic powers at Calvary.) and thou shalt bruise his (the redeemer’s) heel.” This, of course, was the suffering that He had to endure at the cross.
All right, now in view of the fact that this took place right after the fall, I have to take you back up to Romans for a minute. I just couldn’t get away from it as I was preparing for this. I wasn’t going to, and then I’d come back, yeah, got to. So on the way up this morning, I think the Lord just laid on me—we’ve got to use Romans chapter 8. The point I want to make is that as soon as the curse fell, God set in motion the plan of redemption. Immediately! There was no afterthought to it. It was immediately transacted. All right, Romans chapter 8 and I love these verses. I could teach them every day. We’ll just start at verse 18.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Now when people write or call and say, what’s our Heaven going to be like? Can I answer them? There’s just not much in this whole Book concerning the eternal Heaven of the Heavens.
There’s a lot of information concerning the 1,000 year reign. In fact, this is how people can twist the Scriptures. While I was sick, somebody sent me some books, quite a few in fact. I got most of them read as fast as they came in. But one was, What is Heaven Like? What do you suppose he used for all of his Scriptures describing Heaven? The 1,000 year earthly kingdom, every one of them. That’s all he could use, because this is as close as we can get to what our eternal abode is going to be. All we know is that it’s going to be glorious. That’s all. We don’t know: are we going to be living in homes? Are we going to be having fig trees to sit under? See, those are all kingdom promises, but we do know it will be glorious. Well, I just have to do that when I see these things.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in (or to) us. (Now, here it comes.) 19. For the earnest expectation of the creation (Now, I know the King James has got creature, but I feel creation is a better word, because that’s what it’s going to involve, the whole creation.) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons (or the children) of God.”
All right, we’ve got to go back up to verse 14 to explain that verse, don’t we? Go back up to verse 14. We’ve got plenty of time.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (or the children) of God.” In other words, believers. You and I as believers in the Gospel have received this position as children of God (although it’s called sons here in the King James.) All right, but now he says in verse 16.
“The Spirit (Capitalized, it’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the (What?) children of God.” Now, we don’t become God’s like a lot of New Agers teach, but we become children of God. All right, verse 17:
“And if we’re children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; (What’s a joint-heir? Like a husband and wife, isn’t it? Aren’t husbands and wives joint-heirs? Sure. That’s going to be our relationship in glory. We’re going to be joint-heirs with Christ.) if so be that we suffer with him, (And that’s why he’s speaking of it in verse 18.) that we may be also glorified together.”
All right, now take that concept of the believers as children of God, and when the kingdom opens up, it’s going to be the putting under the spotlight this relationship between Christ and His bought ones, the saved by virtue of the Gospel. All right, so verse 19 again.
“For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation (or being put into the spotlight) of the children of God.” And when will that happen? Well, at the onset at least of the Kingdom, when Christ will return and set up His Kingdom and the curse will be lifted. Satan is locked up, and everything reverts back as it was in the Garden of Eden. All creation is looking forward to that place. Now that’s hard for us to comprehend, but that’s what the Book says. All of creation is waiting for the day when the curse will be lifted, because it’s the curse that’s brought in all of man’s and the ecology’s misery.
You know that wild animals didn’t kill each other before the curse. They all lived in harmony. This is all precipitated by Adam’s fall. But it’s going to be reverting back to the beginning. And that’s what all of creation has been looking for. Oh, I could sit here for another half hour and share some of the things that have upset me the last week or two of what’s going on in the world, even with regard to the animal kingdom. How cruel human beings can be to God’s creatures! It just disturbs me to no end. But anyhow, I haven’t got time to go into that. But this is the case; all of creation is waiting for this glorious day when the curse will be lifted. Now the next verse:
“For the creation (God’s creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly,…” What does that say? What’s the vanity? The curse. The upsetting of everything that was so perfect. It became corrupt because of the curse. All right, so the whole creation was subjected to the curse, not willingly. They didn’t do anything to bring it about. When Adam fell, God dropped the curse, and everything in creation came under it. Not because they deserved it, but because of Adam.
All right, now here’s the verse, the part of the verse, that I want you to see—when the creation was subjected to the curse.
“…but by reason of him who hath subjected the same (all of creation. What are the last two words?) in hope.” So, what’s the hope? That one day it’s going to end—this suffering, this corruption, this wickedness, and all that’s been taking place for 6,000 years is going to end. It’s going to be brought into a glorious, pre-fall existence once again. All right, read it again.
“For the creation was made subject to the curse, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. (That one day that curse will be lifted.) 21. Because the creation itself shall also be (Now watch the language.) delivered from the bondage of corruption…” Well, what’s the bondage of corruption? The curse! My, in my seminars a lot of times it’s the younger people that will come up and say, “Les, if God is such a God of love, why does He allow war? Why does He allow famine and disease?”
Well, that’s all God does, is allow it. He didn’t precipitate it. What precipitates all of our problems? The curse. It’s the curse that brings in war. It’s the curse that brings in sickness and famine and disease. God doesn’t, but, yes, He does permit it. But it’s the curse that has plagued the whole creation, not just mankind, but everything in it for the last 6,000 years. All right, our time is going fast. Now verse 22, Paul writes:
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23. And not only they, (The other parts of creation, see, that’s why I know he’s talking beyond the human race.) but ourselves also, (and especially those of us) who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, (we who are believers) even we ourselves,…” As we are living and operating day by day under the curse even as believers, we get sick. We have accidents. We have pain. We have sorrows. We have death in the family. It’s all because of the curse.
“…but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, (or that big transaction, that is to say) to wit, the redemption of our body.” And that, of course, ushers us into the eternal abode.
All right, let’s get back to the subject at hand—the incarnate Christ as He has now been foretold back here in Genesis. As soon as the curse fell, God set in motion a plan of redemption. This plan of redemption would require a God who could experience humanity. Only a human could go the way of the cross. That’s why we have to have the incarnate. We have to have God becoming flesh.
All right, let’s stay in the Old Testament for a little bit, yet. Go from Genesis up to Isaiah chapter 7, a verse that I’m sure is quite familiar. Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14. This is still prophecy. Up until now God the Son has never appeared in any other way but a theophany. He appeared to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses in a temporary physical form, and then He relinquished it and went back up into the invisible Godhead. But now we have the Old Testament prophets also looking forward to the time when this invisible person of the Godhead would become flesh. He would become the God-Man.
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;…” Now, I’m always reminding my listeners. Who were always looking for signs? The Jews. Israel. Well, who is Isaiah writing to? Jews. Israel. He’s aware of the fact that they were a people who looked for signs.
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Now remember, this is 700 years before the fact. What does that tell you? This Book is supernatural! This Book is a divinely inspired Word of God! They can scoff at it all they want. And I’ll ridicule them all I want. They should know better. Here we have a prophecy clear back 700 years before Christ that a little Jewish, virgin girl would conceive and bring forth the God-Man. Immanuel. And what does Immanuel mean in a translated form? God with us.
Those Jews should have known that. This reminds me, I think I’ve got time. Jump all the way up; I wasn’t going to do this. Go all the way up to Matthew. This is where we started our last several seminars. I did it again last Saturday in Albuquerque, because everybody is interested in current events. Why this? And why that? Why all the violence? All the killing and the murder? And everything? Well, this is the way I approach it—Matthew 16 verse 1. This is during the Lord’s earthly ministry. And of course the Pharisees and the Sadducees were His greatest opponents, and here again in verse 1.
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting (or testing. Trying to get Him to somehow paint Himself into a corner where they could say, okay, now we’ve got you. They were always at it.) desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.” See, there it is again. Show us a sign from heaven that you are who you say you are. Now look at the Lord’s answer.
“He answered and he said unto them, When it’s evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.” They were pretty good at forecasting twelve hours. The weathermen can usually do that today, can’t they? Twelve hours—if you look out the window and see a big black cloud in the west, you know it is coming. But beyond that, they still don’t do a very good job of it. But anyway, they were forecasting the weather. And then He says:
“And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern (or you can read) the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” What’s He talking about? They should have known that everything was in the timetable of the Old Testament prophets for the appearance of their Messiah.
They should have known the prophecy in Isaiah had been fulfilled. They heard the rumors of Mary and Joseph. Here this young girl is pregnant and the father says he’s not the father. Don’t you think those people were just as normal as we are today? They should have been able to figure out from the Old Testament prophecies; this is the fulfilled prophetic promise of a Messiah.
Another sign of the times that they should have been able to read was the political system. My, what did Daniel foretell 600 years before? That there would be four great Gentile empires coming down through history. The Babylonians. The Medes and the Persians. The Greek and the Roman. Well, did the Jews of Jesus’ day have any doubt that it was the Roman Empire that they were under? Why, heaven’s no.
Those Roman soldiers were everywhere. What should they have been able to do? Hey, we are in the political system that’s going to bring the Messiah. They should have been able to do that. They should have also said, now wait a minute, that young girl wasn’t pregnant by accident. It was foretold. But did they? They were no different than people do today.
Listen, the signs of the times are all around us. Number one is Israel in the land and in the news everyday. That’s the sign of the times. Can people read it? They haven’t got a clue. They haven’t got a clue, and it’s so sad that the Scripture is so explicit and people cannot understand.
LESSON TWO * PART II
INCARNATE CHRIST: GOD BECOMES MAN
Genesis 3:15 and Galatians 4:4
Okay, good to see everybody in again this evening. As you know, we’re just a Bible study, much like a home Bible study. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do claim I can get people to study and dig these things out, and you’ll be surprised how thrilling it can get.
Again, we always want to thank our television audience, as well as you folks here, for all of your prayers and your financial support. You know, people can’t believe that we never ask for money. They just can’t get over that. We’ll thank you for it, but we never ask you for it. And that’s a big difference.
All right, now before I go any further, I’ve got to let the television audience know that it’s been a long time since Greg and Janette were here. The last time they were here Jesse was just a little fellow. There they are. They’re on the screen. Now you’ve got to get Jesse in there somehow or other. Move him over. Get Jesse. There he is. Jesse is now 19. He’s 6 foot something, and I’m just real proud of him. He’s one of our several grandchildren, and they’re all part of the ministry. Like I told the class in the first half-hour, they’re all involved in one way or another. And we just praise the Lord for that.
All right, let’s continue on where we left off in our first half hour this afternoon—on the incarnate Christ. In other words, the God who became Man, and consequently then Christ beginning with His earthly ministry, is a God-Man. We’re going to look some more at the early forecasts or prophecies concerning this virgin birth of the seed of the woman.
For openers, to continue where we left off in Matthew in the last program, turn with me to Galatians chapter 3. It’s also a reference to Genesis chapter 3, but I want Galatians chapter 3 verse 16. This is Paul writing, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Here we have one of the basic facts of Scripture concerning Jesus Christ.
“Now to Abraham and his seed (or his offspring) were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, (plural) as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, who is Christ.” There’s the scriptural answer for Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman who would come through the man Abraham, the progenitor of the Jewish race, and here we have the appearance then of the Jewish Messiah.
All right, while you’re in Galatians turn over to chapter 4. If I’m not mistaken, this is the only reference that the Apostle Paul makes to the birth of Christ at Bethlehem but in a uniquely different way. And I like this. I usually use it for the Christmas time classes just to be different from the main stream of Christendom when they use Luke and Matthew. Here’s how Paul puts it.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”
Now, do you see what all is in that verse? “When the fullness of time was come…”—my, I’m glad we looked at those verses at the end of the last program. When the Sadducees and the Pharisees said, show us a sign, what did the Lord say? Why, can’t you read the signs of the times? Well, what was He referring to? All the things that were happening associated with His first advent.
As I said in the last program, they should have recognized that they were under the Roman Empire. They should have recognized that prophecy was being fulfilled. They should have recognized that the promised Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. It was written back in the little book of Micah that He’d be born in Bethlehem of Euphrates. You think these Jews didn’t know about that supernatural event in Bethlehem some years back? Of course they did. But they couldn’t put it together.
Unbelievable and yet, no, because like I said last program, we’re no different today. The world around us should see the signs of the times, but do they? No. They’re as blind as a bat to it. And they just talk in terms of the world going on for another 150-200,000 years. No, it isn’t. It’s winding down and the signs of the times are telling it.
All right, so here again everything was foretold that Christ would come, born in Bethlehem, at the exact right day and hour. He was not one hour late. He was not one hour early. It was when the decreed “fullness of the time was come” that Christ was born. And Israel couldn’t figure it out. But they should have. It was a sign of the time.
Then it goes on to tell us that He was “made of a woman.” That makes Him the God-Man. That’s what makes Him incarnate. He did not just come as an angelic appearance. He did not just come as some miraculous manifestation. But in order to make Him the God-Man, God ordained that He should be born of a woman without the benefit of a fleshly, earthly father.
All right, now let’s come back a minute to John’s Gospel. I want to look at as many of these early-on mentions of this incarnate Christ as we possibly can. To show that all of Scripture is not contradictory, but rather intricately put together. John’s Gospel chapter 1 and let’s begin at verse 1.
“In the beginning (We don’t know when that was.) was the Word, (Capitalized—we’ve taught this verse over and over.) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (So, it’s a designated personality.) 2. The same was in the beginning with God.”
“All things (Everything in the whole universe and in the planet and in the seas and in the heavens–) were made by him; (this person of the Godhead called The Word) and without Him was not anything made that was made. 4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” All right, now drop down to verse 14, and here we have absolute proof of who we’re talking about.
“And the Word was made flesh, (The Spirit-being, the invisible God in the person of the Son, was made flesh. Born of a woman as Paul puts it and promised as the seed of the woman back in Genesis) and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Now, in that particular verse I think John is making a direct reference to an event toward the end of Christ’s ministry. What was it? The Mount of Transfiguration. Only three of the Twelve could have said something like this, because it was only Peter, James, and John that were up there at the Mount of Transfiguration and saw Jesus transformed right before their eyes with all the glory brighter than the mid-day sun.
So, this is what I think he’s making reference to. That this person of the Godhead who was the creator of everything, and we’ll be looking at that later, was also human as well as God. So, he says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (Walked with us. Talked with us. Slept. Ate. All the normal functions of humanity.) (and we beheld his glory, (up there on the Mount of Transfiguration) the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
All right, now let’s see. Let’s go back a minute to Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew chapter 1, this is a little closer to what we’ve been coming out of the Old Testament. Then we’ll move on up into His more adult part of His life. But this is still staying back at the announcement of His birth—that He would be born of a woman. It would be a virgin birth without benefit of a human father; because, after all, He had to remain Deity. But He also has to take on humanity.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, (In other words, before the marriage was consummated.) she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” Now you see how plain that is. Joseph and Mary had not consummated the physical marriage, and yet she was already pregnant, not by a human being, but by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.
Now, I suppose the secular world has a hard time comprehending that, huh? But for us believers, man I don’t have a nickel’s worth of problem with it. With God is anything impossible? Is it impossible for God to impregnate a woman without the benefit of a human male? No problem. He made the woman’s body. He made everything in creation. That’s no problem and then they make such a big deal. I say it’s so simple because of whom our God really is.
Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would conceive. Well, that meant what it said, and it said what it meant. And how would a virgin conceive? Not with any help of a human being, but by the work of the Holy Spirit. Matthew makes it just as plain as English can make it that before they consummated the physical marriage, Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit, or that person of the Godhead.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.” In other words, to hold secret the fact that she was pregnant without the benefit of a public marriage. All right, verse 20:
“But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David,…” Now, that’s in there to show us again that this all goes back to the promises made to the patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were given all the promises of a Nation of people coming. Then sooner or later here comes King David, and what is David promised? That through his bloodline would come the Messiah, the King of Israel. All right, that’s why we’ve got it in here. So he says to Joseph–
“…Joseph, thou son of David, (It’s all in the royal family.) fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Or the Holy Spirit. It’s not of another man. It’s perfectly godly and legitimate. Now verse 21:
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: (or in the Hebrew—Jehoshua. Why?) for he shall save his people from their sins.” Now you see how uniquely Jewish all this is? We’re not talking about the sins of the world, yet. We’re talking about the sins of Israel. I hope you catch that. “And he shall save his people….” Well, who are God’s people? Israel. The Jew. We’ll see this in a minute when we go to Luke chapter 1. Now verse 22:
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (That’s why I used it in the first program, quoting Isaiah.) 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call him name Emmanuel, which being interrupted is, God with us.” But in a human body, and then becomes the God-Man.
“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25. And knew her not (had no relationship with her) until she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
All right, now let’s jump across to Luke a minute, to chapter 1, just to show again that all of this was fulfilling the promises first and foremost made to the Nation of Israel. It isn’t until He finishes the work of the cross and the Apostle Paul is sent to the Gentiles that He becomes the Savior of all mankind. Here we’re still dealing with the covenant people, the chosen people, the Jew, the Nation of Israel.
All right, now we’re going to jump in at Luke chapter 1 and start at verse 57. As a rule I jump down a little further. But here we have God dealing with the parents of John the Baptist. Zacharias who was a priest and the mother’s name was Elizabeth. All right, now if you go back into biblical history, we know that Zacharias and Elizabeth were past childbearing age much as Abraham and Sarah were. But miraculously, providentially, she became with child and brought along the little baby John the Baptist.
“Now Elizabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58. And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had shown great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.” In other words, much like Sarah.
“And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. 61. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62. And they made signs to his father, (Now remember, he was stricken dumb at the very time of her conception, and he’s been without ability to speak for the last nine months.) And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. (or named) 63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. (Same as what Elizabeth had said.) And they marveled all.”
In other words, these Jews knew custom and how unusual this was that this father who was up there at the temple serving as a priest had the same name as what Elizabeth had mentioned. His name would be John.
“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, (He got his speech back.) and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came on all that dwelt around about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.” Now remember, we’re talking about John the Baptist.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, (Now a lot of people think that couldn’t happen until Pentecost. But see, they don’t know their Bible. Here we have a priest in Israel filled with the Holy Spirit even before Christ’s earthly ministry began.) and he prophesied, saying,” He spoke forth. Now, the word prophesied doesn’t always mean tell the future. He merely spoke forth.
“Blessed be the Lord God of (The human race—doesn’t say that, does it?) Blessed be the Lord God of (Whom?) Israel; (See, we’re still all tied up with the Nation of Israel.) for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” His chosen people. His covenant people. Not a word here yet about Gentiles.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Now, how many Gentiles in the house of David? Not a one. Keep all this in mind. How Jewish all this is because all the promises of this coming incarnate Christ were first and foremost to the covenant people. All right, verse 70:
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, who have been since the ages began: (Going all the way back to the Old Testament patriarchs and beyond. And this is what they wrote) 71. That we (the Nation of Israel) should be saved from our (Sins? No. What?) enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” Now, in view of the Middle East today, do you see what they were talking about?
It was no different then than it is now. The Arab world was all around them—hated them. Would have done anything they could to obliterate them then already. So here was the whole idea that when this Messiah would come, he would suddenly bring safety and peace from all of these morbid enemies. And, oh, that’s what Israel is looking for even today, you know that.
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, (the Old Testament promises) and to remember his holy covenant; (God’s covenant—the one that we taught several months back, verse 73, what covenant?) 73. The oath which he swear to our father Abraham,”
That’s why I’m always stressing that unless you understand those covenants coming up through the Old Testament, you’re going to have a hard time buying a lot of this. I know you do. That’s what people’s problem is. They are so ignorant of the basics, that they can’t comprehend this rightly dividing the Scriptures. They keep it all muddled up, and most of the world is in utter confusion and what a travesty. Because all you have to do is separate.
Now, this is all Jewish. And yet Christendom tries to push it on our plate. Hey, it won’t fit. No wonder it doesn’t taste good. But you leave everything where it belongs.
You know, I’ve got a grandson, is it you Jesse? Or one of my others? They eat everything one at a time. First a vegetable and then the potatoes and then the meat and then the dessert. Well, I wish people would do that with Scripture, because it would be a lot easier to understand. But they don’t, they muddle it all up.
I gave the illustration Saturday at Albuquerque. My description of dispensation changes from time to time. And it came from an experience in one of my seminars in Florida. I was speaking after a pot luck supper for one of the big Sunday school classes down there I was the after dinner speaker.
Well, off to my right was the pie table. And the pie that was clear on this end and to my right in plain view was a beautiful pumpkin pie. I mean it was a beautiful pie. And only one piece was out of it. And I said, “Now there is a beautiful description of dispensational teaching.” When the Scripture says, “rightly divide the Word of God,” it means cut it straight. Now, you see, you can’t do that with apple pie. Why? Because all the goo comes in when you take out the piece. Isn’t that right? But a pumpkin pie sits there just as straight as can be. What a beautiful example.”
All right, now that’s what we do with the Scriptures. We cut it straight. You don’t let it all run together. So I said, “Now what would happen if a hostess would take that beautiful pumpkin pie, set it in the middle of the table full of guests with a spatula and say, ‘Okay, help yourself like a blackberry cobbler?’ Would that taste like pumpkin pie? No. It wouldn’t taste like pumpkin pie, because that’s not the way you are used to eating it. You want it with a nice straight slice of pie. That’s the Scriptures, beloved.”
When you put what God dealt with Adam and Eve in the Garden as a separate nicely cut piece, it’s easy to understand. And you take Israel and put it in its own slice and all the law and everything right there. That’s easy to understand. Now you come over and you take the piece of pie that we can identify with the Grace Age, and it’s all straight. There’s no goo running out the edges. It’s all perfect. It’s so simple. But everybody wants to run the whole Bible together. And like I said, they blenderize it and then pass it out and then wonder why people get sick to their stomach. But, oh, goodness, I’m making my point, and I’m running out of time doing it—back to Luke chapter 1 verse 73, again.
“The oath which he swear to our father Abraham,” That’s Jewish language. We Gentiles don’t have any part of that until after the work of the cross. All right, now verse 74.
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76. And thou, (Here it comes. This is why I came here.) child, shalt be called the prophet (or the announcer, the forth teller) of the (What?) Highest:…”
Well, who’s the Highest, especially in the Old Testament? God is. God is the Highest. He’s the High One. All right, John the Baptist is going to announce, then, the coming of the God of Abraham. And who’s the God of Abraham? The Son. Jehovah. Now we’re going to see Him come incarnate, in the flesh. Read on.
“And thou, child, (John) shalt be called the prophet (or the forth teller) of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord (God the Son, the God-Man that’s coming.) to prepare his ways; 77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people (Israel) by the remission of their sins,”
“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high (speaking of the incarnate Son, now) hath visited us. 79. To give light (spiritual light) to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80. And the child grew, (That is John the Baptist.) and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his showing unto Israel.”
All right, now after that introduction of the announcer of the Messiah, you go into chapter 2. I guess we’ll have to wait until the next half hour to do that. But all of this is laying the ground work for the appearance of the God-Man. I’m going to start out the next half hour with an illustration of why He had to become human in order to do the work of the cross. It wouldn’t have done for a spirit-being to somehow go up there on the cross. It had to be a human who could suffer and bleed and die and be raised again from the dead.
LESSON TWO * PART III
INCARNATE CHRIST: GOD BECOMES MAN
Genesis 3:15 and Galatians 4:4
All right, good to have everybody back again. We’ll go for program number three. For those of you in the studio audience, you can be turning to Matthew chapter 1. Again, we want to welcome our television audience. How we thank you, and we just praise the Lord for all your kind letters and your financial help. We couldn’t do it without you. A lot of people wonder, you know, where do you get the money for this? It comes in voluntarily, mostly twenty-five to a hundred dollars. But anyway, the Lord supplies, and like I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, we will never ask for a dime, never have and never will. If we run short, we’ll just cut expenses. That’s the way it’s going to work.
All right, we want to keep going on Christ, the God-Man, the Incarnate. And like I mentioned in the very first program, you won’t find that word in your Bible. It’s been coined by Bible scholars and so forth. I looked it up again to be on the safe side just before I left this morning; the word incarnate simply means God-Man, or God who became human. And if I’m not mistaken, I stand to be corrected again. But if I am not mistaken, of all the religions in the world, and I don’t like to call Christianity religion, but for sake of my illustration, of all the religions of the world, I don’t think there is a single one that teaches resurrection from the dead as we do.
They know nothing of resurrection. Their word is Reincarnation. In other words, if you take the Hindu religion, you can start out as the very lowest of the low, and if you do pretty good, you’ll be reincarnated and come back as what? Something a little better, over and over until finally they attain a “god” position. Well, that’s reincarnation, and that is not a scriptural concept. We do not teach a reincarnation. We teach only resurrection from the dead.
Now, if you’ll remember when the Apostle Paul was confronting the intellectuals of his day up there on Mars Hill, what was the one thing that upset them so? Resurrection from the dead. They said whoever heard of such a thing? Yet the very basic premise of our faith is the resurrection from the dead—for salvation believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Which is another thing, why did God have to become human? So that He could die. And why did He have to die? So that He could be resurrected from the dead and impart eternal life. Well, that’s all coming in the next half hour or two, or whatever it’s going to take.
All right, let’s go to Matthew chapter 1 and take a brief look at the genealogies of Christ from two different viewpoints. And why two? Well, we have to look at it from the father’s side, or what we would call the male element, and then Luke is going to show us from the mother’s or the female side. Matthew chapter 1 is the genealogy of Joseph. Even though he was not the physical father, he was the legal father. That’s what we have to look at.
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, (See that? It’s His genealogy.) the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Now the scoffer never stops to think; they just ridicule. But if you’re a Bible student, immediately you should ask yourself the question, why does this stop with Abraham? Why didn’t it go on back through Noah and Seth and all the way to Adam?
Well, because the promise of the King, which was a spiritual element, only came from Abraham on. There was no concept of a King and Kingdom between Genesis 1 and Genesis 12. Consequently, since Matthew is going to present Jesus Christ as the King, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the spiritual side of the coin, we only go back to Abraham.
Isn’t it amazing? Exactly as it should be. That’s the supernatural part of this Book. And like I said, the scoffer never sees that. He doesn’t look that far. He won’t study. But you have to understand that for a reason Matthew’s genealogy only takes us back from the time of Christ’s birth to the beginning of the Jewish race. The promises of a covenant people and a Redeemer and so forth go to Abraham. All right, here we have the generations of Jesus Christ.
“…the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Here it begins.) 2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;” And so on and so forth all the way up through (I’m not going to read all the generations), until we come all the way up to verse 16.
“And Jacob (Not the same Jacob of Genesis. This is just a common Jewish name.) begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, (but not the father of Jesus) of whom was born (speaking of Mary) Jesus, who is called Christ. (the Anointed or the Messiah) 17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon until Christ (That is until His birth, His first advent.) are fourteen generations.”
Now, what does that show you? God is on a time factor. All the way up through the Old Testament almost every prophecy was given in what? A time frame. And God is meticulous. People think that He has nothing to do with time. Yes, He does. He has everything to do with time. It’s all according to His timetable. Right now today we are on the very day that He pre-prescribed for us to be. We are on His timetable.
You know, that’s why I’m getting less concerned about the whole political situation. Because after all we are so close to the end; it’s all in His control. I’m going to quit getting all upset about what’s taking place. I have in the past, but I’ve given up on it. It’s in God’s hands, and I’m going to leave it there.
All right, let’s go on to the other side of the genealogy tree. That’s in Luke chapter 3, where we have the genealogy of the female or Mary. This was the genealogy of the legal father, Joseph, and now we’re going to look at Luke chapter 3 and the genealogy of Jesus Christ through the side of Mary. All right, let’s start at the beginning in verse 23.
“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) (in the rank and file of Israel) the son of Joseph, who was the son (Actually, he was the son-in-law, if I’m not mistaken.) of Heli, 24. Who was the son of Matthat, who was the son of Levi, who was the son of Melchi,…” and so on and so forth.
Again, we aren’t going to go through all the begats and so forth. I’m going to bring you all the way up to verse 38 just to show you how far this genealogy goes. Well, it’s self-evident.
“Who was the son of Enos, (That’s Enoch in the Old Testament.) who was the son of Seth, (Remember, he took Abel’s place after Abel was murdered and Cain left. In Abel’s place came Seth.) who was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” From God at creation.
All right, now you say, well, Les, what are you driving at? Just like the genealogy of Matthew was Christ as the King, the spiritual side, the God side, the Deity side; this genealogy takes us all the way back to the beginning of the human experience – to Adam. Christ was not only the progeny of God Himself as the Redeemer, the King, the Savior, but this genealogy takes Him all the way back and ties Him in with the humanity side of Adam. You see that?
Now this is the miraculousness of Scripture. That here we have two genealogies with two completely difference concepts—one only going to Abraham, but the other one going all the way back to Adam and tying us in with his humanity.
All right, since you’re in Luke anyway, and to show that He was so human that He suffered as a human; He got hungry as a human; He got tired as a human; and He prayed to the Father as a human. I want you to see just a few of these. All right, let’s look at the first one in Luke chapter 2 verse 40.
“And the child grew, (speaking of Jesus up in Nazareth) and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” All right, there it shows that He was typically normal in His growing up years.
All right, let’s go to John’s Gospel and look at another aspect of His humanity in chapter 4 verses 5 and 6.
“Then he cometh to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being (What’s the next word?) wearied (He was getting tired.) with his journey, sat thus on the well:…”
Now you know, I just made that point again in Albuquerque last Saturday. I’ve made it in several other seminars in the last several months. My favorite way of expressing the Gospel in its purity, and, oh, how it has been besmirched and blemished by mankind. I’m going to take the time to rehearse it again, because I want people to get used to using it. Now you’re all going to remember what I’m talking about. I’ve done it before. I’m going to do it again.
There were two times in all of the biblical history where God did something so perfect, so flawless, that there wasn’t another thing that He could do. He couldn’t go back and fix something. There was nothing to smooth out. Everything was perfect. Twice. The first time was after creation. Genesis 1:31 says that He looked at creation and it was perfect. And after He saw there wasn’t anything more that He could do, you get into Genesis chapter 2 and what did He do? He rested. And I made the point that when you rest, what do you do? Well, you sit down. And this says the same thing. He was weary. They had been walking probably many a dusty mile in old, hot Middle Eastern Israel. So He came to a place and what could He do? He sat down. He rested.
All right, in Hebrews chapter 1 we have the second time, and it was after finishing the work of the cross which was so perfect. It was so complete. Even at the cross He said, “It’s finished.” And He went on through the power of resurrection and put the frosting on the cake, if I may put it that way. So in Hebrews He could now say that He had purged all our sin. There was not a speck of sin that wasn’t purged. He finished the work of the cross, and it was so perfect, it was so flawless, that what could He do? “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.”
All right, then I go on to say that if our Gospel is so perfect, all you and I have to proclaim is that Christ was crucified and shed His Divine blood. That’s why He had to be the God-Man. We’ll come back to that again. He shed His blood. He physically died and was laid in the tomb and three days later He was reunited with body, soul, and spirit, like we will be one day. And by that resurrection power He could now proclaim salvation to the whole human race, by believing that plus nothing.
And from the day that the Apostle Paul was commissioned to take that glorious Gospel out into the Gentile world, from day one, what has man done with that finished work? Added to it. Always gluing something on and requiring something of people. You say, like what? Well. I guess the worst one is baptism. Look at the millions upon millions upon millions of people who have lived and died in the last 2,000 years and went out to eternity thinking that baptism was part of salvation—an integral part, an important part. And this Book tells us that if that’s the way they went out into eternity, they went out lost. Now that’s frightening, but it’s the truth of the matter.
All right, what’s the next one? Membership in something. Oh, you’ve got to do this. You’ve got to give. You’ve got to tithe. That’s all “stuff” that man has added to that glorious Gospel. And God won’t have it. He finished it! It was perfect! And that’s the only salvation that He can look at. And that’s what you and I have to let people know and, oh, they hate it. Don’t think I don’t know they hate it. They think you’ve still got to do something. No, you don’t. It’s all done.
All right, enough of that. I couldn’t pass it up when I saw that word wearied and He sat down. Now that’s the way I teach. I never had any idea of doing that today. But He sat down, and that’s what He did when He finished the work of salvation. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High. All right, so He, in his humanity, grew tired. He grew weary.
All right, let’s go back a few pages to Matthew chapter 8. Let’s see, I think I want verse 23. Matthew 8 verse 23. Oh, this is the one I’ve been waiting for. This is two-fold. I can give you both sides of the coin—His humanity and His Deity. All got it?
“And when he was entered into a ship, (Not a great big ship as we picture them today. It was just more or less an oversized boat.) his disciples followed him. 24. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with the waves: but he was (What?) asleep.
What does that show you? His humanity. Does God ever sleep? No. God in His total Deity doesn’t ever sleep. But here God is in His incarnate human body, and it says He was sleeping? Why do we sleep? Well, we get tired. Just like we showed you in the Samaritan situation, He was weary and He sat down. Well, here He even went down, evidently below the deck, and He was asleep. That’s His humanity. But, oh, now we flip the coin, and we’re going to see a bit of His Deity in verse 25.
“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. (We’re sinking.) 26. And he said unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?…” Now, what do you suppose He’s driving at? Don’t you know who I am?
You know, that reminds me. That’s like a guy that came rushing up to the head of the line at the airline ticket office, and the ticket lady told him go to the end of the line. And he said, “Lady, don’t you know who I am?” So she got on her microphone and announced to the whole airport, “Will somebody please come to such and such a ticket office. I have a man here who doesn’t know who he is!”
But see, that’s the same way with the Lord. Fellows, don’t you know who I am? We’re not going to sink. I’m the God of this lake. I’m the God of this Sea of Galilee. But now look what He does.
“…Then he arose, (from His sleep) and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Now, I know you’ve all read that calming the sea, but do you really stop and analyze that? How that this seemingly normal human being could simply arise from His bed of sleep, stand on the deck of that little boat and speak to the wind – be quiet. This is a perfect illustration of the power of His Godhead, even in human form. He never stopped being God.
In the womb of Mary He was still the God of Creation. Never lose sight of that. So He stood up on that little boat, and He rebuked the wind. He spoke to it, and there was a great calm.
“But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea (What?) obey him!” Why should they? He’s the creator. Everything is held together by His spoken word. The universe with all the billions upon billions upon billions of stars and galaxies are held together by the voice of this same Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, I have to emphasize that, because, beloved, if He were anything less than that, He could have not paid my sin debt nor yours. But He did. It’s paid in full. Simply because of who He is. And that’s why we have to teach, that, yes, He was totally human, because He had to die in the realm of humanity to suffer and shed His blood for us.
Now, I was going to use a little illustration to start this half hour and forgot. Many of you have probably heard of it. I heard it way back when I was a young teenager, and I’ve heard it more than once since. But it’s a good illustration. A gentleman had an anthill in his back yard. And he was always obsessed with watching those ants. And if you’ve never done it, try it. It’s enough to just hold your attention. He was standing there. He was watching those ants. And every once in a while he’d reach down in between and he’d pick his hand back up.
Finally his neighbor couldn’t take it any more, so he walked over and said, “What in the world are you doing?” He says, “Well, I’m watching this hill of ants, but the reason I lean down every once in a while is because that one poor little fellow is trying to put a little piece of straw down the ant hole, but he can’t make it work because it’s always laying crosswise. So I try to reach down and help him turn that straw so he can take it down into the ant hole.”
And the neighbor says, “Well, you dummy! You’ll never be able to do that until you become an ant.” You got the picture? Those ants weren’t going to have anything to do with him. They scattered. But if he could have become one of them, they would have accepted his help.
All right, now I love that illustration, because you see, that’s what God had to do. Why does the whole human race hang up on idolatry? Why are the humans so obsessed with idolatry, and they have been. Because, you see, they want to worship something that they can touch. They want to worship something sitting on their mantle that they can look at. That they can identify with. But to take something by faith? It’s so hard. So, yes, all up through the Old Testament they had to be satisfied with the Theophanies—when God appeared in human form and then disappeared. And from then on they had to take it by faith.
All right, beginning with our New Testament economy, with His first advent, we have God in the flesh. We no longer are looking at something that is invisible; that is impossible to imagine. He was here in the flesh. He said, “Handle me. Touch me.” Even after His resurrection. He was for real, beloved. And He never laid aside one ounce of His Deity. Never!
Now, our time is just about gone. Let’s look at one or two more in Luke chapter 22. This is, of course, at the time of the crucifixion—His passion. Let’s start at verse 39 when He’s in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Now you want to remember that Matthew, Mark, and Luke depict Christ primarily from His human side. John will depict Him from the Deity side. So, here we have things in Luke and Matthew and Mark that you won’t find in John, because he does not look at His humanity.
“And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41. And he was withdrawn to them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” Of course, He was speaking of the horrors of the cross that were now right in front of Him.
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (See, there’s His humanity.) 45. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46. And he said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.’”
Well anyway, you come all the way down through the next series of verses, and it’s a constant exposure of His humanity.
“Then they took him, (He was completely submissive.) and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall,…” You know the account of all this. All right now verse 63.
“And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?” Well you see, he never responded except in His humanity. And that’s what we have to understand.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
INCARNATE CHRIST: GOD BECOMES MAN
Genesis 3:15 and Galatians 4:4
It is so good to have everyone in again this afternoon. For those of you joining us on television, again we want to thank you for everything: your letters, your help, and your prayers. My, how we appreciate your prayers. We know that without them we would never be where we are.
Well, I don’t know whether the camera is going to be ready or not, but we’d like to let our TV audience know that I’ve got part of the family with us today. I’ve got my son, who is back there on the ranch with me and works in the ministry, and his wife and their son Jesse. There, they got them on camera. Okay, there’s Greg and Janette, and there’s Jesse and even got Roberta in there! Roberta is just a dear friend of Laura’s. And again, we always appreciate what people do for our ministry. A lot of you know that it’s a family run operation. And we like to keep it that way.
Before we get started with this study, Iris wants to always remind our audience that we still have our one and only book, and we don’t sell it for a fundraiser. We just sell it because it’s such a good informational tool. And that’s the question and answer book. Feel free to call the ministry, and we send them out postage paid for $11.00. It’s not a money-making thing whatsoever.
All right, let’s move right on. This is our fourth program on the incarnate Christ, and we’re going to look a little more at His humanity. Then we’re going to look for the rest of the hour at His Deity. So, turn with me to Acts chapter 2 verse 22. The Day of Pentecost and Peter is preaching to the Nation of Israel. This is after His resurrection, about ten days after His ascension, and look what Peter says.
“Ye men of Israel, (You see how Jewish all this still is. Not a word concerning Gentiles.) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, (What?) a man (See that?) approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs,…” Now, on what basis did He do the miracles and signs? Well, His Deity, but on the other hand He was human. We’ve got the two sides of the coin all the way through here.
“… a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23. Him, (This Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate God) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
All right, now let’s move over to a statement by the Apostle Paul. Go over to I Timothy chapter 2, and we get the same kind of language. Then we’re going to switch over on the other side of the coin and look at His Deity. I might as well start at verse 1.
I Timothy 2:1-2
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2. For kings, (presidents, prime ministers) and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quite and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Without corruption. That’s what it means. Oh, that we could have honesty in government.
I Timothy 2:3-4
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” He would, but they won’t. You know, someone got the idea one time—in fact I’m seeing more and more of it as the deception is coming in from every direction. There are more and more people who are subscribing to the fact that sooner or later everybody is going to end up in heaven. Universalism—I think is one of the words they’re using—but, that’s not what my Bible teaches.
All right, but God would. He would love to see all people come to a knowledge of the truth, but they will not. All right, move on to verse 5.
I Timothy 1:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the (What?) man Christ Jesus;” All right, now Hebrews chapter 1, let’s go look at it again. I referred to it in the last program, but let’s turn ahead from Timothy to Hebrews. Again, start at verse 1. Now don’t lose sight of what we just read in Timothy, that there is one mediator between God and men, and it’s the man Christ Jesus. All right, now Hebrews is going to tell us where the man is mediating from.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers (That is to the Nation of Israel.) by the prophets. (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the rest of them. But this same God now–) 2. Hath in these last days (Speaking of His first advent—His earthly ministry, His passion, His resurrection, and His ascension) spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made (or created) the worlds;” Now, put that up in your computer, because we’re going to come to that a little bit later.
“Who (speaking of God the Son) being the brightness of his glory, (See His Deity?) and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, (There’s His Deity as the Creator, the upholder.) when he had by himself purged our sins, (Did what?) sat down (As a what? As a man.) on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Now, that’s about as plain as I think I can make it.
All right, now let’s back up and look at a few more references that especially Paul makes regarding the Deity of this man, this Christ Jesus of Nazareth, of Bethlehem, of Mary, and then of the cross and the power of His resurrection. All right, let’s look at Colossians chapter 1, verses that I use because, again, they are so thrilling. You’ve heard me teach them over and over, that if anything shows that Jesus Christ was the Creator of Genesis 1:1, this is it. Colossians 1 and we’ll drop in at verse 9 so that we get the flow as I like to call it. Paul is writing to this Gentile congregation in Colossi in western Turkey. And he says:
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,…” That is of their salvation, because you see, Colossi was one place Paul had never visited. This was a church that sprang up from others. And after he had heard it, he wrote this letter to these believers in Colossi.
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
How many church members today have got any of that? Not many. I am aghast when I realize the ignorance of most church people concerning this Book. All they know is a little bit of fluff that they scratch on the surface. But see, that’s not what Paul prayed for. He prayed that we as believers would have “knowledge and wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
I had a couple stop by, and I’m not going to say where they’re from or anything like that. I don’t want to put them on the spot. But we had a couple stop by the other day. They spent all afternoon with us. They were ex-Mormons. As we were talking about it, my question was, “Well, how could intelligent people like you guys be taken in by something so false?” I knew his answer, and yet it made a new impact on me when someone else said it. He said, “Les, don’t you realize that until you become a true born-again believer, you don’t realize error from truth. You can’t see the difference.”
And that’s exactly it. Until you become a true born-again believer, this is a closed Book. It’s just gobbledy-gook to most church people. But once you become a believer and the Holy Spirit—in fact, let me show you a Scripture verse to back it up. Keep your hand in Colossians. I haven’t even started there yet. Come back to I Corinthians, because when I say something, I have to back it up with Scripture. I get enough opposition as it is. But here it is in plain words.
I Corinthians chapter 2 verse 11. That’s where we’ll start. Now remember what made me come over here—the gentleman’s statement that we cannot understand the difference between false and truth until we become a believer. And it’s the indwelling Holy Spirit who does that. All right, look at what I Corinthians says, chapter 2 verse 11.
I Corinthians 2:11a
“For what man knoweth the things of a man, except the spirit of man who is in him?…” In other words, when you go to the university, you’re going to learn the secular things, the things of this world. That’s all you can learn from them, because that’s all they understand and that’s normal. That’s the world we live in. All right, but Paul says:
I Corinthians 2:11b-12a
“…even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (in other words, not a university professor, but the Holy Spirit of God) 12. Now we have received,…” Now again, what did I tell you in the first program today? Who does Paul always write to? Believers. Never to the lost world, he is writing to believers.
I Corinthians 2:12-13
“Now we (as believers) have received, not the spirit of the world, (We’re not Ph.D.’s in chemistry and mathematics and physics and world history, or what have you. No. Now we have received–) not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” And that’s why I’m always using as much scripture as I possibly can, to compare scripture with scripture. Otherwise, you can real easily be led astray.
All right, so we compare spiritual with spiritual. Now look at verse 14, this says it all.
I Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man (Who’s the natural man in Paul’s language? The lost person. The person who has never become a believer.) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: (Isn’t that true. Oh, they scoff and they ridicule.) neither can he know them, (He can’t understand scriptural truth. Why?) because they are spiritually discerned.” That says it all, doesn’t it?
If the Spirit doesn’t open your understanding, it’s a closed Book. But the minute the Spirit gives us understanding and you take the time to study it—my, we get people who finally get into this, and they stay awake half the night studying. Why? Because all of a sudden these things become such truth, such reality.
All right, back to Colossians. Colossians chapter 1 and we continue in Paul’s prayer on behalf of not just the Colossi’s, but you and me as well.
“…in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (That, in turn, will bring about what?) 10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord, unto all (Now I think that means unto God and fellow believers. That we can be unto all–) pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” See, that’s a daily process. Just like a child that’s being fed and nourished to grow.
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Now verse 12, this introduces us to who Jesus Christ really was in His earthly ministry and now is at the right hand of the Majesty.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet (or has prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:” In other words, all the things that God is preparing for them that love him.
“Who (speaking of the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, (as lost people) and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” Because we become members of the Body of Christ at our believing faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. And the Body of Christ is in the Kingdom of God. We showed that several months ago in our program, how that the Body of Christ is inside the Kingdom of God. So this is the reference that we are members of the Body of Christ, and as such we, yes, “we have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son.”
“In whom (Here’s His spiritual side.) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” But what did He have to become to shed His blood? Man. It had to be. He had to become the God-Man so that in His humanity He could accomplish and finish the work of the cross which required the atoning blood. It had to be. But, He never lost His Deity.
“Who (Speaking of God the Son, the Redeemer, the One who shed His blood.) is the image (the visible) of the invisible God,…” Now, I think it’s still on the board from our last taping, isn’t it? The Godhead was an invisible Triune God—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Now, out of that invisible Godhead, God the Son became the visible manifestation.
I’m just thinking. Do I want to go ahead one chapter? Just a second, yes, turn on over to chapter 2 verse 8, and then we’ll come right back to chapter 1. I can’t help it. That’s the way I teach.
“Beware (be on guard) lest any man spoil you (or lead you astray) through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Well, all of this in verse 8 is just coming on the world like a Tsunami today. The whole New Age Movement, all this ecumenicalism bringing all the religions of the world into consort together, is all part of this deceitfulness tied to the tradition of men. Because after all, how far back does the New Age system go? Babylon. The Tower of Babel. That’s the beginning of the whole New Age system.
Now, I’ve got to do this while I’m thinking of it. While I was laid aside and recuperating, I told you in one of my other programs, I got a lot of books in the mail. One of them was an exposé of some of this New Age stuff, and I’m just going to share one verse with you. Keep your hand in Colossians, because I think it’s so apropos that we realize what they’re doing with the Scripture. Go back to Ephesians. Ephesians chapter 4 verse 6. Now this is one little tip of the iceberg with what they’re doing to the denominations, to Christendom as a whole. And because of their ignorance of Scripture they’re falling for it by the jillions. This is a simple verse but oh they’ve twisted it to just create mayhem.
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and (What?) in you all.”
Now, like I’ve mentioned two or three times this afternoon, who does Paul always write to? Believers! So, is God in us, the believer? Absolutely!
But what are the New Age people doing with this verse. They say that’s for the whole human race. You see that? That God is in everybody, everything, and every tree. And they use this verse. That’s what it says, “God is in you all.” Now imagine what that does? So, how are you going to get to God if you’re a lost person? How are you going to get the God that is in you to come out and become operative? Meditate. That’s how subtle all this is. All you have to do is meditate. Empty your mind and let this whole New Age system permeate you, and the God that’s within you will come out and become operative. Beloved, that’s not what it says! God isn’t in the world in general. He’s only in the believer. But see how they can twist the Scriptures?
All right, that’s free for nothing. You weren’t supposed to get that today. Now back to Colossians. We’ve got to move right along, or I won’t even finish chapter 1. All right, here we have God the Son, the God-Man, who is in His present day existence, coming out of His earthly ministry and finishing the work of the cross, ascending back to Glory.
Who is the image (or the visible likeness) of the invisible God, (He became–) the firstborn of every creature;” In other words, He’s from eternity past.
I read something the other day where God the Father created God the Son. No, He didn’t! God the Son and God the Spirit and God the Father in unison came out of eternity past.
Now, if you want to go crazy some night, lie in bed and figure out where God came from. Isn’t that right? It’s enough to drive you up the wall. But we take it by faith. He’s pre-existent. He’s always been.
“For by him…” God the Son, the God-Man—the visible, touchable, yes, crucifiable, able to be raised from the dead bodily—that’s who this Christ is. All right, now verse 16 and every time I teach it I remind people, do you know that most of even church people have never heard this before? That this Jesus of Bethlehem, of Nazareth, is the Creator of Genesis. It blows them away. They can’t comprehend it. But it’s who He was. Now look at it.
“For by him (Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son, the One who’s been crucified) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, (Like we saw in Ephesians early this afternoon—the principalities and powers in high places, demonic forces—they’ve all been created by God the Son.) whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things (everything, anything that you can ever imagine) were created by him, and for him:” They are for His pleasure and no one else’s. All right, this is the next verse that very few people comprehend.
“And he is before all things, and by him all things (What?) consist.” Now, you can go to your Strong’s, or you can go to a dictionary, what does that mean? Held together. So that it doesn’t fly apart.
This whole universe in all of its clockwork, in all of its intricacy, is held in its place by the word of Jesus Christ. And if He would ever remove it, it would disintegrate. But He won’t until He’s ready. So we have to understand that the One in whom we have placed our faith is more than capable of fulfilling all of His promises so far as we are concerned. And when He tells us about salvation in Romans 10:9-13—that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Then a little further on, or back a couple of chapters, in Romans chapter 8 when Paul says, I know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. How do I know that? Because if He can hold the universe together, He can hold me! He can hold you! We can rest on these promises that if we have trusted Him for our eternal destiny, He has all the power at His command to keep it intact.
All right, I’m going to give you one more before we have to close, and that’s Ephesians chapter 3. So you’ve got to back up a page or two. Go back to Ephesians chapter 3 and drop down to verse 9. Then we’re going to have to close. Ephesians chapter 3, well, I almost have to use verse 8.
“Unto me, (the Apostle Paul) who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles (See, now before it was all Jewish, as I’ve been pointing out. Now this Apostle goes to the Gentiles.) the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who (Now watch it.) created all things (How?) by Jesus Christ:”
LESSON THREE * PART I
HOLY SPIRIT (PNEUMA HAGION)
Psalms 51:11 and Luke 24:49
My, it’s good to see everybody again today. For those of you joining us on television, remember this is program one of the next series of four, and then we’ll complete book number 73. You multiply that times 12 and that’s the number of programs we’ve produced. One of these days we should be able to wrap it up and call it quits, but so far we’re going to keep going. We would like to welcome you to an informal Bible study, and you know, I’ve got to compliment you folks here in the studio. When we review these and look at these tapings, I come back to what someone said years ago. He said, “Les, do you realize that everybody that sits under your teaching has their own Bible?” And I’d never really thought of that before. So when we watched the film, sure enough, everybody’s got their own Bible. And I do, I appreciate that so much for those of you here in the studio, because we know our TV audience is doing the same thing. They grab their Bible, and they sit down and watch it with us.
Okay, now I only have one announcement. We’re still going to let folks know that our one and only book of questions and answers is still available. We send it out with no other charge except for the eleven bucks for the book itself. This little book answers all of the questions that most people have. So, if you’re interested, you just call and the girls will get it out to you. We send everything out with an invoice, and you pay for it when you get it.
All right, we’re going to continue on with our series that we started in our last four programs on the incarnate Christ, which is a coin term merely to define that Jesus of Nazareth was totally God and totally man. You know, that’s a concept that a lot of believers have a hard time recognizing—that when He prayed to the Father, He prayed from his humanity. He was totally human. He got tired. He got weary. There were times when He just simply showed His humanity.
He wept when Lazarus died. The sorrow in that household touched him like it would any
human being. But on the other hand, He was totally God, and He could raise the dead. He could forgive sin. I was thinking again last night, we hear these things and we believe them, but do you really sit back and picture it. If you’d have been there with those twelve on the Sea of Galilee—the waves are beating over that little boat, and the wind is roaring, and all He does is stand up and says, “Peace be still,” and everything’s quiet. Now we know the story, but do you really stop and think what that must have been like? No wonder the twelve say, “What kind of a man is this?” Well, He’s God, the same one who created everything!
I think if anything has thrilled me in this series of lessons on the incarnation, it is that it brings home to me once again that had God not become flesh, we never would have had salvation. Do you know that? We’d have been doomed automatically. And at the same time, they came up with another thought. Now we know that the Old Testament, especially—let’s go back and look at it. I really didn’t intend to do this. I may even have to look and see if I can find it—Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4. This is the premise of most of the Jews’ thinking even today. That’s why an Orthodox Jew cannot swallow the New Testament, because they call our concept of a triune God polytheism. Oh, you’re worshiping more than one God, and we don’t. All right, here’s their reasoning.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God (Is what?) is one LORD:” They can’t get away from that. But now have you ever stopped to analyze this whole idea of a triune God? Have you ever stopped to think—could God have precipitated our great plan of salvation if there’d been only one person of the Godhead? Have you ever thought about that? What if there’d only been one person of the Godhead? Let’s just say God the Father. Could He have consummated this glorious plan of salvation? Well, He could have gone part way, but what would He have done when He was ready to die? He would have to be resurrected. Who would do it? See, it falls over.
But with the concept of a triune God, one of them could come down and become flesh and blood. He could die. He could safely go through death in the tomb, because you still had two persons of the Godhead to call Him forth, and they did. So you see, the more you analyze all this, the more miraculous it becomes, and yet the most logical of anything on earth. So keep all these things in mind and mull them over in your mind in your spare time. Just think these things over and over. What if there’d only been one person of the Godhead? What if one of them hadn’t come down and become flesh and blood? It is thought-provoking.
Okay, so here we go for another series of teachings on the incarnate Christ, the God-man. Let’s turn to Philippians chapter 2, and we’ll drop in at verse 5 where Paul writes:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Now, my next series, whether I’ll start this afternoon, I think I will, is going to be on the Holy Spirit. And I maintain that the Holy Spirit is a person—the same as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Some people say He isn’t. In fact, sometimes I wonder if our translators felt that He was not a person, because how many times do you see the Spirit referred to as it and which? Don’t you often wonder, well, why not a personal pronoun? Well, some people don’t agree that He’s a person. Well, what made me think of it? What are the three parts that make up a person? Now you’ve been with me long enough, what is it? Mind, will, and emotion—that makes a personality.
All right, what made me think of it? What word have we got right here? Mind—Paul says, “Let this mind (this part of your make-up) be in you, which was also in (Whom?) Christ Jesus.” He’s a person. He’s mind, will, and emotion. He’s a personality. God the Father is mind, will, and emotion. God the Spirit—and I’m going to show that—has a mind, will, and emotion. So let this part of the very personality of Christ be also in you, and the only way that can happen is by virtue of being born from above, and we become part of all that. All right now, verse 6:
“Who, (speaking of God the Son) being in the form of God,…” He was God from eternity past. Now some of the cults teach, of course, that Christ didn’t appear until many, many, many, many ages after the fact. That He was not eternal in His existence. But this says He was. He’s always been God from eternity past.
“…thought it not robbery (or something that He could just grasp because He wanted it) to be equal with God: (Because He was, it wasn’t something He had to grab for. He had it.) 7. But He made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of (Not an emperor, not a prince, not a governor, not a dictator, not a senator, not a physicist, not anything else, but a what?) a servant,…” What’s the other word for servant in the New Testament? Bond slave!
Well, on the totem pole of society, where was a bond slave? At the bottom, wasn’t he? So Christ became flesh, not like these televangelists try to tell us—that He was rich, that He had all the world’s goods. I said, hey, that’s not what my Bible says. My Bible said that He was comparing himself to foxes that had dens, and He didn’t, and birds that have what? Nests, He didn’t even have that. So, what was He? He was beneath everything. He put Himself down at the bottom rung, so that He could experience everything pertaining to the human existence.
“…and took upon himself the form of a bond slave, and was made in the likeness of (What?) men:” Now remember last time we taped, I kept emphasizing all the time, as I’ve already eluded to, that without Him becoming a man, could there have been salvation for the human race? No, because the righteousness of God, starting way back in Genesis chapter 3, demanded a sacrificial death with the shedding of blood. And could a spirit do that? Do spirits have blood? We’re going to see that again when I get into the Holy Spirit lessons. No, a spirit doesn’t have blood.
So, He had to become a human being in order for blood to be….no, I guess that just triggered another thought. I haven’t done it for a long time. We can just interrupt. That’s why I’m glad I run my own show. Nobody has to tell me what I can do and what I can’t do. Okay, we’re going to go back and we’re going to look at some absolutes. So, put all this on hold for a minute. Come back with me to Romans chapter 3 and the very absolutes that every human being has to face if they want eternal life or salvation. They have to face them. They have to deal with it, and I want you to be aware of that today like never before. This fits right in with what we were talking about, that Christ had to become human. He had to have blood, and it had to be shed. All right, Romans 3 verse 23, what I call the first of three absolutes. I used to have two, but now I’ve put this one in as a third one.
“For all (no one excluded) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” An absolute. You can’t argue with that. You cannot detour around it. You can’t tunnel under it. You can’t fly over it. What do you have to do? You have to meet it head on. I have fallen short of the glory of God. It’s an absolute. Nobody can be saved without understanding this—nobody.
For the next one, let us go all the way back to Hebrews chapter 9. This is what made me think of this. See, I can prepare and prepare. Jerry and I can prepare, and I didn’t have any of these in my preparation. But here it is in verse 22.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; (But here’s the part that I’m looking for.) and without shedding of blood is (What?) no remission.” None. The other word for remission is forgiveness. So, without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness. And yet every human being is a sinner, because we’ve fallen short.
All right, when these preachers are forgetting about the atoning blood and they’re feeding their congregations everything and anything but, do they stand a snowball’s chance in being forgiven of anything? No, because you have to have the blood. It’s an absolute. And you’re not going to compromise with God and say, now wait a minute, that’s kind of a gory situation. Do I have to face something like that? Yeah, you bet you do. The cross wasn’t pretty. Oh, we make necklaces now, you know. Iris hasn’t got one on, but anyway we make necklaces. We have prettied the cross, haven’t we? But was it? No, it wasn’t pretty. It was awful. It was awful! Why? Because sin is awful.
I’ll never forget. Do remember, Iris, when we were in the mosques, the Golden Dome, way, way back? It was one of the first or second times when we took a tour to Israel. At that time, you know, the Intifada hadn’t started, and if we took off our shoes, we could actually go into the Golden Dome. Inside the dome on the bottom floor is this huge rock that comes up about 8 feet above the floor, where supposedly Abraham offered Isaac. Our Jewish guide was explaining how that the altar of Israel’s temple was quite likely in this very same spot. He was explaining the geography of the area, and how all the blood of these animals could be drained down, and it would go out through underground caverns and out to the Kidron Valley.
Anyhow, we were talking about the slaughter of all these animals and somebody in our group—we weren’t that large a group, probably around 30 of us—made a comment that that was such a gruesome religion. Well, our little Jewish guide, of course, tried to explain the fact that when these priests killed these animals, it was such an instantaneous death that the animal never suffered one iota. Anyway, the guide was trying to explain away the situation and take away the gruesomeness of it. I’ll never forget. I spoke up and said, but, Levi,… (That was his name.) don’t try to take away the horrors of the shed blood of the cross. When they offered that lamb, many times it was probably like a household pet, and to see that lamb shed its blood for their sin just tore them up. Why? Because that’s what sin does. The whole idea of this sacrificial system of worship and the shedding of all this blood was to show Israel the awfulness of their sin. But see, we’ve lost that. My goodness, today they don’t even call sin a sin anymore, do they? They’ve got all kinds of politically correct terms for it. But I’m old-fashioned enough, yet. I still say sin is sin, and it stinks, beloved. Sin stinks in the nostrils of a Holy God. But we’ve put all that aside. But we had better not, because we have to face the absolute “that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” And you can’t argue it. You can polish it up all you want, but you’re not going to get around it.
All right, now the third absolute is just the next page over, still in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 6.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him:…” There is no way, shape, or form that you can please God without faith. But faith in what? In Paul’s gospel for our salvation—faith in the shed blood: the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How many church congregations are hearing that anymore? Well, I just had a guy call last night from one of our cities. He said, “Les, my wife and I have been visiting churches, one right after the other, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, since you’ve been out here.” And I was out there in April. “We can’t find a church that’s preaching this,” He says. “We don’t hear it, not at a one.” Now, I don’t know how many Sundays that would be, but whatever. I know this is true, because they don’t like it. Then Sunday school, I have people who have been under my teaching and when they bring out some of these things, yeah, I got heads nodding all over the place. What do they think? They think you’ve lost it. Well, where do you get that? Right here and they can’t see it. But anyway, those are your three absolutes.
Now, if you’ll come back to Philippians. I don’t know what in the world got me off on that, but anyway, here we have the fact that we have to believe. We have to know what God’s Word says. A lot of faith today is in everything and anything but the gospel. Faith in God, faith in the miracles, faith in this, and faith in that, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about faith in the gospel, the finished work of the cross. Otherwise, Christ wouldn’t have had to come and become flesh, because it is paramount that that is the very center of our salvation experience. All right, back to Philippians chapter 2, reading the last part of verse 7 where we left off.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a bond slave, and was made in the likeness of men: (He was totally human) and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,…” Of His own volition He stood there and took all the abuse of the Romans, and all the verbal abuse of the Pharisees and the priests and so forth, without a word of opposition. Why? Because He was voluntarily becoming the Lamb of God!
And a lamb, you know, never fights back. I guess that’s why God chose that as the typical sacrificial animal. A lamb does not know how to fight back. So, as a Lamb of God, He went without a word of argument and became obedient, just like Isaac of old. He became obedient unto death, not just death by a sword, not just death by a beheading, but the worst death that the human race has ever invented, the death of the cross.
You and I do not even have an inkling of the suffering and the horrors of death by crucifixion. It just literally crushed the diaphragm so that they couldn’t breathe. That’s why they had the block of wood under their feet. Then they could push their feet up once in a while and get a little bit of relief for the diaphragm and get a breath of air. It was an excruciating death.
All right, this is what is pointed out then in this last portion of the verse. It wasn’t just death that He went through. It was the death of the cross. Again, nothing else could have consummated our salvation. He had to be lifted up. He had to shed His blood. He had to suffer, because that was all part of the payment of sin. Not because God is so awful; it’s because sin is so awful.
And, my, we’re seeing it explode all around us. I take the Daily Oklahoman, and every day it is murder, rape, drugs, alcohol, and it’s coming like a flood. So, don’t blame God. Sin is awful, and in order to pay that sin debt, Christ had to meet all of the demands of a Holy God. On that basis I’m going to take you back for a minute to Romans chapter 5. I had a phone call yesterday where I had to use this verse, and I think since I’m talking about how much the cross accomplished, Romans chapter 5. I think we’ve got time. Let’s jump all the way up to verse 17. Romans 5 verse 17, now remember what we just saw in Philippians: how that Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of a man that He might suffer death, not just death as may usually happen, but even the death of the cross.
“For if by one man’s (Adam) offense death (Death and sin, remember, are synonymous.) reigned by one; much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, (The second Adam and who is that?) Jesus Christ.” See that? Now to verse 18:
“Therefore as by the offense of one, (Adam) judgment came (the curse) upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus Christ) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Everyone has had an opportunity. If they don’t take it, it’s not God’s fault. They’ve all had the opportunity. Now, this is all repetition to make the point.
“For as by one man’s (Adam) disobedience many were made sinners, (In other words, the whole human race fell under the curse.) so by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) shall many be made righteous. 20. Moreover the law entered, that the offense (In other words, that sin could be seen for what it really was. It was written in stone so there was no arguing out of it.) might abound. But where sin abounded, (The worst, the most awful that you can think of—now what’s the rest of the verse?) grace did much more abound:” What a God! That no matter how vile a man may become, or what an awful sinner he is, God’s grace is greater than his sin.
LESSON THREE * PART II
HOLY SPIRIT (PNEUMA HAGION)
Psalms 51:11 and Luke 24:49
We’re going to get back on our study of the incarnate Christ for at least this program. Let’s continue on here in Philippians chapter 2. For those of you joining us out in television, again we just appreciate the fact that you feel like you’re part of the class. We’re just like a Sunday school class. That’s the best way I can put it. I’m not here to preach, and I’m not here to holler at you. We’re just going to see what the Book says, and I think we’re making a dent.
All right, let’s come back and continue on a little further in Philippians chapter two. We ended up how that Christ died the death even the death of the cross—now verse 9.
“Wherefore…” Now, whenever you see that word wherefore, what is that supposed to do to you? It should send you back a little ways to the verses that we just covered. And what’s it talking about? His becoming flesh, His death on the cross—and since all that has been accomplished, now God also has highly exalted Him.
Now think for a moment. What two positions are we now looking at? What did I tell you He came as? The lowest point on the social scale, a bond slave. Where is He ending up? The highest possible place in all of God’s operations, highly exalted. That’s what the cross accomplished. But you know what? That’s us!
We’re nothing but hell-bound sinners, and by simply appropriating by faith all of this, we, too, are now seated in the heavenlies. Not here on earth—we’re just strangers passing through and always equate all of this. In fact, let’s go back to Romans chapter 8 for a minute. I think we may have looked at it in the last taping, but it never hurts to repeat these things. Romans chapter 8 and drop in at verse fourteen, because I’m afraid too many believers are just sort of floating along. You know you’re saved, you know you’re not going to Hell, but do you really appreciate your position as a member of the Body of Christ? Do you really appreciate that one day we’re going to be there?
In fact, I just shared with someone on the phone last night. I said, “You know, we all talk rather glibly, and we hope the Lord is coming soon.” My, I get phone calls and letter after letter, and I think we are all pretty much agreed that nothing better could happen to us than for the Lord to blow the trumpet, and we’re out of here. And we talk about it rather glibly. But do you ever really stop and just think about it? What if five minutes from now that trumpet should sound? And it’s coming. It’s getting closer all the time. They can scorn it all they want. The more they scorn it, the closer it gets, because that’s what Scripture says. So just stop and think about some of these things and how that it’s reality. This isn’t pie in the sky or wishful thinking. It’s going to happen!
Whenever I say it’s going to happen, a verse comes to mind every time. We used it last taping. That’s why I’ve been trying to ignore it today, but I just can’t. It’s in Galatians. What does it say?
“But when the fullness of the time was come, (What’s the next part?) God sent forth His Son,…” Now, from the time the prophets stopped writing and dealing with Israel, which was Malachi, how long was it before the angel appeared to Mary and John the Baptist? How long? Four hundred years of total silence.
Israel had never experienced that kind of silence in her history. So what do you suppose a lot of them began to think? It’s not going to happen. God has forgotten all about us. But, beloved, it did. When the fullness of time was come, God moved and Christ appeared. It’s the same way today. Oh, you know it’s been nineteen hundred and some years now, and a lot of people have almost given up and think that this is never going to happen. Don’t you believe it, because it is! I don’t know when. It may be a long time, yet. I can’t see how it can, but it could be. God is timeless. But I’ll tell you, beloved, one day it’s going to happen. God’s going to move. All right, now where was I?
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, (We’ll look at some of these verses when we get into the Holy Spirit aspect later this afternoon.) they are the sons of God.” See, that’s a present tense verb. Not that you hope to be, not that you might be, but you are here and now. Children of God is a better word here than sons of God. Verse 15:
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;…” That’s the joy of being a true believer. We don’t have to fear God. I had a letter yesterday where a girl grew up with a mentality that all God was waiting for was for her to think something wrong, say something wrong, and do something wrong so He could zap her. That was her thinking of God. Well, she’s not alone. There are legions, and that’s why they don’t want anything do with Him. But listen, it’s just the opposite. We don’t have to fear.
“…but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, (In other words, God has placed us as sons of God.) whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16. The Spirit, (the Holy Spirit) himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are (present tense) the children of God: 17. And if children, (then it follows) then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Then the next verse, we can’t really stop here.
“For I reckon (Paul says) that the sufferings of this present time (And he knew what it meant to suffer like no other human on earth, not counting the Lord Himself, of course. But he suffered over such a long period of time that his was far beyond any others.) are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.” That’s still future, and its coming! All right, now back to Philippians, if you will.
“Wherefore (Since Christ has finished the horrible suffering and the work, as well as the victory and the majesty of the resurrection, which we’ll look at next.) God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every (Underline that word if you don’t mind marking your Bible. Every—and that means exactly what it says.) knee should bow, (Not just of this present Age of Grace, but from whatever period of time God wants to deal with.) of things in heaven, (the angelic hosts) and things in earth, and things under the earth;” I think that even delves into the satanic demons and so forth. Everything that has any symbolism of personality is going to kneel before Jesus Christ.
“And that every tongue (I think this includes lost humanity as well as the saved.) should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,…” Oh, for most it’s going to be too late. It’s not going to bring their salvation. But before they go to their doom, they’re going to be brought to that place of recognizing that the One they rejected was who He said He was.
“…confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” All right, let’s jump all the way to Revelation chapter 20 where this is laid out in plain English.
This, of course, is all the lost of the ages. No believers are here, because the believer has already done this. It’s not left for him to do at all. Every believer has already bowed the knee and recognized who Jesus Christ is. That’s part of our salvation. But it is for the rest of everything, whether it’s the demon host or whether it’s the fallen angels, and we know they’re going to be in this group. As Philippians said, even some of the heavenly beings are all going to be here to bow the knee before the great judge of the Great White Throne, which is now spoken of here in Revelation 20. Let’s jump in at verse 11.
“And I saw a great white throne, (Don’t ask me where it’s at. I don’t know. It’s going to be out there some place.) and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;…”
Now, I’ve got to stop. I can’t help it. Come back with me to John’s gospel. These will be verses that I doubt very many people in Christendom even know are in their Bible, but they are. We’re going to look at them. Now remember what we’re talking about, the Great White Throne where every knee that has ever existed and ever experienced will bow and recognize Christ for who He was. This is not for salvation, because this is the lost.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, (Now, if you’ve got a red letter edition, it’s red, so Jesus is speaking in His earthly ministry.) in the which all that are in the graves (All, not just believers, all that are in the graves or have lived and died.) shall hear His voice, 29. And shall come forth; (Not all at once, you’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture, so don’t picture all of this happening at the same time. No, no, but they will all come forth.) they who have done good, (people of faith) unto the resurrection of life; (Eternal life, Old Testament as well as New) and they who have done evil, (No faith—the Cain’s and Esau’s, the Ishmael’s, the King Saul’s, and so forth. They who are of no faith, they’re going to come–) unto the resurrection of condemnation.”
They’re going to be resurrected. Now that takes some explanation, doesn’t it? All right, when lost people die today, where do they go? Well, they go to Hell as we see it in Scripture. But that’s not the end. That’s not the Lake of Fire. I had a whole half hour program on that once upon a time, I think. The difference between Hell and the Lake of Fire, which is all the difference in the world, is that Hell is just the waiting place in the spirit realm. They’re not down there bodily. They’re only in soul and spirit. But they’re going to be resurrected, and, I think, be given a body fit for the Lake of Fire. They, too, will become body, soul, and spirit once again. But they’re going to “come unto the resurrection of condemnation.”
All right, now I’ll come back to Revelation 20, and here are the lost of all ages. Here they are bodily. They’ve got a body fit for their eternity, just like we’re going to have a body fit for glory—verse 12.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; (What person of the Godhead? Jesus Christ! Because it is at Him that every knee will bow, so we know that Christ will be the judge at the Great White Throne.) and the books (plural,) were opened: and another book (singular) was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead (These lost who have been resurrected and brought before the Judge.) were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
God’s keeping track. They’re going to have that long list of evil and wickedness and unbelief, even church people who have been hearing the Gospel and rejecting it. It’s all written down. They’re going to be confronted with it, and it’s going to be awful. That’s why preachers don’t want to touch on it. It’s going to be awful!
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. (That’s the eternal.) This is the second death. (That’s the end. They’re separated. That’s what death amounts to here. It’s a spiritual death. They are separated from their Creator God for the rest of eternity.) 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” We don’t like to hear that. I know we don’t. But it’s a biblical reality, and people have to be made aware of it.
All right, now if you will come back quickly with me with me to Philippians chapter
2 verse 11.
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” All right, let’s move over to chapter 3. We have another set of verses that, again, trumpet the incarnation.
We’re going to be looking at the final result of His death, shed blood, and His burial. Paul is going to give us some thoughts on the resurrection in chapter 3. Let’s start at verse 7. The Apostle Paul is pouring out his own feelings from within of where he had come from as a great religious leader in Israel. And he, too, was lowered to the very lowest rung of society when Christ saved him on the road to Damascus. All right, verse 7:
“But what things were gain to me, (In other words, all he was gaining in his religious activity, and he probably gained financially as well as every other which way. Those things were gain to him.) those I counted loss for Christ. 8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:…” See, that’s exactly what chapter 2 was talking about, that every knee will come to this same recognition. That’s where we’ve been, and that’s where we are. We know who He is. Now reading on:
“…for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Have you ever stopped to think about that?
The Apostle Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, rather, was one of the top wheels in Judaism. He probably had one of the most beautiful homes in Jerusalem. And they lived sumptuously. I’ve referred to that before on one of our tours in Israel. Remember that, Iris? When the archeologist took us through, and my, when he showed us one of the homes that they had dug up and uncovered way down below the temple mount. It’s to the side a ways, but anyhow it was down below. We went down a bunch of steps, and it was all underneath. Here they had uncovered one of the homes of one of the chief priests of Judaism—seven bathrooms. Now you take a home today with seven bathrooms, and you know that’s going to cost you a few million bucks, isn’t it?
And the wall he showed us with the various layers of beautiful wall material. Sumptuous! Remember it? And then he made the analogy that no doubt the high priest’s wife went to Athens and visited this big fancy home and came back and said “Honey, I’ve got to have that wall material that I saw in Athens.” Well, that’s all right, we can afford it. So that was the first layer. Then he says a couple of years later she must have gone to Rome, and she saw another beautiful wall material. She came back to Jerusalem and said, “Honey, I’ve got to have this.” Well, o.k., we can afford it. Then she evidently went to a third city at that time, because there were three layers of these beautiful wall materials, one right after the other.
So, they lived sumptuously. Well, so did Saul of Tarsus. He said more than any of his peers. And he turned his back on all that. But I’m confident that he had a wife and kids, and he turned his back on all that for the Gospel. And that’s what we have to understand, how this man suffered, not just physically or even emotionally, but that he turned his back on all the good life that he had lived as a religious Jew. All right, back to our text.
“…I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, (trash) that I may win Christ.” Not that he had to work for his salvation, but that he might hear one day, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
“And be found in him, (positionally) not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, (As Saul of Tarsus, remember, he was a self-righteous Pharisee.) but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” One of those three absolutes we looked up at the beginning of the afternoon. All right now, verse 10, here’s the heart of this lesson.
“That I may know him,…” What does it mean to know somebody? When you really know them? Well, I come to the conclusion, Iris and I have found out, that you don’t really become acquainted with someone until you sit down and have a meal with them. Isn’t that about right? That’s why so much of church history back here was centered around that fellowship supper. That’s where they really got to know each other. All right, Paul wants to know Christ like we could know the best friend that we’ve got. Even as a friend, not as Savior and Lord and God, but as friend.
“That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection,…” Now, you’ve heard me say on this program over and over, how much power did it take to raise Christ from the dead? All the power that God Himself could gather, because who was fighting to resist it? The powers of Satan—absolutely the last thing Satan wanted was for Christ to be raised from the dead.
But God overcame it. So resurrection power is that which catapults every believer into the Christian experience. That’s why we’re different, not odd, different. I either read or heard something just the other day. I think I was listening to a tape somebody sent me. The guy made the statement—and we see it in our mail over and over that once they comprehend this gospel of Grace that we enter into by faith plus nothing, without their even trying their lifestyle changed.
In fact, we had an interesting couple—can I share it? They are way over in England. They picked us up on the internet. They had no spiritual life whatsoever, not a smidgen. They were living together without benefit of marriage. They partied most nights of the week. He had a well paying job. They found us on the internet over in the Book of Romans. And in about three weeks’ time, in Romans, the Lord gloriously saved them.
What was the first thing they did? Got married! The first thing they did after they were both saved is they went and got married. What was the next thing they did? No more partying. And then he said without even thinking, “I was a three pack a day smoker. All of a sudden, four days after we were saved, I said, Katie, I haven’t had a cigarette in four days.” Well, what’s happened?
He said their whole lifestyle turned 180 degrees. Well, there was no evangelist there prodding them. It was just the Word of God having its effect. And that’s what we hear, letter after letter after letter. My life, my family, our home is totally changed. That’s as it should be, beloved. Not that that’s what’s going to gain our salvation, but it’s the result of it.
How in the world, when you understand the work of the cross and all of His suffering, and then, yes, now as we see all of its glory, how can you turn around and go down into the trash of this world? We can’t stand that trash any more. We’re not supposed to. In fact, I read something else the other day, and it encouraged me. You know what is the best guarantee that you are a true believer? I’m not going to put you on the spot. I’ll answer it for you. To realize the moment you sin. That’s the best guarantee that you are a true believer. That the moment you sin, the Spirit convicts you. Now, that doesn’t mean a horrendous thing. You don’t have to go out and do something horrible. But whenever we sin, we are immediately made aware of it. The unbelieving world doesn’t have that. So, there’s your guarantee. O.k., verse 10 again:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” In other words, what we call the Rapture. Oh my, that’s our Blessed Hope—that’s what Titus calls it.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”
LESSON THREE * PART III
HOLY SPIRIT (PNEUMA HAGION)
Psalms 51:11 and Luke 24:49
Ok, it’s good to see you all back again. This is program #3 this afternoon. Again, to our television audience, we want to welcome you to an informal Bible study in case you’re new. For those of you that have been with us and are so faithful—my, we’ve got faithful listeners, haven’t we, Iris? We’ve got the same people that have been supporting us from almost the first year. And that really warms our hearts. So, we want to thank you for your prayers and your financial help and everything.
Ok, we’d like to remind our audience that we still have our question and answer book. It contains eighty-eight really good questions with the answers from program material in the past—for only $11. We’re finding they make such good gifts to our loved ones.
All right, we’re going to shift gears, as I call it. We’re going to move away from the series on the incarnation, and we’re going to look at the third person of the Trinity. Everybody is always making mention of Him, but I think very little teaching is really done with it. I’m probably going to make some surprising statements in the next two programs. Don’t get all shook up if you disagree with me. That’s fine, but I’m just going to have to go by what happened to me many years ago.
A fellow in one of my classes said, “Les, have you ever really made a study of the Greek term Holy Spirit?” I said, “No, I guess not.” He said, “Well, you ought to. You might be surprised what you’ll learn.” Well, I’m going to put you on hold for a little bit, and I’m going to tell you something that has already shocked some of the people here on the front row. How many times do you suppose the term Holy Spirit is used in the Old Testament—from Genesis through Malachi? How many times do you think?
Only two times in the whole Old Testament can you find the term Holy Spirit. Now, the Spirit is used over and over: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of this, the Spirit of that. But the term Holy Spirit is only used two times. However, we’re going to look at the first one, and that’s in Psalms chapter 51. Now remember, the Holy Spirit is that third person of the Triune Godhead. And He’s a person. We’re going to show you that in just a little bit. But here we have the first instance of the usage of the word Holy Spirit, and that’s in Psalms 51:11. David, I think, is the writer of this Psalm.
“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” Now, here is a good example of rightly dividing Scripture. Does that apply to us today?
Do you and I even have the right to say something like that? I’m not tricking you. NO! No! God can’t take the Holy Spirit from us once He’s been given, because we have that kind of assurance that David himself didn’t have. The Holy Spirit’s modus operandi all the way up through the Old Testament was: He could come upon somebody and leave them. My best example of that is Samson. When the Holy Spirit was upon Samson, what could he do? Well, the impossible. But when old Delilah wiggled it out of him, what happened? The Holy Spirit left. And what was Samson? No more than any other Jew in Israel. But when the Holy Spirit came back upon him, he was able to pull down the temple.
And that was the way all the way through the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit could come upon, and He could leave. They didn’t have the constant abiding that we have. All right, so that verse is a good example. You can’t go back here and say, “See, the Holy Spirit can be taken away from me, because that’s what David said.” David’s not in our economy. David was under Law. David was in the Old Testament. We are now under the Dispensation of Grace.
And beginning, especially with Paul’s out-calling of the Body of Christ, we now have the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer permanently. Never to leave us for all eternity!
All right, so there’s a good example. The next one is in Isaiah 63, and it will be down at verse 10. Now, I don’t know about your versions, but in my King James they are not even capitalized. Did you notice that? They are small h’s and small s’s. That’s another thing I’ve learned since I dug into this. A lot of times different editors will use capitalizations and small letters differently than somebody else. For example, the original King James a lot of time may have had a small h and a small s, where now in our King James we’ve got capitalized letters.
So, that’s why somebody wrote in and asked me awhile back, “What about the capitalization?” Well, you can’t always go by that. You’ve got to know from the text what we are talking about. You can’t just go and say that it’s capitalized so it must be, because that depends on the whim of the editor, not the translator, but the editor. All right, now Isaiah 63:10 is the second instance in the Old Testament.
“But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit:…” Now the word holy is a small h in my Bible, and the Spirit is capitalized, right? Does anybody have something different? Ok, I’ve got one hand back there. How’s yours? Both of them are capitalized. This is what you’ll see. All the way through the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament now, the Holy Spirit may both be capitalized or both small. So, that’s what we wanted to point out. All right, read it again—verse 10.
“But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” All right, it’s just the use of the term Holy Spirit as we see it now in the Book of Isaiah. Now, as we come over to the New Testament, I’m going to bring you over to Luke 24:49.
While you’re looking that up, I’m going to put my words on the board. I’m not as good as Sharon, and Sharon has got a health problem at the moment, so we’re missing her. We’re going to be looking at the Greek terms Pneuma Hagion. That is Greek for the Holy Spirit. What do we get from the word Pneuma? Pneumatic. What is Pneumatics? Stuff you do with air. Now come back, what is Pneuma? Air—you can see the effects of wind, but you can’t see the wind.
All right, that’s the spirit element. So, Pneuma is the Greek word for spirit. All the way through my Strong’s, with one exception, it was always Pneuma Hagion, and this means what we call the Holy Spirit. Oh, I didn’t get Spirit up here, yet, did I? Pneuma is spirit, and Hagion is holy. All of your New Testament references are speaking of the Pneuma Hagion or the Holy Spirit. But, as this individual pointed out to me years ago, he said, “Les, have you ever recognized that there’s a difference between the giver—the person of the Holy Spirit, and his gifts?”
Now, for all the years that we’ve been producing these programs, I go clear back up there to the other side of the lobby, and I have a minute of my private prayer time. You know what my basic prayer is? “Lord, just pour on your Pneuma Hagion.” What was I talking about? This is what we’re going to show you. Luke 24:49, I hope this is as interesting to you as it’s been to me. Luke 24:49 and this is the Lord speaking just shortly before He left planet earth.
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Now think a minute, is power from on high a personality, or is it something a personality extends? It’s a gift, not the giver. Oh, this is just going to explode in you. What is Jesus promising? Not the person, but rather the power, the gift.
All right, let’s move on. Acts chapter 1 and again Jesus is speaking to the Eleven just before He ascends up to Glory from the Mount of Olives. Acts 1:4—and remember what you just saw in Luke, wait for the promise of the Father which is the power from on high.
“And being assembled together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, (See, this is a quote from Luke 24.) which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5. For John truly baptized with water; but (flip side) ye shall be baptized with (or in) the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”
Now, that question comes up periodically. What’s the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost? Oh, that troubles a lot of people. They’re one and the same. It’s just in the matter of nomenclature I read one time, and it’s the best explanation I’ve ever seen. You’ll notice that I never use the word ghost. Somebody asked me why I don’t, and I said, “Well, I’ll do with you like I’ve done with people throughout the years. When you see or read or think the word ghost, what one day on our calendar do you immediately think of? Halloween!!” Come on now, let’s just be upfront, all right?
Exactly what happened, if I can trust what people have written, is that when the King James translators were coming to this thing, they ran into a problem. About half the fellows wanted to use the word ghost, which really came from one of the Scottish terms, and the other half wanted spirit. So, rather than have a fight and lose the work, they compromised. So, there is no difference. I’ve never been able to find a single portion where the word ghost means something different from the word spirit.
It is a matter of choice. So, when you see me ignore the word ghost and use the word spirit, you know where I’m coming from. I don’t want to associate anything about Halloween with the Scriptures, so I don’t use ghost, but that’s beside the point. All right, he says in verse 5, again:
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” What days is He talking about? Pentecost—the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would come down.
All right, just turn the page, at least in my Bible, to verse 8. Maybe I should read verses 6 and 7. Yes, let’s just read it on through. We’ve got time enough, so far, verse 6:
“When they therefore were come together, (Jesus and the Eleven) they asked him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7. And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.”
“But ye (the Eleven) shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit, (The Pneuma Hagion, you can check me out in your Strong’s.) is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Now, we know they never got that accomplished, did they?
Remember, the Nation of Israel rejected and rejected, before the Twelve even got out of Jerusalem. They did get up to Samaria, but they never got any further. God had to do something different by raising up the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentile world to begin the Body of Christ (I Timothy 1:15-16). So the Twelve (the Eleven here) never did get that accomplished.
All right, but the thing we want to point out is that the Pneuma Hagion is: (1) the person, (2) it’s the gift of the person of the Holy Spirit. All right, now let me come across to verse 15 in chapter 1.
And in those days Peter stood up in the mist of the disciples, (That is these followers of Christ as Israel’s Messiah, separated from the mainstream of Judaism, now.) and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16. Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.” All right, here we now have that they are waiting for the coming in of that promise of power from on high.
All right, let’s go over to chapter 2 and drop in at verse 15, where Peter is speaking to that crowd now gathering for Pentecost. They’ve been speaking in all the languages of the then known world that were represented by these Jews coming in for the feast day. So Peter said in verse 15:
“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” Now he quotes from Joel. We have done this more than once. And he says:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that I will pour out of my Spirit (Pneuma) upon all flesh: (That is so far as Israel’s flesh is concerned. This isn’t talking yet about the whole then known world.) and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:”
Now stop and think, and I’m going to do this all the rest of the afternoon. Is this the person or the gift? I will pour out of my Spirit, of is the key word, or from the Spirit. So, what is it? It’s the gift. They’re going to witness the power of the person of the Holy Spirit. It’s the gift.
All right, now lets go over to chapter 4 verse 8. Now wait, before we go any further, the thought just comes to me. Maybe we should go back to John’s Gospel. Let’s just look at this a moment in chapter 14 verse 16. Now here again the Lord is dealing with the Eleven, just before the crucifixion.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, (Capitalized and in the Greek it’s the Paraklete—someone who is called along side as a helpmeet.) that he may abide with you forever;” All right, now what are we talking about? The person! The person—the Holy Spirit has mind, will, and emotion—just exactly like anybody else. All right, verse 17:
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, (Because, after all, spirit is invisible just like the wind.) neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” In the person of the Holy Spirit. All right, lets jump across to chapter 16 verse 7, and Jesus again is speaking.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: (He’s going to go back to the Father.) for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Now, that goes back to what I said earlier this afternoon. Why was a three person Godhead so necessary? It just had to be. Now as one was on earth, two were still in glory. When the Lord went up, the Holy Spirit came down. Now verse 8:
“And when he is come, he (What’s the next word?) will…” Now, does that ring bells? What did I say earlier? What is one of the three attributes of being a person? The mind, the will, and the emotion. All right, here we have the Holy Spirit definitely expressed as a personality. He has will, and we’re going to see He also has emotion. He’s going to be grieved.
“…he will (express His own desire by) reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9. Of sin, because they believe not on me, 10. Of righteousness, because I go to My Father,…” And so on and so forth.
All right then, let’s come on over to Romans chapter 8 and see another part of the personality of this person of the Godhead. And the reason I’m emphasizing this is because I’ve read of more than one who does not feel that the Holy Spirit is a person like God the Father and God the Son. But He is, and this is what I want to show from Scripture.
“Likewise the Spirit (The Holy Spirit—now it’s capitalized, at least in my Bible.) also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself (Now see, I think it should be the pronoun Himself and not Itself.) for the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,…” See that? The Spirit has a mind. Now, we’ve already got will and mind. Now I’m going to show you next the emotion.
Let’s go to Ephesians 4:30. Then we will see that He definitely, definitely has emotion. Ephesians 4:30—and what’s the admonition from the apostle?
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,…” What kind of a word is grieve? Well, it is an action word. Don’t make Him sorrowful. Don’t hurt His feelings. Don’t grieve Him. Well, what part of the person is affected? The emotion. So, we’ve established the Holy Spirit has will; the Holy Spirit has mind; the Holy Spirit has emotion. He’s a full personality. Ok?
Now, I think I should have done this earlier, but let’s come back again to Acts, if you will. We were in chapter 4 verse 8. Here’s where I’m going to shake up a few of you. This is what I’ve been doing for the last several years. Here Peter is dealing with these Jews in the area of Jerusalem, shortly after Pentecost.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit,…” Now remember what we saw from John’s Gospel? God was going to send that other person of the Godhead, the Comforter, the Paraklete, and that’s what happened on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came down. Well, all right now, we’ve got to be careful, verse 8.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them,…” Now, was Peter filled with the personality, or was he filled with the gift? The gift—“The power from on high.” Come back to Luke 24. I want to just keep that hammered into you, because it’s so easy to slip out of the groove if we’ve been thinking for years and years along these lines. Go back to Luke 24:49 again.
“And, behold, (Jesus said) I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Now, is power the giver or the gift? It’s the gift. And that’s why I pray, Lord, just give me the Pneuma Hagion.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
HOLY SPIRIT (PNEUMA HAGION)
Psalms 51:11 and Luke 24:49
Okay, it is good to see everybody in. Again, we’d like to invite our television audience to get your Bible and compare Scripture with Scripture and check me out. I’ve already had some catch me on one from the last hour. There was a third Holy Spirit in the Old Testament that I missed. But that’s fine, we don’t mind that a bit. So instead of two, there are three, but nevertheless, the point was well made that we have a tremendous change in modus operandi of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament compared to the Holy Spirit’s work in the New—same person, same third person of the Godhead.
All right, we were in the Book of Acts, and we’re going to continue on. For those of you who may not have been with us, we’re talking about the Pneuma Hagion in the Greek, and this is the Holy Spirit. Pneuma is compared to air. It’s invisible. You can’t see it, but like the wind, you can feel its effects. All right, so what we have to do, as we did in the last program, is go through Scripture and see if they are talking about the person of the Holy Spirit, or are we talking about His power as Jesus called it, the power from on high?
Now, I’m sure that most thinking in Christendom is that the person is indwelling us. Well, I think from all these verses we’re showing you now, no, it’s not the person of the Holy Spirit. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that is within us. And it’s the power that makes the change in our lifestyle. It’s the power that gives us understanding from Scriptures.
In fact, I may have referred to it in my last taping. I think I did, but it bears repeating. We met a couple down in Florida last spring who came out of Mormonism. They were died-in-the-wool Mormons, but they came to know the Lord and have a tremendous testimony. They stopped by the ranch and spent the afternoon with us. In the process of our visiting, I asked, “How could two intelligent people like you be steeped in something so false as Mormonism?”
And his answer was perfect. He said, “Well, until the Spirit enlightens you, you don’t realize that you’re wrong.” And that’s exactly right. It’s the Holy Spirit that has to open up the understanding, and as he said, “You don’t really get that until you’re saved. Then as soon as you’re saved, it just keeps opening up more and more and more, and you just can’t exhaust it.” This is what we have to realize, that when were dealing with the lost world, they really can’t comprehend this until the Holy Spirit convicts them enough that they take the time to see what the Book says. Until that happens—you know it, you’ve experienced it, they don’t want see it. You can tell them, “Well, let me show you the Scriptures.” And their reply is, “I don’t want to read it.” Why? Because they still do not have enough Spirit enlightenment to have any inkling to want see these biblical truths. This is where we have to be patient.
All right, for this half hour we’re just going to keep going on through our New Testament references where we have this constant referral to the Pneuma Hagion, the Holy Spirit. But we’re going to differentiate: is it the person, or is it the power from on high? Let’s come on over, I thought I was back in chapter 5, and I’m not finding the verse that I wanted. So I guess I’m just going to have to skip that one and go right on over to chapter 10.
Here we have Peter ministering to this house full of Romans, military at that. Now you know, there wasn’t much spirituality in the Roman military, was there? But yet miraculously the Spirit worked upon Cornelius and caused him to send some of his underlings down to find Peter. They brought Peter up. Of course Peter was still on the same premise that he had from the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, and that was what we call the Gospel of the Kingdom, and that was believing that Jesus was that promised Messiah and coming king, period.
Even though Jesus Christ had now been crucified, buried, and risen; Peter does not proclaim faith in that for salvation, as we must do today in the Age of Grace. All Peter proclaims is that even though their King had been crucified, He had been raised from the dead, and He was still capable of being the King. That’s why it’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Now, again, a lot of people get all confused. They think that’s still a valid gospel today. No, that was just for a few years during the Book of Acts. But Israel in their total unbelief rejected it, and it just fell through the cracks and disappeared. And if you are aware of Scripture at all, after Saul’s conversion in Acts chapter 9, how much do you see of Peter in the Book of Acts? Almost none. He’s totally disappeared from view. Why? Because God has changed His program.
Israel has fallen away in unbelief. God’s going to set Israel aside now for 1,900 some years. He’s not through with them. Oh, He’s still going to come back and finish with His prophetic program. But by the time we get to Saul’s conversion, Peter and the Jewish program just disappear from view. If it wasn’t for Peter’s little epistle, we wouldn’t hear anything from him again, because Paul now fills the space with his message for the Gentiles in this Age of Grace.
But here in chapter 10 we’re still dealing with Peter, and God has seen fit to use him to open the door to Gentiles. And I think it was more for Peter’s benefit even than for Cornelius’. Because as I’ve said so often over the years, had Peter not had this tremendous experience in the house of Cornelius, witnessing with his own eyes that God was saving these pagan, immoral, military Romans the moment they believed—without repentance, without baptism. The evidence was there. All right, here we pick it up in Acts chapter 10 verse 44.
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word.” Now, we don’t know how many were in the house of Cornelius, but it was an average Roman house. So, you couldn’t have had hundreds. There might have been a dozen, I just guess, maybe not even that many. But however many there were, Peter preached and presented as Israel’s Messiah this Jesus of Nazareth who had been crucified but God had raised Him from the dead, and He was still in a position to come and set up this glorious kingdom. All right, before Peter had ever finished, the Holy Spirit fell on these Romans. Now look at verse 45.
“And they of the circumcision…” These Jews who accompanied Peter—now we’ve got to find them over in chapter 11 verse 12, so we better look at it. Chapter 11 verse 12. Peter is rehearsing all this to the Jewish Church of Jerusalem who got all over him for going up to a house full of Gentiles. Peter is rehearsing with them, and I’m using this to show you who these men were that were with Peter.
“And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren (fellow Jews) accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:” Okay, so that’s who we’re talking about in Acts chapter 10, now verse 45.
“And they of the circumcision (These six Jews who went up there with Peter.) which believed were (What?) astonished,…” Man, they couldn’t believe their eyes. That Peter hadn’t even finished preaching, they haven’t repented, they haven’t been baptized; but yet they’ve got the evidence of the Holy Spirit. Unbelievable! So they were astonished. This has never happened before.
“…as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the (What?) gift of the Holy Spirit.” The gift! Not the person, but the power from on high.
Oh, I love this, because this makes sense. The person of the Holy Spirit isn’t indwelling every believer, even though He is present, but it’s His power, it’s His gift, and that’s what was poured out here. That they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and here was the evidence. And we’re going to see it again in Corinthians, if we have time.
“For they (These Jews, now—Peter and the six Jews for a total of seven. See, God always does things according to his numbers. These seven Jews were astonished because–) they heard them speak with languages, (That they knew was not of the ordinary. It was a supernatural thing.) and (they heard them) magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the (What? Pneuma Hagion—the gift of) the Holy Spirit as well as we.” Not the person, the gift, the power from on high.
All right, now lets come on over to chapter 13. Now we’re going into another area of the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul and Barnabas had been ministering up there in Antioch. Gentiles are coming in, and now Paul is exercising his authority as the apostle of the Gentiles for the first time. We get into chapter 13, which was about a year and a half after he had been brought back to Antioch. Verse 1:
“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch (This, I feel, is a body of Christ—predominately, but not exclusively, Gentile believers.) certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit (Now what’s the next word?) said, (Who are we dealing with? The person! The person of the Holy Spirit—He speaks, and He speaks in a way that they could understand, because He said–) Separate me Barnabas and Saul (or Paul) for the work whereunto I have called them.
“And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, (Now what part of the Holy Spirit? The power—you see, the power from on high is now on Paul and Barnabas as they go out on their missionary journeys.) departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.” All right, now let’s look at the next one, and that’s going be in chapter 13. We’re going to drop in at verse 50. All got it? I’m trying to figure out where they are. I should know. But anyhow in verse 50:
“But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, (I’m thinking this must be up there in Thessalonica.) and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. (or their borders, their city limits) 51. But Paul and Barnabas shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.” No, that’s up in Asia minor, I’m sorry.
“And the disciples (That is these converts of Paul and Barnabas who had heard Paul’s gospel of salvation. They had now become members of the body of Christ, and how do we know?) were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit.” Because they were filled with a person? No, they were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. His power, His gift from on high—that’s why they were able to resist all of the pressures of the persecution that hit these new believers the minute they made themselves known. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that carried them through.
All right, now lets move on over to chapter 15 verse 28. This, of course, is after that Jerusalem council. And we know from church history that this Jerusalem council took place in A.D. 51. That’s about 11 years after Paul has begun his missionary journeys. And at this council, they have decided that Peter, James, and John would stay with Israel. They would stay with their Jewish economy and their Gospel of the Kingdom, and Paul and Barnabas could continue to go to the Gentile world with Paul’s gospel, as he calls it over and over.
Now, let me avert. Somebody at break time reminded me of it, and I think it behooves us, even for our television audience, to see what we’re talking about when I speak of Paul’s gospel. Romans chapter 2, now this is a little bit of an aside. We’re going to leave our thoughts on the Holy Spirit for just a moment. This is associated with that Jerusalem council. James and Peter and John are recognizing that the Holy Spirit is the leading power to recognize Paul’s apostleship of the Gentiles.
All right, in Romans chapter 2 verse 16, this is a verse that most people don’t even know is in here. You can show it to your Sunday school people, and they’ve never seen this before. I’ll guarantee it. They’ve never seen it, but here it is.
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ,…” Now I feel this is a reference to that Great White Throne that we looked at in one of our previous programs this afternoon—where Christ is going to be the eternal judge of all the lost of all the ages.
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” Lost humanity will be judged by Paul’s gospel, and he speaks of it over and over—my gospel or that gospel which I preach. Well, now we’ve got to qualify. What’s he talking about?
So, again, we’ll put the Holy Spirit on hold for just a moment. Come on over to I Corinthians. This is one of my favorite texts. I have to use it because nobody else does, and I can’t figure out why. Can you? Why don’t preachers and teachers use it? I still haven’t figured it out. I had a good article sent to me yesterday, again. First thing—I go right on down through it. They’ve got everything but I Corinthians 15:1-4. And he was a good man. The rest of his article was A-okay. But it’s like somebody just blocks this off. I’m going to keep hammering away because of the language—verse 1.
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover, brethren, (He’s writing to Gentile believers at Corinth.) I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,…” The one and only Gospel. Yes, it’s exclusivistic. God is particular.
In fact, I was just sharing with someone. I don’t remember if it was person to person with someone or on the phone. If God were to let someone into His Heaven by compromising any part of this gospel, could He shut the door and say, “Well, that’s all?” My, once you get a door open, can you ever close it? No, so He can’t let one slip in except by His own divine requirements, and here it is. This is it! And why is this so hard for people to swallow? Basically it’s what they agree to, but they always try to add a lot of garbage to it. But this is it in its simplicity.
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover brethren I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, (Now you want to remember, Corinth was a pagan, ungodly, wicked Gentile city, and Paul says–) which also ye have received, (They believed it.) and wherein ye stand;” That is positionally in their faith and their relationship with God. Now verse 2:
I Corinthians 15:2
“By which also ye are (What?) saved, (Now, is that so hard to understand? What does the gospel do? It saves people.) if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Now somebody just asked me this afternoon—what does that mean? Well, you’ve got to believe the right stuff. You have to believe what this apostle is laying out in front of us, and here it comes. This is what we are to believe. And most people are not even hearing it anymore. Verse 3, this is Paul’s gospel.
I Corinthians 15:3a
“For I delivered unto you (Corinthians, you Gentiles, you pagans, you and me) first of all that which I also received,…” Now you are to go to Galatians chapter 1. Where did Paul receive this gospel? From the ascended Lord who revealed it to him and instructed him not to take it back to Israel, but to take it to the Gentile world. And all of Paul’s doctrines flow from this gospel. All right, read on.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins (Well, what have I been stressing these last four, five, seven programs? The incarnate Christ and His finished work of the cross. That’s Paul’s gospel—that this Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the creator of everything died for our sins.) according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, (we know three days and three nights) and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That’s Paul’s gospel by which we are saved.
Now, why is that so controversial? But, oh, they don’t want to hear it!! I hear it day in and day out, letter after letter, phone call after phone call. They don’t want hear it. But we do know that the god of this world blinds people.
All right, now Acts 15:28 and this is just after he had been meeting with Peter, James, and John up there in Jerusalem; because of the Judaizers that were coming behind the apostle and telling his Gentile converts that they couldn’t be saved by Paul’s gospel alone. Just like you’re hearing today, as people are always wanting to add to it. But God will have none of it.
The Judaizers were telling Paul’s converts that they had to embrace Judaism, circumcision, keeping the commandments, and all that. Paul and Barnabas finally make their point. And of course the Spirit of God enlightened Peter and James and John to recognize that, yes, Paul has a ministry all his own to the Gentile world with a whole new program, the Gospel of the Grace of God. All right, so in verse 28 Peter is now rehearsing it to his own church people in Jerusalem.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29. That ye abstain from meats offered to idols,…” And so forth. But the word I want you to see is up there in verse 28. That it was the Holy Spirit’s leading to send this decree back to Paul’s Gentile congregations.
All right, let’s move to the next one in chapter 16 verses 6 and 7. Now, we’re moving along through Paul’s journeys, remember. We’re just simply looking where the Holy Spirit comes to the surface all the time. He’s the power from on high as well as that third person of the Godhead, but it’s up to you and me to determine from the text what it is talking about. Is it the power from on high that indwells us, that is within us, or are we dealing with the giver, the person?
Okay, now in chapter 16 Paul is on, I think, his second missionary journey, already. They’re approaching the Aegean Sea from the east, their western Turkey. They had intended to turn and head back east, back to Asia, but the Holy Spirit now makes His appearance. Verse 6:
“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, (which is up there in central Turkey) and were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.” Person or the gift? The Holy Spirit the person reveals himself now to the apostle and says, no, I don’t want you to go back to Asia. So the Holy Spirit forbids him to preach the word in Asia.
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: (again going back east along the northern part of Turkey) but the Spirit (the Holy Spirit, the person) suffered (permitted) them not.” We have to understand here that this is the very great difference again between the giver and the gifts. But you can do this on your own as you go on through the New Testament. You just constantly see this reference to the Holy Spirit, always the Pneuma Hagion. But is it the gift, or is it the giver?