THE PROPHETIC PROMISE OF CHRIST
It should not surprise us that God would reveal Himself to Abraham in the image of man any more than we are surprised that God would “create man in His own image”.A few years ago I was present at a luncheon of Christians and Jews in which a friendly exchange of questions and answers was taking place. In a gracious way, Jews were challenging Christians and Christians were challenging Jews. I opened my Bible to Genesis 18 and waited for an opportunity to quiz the Rabbi leading the discussion. This passage talks about God’s revealing Himself to Abraham in the form of three men. But I never got to ask my question. Instead, the Rabbi referred to the incident himself–but without explaining the dilemma–and from that point on never surrendered the floor for anyone else to speak. Finally, I realized the dear man was so afraid of having to answer inquiries about God appearing in the form of three men that he would not allow any more inquiries. I understand his crisis. This passage radically challenges unitarian theology. Those who have difficulty accepting the reality of God revealing Himself in multiplicity should take heed to the manner in which He displayed Himself to Abraham. Those of us who embrace the doctrine of the Holy Trinity are not saying there are three gods, we are saying that the One, all-sovereign Being who created our Universe three-dimensionally can reveal Himself in that same trinitarian way if He so chooses. Not only so, but science has confirmed other dimensions beyond the one we presently know. Heaven is such a dimension.Genesis 18:1-19:2: Then the Lord appeared to him (Abraham) by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,
20. And the Lord said (to Abraham), “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then (two of) the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.
Genesis 19: 1: Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.
The revelation of God to Abraham is this:
1. “The Lord appeared to him.” (Yahweh) in the form of
2. “Three men were standing by him …” naashiym
3. “The men turned away …” haaªnaashiym but,
4. “Abraham still stood before the Lord.” (Yahweh)
5. “Two angels came to Sodom …” Shaneey (two) hamal’aakiym (angels)
In God’s plural appearances to Abraham we have one of the most theologically challenging examples of deity sovereignly transitioning His nature between the Divine, the angelic, and human essence, at will. We are introduced to this mystery in the opening chapter of Genesis where–in every instance and more than 30 times–the name of God appears only in the plural. The personal pronoun, “we, our” is used consistently.
6. No matter how we divide it, it is the Lord, who appears to Abraham–but in three distinctly divisible components. He is one in three manifestations. As is water capable of composing itself as a solid, liquid, or a gas. So also, the physical world is three-dimensional.
Abraham may never have realized the honor God gave him that day in revealing to him the Trinitarian nature of God. We have this same witness all around us in that the physical Universe is three-dimensional. — John the Baptist never knew that he was the promised ‘Elijah who was to come’”.
Genesis 1:1-2. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
God = ‘elohiym = plural noun. Created = bara’ = a singular verb.
In Hebrew when the plural noun is used for the God of Heaven it is accompanied by a singular verb. When the same noun is used for other gods it is always accompanied by plural verbs.
Matthew 28:1-7. AN ANGEL: Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
Mark 16:1-7. A YOUNG MAN: Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away — for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples — and Peter — that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
Luke 24:1-6. TWO MEN: Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen!
John 20:11-15. TWO ANGELS: But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
John 1:1-5. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 17:5-6. “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was .”
John 17:20-21. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:24-25. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
1 Peter 1:18-20. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
Colossians 1:15-21. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Daniel 3:24-26. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God”
To the great One in three,
Eternal praises be,
His sovereign majesty,
May we in glory see,
And to eternity,
Love and adore!
THE CHURCH TODAY: BREAKDOWN AND BUILD-UP
Worldwide, two radical changes are taking place in Christianity: Denominations are disintegrating, some falling into blatant scriptural-denial and sin, while their members are leaving, searching for authentic New Testament truth. These seekers have no problem believing in the full the New Testament message and its miraculous gifts.Is such a return needed? In a recent year, one of the largest evangelical denominations in America saw nearly 3,000 ministers quit their pulpits and walk away. Behind each walkout was the story of personal failure, frustration, and grief. That failure did not touch just the ministers. It touched three thousand wives, thousands of children, and multiplied thousands of believers whose faith was shaken by their pastors’ failures. Besides this number who publicly gave up and walked away, there is no way of knowing the thousands more who are still moving through the mechanics of ministry but have also inwardly quit their job.Many of these men are innocently caught in circumstances over which they have no control. In some cases, wives have left. Scandals have injured them. Many have become so victimized by theological bias that they can no longer hear God. Some, like the Apostle Paul, have met Jesus on the Damascus Road, but unlike Paul, have not met the Holy Spirit in the Damascus Room. All of these men need the mighty filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).
Behind every failure in ministry there has been belief in religious fables. Denominations unknowingly manufacture them as a means of maintaining their uniqueness and separation from other Christian bodies. Seminaries mutilate the Word with them. Dedicated young men and women touched by the fire of God, bow down to them and later wonder why their zeal is gone. The three thousand who disappeared from the denomination mentioned, included many whose faith failed because they were trying to operate on part of the Scripture rather than the whole.
Significantly, Satan first steals belief in those teachings that are the most dangerous to him. The power-gifts of the Holy Spirit are always a principal point of attack; he never encourages preachers to talk about them — except negatively. Many good men fall into this trap and innocently build unbelief and resistance into their congregations toward the Spirit’s gifts. Difficult as it is to believe, other men knowingly “turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” II Peter 2:21.
God has no future plans for this latter group of men; He will use them no more than He did King Saul. The prophet’s explanation to Saul for God’s withdrawal from his life was this: “Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” I Samuel 15:23. As with Saul, we are not given the choice as to whether or not we will preach the full New Testament message. We will either preach it or we will perish. Some may continue in the outer performance of ministry as Saul did, but the anointing will be gone.
Few ministers can survive this inner schism. If there be true devotion to God, it will be impossible for them to believe and convincingly preach that I Corinthians, chapter eleven is valid, twelve is not, thirteen is valid, fourteen is not, and fifteen is valid. The strain of this kind of theological dissecting also dissects a man’s mind. A man who allows such a tearing between his head and heart is victimizing himself; in time he will experience either a mental breakdown or a faith breakdown — or both. Powerlessness in today’s church is a direct result of Kingdom-identity breakdown. It was from such infraction of truth that modern liberalism sprang. Once this attack on Scripture begins, there is no stopping place. Everything that Christ taught has at some point been dismembered on the butcher-blocks of Christian pulpits. All of us have been guilty. We have dissected the Word under the guise of “interpreting” it, and have clung to favored parts which support our denominational view. In many cases we have done it ignorantly, but we have done it.
The end result is that Christianity today is much like the body of the young Levite’s wife who was abused and killed by the men of Benjamin (Judges 19). Her priestly husband then dismembered the corpse and sent a part to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. What had once been an attractive bride was reduced to chunks of ugly flesh. The story seems too gruesome to repeat. Even so, it cannot touch the gruesomeness in which the Bride of Christ and her Covenant Word are being abused. The crude knives of human theory are used for surgery on her and the Divine Word.
Since the time God first promised that the “seed of the woman” would bruise the serpent’s head, Satan has been attempting to destroy both the woman and her child. Revelation 12:1-6. Through those who will cooperate with him, he has gutted the Scripture of its power and divided the Body of Christ. Nor will he stop until believers exercising the authority of Jesus stop him. Through his subtle lying to men in positions of leadership, those blessed gifts of the Holy Spirit are regarded as nothing more than a ruptured appendix to be ripped out of the Body of Christ. Thankfully, many recognize this falsehood and are banding together in authentic “churches.”