The God Family
". . . I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Ephesians 3:14-15).
About one third of the New Testament consists of quotations from and obvious allusions to the Old Testament. These references are not random or accidental. Each holds meaning for us and has a reason for being there.
Some of the most remarkable and illuminating in helping us understand God are found in the book of Hebrews and the early chapters of Acts. The latter book shows the apostle Peter quoting passages from the Psalms to illustrate the awesome significance of the resurrection and messiahship of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews does the same in chapters 1 and 2 of that epistle.
These key passages in the Psalms contain the sure testimony of the Father concerning His Son, Jesus of Nazareth. In them we find that God the Father testified in advance of the Word's awesome future role.
The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 2: "For to which of the angels did He ever say, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten you'? And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son'?" (Hebrews 1:5; compare Psalm 2:7; 1 Chronicles 17:13). This was the prophetic destiny of the Word.
In Hebrews 1:8 we again find the Father testifying about the Son, quoting from Psalm 45:6: "But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.'"
Many who have read this chapter of Hebrews read right over verse 8, failing to grasp its enormous import. The Father called His Son, Jesus Christ, God. Christ is not only the Son of God. He is God! He is a member of the family of God. The Scriptures reveal God in terms of a family relationship—God the Father and Jesus the Son comprise the God family!
In John 1:14 we read that the Word, Jesus Christ, "became flesh and dwelt among us . . . as of the only begotten of the Father . . ." The Greek word monogenees, translated "only begotten" in this verse and verse 18, confirms this relationship between God the Father and the one who became Jesus Christ.
Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, author of several books on the Greek language as used in the Bible, tells us: "The word monogenees actually is a compound of the word monos, 'alone,' and the word genos, 'race, stock, family.' Here we are told that He who came to reveal God— Jesus Christ—is of the same family, of the same stock, of the same race as God . . . There is ample evidence in the Scriptures that the Godhead is a family . . ." (Was Christ God?: A Defense of the Deity of Christ, 1998, p. 21, emphasis added).
Two revealed in the Old Testament
At this juncture we should remember that King David of Israel was also a prophet (Acts 2:30). God gave him incredible insights into the nature of God and God's rule over all creation. David is called "the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favorite of the Strong One of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1, NRSV).
Here was a man truly inspired by God's Spirit. "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me," he said, "and His word was on my tongue" (verse 2). Our Creator revealed many truths through David and saw to it that his words were preserved in the Holy Scriptures— primarily in many of the Psalms but also in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.
In one of his own psalms David said, "The LORD said unto my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool'" (Psalm 110:1). Says The New Bible Commentary: Revised: "Note the striking description of Jesus as our Lord. It corresponds here to the thought of Psalm 110:1, in which David called Him, 'My Lord'" (1970, p. 1203).
In this remarkable psalm the Father is talking to the Son in prophetic vision—"The LORD said to my [David's] Lord . . ." Then, about 1,000 years later, the apostle Peter confirms the identity of these two Beings: "For David did not ascend into the heavens [He awaits the resurrection], but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"'" (Acts 2:34-35).
Remember this important rule for biblical understanding: Check the context. Verse 36 identifies these two Beings: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God [the Father] has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." How wonderfully clear! These crucial passages—both in Psalm 110 and Acts 2—are talking prophetically about the two members of the divine family: the Father and the Son.
A governing Kingdom
Another Old Testament book likewise confirms the existence of two divine Beings. The prophet Daniel, a man greatly beloved by God, gives us an insightful look into the heavenly realm. Although God is spirit (John 4:24), which is normally invisible to the human eye (Colossians 1:15), the prophet was permitted to see these two Beings in his mind. As the apostle John would several centuries later, Daniel received a vision of events on the spirit plane.
"I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool" (Daniel 7:9). Daniel records a striking description of the Father. Just as Jesus later revealed, God the Father, while a spirit Being, nevertheless has form and shape (John 5:37).
Daniel also saw a large and faithful angelic host constantly serving the Father. "A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him" (Daniel 7:10). Angels are spirit beings too (Hebrews 1:7), and yet they are also portrayed with form and shape. We will see more about spirit beings having bodily form later.
Daniel continues: "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He [the Son of Man] came to the Ancient of Days [God the Father], and they [the angelic host] brought Him near before Him" (Daniel 7:13). Time and time again in the New Testament, Jesus called Himself "the Son of Man."
Continuing, just like in Hebrews 1:8, Jesus is described in Daniel as possessing a kingdom: "Then to Him was given dominion [rulership] and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve Him" (Daniel 7:14).
In the New Testament, Revelation 20:4-6 pictures the Millennium, the first 1,000 years of the utopian rule of Christ and His saints. Daniel, too, describes Jesus' Kingdom: "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:14).
Christ's righteous reign will continue far beyond the bounds of the Millennium. Isaiah 9:6-7 tells us it will last forever. Indeed, the Kingdom of God ultimately denotes a level of existence to which human beings may be raised through a transformation from flesh to spirit (compare John 3:3-8; 1 Corinthians 15:50-51). This transformation entails becoming a glorified member of the family of God. Thus the God family is also the ruling God Kingdom—the Kingdom of God. (You can learn more by requesting our free booklets Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion and The Gospel of the Kingdom. Visit our Web site at www.gnmagazine.org.)
|©1997-2007 United Church of God -
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
All correspondence and questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to email@example.com