PROOF NO. 1
WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?
It seems utterly unbelievable! The religions of this world do not know WHO or WHAT God really is! Yet religion is the worship of God. How worship what is UNKNOWN?
The only answer is that the Bible reveals that ALL NATIONS have been deceived (Revelation 12:9).
The true understanding of the very identity of God is one proof that the one and only Church founded A.D. 31 by Jesus Christ is, today, the Worldwide Church of God.
It seems inconceivable – but you live today in a world of religious CONFUSION! Among the largest of the world’s religions are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, the Moslem religion and Christianity with its hundreds of denominations and sects. The latter is the largest in number of adherents.
And yet only one, neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, knows WHO and WHAT God is!
Modern science does not know. Higher education does not know or teach. The intellectuals of the world in the first century were the Athenians. Certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered the apostle Paul.
“… What will this babbler say?…” queried some in ridicule (Acts 17:18). Others sneered sarcastically, “… He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods…”
Paul on Mars’ hill
They brought Paul to Areopagus, the supreme tribunal, on Mars’ hill.
“May we know,” they asked cynically, “… what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears…” (verses 19-20).
Here were the world’s most scholarly. Paul was preaching the truth of GOD.
“… Ye men of Athens,” said the apostle forthrightly and boldly, “I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions [idol objects of worship], I found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.’ Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. GOD that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all, life and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on… the earth…” (verses 22-26).
WHO IS GOD? CREATION is the basic proof of God. These Athenian Epicureans and Stoics did not even know that. Perhaps the adherents of many religions do not.
But what of the real NATURE of God? Just WHO and WHAT is God? We need a more concrete understanding than to say merely the Being who created all. That is the starting point. Only the one original Church Jesus founded A.D. 31 has the full answer.
It seems inconceivable that of all the religions and churches in the world today, only ONE is unique in UNDERSTANDING the nature of the CREATOR of all that is!
They could know! God reveals Himself in plain language in His Word, the Holy Bible. But no book has been so distorted, twisted and misrepresented as this ONE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF TRUTH!
The generally accepted teaching of traditional Christianity is that God is a Trinity – God in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which they designate as a Ghost.
By about A.D. 59 the Gospel Jesus Christ proclaimed had been suppressed (Galatians 1:6-7). A counterfeit gospel had replaced it. From about A.D. 70 there ensued “the lost century.” All historic record of the true Church of God had been systematically destroyed during that hundred years – the curtain had been rung down on Church activities, and when the curtain of recorded history lifted an entirely different church appeared, calling itself Christian. Extreme persecution of powerful forces had driven the true Church of God underground.
The church by the fourth century was more like the Babylonian mystery religion, having appropriated the name “Christianity.” (Revelation 17:5).
There had been a heated dual controversy – one called the Quartodeciman Controversy – between Polycrates and the bishops of Rome on the Passover-Easter controversy. The other, between Dr. Arius, a priest of Alexandria, and the Roman bishops on the Trinity doctrine.
Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire government called the Nicene Council in A.D. 325 and made both, the pagan Easter (from the goddess Astarte) and the Trinity doctrine, LAW!
The Trinity doctrine limited God to three Persons. More of that later.
The King James translation into English translated the Holy Spirit as “Holy Ghost,” under the delusion that the Spirit of God was a third Person – a “Ghost.”
Also the translators of the 1611 version usually used the pronouns “he,” “him,” etc., in relation to the Holy Spirit – but not always – and the pronoun “it” also is used.
But how does God reveal Himself authoritatively?
The real beginning of the Bible
If one should ask another, “Where, in order of time sequence, do we find the real beginning in the Bible?” the reply probably would be Genesis 1:1, beginning with the words, “In the beginning God…”
WRONG! In order of time sequence the earliest prehistoric revelation is in the New Testament in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Continue, “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (verses 2-3).”
The Word was one Personage. God was another Personage. Yet the Word was a Personage separate from God – as shown in verse 14: “And the Word was [much later] made flesh, and dwelt among us…” The Word became Jesus Christ.
The English “Word” is translated from the original Greek Logos meaning “Word,” or “Spokesman.”
That all things were made by Him is confirmed in Ephesians 3:9, where it speaks of God “… who created all things by Jesus Christ.” “… he spake, and it was done…” (Psalm 33:9).
Here are TWO Personages, yet both are GOD. How is that? A man named David Smith may have a son named Paul. But Paul, though a separate individual, is also Smith. However Jesus Christ did not become the Son of God until about 4 B.C., when born in human flesh from the Virgin Mary. Prior to that, He had ALWAYS existed, even as had God. Christ was originally “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life…” (Hebrews 7:3).
In the beginning God…
Now come to Genesis 1:1:
“In the beginning God…” This was written originally by Moses in the Hebrew language. The English “God” is translated from the Hebrew Elohim – a uniplural noun. It is uniplural in the same sense as the words “family” or “church” – denoting more than one component forming one whole. Not two Gods – but ONE God consisting of more than one Person.
When, only 1,900-plus years ago, Jesus was begotten in the womb of His human mother Mary, He was the only human ever so begotten prior to human birth! Yet, as we shall see later, humans may become begotten children of God – after human birth, but preceding a spiritual birth.
Throughout the first chapter of Genesis the Hebrew name of God is always the Hebrew Elohim, including “the Word” and “God.”
But in chapter 2, Moses began adding another name for God – Yahweh in the Hebrew, usually combined with Elohim – as Yahweh Elohim. In the King James English translation it is rendered “LORD God,” which is somewhat misleading.
It is interesting, at this point, to explain this name Yahweh. There is no one word in the English language that adequately translates it. It means “the self-existent, eternal living creative one.” The Moffatt translation renders it “the Eternal.” The Ferrar Fenton translation uses “the Ever-Living.” Personally, to use only one word, I prefer to use “the Eternal” instead of “the LORD.”
In any event the English “LORD” in the King James translation refers to that Person in the Godhead who in John 1:1 is called the “Word” – the very one who later became Jesus Christ.
Who was the God of the Old Testament?
That leads to an important point in the UNDERSTANDING of WHO and WHAT IS GOD.
Many if not most seem to believe the God of the Old Testament was the one Jesus prayed to as His FATHER. But many New Testament passages quoting from the Old Testament prove that the one of the Godhead who was born in human flesh as Jesus Christ was the “YAHWEH” of the Old Testament and “the Word” of John I:1. That knowledge is a portion of Proof No. 1 identifying the true original Church today.
Jesus came, among other purposes, to REVEAL the Father. Ancient Old Testament Israel knew of only ONE PERSONAGE in the Godhead – although their Scriptures contained the Hebrew Elohim. But to them, primarily, God was conceived as of not only ONE God, but only ONE Person! The truth is, Israelites generally knew nothing of God – the Person to whom Jesus prayed and the Father Jesus came to REVEAL.
However, another technical point is: God only became the FATHER of the GOD FAMILY when Jesus Christ was begotten and born as a human. Yet He may become our Father in heaven when begotten by His Holy Spirit. More of that later.
Now notice that God (Elohim) is more than one Person even though only ONE GOD.
In Genesis 1:26, Elohim said, “… Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Not “Let me” – but “Let us,” – plural or uniplural.
In Genesis 2:2-3, “… On the seventh day God (ELOHIM) ended his work which he had made… And God (Elohim) blessed the seventh day…”
Then, verse 4: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God (Yahweh Elohim) made the earth and the heavens.” Again it was through the “Word” in the Hebrew named “Yahweh” that the earth and heavens were made – as GOD created all things by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9).
Does God have form and shape?
God reveals that He is Spirit-composed (John 4:24). Unless supernaturally manifested, spirit is invisible to human eyes.
Jesus said to His disciples, “… Ye have neither heard his voice… nor seen his shape.” (John 5:37).
Later, “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Jesus answered “… Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:8-9). WHY? Because God the Father-if human eyes could see – looks like Jesus. And what did Jesus look like?
Certainly NOT like pictures you have seen supposed to picture Him. For one thing, HE DID NOT HAVE LONG HAIR (I Corinthians 11:14). He looked like other Jews then in Judea, else the chief priests would not have paid Judas Iscariot 30 pieces of silver to identify Him.
Now notice once again Genesis 1:26: “… God (Elohim) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [form and shape]…” God is described in the Bible as having eyes, ears, nose, mouth – hair on His head – arms, legs, fingers, toes. Jesus was “… the express image of his [the Father’s] Person…” (Hebrews 1:3).
What is the HOLY SPIRIT?
If the Holy Spirit is not a Person – a Ghost – then what does the Bible reveal about the Holy Spirit?
The natural carnal mind of man simply cannot grasp an understanding of spirit. It is not matter. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruwach, and the Greek (New Testament) pneuma both are often translated into the English wind, or air or breath – because these physical words perhaps most closely explain spirit to the human mind – yet spirit is not physical or material. In Acts 10:45, the Holy Spirit was “poured out” on gentiles, comparing to physical water.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit (not Ghost) that emanates out from both God and Christ everywhere in the universe. Through His Holy Spirit, God projects Himself, in Spirit, everywhere in the universe – yet both God and Christ have form and shape, even as man.
The Holy Spirit is many things. It is the very LIFE of the immortal God, which, entering into a human begets him with GOD-life.
It is the POWER of God, by which, when Christ “spake” it was done. It is the POWER by which God stretched out the heavens – created the vast endless universe.
The Holy Spirit, entering into man as God’s gift, opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual knowledge, unknown to the human mind otherwise. It is the LOVE of God “… shed abroad in our hearts…” (Romans 5:5). It is the FAITH of Christ, which may be given to God’s begotten children through the Holy Spirit. It is the POWER of God, begotten within humans, enabling us to overcome Satan and sin.
‘How GREAT Thou Art’
We have covered something of the nature of God. Now consider HOW GREAT He is.
King David was meditating on this and man’s insignificance by comparison. He wrote, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?…” (Psalm 8:3-4).
Isaiah was inspired to write: “Who hath measured the waters [oceans] in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?… Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as… small dust of the balance… All nations before him are as nothing…” (Isaiah 40:12-17). Then God is quoted, “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal?… Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might…” (verses 25-26).
Yet, there is much more to come, in relation to David’s comparison to man, and why God should be concerned about us – in a later chapter – and fantastically thrilling it is!
NONE but the Worldwide Church of God today possesses the REVEALED TRUTH of WHO and WHAT IS God!