VOL. XIV. APRIL 15, 1893. NO. 8.
"THE WORD WAS A GOD."
"In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God. The same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him [the Logos], and without him was not anything made that was made."--John 1:1-3.
The Apostle gives us in these words a brief statement of our great Redeemer's pre-human history. We adopt the word Logos as one of our Lord's many names. Dr. Adam Clarke also advocates its use in this manner, saying, "This term [Logos] should be left untranslated, for the very same reasons why the names Jesus and Christ are left untranslated. As every appellative of the Savior of the world was descriptive of some excellence in his person, nature or work, so the epithet Logos, which signifies a word spoken, speech, eloquence, doctrine, reason, or the faculty of reasoning, is very properly applied to him."
Another difference, between the above translation and the common version, is the addition of the italicized words a and the. These are supplied in order to give the reader the true sense of the Greek text, in which the presence or absence of the Greek article is very important. In the above translation the represents the article, while a shows that the article is lacking.
With this translation verified and appreciated (as can be done by consulting any Greek Testament or any Greek scholar), these verses, long doubtful and obscure to so many, become luminous. In them John tells the same story that our Lord tells us over and over again (See Rev. 1:8,11,17; 2:8; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13), that he is the beginning and the ending, the first and the last, of the creation of God.
The Apostle Paul adds his testimony in the same line, saying, He "is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation: for by him were all things created....All things were created by him and for him." (Col. 1:15.) The Heavenly Father had no beginning, but is from everlasting to everlasting the same. Our Lord's great honor is shown in that he was not only the first of God's creation but the last. From this we are to understand that the great Jehovah did not directly employ his own power in creating either men or angels; but that he delegated his power to his Only-begotten Son--using him as his honored agent and representative in every case--in every respect giving him the pre-eminence over all others; second only to himself.
But although our Redeemer had always occupied the place of honor in the heavenly courts, it was not until his faithful obedience to the Father had been tested to the extent of his changing nature to that of man, and then giving himself as fallen man's ransom, that he received his present unexcellable glory and [R1515 : page 115] honor. It is since his resurrection that the message has gone forth--"All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me." (Matt. 28:18.) Consequently it is only since then that he could be called the Almighty (as in Rev. 1:8). The Heavenly Father has always been almighty, and [R1515 : page 116] this all-power or all-might was never given to him, but was his eternal possession. But now that he has given the same power to his Only-begotten and well-pleasing Son, our Saviour, both we and angels delight to know it, and delight to honor him whom the Father has so highly honored, and whom he has instructed us to honor, saying: "That all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."-- John 5:23.
The reasons leading up to our Lord's present great exaltation are clearly stated by the Apostle, as examined below.
ROBBERY TO BE EQUAL TO GOD.
The Apostle's words in Philippians 2:6have (by a bad translation, at the hands of those whose judgments were warped by an erroneous view) been turned about and made to say the very reverse of what he intended.
The Apostle is showing Christ's faithfulness or loyalty and obedience to the Father. Not satisfied with referring to his earthly course, he goes back of it to the time when our Lord was a spirit being, before he humbled himself by his translation or change of nature to a lower one, --from spiritual to human nature. The Apostle seems to have had Satan's course in his mind,--contrasting his wrong course and its end with Christ's proper course and its glorious results. Satan did not hesitate to rob God of his glory, saying, "I will ascend above the stars [above the other bright ones of the angelic host--I will be a leader, a chief], I will be like the Most High" [I will pose as another Potentate a rival and peer of Jehovah]. (Isa. 14:14.) But, says the Apostle, Christ, when a spirit being in God's form, thought not of robbery to be God's equal, "but [on the contrary, in obedience to the Father's plan] stripped himself [of the glory and dignity already enjoyed], taking a bond-servants form, being made in the likeness of men. And [afterward], being in the likeness of men ["Made flesh"--Jno. 1:14], he [still further, and in harmony with the same obedient spirit] humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, [and, yet more humiliating] even the death of the cross. Therefore [because he did not attempt to usurp, but on the contrary was humble] God hath supremely exalted him, and given to him a name [honor, title, dignity] above every [other] name."
What a wonderful contrast! Satan, who attempted to rob God of his honor and station, is cast out, and will ultimately be destroyed. Christ, who humbled himself in every sense of the word, has been exalted to the very position which Satan coveted. And the Apostle recounts this matter in order to enforce upon all followers of Christ that, like their Master, they should be humble and unassuming--humbling themselves that they, too, may be exalted in due time.--See the context: verses 3-5.
The word Godhead occurs three times in the Scriptures--Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9. It is a meaningless word, and merely a bad translation. It should be rendered Divinity or Deity, and then would be intelligible.
MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER.
These are among the great titles of our glorified Lord, predicted through Isaiah--9:6.
In our issue of June, 1892, in which this subject was much more thoroughly examined, we showed the meaning of the word "God" to be mighty one. We gave instances in which this same word (in Hebrew, El and Elohim) is used when referring to great men and angels. Our Lord would be reverenced and titled Very Mighty or Very Great.
The signification of the title, "Everlasting Father" or Father Forever, is seen when we remember that the special meaning of father is life-giver. Jehovah is the Life-giver of all creatures in the sense that he is the fountain from which all life originally proceeded. But after man had forfeited his God-given privilege, by disobedience, he needed a new life. And Jehovah sent forth his Only-begotten Son, to become man's Life-giver, by redeeming man's life with his own and then giving the new life to whoever will accept it under the terms of the New Covenant, which he mediated.
Since all of our race have thus been redeemed, and restitution to human perfection is thus provided for all, through this Life-giver, [R1515 : page 117] he will be known to the redeemed world as their Father Forever, the one through whom their redeemed, restitution life was obtained. The propriety of this is evident when it is remembered that the restitution life which our Lord will give the world was purchased by him with his own precious [life] blood.
The "little flock" now being selected as "members of his body," his "bride," would also have been of this class of children of Christ, were it not for their high-calling to become his "brethren," "body" or "bride," and to experience the change of nature which this calling implies and necessitates. To fit these for their "high-calling," they are begotten again (from the restitution-life hopes obtained through faith in Christ), to the divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4.) This divine nature was not purchased by our Lord Jesus; hence he is not the father or giver of it. Jehovah alone gives it: hence the Apostle declares, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us," and Christ is "not ashamed to call them Brethren."
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Judge not; the workings of the brain
And of the heart thou can'st not see;
What looks to thy dim eye a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou would'st only faint and yield.
The look, the air, that frets thy sight,
May be a token that below
The soul had closed in deadly fight
With some internal, fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace,
And cast thee, shuddering, on thy face.
The fall thou darest to despise:
May be the angel's slackened hand
Has suffered it that he may rise
And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or, trusting less to earthly things,
May henceforth learn to use his wings.
And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain;
The depth of the abyss may be
The measure of the height of pain
And love and glory that may raise
This soul to God in after days. --Selected.