9-24-2022 Who is God, the Father?
I open with that this is part one of a ten part syllabus
which is designed to help people understand who God the Father, God the Son and
God the Holy Ghost are. Also, basically,
how and why we need salvation, what is ‘our’ responsibility, in living for
Christ Jesus (how we interact with the world) and some differences and
commonalities between Christian denominations and world religions. We also take a look at the importance of the
bible and the structure in which Father’s church should function.
I open with that this is part one of a ten part syllabus which is designed to help people understand who God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost are. Also, basically, how and why we need salvation, what is ‘our’ responsibility, in living for Christ Jesus (how we interact with the world) and some differences and commonalities between Christian denominations and world religions. We also take a look at the importance of the bible and the structure in which Father’s church should function.
This is not an in-depth study, but something to provide some basic information to help our understanding of who God is.
We also need to understand some terms: atheism, polytheism and monotheism.
The dictionary defines as ‘atheism’ as belief that no gods (of any kind) exist. Polytheism is defined as the belief in many gods. Monotheism is belief in only one God.
Atheism contends that there is no greater power than us humans and we humans control our own destiny. Both mono and polytheism believe in a power, or many powers, greater than us humans who exercise influence over our lives. Both Greek (Zeus) and Roman (Jupiter) had their group of lesser gods and demi-gods who lived on Mt. Olympus and Odin and other Scandinavian gods lived in Valhalla are examples of those greater powers. Other religions believe in many gods with one main god in charge of all activities. Whereas Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism are prime examples of the “one God” concept.
Also we need understand that there is a difference between ‘religion’ and ‘faith’. Religion is defined as ‘commitment to’ and/or ‘observance of’ a system of beliefs, practices or attitudes. Faith is defined as allegiance or loyalty to that which cannot be proved. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with religion, but the danger is that the actions can be performed without one actually ‘believing’ in a higher authority. Whereas in faith, the belief in a higher authority generates those actions.
First, we must believe that God is (Heb. 11:6) or nothing else that we say really matters. Knowing about God solely becomes the basis for a concept, a religion. But God wants to get up close and personal with us (Rev. 3:20). He doesn’t want us to ‘just’ know about Him but to come to really get to ‘know’ Him.
Getting to know God takes time and great effort on our part. I say ‘great’ effort because allowing Jesus to come into our heart, our confession of faith, is just the beginning of a life-long, glorious walk in spiritual growth. I say ‘spiritual’ because it isn’t exactly a physical transformation (though that is part of it) but more of a change of attitudes and living style, conforming to the image of God. After all, we are made in the image of God (Gen. 2:27-28). And just what IS that image? First, God is Spirit and those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). More than once, you’ll hear that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). So, if we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).
Okay, so just what is the image of God? God is love (1 John 4:6-8) so His image is love. We abide in that image of love by keeping His commandments (John 14:15).
There are many lists of “The Names of God” available. One can search the internet and find them. Just search “Names of God”. If one has access to a Greek and/or Hebrew concordance, you can see the translation of those names or you can search them on the web. The names of God reveal many of the qualities and characteristics of the God we serve.
Let’s take a look at ten of the aspects, qualities or characteristics of the God we serve.
Alpha and Omega
God always is, always was and shall always be and He is the only true, living God. The phrase Alpha and Omega is used only four times in the Christian bible and all in the Book of Revelation where Jesus declares Himself (in chapter one) to the apostle John then in chapter twenty-one and twenty-two where He, again, declares His eternal existence.
However, God does declare His eternal existence throughout the Old Testament, as well, where David declares that God is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 41:3). Or where the book of Deuteronomy declares God is our eternal refuge (Deut. 33:26-27). Or, even, as Isaiah declares that there are no other gods before or after God (Isa. 43:13). Luke reminds us that the Word of God is eternal (Luke 21:33). Paul reminds the Corinthians that there is only one, true God (1 Corinth. 8:4-6). Paul also encourages the Thessalonians to serve the one, true living God (1 Thess. 1:7-9). Not only has God created everything, but He will destroy and make it new – in His time (Rev. 21:1). He has been before anything and will continue forever.
God is the one, true and eternal God and, of course, as you read through the scriptures for yourself, you will find many more examples declaring the same.
You may believe that all creation came from a singularity which, all of the sudden, from a tiny existence, started just expanding into the universe that we are aware of today. But as Christians, we believe God created all things by His Word! Read Genesis chapter one. God said and it was so! I, personally believe, that science proves how God brought all things into existence through His Word.
What is it to be a creator? To bring things into existence, invest with new form, produce through imaginative skill. Thank you Webster’s.
The Hebrew word used in the bible is bara (H1254) means to create, cut down, dispatch, make, do or choose. In other words, God ‘chose’ to make something so He spoke the Word and so it became! Science goes on to tell us that eventually the universe will implode (contract back into nothingness) while God says that He will take away the old universe, He will make a new one (Rev. 21:1).
“In the beginning God”, the first four words in our bible. All things start with God! God created the heavens and the earth, then all that is in them, then He created man (Gen. chptr 1 & 2).
In his Psalm, Maschil tells us all things are God’s because He has created them (Psalm 89:8-12). Later, Paul tells the Ephesians that God created all things by Jesus Christ (the Word – Eph. 3:9). The apostle John also confirms that God made all things through Jesus (John 1:1-3).
God is Creator!
The dictionary says that righteous is acting rightly or being upright, arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality. Eg. Being obedient to laws or moral codes. Being fair and correct.
Interestingly, the Hebrew (OT) words translated as righteous (H3477 yashar, H6662 tsaddiya, H 6663 tsagaq and H6664 tsedeq) add worthy, upright and straight to Webster’s dictionary definition.
The Greek (NT) words (G1341 dikaiokrisia, G1342 dikaios, G1343 dikaiosume and G1344 dikaioo) add holy, innocent and free to the definition.
Matthew tells us that straight is the gate and narrow is the way to life (Matt. 7:13-14). Scripture shows many acknowledging God’s righteousness. Even that old gentile, Pharaoh, admitted God is righteous (Exod. 9:27). The heavens declare it (Psalm 97:1-6). The apostle John declares it (John 17:25). Even the angels declare God’s righteousness (Rev. 16:5).
God’s righteousness means that it is His way or the highway but, in His love, He always had and has our best interests at heart. Salvation is available to any and all who believe (in Him - Rom. 1:16) because He doesn’t desire anyone to perish (eternally – 2Peter 3:9).
God will judge us according as to how we live (Ezek. 18:30). John tells us that everyone who has ever lived shall be brought before God’s throne and judged. Those who refused God in their lifetime, are judged for the works they did will be cast into the eternal death (second death – Rev. 20:11-15). But those who received God into their heart – those who looked forward to the coming Messiah and those who have accepted His existence) will enjoy eternal life (Rev. 21:1-4)
The dictionary defines just as being based on fact or reason, morally correct.
The Hebrew word (H4941 misphat) is likened to righteousness but also is to legally sentence or charge.
The Greek word (G173 – endikos) means in the right or equitable (note, also similar to righteous).
God declares Himself just (Isa. 34:21). God’s laws and commandments are just (Rom. 7:12). The prophets declare God just (Neh. 9:32-33. And Jesus declares that He is just through the Father (John 5:30).
God made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom and stretched he heavens at His discretion (Jer. 10:12) and that makes everything ‘His ballgame’.
God metes out reward or reprimand for everything we do (Rom. 13:1-4, 1 Corinth. 3:8) and chastens (corrects) us for our own benefit (Heb. 12:6-10).
Yes, He does bring his judgment, or even wrath, upon the world because of disobedience so remember though He desires that NO ONE suffers eternal damnation, His actions are to get us back on the right track (Heb. 12:1-11).
The dictionary defines jealous as intolerant of rivalry, hostile towards a rival, vigilant in
guarding a possession, untrustingly watchful.
Note that the four Hebrew words used for jealous also include envy and they are (H7065
Gana, H7067 ganna, H7068 ginah and H7072 gannow.
The two Greek words add indignation and zeal to the definition and they are G2205 zelos
and G2206 zeloo.
God tells Moses that He is a jealous God (Exod. 24:14). So He doesn’t want us to have anything to do with what would seem to be another God (Deut. 6:14-150. Paul asks the Corinthians why did they provoke God to jealousy by observing pagan customs (1Corinth. 10:18-22). This is why Mark says to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:29-31).
God does get jealous when we chase after ungodly things.
Gets angry with sin
What? God get angry?
The dictionary defines anger as a strong feeling of displeasure, rage, fury or wrath.
Following are seven Hebrew words used for varying degrees of anger: (H599) anaph, (H639) aph, (H1149) benac, (H2194) zaam, (H2734) charah, (H3708) kaac and (H7107) qatasph. Their definitions range from indignation, wrath, rage (expressed as flared nostrils), red-faced (is the blood boiling?), super worried, extremely sorrowful, breathing with passion.
Greek words used are (G3710) orgizo angry, frustrated, (G3711), orgilos angry (as in vengeance) and (G5520 ) cholao angry (irritated).
In English we use the word ‘angry’ referencing from just being a bit miffed to outright rage. The Israelites and the Romans, as well as many of today’s languages, use a different a word to express a different level of anger.
So, does God get angry? He sure does. At sin! He suffers a long a time with us when we don’t do what is right, but eventually He does lower the boom at our insistence at going in the wrong direction.
Israel had been in captivity at the time God raised Ezekiel up. Israel had put a huge wedge in their relationship with the eternal God so He explains to Ezekiel why He has levied His anger upon them (Ezek. 43:7-8). Paul reminds the Ephesians that God brings His wrath upon the children of disobedience (Eph. 5:6).
So why would He get angry? God does not want sin co-existing with His people so He destroys Sodom and Gomorrah because of grievous sin (Gen. 18:16-21 & 19:1-29 foc V 25).
When entering Canaan, the promised land, Israel is commanded to utterly destroy everything occupying the promised land for God has chosen Israel to be obedient and to destroy those who hate Him (Deuteronomy 7:1-10). However, Israel did not do exactly as God commanded.
When Israel overthrew Jericho, Achan takes money and garments, against God’scommand. As a result, Achan is executed and Israel loses the battle to their foe, A-I (Josh. 7:1-26).
Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, lie to the Holy Spirit about what they had promised to give to God and that lie (disobedience) cost them their lives. (Acts 5:1-10
Just as we might get angry with our children because of their disobedience, God does llikewise when we are disobedient.
God puts up with a lot from us. Read the Old Testament and see what God had to deal with as He tried to keep Israel in line. He suffers with us as individuals helping us to get our act together.
The dictionary defines longsuffering as enduring patiently for a long time
Two Hebrew words are used in describing longsuffering: (H 639) aph is breathing with passion. (Think frustration “Oh, no. he’s not doing that again!). (H750) arek which means slow to anger. (That means waiting a long time before ministering justice for a negative action).
The Greek words used are (G3114) makrothumeo which is to bear, be patient or patiently endure. (G3115) makrothumia is longsuffering, patience.
God is longsuffering (not forgetful, not ignoring and not unconcerned). He gives us every opportunity to get our act together before taking conclusive action.
David tells us that God is compassionate, gracious, longsuffering and merciful (Psalm 86:15. Peter tells us that god is not slack, but longsuffering towards us with the intent that none should perish, but all would come to repentance. Peter also tells us that God is longsuffering so that no one would have to suffer the consequences of turning away from Him. And He reminds the people that Paul also told them of these things (2 Peter 3:9-15).
Paul explains to Timothy just how longsuffering God is and He has given us an example of this through Jesus (1 Tim 1:1-16). God was ready to destroy the world, but He waited for Noah to finish building and loading the ark before bringing the waters (1 Peter 3:20).
So, yes, God puts up with a lot from us as, He gives us opportunity after opportunity to let Him into our lives, or make corrections before rendering judgment.
And we thank God that He is so longsuffering because that is the basis of His expressing forgiveness towards us. Amen?
The dictionary defines forgiveness as to stop feeling resentment towards, pardon or excuse.
The Hebrew word, genrerally used for forgive is (H5375) macaw which is to forgive, lift up, pardon, spare or bear up (carry our burdens upon Himself). The Greek word is (G5483) charizomai which is to forgive, lay aside, send away.
When we repent our sin, God is faithful to forgive us those sins and start anew with us. We are become a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinth. 5:17). God forgets those sins which have become covered by the blood of Christ (1 John 17).
WE need to be thankful that Jesus stands the gap for us. When we confess our sins, accepting the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary, Father no longer sees our righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus and accepts it as cleansing for us (1 John 2:1-2). We become acceptable to be in the presence of God through Jesus (Eph. 1:3-7).
Not only does God forgive us our sins, He puts them behind His back and casts them into the sea (Isa. 38:17, Micah 7:19).
When Father forgives us our sins (Ex. 34:6-7), we become complete in Christ. Our old man is buried in water baptism and we become a new person (Col. 2:8-13, 2 Corinth. 5:17). Father also tells us that we ought to forgive our brother as God has forgiven us (Matt. 6:14-15, Luke 17:3-4). Note the consequences if we don’t forgive.
God is love (1 John 4:8).
The dictionary defines love (basically) as an affection based on admiration and benevolence, warm attachment or devotion, unselfish concern, physical attraction.
Phileo (G 5368) or Reya (H 7453) is the type of love as having affection for, being a friend or having a personal attachment to.
Several other Hebrew words used for love are: (H157) ahab to have affection for which can be caring or physical; (H160) ahabah are affections or feelings. I mention (H2836) chashaq carries the connotation o taking ‘delight in’ and H1730) dowd which indicates beloved, as in a relative.
And several Greek words to keep in mind are: (Gr 26) Agape love is having affection or benevolence towards another, (Gr 5388) Philoteknos is the type of love we have for our children, (eg. “motherly love”), (Gr 5362) Philandros is the type of love a husband and wife share and (Gr 5360) Philadelphia is a brotherly love.
Love carries a multitude of applications and is all of these – and more.
We’ve already stated that God IS love, but just what does that mean?
God loves us so much that He desires us to have eternal fellowship in Him (through Jesus) and with Him (John 3:16).
We also have a parent/child relationship with God. When the disciples tried to keep the children from being prayed for, Jesus said not to suffer (prevent them) them for the kingdom of heaven is like them (Matt. 19:13-15), because we must come with the attitude of a child (absolute trust) to enter into God’s kingdom (Matt. 18:1-6). Proper correction of a child is an expression of our love towards them (Prov. 13:24, Rev. 3:19). Father will guide our steps (Psalm48:14) and teach us (John 14:26). And should we stray, when we repent, as with the prodigal son, God will welcome us back with open arms (Luke 15:11-32). Our job is to keep God’s commandments (to love, Mark 12:28-31). Why? Because while we were still wallowing in our sin, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:1-8).
God wants a relationship with us. Think about it! He came to visit Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen. 3:7-9). Do we think that this was the only time God visited them? God also spoke with Moses on the mount, face to face (Exod. 33:11). God also got up close and personal with Abraham and called him His friend (James 2:23). Jesus shares things with us and calls us (not just His disciples) His friend (John 15:15.
But how close are we willing to walk with our Lord? At the last supper, the apostle John laid his head upon Jesus’ chest (John 13:23). When we invite Him in, Jesus is more than glad to come in (Rev. 3:20). The veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in two, down the middle, when Jesus died. The importance? Father was giving us direct access to Himself through Jesus (Mark 15:37-38, Heb. 10_19-20)! Again, how close are we willing to dare to walk with our Lord and Savior?
God is Final Authority
Also, because God has created all that is, He IS also the final authority (has the last say) in all things (Col. 1:15-16).
The dictionary says authority is the power to influence or command thought, opinion or behavior.
We have two Hebrew words translated as authority and each is only used once: (H8633) toqeph which also means might or power (rule over) and (H7235) rabah which carries the connotation of gathering up or increasing (drawing ohers into your fold).
Several Greek words are translated as authority. (G831) authenteo dominate or usurp over, (G1849) exousia jurisdiction, power, delegated influence, strength (G2003) epitage decree, commandment (G5247) huperoche superiority, excellency.
Usurp is to ‘sieze’ or ‘grab’ something with force. One thing I’ve learned is that God does not force His way on us or into our lives so usurp is not a part of how God operates. However, I have experienced ‘strong’ suggestion (at His hand), but to agree or disagree with God has always been my choice. That’s why Jesus says He knocks and ‘if/when’ we open the door, He will come in and be with us (Rev. 3:20).
Nonetheless, whether we think so or not, God does have the final say in all things. As we said, He has created ALL things. Can the creation be greater than the Creator (Rom. 9:19-26)?
The first four words in Genesis are “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1). The apostle John tells us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and nothing was made without Him (John 1:1-3). Paul tells the Colossians that’s why nothing can be greater than God (Col. 1:12-17).
Asaph tells us in his psalm the world is God’s and He knows everything about it (Psalm 50:7-12). Jesus tells us Father knows all about us and our needs (Luke 12:22-32). And He knows our heart (Luke 16:15). In another psalm, Asaph tells us that God raises up and takes down authority (Psalm 75:5-7).
And a very good thing is that Satan can’t get to us without God’ permission. He had to get God’s permission to attack Job (Job 1:6-2, 2:1-7). He attempts to discourage us because he knows that his time is limited (Matt. 8:29).
James asks a question. “Do you believe in God?” The devils not only believe, but KNOW that God is and the tremble (James 2:19). The (devils) ‘know’ that God is the final authority. What’s our problem?
These are just ten things to help one to understand who God is. But as I said, search out a list of His names and their meanings and receive a deeper understanding of who our God is.
He is before anything and He will be here after He has re-created all things. He is Righteous. Everything He does is for our own good. He is Just as He does all things for the right reasons. He does get Jealous when we try to put anything before Him. Yes, He does get Angry with sin. He is hurt when we are not faithful to Him and He eventually lets us know it. He is Longsuffering. He does put up with a lot from us yet He will Forgive us what we have done – when we ask.
Because He loves us so much. He even gave Himself (see the section on Jesus, the Son) so we could be with Him through eternity. And no matter what lies the enemy (the devil) tells us, God does have final Authority in all things.
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