The Father of Israel

This is the 16th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

In the previous column, we explored how Yahweh is the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Scriptures depict the fatherhood of God in other ways, as well. In this article, we examine God as the Father of Israel, and in the next column we survey God as the Father of the Church.

The Israelites enjoy a unique relationship with Yahweh, who creates a nation for Himself out of the pagan tribes of the world. Then, He calls Himself the Father of Israel. This special relationship is anchored in God’s sovereign will and eternal plan to deliver the redemption of sinful mankind through a special people marked off as His own.

While the Israelites enjoy great benefits as the “firstborn” of Yahweh (Exod. 4:22), they may claim no merit of their own in this unique relationship. In fact, they often come under the chastening hand of their Father when they violate the terms of their covenant with Yahweh.

In a terse warning to the Israelites, Moses contrasts the faithfulness of God with the once and future corruption of His people: “Is this how you repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Isn’t he your Father and Creator? Didn’t he make you and sustain you? Remember the days of old; consider the years of past generations. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the people of Israel. But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob, his own inheritance” (Deut. 32:6-9).
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The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

This is the 15th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

While Jesus assures His followers that God is their Heavenly Father, He alone shares a unique relationship with the Father as the eternal Son of God. There is an intimacy in this union that only exists between two eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing persons. We explore this relationship in more detail in future columns.

Still, it may prove helpful here to note a few New Testament passages where Paul and Peter use the phrase “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How is it that Yahweh is both the God of Jesus, and His Father?

Let’s begin with the verses themselves, and then follow up with a few observations.

Romans 15:6 – “so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.”

2 Corinthians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”

Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.”

1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus  Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
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Common objections to the Bible – Part 1

 

Many who disbelieve the Bible’s claims to be the word of God raise objections. Often, these objections are raised sincerely by people seeking the truth. Whether sincere or not, the objections merit a response. Following are the first of eight common objections. The rest are featured in a future post.

Objection 1: No one really knows what the Bible says because the original manuscripts are lost.

Response: True, the “autographs” no longer exist, but a remarkable number of copies do. No other book from the ancient world has more, earlier, or better-copied manuscripts than the Bible. Nearly 5,800 Greek, 10,000 Latin, and 10,000-15,000 other early versions of the New Testament are in existence, some dating to within a generation of the originals. Compare this with fewer than 1,800 copies of Homer’s Iliad, with the earliest copies dating 400 years after the original.
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The curious case of King Saul and the medium

King Saul’s visit to the medium at Endor (1 Sam. 28) is the most detailed account of necromancy in Scripture. It exposes the fraudulence of those who claim to traffic in communication with the deceased, and it warns about the consequences of those who seek to cross a line God has drawn in the sand.

Simply stated, a medium is one who claims to connect the living with the dead. As we read of King Saul’s encounter with the woman of Endor, we learn that Saul is in desperate straits. Samuel the prophet has died, and the king hears nothing but silence from the LORD. Even though Saul has banned necromancers from the land, he instructs his servants to seek out “a woman who is a medium,” literally, “a woman controlling, or mistress of, a divining demon” (1 Sam. 28:7).

Saul understands how necromancy is believed to work. A demon must mediate between the necromancer and the spirit of a deceased person. Saul is willing to go this route in order to contact Samuel because the late prophet and judge was unmatched in knowing God’s mind and future events.

When Saul makes contact with the woman at Endor, he assures her that no harm will come to her, even though she operates an unlawful business. His need to seek Samuel’s counsel overrides the shady nature of their exchange.
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The Fatherhood of God

This is the 14th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

In the previous column, we explored the Father’s deity. Now, let’s look at some ways the Bible describes the Fatherhood of God.

First, the Greek word theos is used of the Father. We see this in numerous passages, such as Galatians 1:1 and 1 Peter 1:2. While theos also is used of Satan (2 Cor. 4:4) and pagan idols (1 Cor. 8:5), the New Testament writers are clear that these entities are not God by nature (Gal. 4:8). In fact, Paul argues that the gods of the pagans actually are demons (1 Cor. 10:20).

In addition, the Greek kyrios (Lord) is found more than 700 times in the New Testament and is clearly applied to the Father in numerous passages (e.g., Matt. 4:7; Heb. 12:5-6).

Second, the Father’s divine attributes reveal His deity. The Father is eternal (Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 6:16); almighty (Rev. 19:6); immortal (1 Tim. 1:17); all-knowing (Matt. 6:32); perfect (Matt. 5:48); and true deity (John 17:3).

We should not overlook the significance of 1 John 1:3, where the apostle writes, “[W]hat we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The invitation to fellowship with the Father, as with the Son, demonstrates both His personhood and His deity.
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