Church of God, New World Ministries

A Tale Of Two Prophets - Part Five

God told Moses that every human being would have his opportunity for salvation – but that He, the God of grace, reserves the judgment of when and to whom He grants that salvation. A special physical, mortal resurrection is planned for the great majority of mankind in all those “lost” generations so that they may have their one and only chance at salvation. But the question is: saved for what? What is the purpose of human life? Why are we here? Saved from Egypt? From sin? Form death? From “hell”? But for what? And, once saved, what will we be?

Moses was finally convinced that the God he worshiped – the One who became Jesus the Christ-- did have mercy and grace in mind for every human beings who had ever lived, or was yet to live. Moses and Jesus were of one accord on that subject – and that One, to become Jesus-- had the power to bring to pass the hope of Moses.

Moses had a lot more to do with the Christian religion than most people know – he realized more of the true purpose of life than the majority of Christians today!

When the disciples of Jesus’ day asked Him to show them the Kingdom of God and its coming, Jesus through a “vision,” provided three of their number with a foretaste of what that Kingdom would be like. Peter, James and John, from among the twelve apostles, were chosen for this special revelation. The whole scene is described in Matthew 17.

The two individuals Jesus chose to show in vision to His disciples were Moses and Elijah! Moses, then, will definitely be in God’s Kingdom. Moses was Jesus’ first choice, along with Elijah, as an example for Peter, James and John of the end product of the purpose of creation. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are earlier mentioned by Jesus as definitely being in the Kingdom of God, as well as Noah, Daniel and David – but Jesus chose to show in vision only Moses and Elijah! Surely, then, Moses and Elijah must have known the purpose of life Jesus was about to reveal to His disciples!

The Bible clearly reveals that the purpose of the creation of human beings is to make them “sons of God.” Yet this presents an enigma because it also clearly states that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50).

The only answer to that problem is the equally enigmatic statement by Jesus that human beings must “be born again” (John 3:3). That statement by Christ is perhaps the most misunderstood of all He made. “Born again” is turned by most of religion into some sort of “spiritual experience” which leaves the body still flesh and blood, incapable of inheriting the Kingdom. It seems no one actually wants to take Jesus at His word!

Let’s cheat, and believe Jesus – that second of the two prophets of this tale – really meant exactly what He said. He said: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

Let’s face it, Jesus was not talking about pseudo sons, or allegorical sons, or religious-terminology sons, or pretend sons – but real sons! If you can believe it, the purpose of creation is to raise human beings to become God Beings: real sons of God, God as God is God!

“Blasphemy!” shouted the righteously indignant and generally enraged religious bigots of Jesus’ day when He said” I am the Son of God.”

“For a good work we stone thee not: but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God!” they explained smugly in their theological straitjackets as they stooped to pick up rocks.

But, for some reason, they paused to give Jesus time to pose a puzzling question from the heart of their own Scriptures: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say he of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world. Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God” (John 10:33-36).

At the very heart of Christian belief is the absolute necessity of recognizing and believing what those of Jesus’ day labeled “blasphemy!” Every good Christian believes as the cardinal point of doctrine that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was and is the Son of God – but how many good Christians do you know who also believe equally in the word of that same Jesus of Nazareth when He said, praying to His Father in heaven just before His death: “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:11, 20-21)! How many do you know who believe that?

Why do so many use all the words and slogans so common to Christianity in vain? Do we believe that neither Jesus nor the Father in heaven really mean what they say? Do we believe that the gospel message so plainly stated by Jesus is all allegory, all symbolism, all parable, all fable, and all myth? Do we say by our beliefs and actions that the Communists are right after all when they say that belief in a supernatural being, in religion is indeed “the opiate of the people”?

Do we believe that plain, clear words in the Bible describing the purpose of life, the plan of God, and defining the gospel are all empty phrases holding no practical meaning? Are these phrases to be taken with a grain of salt as mere religious phraseology having no real meaning or substance? Do words used in the revelation of Go to mankind have a meaning apart from reality? Do we really believe that God says one thing but means another? (That was Satan’s first argument back in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve! Check if for yourself: Genesis, chapter two.)

When God says His purpose is to make you and me His sons – just what kind of sons do you suppose He means? Real ones, or fake ones? When and if you become a son of God, what kind of son do you think you will be?

When you get right down to it, are you really satisfied with any religion’s explanation of the meaning of life, of the key purpose for our creation, of the ultimate goal to be attained by any religious exercise? Let’s briefly examine the major options offered to us.

Billions have believed that the ultimate goal of mankind is to achieve nirvana: “the state of perfect blessedness achieved by the absorption of the soul into the supreme spirit”; that is, an unconscious continued existence, as it were, like a cell in the body of the great one. It may have served billions, and driven them to extremes in their worship to accomplish nirvana – but I must admit that it does not satisfy me personally. What good is it to live forever and yet not even realize you are alive: have no personal existence? How about you?

A nearly equal number have believed that the afterlife of the faithful will consist of forever living at ease in an oasis called the “Garden of Allah,” where, lounging in hammocks strung between date palms, the men (because this is a rather male-dominated religion) will be fed delicacies by a bevy of voluptuous women (an eternal harem?) and will have all the hashish needed to keep them in stupor (alcohol is not allowed) so the eventual boredom will not bother. In the name of the god of peace (Islam), true believers have converted others by the sword to believe and seek this reward! This goal may be pleasing to many – it does have some specific, concrete goodies explained – but again I must admit that it does not satisfy me personally. How about you?

Christianity is separated into two basic camps, which for many centuries have endeavored to exterminate one another. The more universal belief held by the larger of the two camps is that the purpose of life is to achieve the “beatific vision.” After wading through about six pages of fine print in the encyclopedia of that religion, attempting to define just what the “beatific vision” is, you come to the disappointing conclusion that, in their own words, “no one really knows”! The best you can get is that it is a state of blessedness in which you, living forever, will be able to gaze upon God, seeing Him better than you see Him now, but not ever being able to see Him as He really is. Vague as it may seem, it is avidly pursued by hundreds of millions as the goal of their existence. Perhaps the threat of the only other alternative – suffering unimaginable torments in hellfire, all explained in vivid detail -- spurs them on. One more time I must admit that this theory does not satisfy me. To think that the Creator who has fashioned this fabulously complex intricate, material and very real universe would propose such a vague purpose for His highest creation – mankind just does not compute with me. How about you?

     The other Christian belief – developed in protest and now shattered into hundreds of splinters, each having a slight variant of doctrine regarding the afterlife – is basically this: When you die, you go to heaven as a spirit being of some sort and live eternally in bliss – somewhat similar to the beatific vision, but with more details added. You check in at the pearly gates with Peter, get your wings, your harp, your golden slippers with which to walk the golden streets, your white robe, your cloud – and then you do nothing (virtually), and you do it forever! Granted, you are never hungry or thirsty; never cry or suffer. A sort of a great golden, peaceful retirement center in the sky, with, torture of all tortures, nothing to do …  forever. It doesn’t satisfy me – how about you? Is the suffering of hell again the driving force that encourages enlistment for this theory?

There are many more beliefs with goals equally vague – but those mentioned cover the majority of mankind with the exception of the billions who believe we are born and die, like dogs, with no purpose. This doesn’t satisfy me either, and I even refuse to address it – how about you?

There is a very definite reason for all this confusion. The vagueness about the ultimate reward of the true believer of any religion, and particularly the Christian religion, is specifically predicted and explained in your Bible. It is nobody’s fault; no one is to blame. All who cling to these faiths can easily be given the benefit of the doubt and be said truly to be deeply sincere – the blood of the believers and martyrs of all these regions bespeaks eloquently the indelible fact of sincerity.

But there is a reason why no faith gives the clear purpose of life, the reason for creation, the plan of God, the ultimate goal God set for mankind. The reason is that God locked up that truth and gives the key to unlock it only to those of His own choosing at the time of His own choosing.

Many a sermon has been preached on how impossible it is for us to understand just what it is that ‘God has in store for us, using as the text this scripture: “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which “God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Cor. 2:9).This conveniently explains away the vagueness. This allows all manner of speculation, of possibilities for scenario-developing, of doctrinal discrepancies among believers. This brings comfort to the confused, helps in swallowing the impractical visions advanced regarding God’s purpose.

It also fulfills that very scripture itself! Nobody has seen the perfect will of God. Since nobody has seen it, obviously nobody has heard of it. No man has thought up or conceived of the plan God has in mind, try though they may. Intelligence, wisdom, dedication – all in absolute sincerity-- have been applied in vain. Still, no one has come up with the plan.

This one “text for the day” seems as inadequate tool – let’s cheat again just a little and read the next verse also! Maybe we’ll see, hear and begin to conceive what others have not: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God” (v. 10).This plainly says that despite the fact that man alone has not been able to come up in his own imagination (even with all the effort he has expended at it) with the plan God has in mind for those who love Him, He, by His Spirit, reveals that plan!

In short, God’s purpose for mankind can be known, but only by His Spirit. “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made know to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever” Amen” (Rom. 16:25-27).

You are made in the image of God. Why? None of the other millions of creatures God created are made in His image. God doesn’t look like a snake, a bull, a bird or a fish – He looks just like human beings, or, better put, human beings look just like God!  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:26-27).God is not a male chauvinist: He created both male and female in His image!

We look like Him, but we are not exactly like Him. An image shows design and shape, but is not made of the same substance as the original. We are flesh – physical, temporary, mortal. God is spirit – eternal, immortal (see John 4:24; Isa. 57:15).

David knew that God had created us in His likeness, yet he said: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Ps. 17:15). To be like God as God is God – to be totally in the likeness of God – requires a change in our composition, from physical to spiritual. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (the “when” David referred to – when he would finally be satisfied!): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Cor. 15:50-52).

Job was familiar with this necessary change: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call (the last trump), and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet (apart from) my flesh shall I see God” (Job 14:14-15 and 19: 25-26).

What is changed is the flesh. Job makes this clear: “Whom (God) I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another” (Job 19:27).

Jesus is the Son of God – no good Christian denies that. Jesus is unique; He is the only son of a human being who had God the Father in heaven as His literal Father who caused His impregnation in the womb of a woman, Mary. But to Jesus, and through Jesus, was given the power to make us all sons of God!

Jesus became the firstborn Son of God by the resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).Even Jesus was physical, flesh and blood. That had to change. And that overwhelming change came about at His resurrection. But the beautiful thing about the resurrection of our Savior, the captain of our salvation, our Redeemer who lives, is that it becomes possible through the power of that resurrection for you and me also to be changed, also to become sons of God! To be God as God is God! To be God as Jesus is now God!

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). “For it became him, for whom are all things (the Father), and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the captain of their salvation (Jesus Christ) perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:10-11). “And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead: that in all things he might have the preeminence. Christ in you, the hope of (your) glory (Col. 1:18,27).

This is not just religious-sounding language. This is the straight-forward biblical truth that when you and I are changed we will be glorified sons of God, just as Jesus is now! Sons of God, brothers of Jesus, in every sense of those words!

This may seem difficult, because the Bible calls physical human beings “sons of God.” Yet the Bible also plainly states that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, be sons. Humans must be born again. Not just an experience of the mind, but an actual rebirth; a complete change to a new being as different in state as the mature plant is from the seed which is planted in the ground (an analogy the apostle Paul used in I Cor. 15 – the resurrection chapter).

The difficulty is resolved when you realize that the New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek language uses one word, gennao, to refer to conception, the begotten stage of the fetus, the whole nine-month gestation period, and the actual birth. So, from the beginning of the new life, conception, the individual is considered to be a “son,” even though he is not yet born. When you , as a natural human parent, are first aware that there is life in the womb, don’t you think of it as your child, even though it is not yet born? And do not most of those conceived finally achieve birth? It is the same with God.

God begins the birth of His sons very small, just as we begin the birth of our own children. “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (II Cor. 5:5). And “earnest” is a very small down payment carrying with it a promise of more to come, until the full commitment is reached.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). There is no capital letters in the Greek, by the way. It is only the translators who decided to capitalize “Son” when it referred to Jesus and not capitalize “son” when it referred to us. Most reverent and sincere humility no doubt, but it leads to misunderstanding.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15) That word “adoption” can just as well be translated “Sonship,” but according to the very scriptures the translators were translating, it never entered their minds that we could be the actual “Sons of God.” They only took words like “brethren,” “son,” “Father” to be metaphors, niceties, condescension from God as it were. But this scripture clearly declares that we human beings, after receiving God’s Holy Spirit, are to call God Abba – which is Aramaic for “father” – and then amplifies and reinforces that by adding “Father” from the Greek. An actual Father, not a pretend Father. Perhaps it was fear of the same charge of “blasphemy” leveled against Jesus by the religious people of His day that caused those men to use the translation “adoption” in the clear light of the context of a double-language” relationship discussed in Romans eight?

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (v. 16).This Spirit of God is, remember, the only source of this humanly inconceivable concept of what it is that God has in store for those who love Him. I have chosen to believe the Spirit of God, and not be satisfied with the ideas of men – how about you?

Now these “children of God” discussed in Romans are not born yet. They have just begun, just been spiritually conceived. They are not changed yet from physical to spiritual totally: they just have the “earnest” of that yet future total change.

The fact is, nobody has been (born again) changed yet except Jesus of Nazareth. All the holy men of old are dead and in their graves waiting, as Job stated he would wait. Some decayed to dust – as Peter said of David after the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2).Some became ashes, some possibly were partly preserved physically – as Joseph, for example, whose body was mummified after the Egyptian style. But all are waiting for a “better resurrection God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:35, 40). “The general assembly and church of the firstborn, the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:2). . . . . . Waiting.

God is not playing games. God is not perpetrating some cosmic joke. God is not sponsoring some eternal rest home in the sky for retired Christians.  God is reproducing Himself!

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Beloved now are we the sons of God, and (would you believe “but”) it doth not yet appeared what we shall be (we’re not born yet, just begotten): but we know (do you?) that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:1-2). Do you believe what your Bible reveals?

What is Jesus going to be like when He comes back to this earth? A metaphoric, allegorical, mythical “Son of God” –or a real, spiritual, all-powerful, actual Son of God? You guessed it: The latter is correct. Now if He is like that, and we are going to be like He is – what do you suppose we will be like?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises (beyond the scope of human imagination): that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter. 1:4). “I (Jesus says) will make them (people, human beings) to come and worship before thy feet” (Rev. 3:9). Now, you know, and I know, and God commands that only God Himself is worthy of worship! There is only one inescapable conclusion.

If we are to be changed from physical to spiritual; if what we are taught by Jesus is true, and we are to pray “Our Father in heaven”; if He really is our Father and not just His Father; if we are (to be) His sons; if we are to share the Father’s and the Son’s glory and be one as they are one; if we are to inherit eternal life; if we are to partake of the divine nature; if we are to be just like Jesus now is, if we are to have the complete mind of Christ in us; if we are to be worthy of worship – then we must become God!

Blasphemy? NO! Just “unbelievable truth” of your Bible! Believe it or not, “Ye are Gods’ – it just doesn’t show yet!

And when you become God’s own born son, what will you do? Will God equip you with eternal life, His own Spirit, glory, power just to sit around on clouds and pluck a harp? What do Gods do? What does our Father have in mind to keep us busy, joyfully, eternally productive? And if God is eventually going to save the great majority of mankind anyway, why bother about it now?  Moses knew the answers to these questions – do you?

To learn more of this marvelous plan be watching for our next installment in this series.  Also, you can learn more of this marvelous plan by enrolling in our Mini-Correspondence Course. We show you step by step how God’s plan of salvation for mankind can be achieved. Enroll today!  It is FREE.

 
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