And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Matthew 26:63

In anger and frustration the high priest hurled this question at Jesus during His trial. There was a calm, a serenity, even an aloofness in this strange man that made the high priest a little uneasy. No, it was more than just uneasiness. A vague feeling of fear and awe ran through his soul and haunted his mind. He couldn't shake it off. Never had a man spoken as this man had spoken. Never had a man done what this man had done. But never had any man so threatened the very foundation upon which the high priest had built his life.

What was he to do? To let this strange man live was to destroy his own life. Yet, to condemn him to death was a step that filled the high priest with dread. Standing before this serene man he had the feeling that rather than being the judge he was being judged. "Who are you?" he cried. "Are you the Christ? Are you the Son of God?" But even before Jesus answered, hardness of heart, unbelief, and selfishness had emerged victorious from the battle that raged in his bosom. The high priest had already chosen to crucify the Son of God in order to save his own life.

Most people read this account and severely criticize that high priest for his selfishness and hypocrisy. It never seems to occur to them that every person born into this world must one day stand in that high priest's judgment seat. For just as surely as "it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment," it is just as surely divinely decreed that every man that is born into this world must one day judge Jesus Christ, being himself simultaneously judged by Him.

It never seems to occur to most people that that high priest was a very religious man and a pillar of society. He was a man of reputation and influence. He was not a drunkard or a whore-master. He was a highly respected man in the community. Yet, Jesus of Nazareth threatened his whole life. In the presence of Jesus of Nazareth his life was seen for the evil thing that it really was. Thus, he was faced with the greatest dilemma of his life, and the dilemma that we must all one day face—what am I going to do with this Man Christ Jesus? Am I going to give up my life or am I going to crucify Him? Am I going to let Him judge me now or will I wait until it is too late.

This is not a question that can be answered academically. We can't just sit down and think about Jesus of Nazareth or read about Him or hear some preacher talk about Him and make this judgment. It is only when the Holy Spirit brings us face to face with Jesus (I mean the real Jesus and not the Jesus of our imaginations) that we can see plainly that there is no good thing about us or our lives. And it is only when this is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit that we can understand that Jesus of Nazareth wants to totally destroy our lives. And it is then and only then that we will be standing where that high priest was standing. That is the moment of truth. It is then that we judge Jesus Christ to be either the Son of God or a blasphemer. It is then that we either nail Him to a cross or fall down on our knees and worship Him. It is then that we choose either to crucify Him or to crown Him King of kings and Lord of lords.

Who is this man Jesus Christ that makes such demands on our lives and has such power over our destinies? Is it true that there is no other name given under heaven whereby we are to be saved, as saith the Scriptures? How can that Jesus of Nazareth who lived nearly 2000 years ago have any influence and power over me? Is He really God? Is He really man? What is He that I should be concerned about Him? Do the Scriptures tell us anything about this? Yes, they tell us all that we need to know. However, as in all things spiritual, the natural, unconverted man will neither like nor believe their report.

Let me make a statement that, though totally true, will shock almost every reader. The Bible most emphatically and absolutely is not the Word of God. The Bible is God's words or revelations about the Word of God and His dealings with man. The Bible is a true story and the Word is the protagonist or leading character of the story. Consider the following Scriptures:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made...And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us...full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3, 14

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war...And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:11-13

The Bible is a book about Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God. The whole Bible from beginning to end is centered on Jesus Christ. The Scriptures were written by the Holy Ghost through holy men of God and these Scriptures tell us that the whole work of the Holy Ghost is to exalt and glorify Jesus Christ. Thus, we can conclude that the Bible from beginning to end is dedicated to Jesus Christ. When the Bible speaks about the word of God, it almost always refers to that Word which was in the beginning and was with God and was God.

It is at this point that most people go astray and fall into error about who Jesus is. And by failing to understand who Jesus is, they fail to understand what He is. Paul tells us that the veil that is over the eyes of the Jews is taken away in Christ. That is, in reading their Scriptures, the Old Testament, it is as though their eyes are covered by a veil unless they come to see Jesus Christ as the central character of the book. Thus, Paul tells us that the central figure of the Old Testament and the Jewish religion is Jesus Christ.

But how can this be? The name of Jesus Christ never once appears in the Old Testament. There is not so much as a mention of Him. It would seem that the most prominent character in the Old Testament is Jehovah, Yahweh, Jah, or the LORD, depending on the translation. (I would remind the reader that everywhere that the word "LORD" appears in the King James Version the Hebrew word is YHWH.) It is He that created the world. It is He that talked to Adam. It is He that called out Noah. It is He that chose out Abraham. It is He that sent Moses to Pharaoh and it is He that became Israel's God. All of the Old Testament centers around the great Jehovah, the "LORD" of the King James Version. Surely, Paul must be wrong! It is no doubt true that Jesus is the most prominent character of the New Testament, but Paul must be wrong in saying that Jesus Christ is the central character of the Old Testament.

Well, Paul is not wrong. Paul did not speak lies nor teach heretical doctrine. Jesus Christ is the central character of the whole Bible because Jesus Christ is Jehovah. I realize that this is a very difficult doctrine to receive and that almost nobody in the whole world fully believes it. But it is true. The great Jehovah and Jesus Christ are one and the same. In failing to understand this awe-inspiring truth one fails to understand how Jesus Christ is indeed all in all. The consequences of this truth are so far-reaching, yea, even mind-boggling, that it is impossible to have a proper appreciation for Jesus Christ without understanding it.

Most people have some vague sense that Jesus existed before His birth at Bethlehem. Most Gentiles in the so-called Christian nations of the world accept that Jesus is God but they don't exactly know how. However, almost everyone believes that Jehovah is the Father. It is not generally seen that Jehovah is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. And this failure has caused the Jews to reject their Messiah and the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons to become entangled in all manner of foolishness. This failure makes it impossible for anyone to properly understand John 3:16 (which we will consider again a little later) and, thereby, to properly appreciate the sacrifice of Christ.

Although I am not prepared to make an exhaustive presentation of this matter in this writing, I do believe that it would be helpful for us to look at some pertinent Scriptures in order to convince ourselves that this is a true doctrine. We will look at some verses in the Old Testament and compare them to some verses in the New Testament. However, we must first identify the various names by which Jehovah is called in the Old Testament.

Most of the time God is called YHWH or Jehovah (translated LORD in the King James Version) in the Old Testament. However, whenever He appeared to anyone in an outward physical form, He is often referred to as "the word of the LORD" or "the angel of the LORD" or perhaps as "the angel of the LORD's presence." Let us consider the time that the LORD appeared to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom.

And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him. Genesis 18:1,2

In this case He is called LORD and He very obviously took on the form and appearance of a man. But let's consider another place:

And it came to pass after these things, that God...said, Take now thy son...whom thou lovest...and offer him for a burnt offering...And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, I know that thou fearest God...And Abraham called the place 'Jehovah sees and provides' (Jehovah jireh). Genesis 22:1-19

Over and over again the expression "the angel of the LORD" is used in the account of the visitation of God to Samson's mother and father before Samson's birth. But in the end Samson's father says, "We shall surely die because we have seen God." He understood that he was talking to Jehovah. When he inquired after the name of the angel of the LORD, the LORD said, "Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is wonderful?" What can we conclude when we read the prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah?

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Finally, let us consider the expression "the word of the LORD." Very frequently this expression is used when a prophet received instructions from the LORD. Almost all Bible teachers take this to mean words spoken. And sometimes it may mean that. But, I think that it generally means the physical appearance of Jehovah to the prophet. For instance, let's consider the third chapter of I Samuel where we are told about little Samuel's first acquaintance with the LORD. Verse one says,

"And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision." I Samuel 3:1

Now I am persuaded that this means that the LORD did not at that time appear visually to anyone. But let us go on.

And it came to pass that...the LORD called Samuel...and he ran to Eli...And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli. . . Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him...And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth...And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh
by the word of the LORD. I Samuel 3:2-21

In other words, the LORD actually came and stood beside Samuel in a physical form and conversed with him. In this case it is easy to see that the LORD appeared in a physical form to Samuel and that He calls this physical form "the word of the LORD." And I am persuaded that this is what it almost always means when the Bible says, "The word of the LORD came unto so-and-so, saying..." In other words, this expression is just another way of indicating a physical appearance of the Lord.

Keeping in mind these various expressions for YHWH, let us see if we can establish the truth of our thesis, i.e., that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same. I will do this by asking a series of questions followed by verses of Scripture from the Old and New Testaments. In this way we will be able to see that what is ascribed to Jehovah is also ascribed to Jesus. Thus, it will logically follow that they are the same.

I. Who created the world?

A. Old Testament.

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis l:l

2. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. Genesis 2:4

3. Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. Isaiah 45:11,12

B. New Testament.

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made...He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. John 1:1-14

2. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3

3. God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Hebrews 1:1,2

4. Giving thanks unto the Father...who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible...and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Colossians 1:12-17

II. Who did Abraham talk with?

A. Old Testament.

1. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him...And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. Genesis 17:3,22

2. And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre...And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. Genesis 18:1,33

B. New Testament.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. John 8:56

III. Who talked to Moses out of the burning bush?

A. Old Testament.

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush...And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight...And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the burning bush...And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh...And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh...? And He said, Certainly I will be with thee...And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Exodus 3:2-14

B. New Testament.

Then said the Jews unto him, thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.
Then took they up stones to cast at him. John 8:57-59

I think that this will suffice to demonstrate the truth of what I have proposed. Once one sees that Jesus and Jehovah are indeed one and the same, then many obscure Scriptures begin to make sense. Once one understands that the expression "the word of God" almost always refers to Jesus Christ, then one can begin to see that Jesus Christ is, as Paul tells us, all in all.

The Bible does not tell about, exalt, and glorify itself, which it would be doing if the word of God were the Bible. From the first word of Genesis to the last word of Revelation the Bible tells about, exalts, and glorifies Jesus Christ, the Word of God. The one aim and the one function of the Holy Scriptures, which were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is to direct man to the only possible source of light, life, salvation, spiritual knowledge, righteousness, and hope that ever could and ever would be found in this world from the first dawning day of its creation and throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity—Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Before the foundations of the world were ever laid, in the hidden counsels of the Almighty, the LORD saw plainly by His infallible foreknowledge that His beloved creatures would become separated from Him by sin. By this same infallible foreknowledge He saw that His wrath must at the pre-determined time fall upon man as a just recompense for his rebellion. The justice of God demands "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life." Since it is impossible for the LORD to be unjust and since it has been eternally decreed that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die," there can be no deviation from this absolute law of justice. Yet, God is love. Of necessity God must be ever ready to forgive because forgiveness is the fruit of love.

Both the love of God and the justice of God are unalterable and eternal qualities of the ever blessed LORD. It is more likely that the sun would cease to shine in the firmament and that the stars would be extinguished from the night sky than that the LORD would ever fail to be perfect in justice and perfect in love. No greater paradox has ever arisen in the cosmos; two unalterable qualities of God that are absolutely contradictory and mutually exclusive. The human mind, no matter how exquisite, could possibly resolve this dilemma.

Crime requires punishment, but love requires forgiveness. How can God be perfect in justice and, yet, triumphant in love? If left to a lesser, created mind, man would be hopelessly and helplessly lost for this is a dilemma that could never be resolved by any creature, whether in heaven above or in earth below. But the solution which sprang from the heart of God was at the same time simple and divine, a solution so incredible and so selfless that most men in the world will refuse to believe it—God manifest in the flesh, Jesus Christ, "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."

The apostle John tells us in the Book of Revelation that he saw a "Lamb slain from the foundations of the world." Paul tells us in his epistle to the Ephesians that all Christians were chosen in Christ from the foundations of the world to live holy and blameless in this life. Clearly, then, from the moment that the LORD created the world, He was, by His own counsel and for His own purposes, predestined to die on the cross in order to redeem that which was so dear to Him. For about four thousand years the LORD labored with individuals and with nations in order to prepare the world to receive Him at His incarnation.

The mysteries of redemption are very profound. It is not in man to comprehend them. But the LORD in condescension to His poor creatures has given us some glimpses into His unutterable love and justice. The Holy Scriptures are a record of many of the LORD's dealings with man in order to work out his redemption. The promise to Adam and Eve, the salvation of Noah and his family, the calling out of Abraham, the lives of the patriarchs, the life of Joseph, all of these things are recorded for our instruction and hope because each of these forms a series of symbolic patterns that placed together form a kind of mosaic of God's plan of redemption.

The history of the deliverance of the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt under Pharaoh to their triumphant entry into the promised land at the hand of their great leaders Moses and Joshua is one of the most awe-inspiring records ever preserved. To the eye of the spiritually awakened and enlightened mind it is no accident that these incidents actually happened to the Israelites nor is it an accident that the account was preserved for us. To the opened eye it is seen as a marvelous manifestation of God's providential labors designed to give to us a clear and magnificent picture of God's plan of salvation.

The typology is so clear and the providences of God are so evident that in the contemplation of these things the enlightened soul must be overwhelmed by a sense of awe. The Israelites, Egypt, Pharaoh, Moses, the Passover Lamb, the plagues, the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, the wilderness, the manna, Mt. Sinai and the Law, the Tabernacle, Kadesh-barnea, the forty years judgment, the death of all of the rebels in the wilderness, the brazen serpent, the conquest of the Amorites, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River are all symbolic of the Christian's road to redemption. All of the Levitical sacrifices are symbolic of that One Sacrifice on Calvary for the sins of the people. The ceremonial laws of ritual purity, such as certain foods being clean or unclean or touching a dead body, etc., all have a spiritual counterpart and give the spiritual man great insights into a pure walk with God.

In addition to the symbolism of the old covenant we also read the various prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Had the Jews paid sufficient heed to these prophecies, they would never have rejected their Messiah as they did. In order to preserve Moses they murdered their promised Messiah. Had they believed Moses, who with their lips they reverenced so much, they could have known that Jesus was the Messiah and that He had come to change the order of things. Moses foretold of this centuries before:

The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Deuteronomy 18:15-19

From these words of Moses we can see that the Jews should have been expecting a Messiah who would come with the same authority as Moses himself because Moses told them that the Messiah would be like himself. It is equally clear that the Messiah would set up a new order which He would receive from God and that they were to be subject to Him and His new ways. They should have been expecting that kind of a Messiah, but they were not. As can be seen, the problem was not that the Jews were without sufficient information concerning their Messiah. Rather, it was, as Isaiah warned, that they did not believe their own Scriptures:

Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Isaiah 53:1-9

Isn't this an amazing prophecy? Doesn't it boggle the mind that any religious Jew could read this and still doubt that Jesus is the Messiah? But in every age people have always believed what they want truth to be rather than what it is. It isn't because they lack the information, but it is simply because men hate the truth. Thus, they change it. Such is the depravity of all men, great or small, Jew or Gentile. Let us consider another prophecy from the pen of Isaiah. This one is concerned with the birth of the Messiah.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

From this prophecy the Jews could have known that the Messiah would not have a human father, a fact of great importance which will be discussed a little later. Also, they could have seen that this child would be God manifest in the flesh because the Immanuel means "God with us."

Once again revelation flashed through the pen of Isaiah to reveal even more about the coming Messiah.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6,7

We have already noted that Jehovah told Samson's father that His name was "wonderful." And now we see that this same name is ascribed to the Messiah. But more than that, Isaiah tells us that the Messiah is the mighty God and the everlasting Father. All Christians call the Messiah "the Prince of Peace," but how many are willing to call Him "the mighty God" and "the everlasting Father?" As can be seen, when the truth about Jesus Christ begins to break out of the fog, it astonishes the mind and humbles the soul.

All of the saints of old that we read about in the Old Testament were Christians even though they didn't know the name. They were servants of the LORD and walked according to His precepts. They were redeemed by the only redeemer ever known to man. They called Him YHWH and we call Him Jesus Christ. They lived by the covenant given by Him at that time and we live by the new covenant which He delivered to us after His incarnation. A Christian today has the same fellowship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as he does with his Christian brothers in the flesh. David is as precious to my soul as Peter. Moses thrills my soul as much as the apostle Paul. I long to fellowship with them in heaven.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary, she, along with almost the whole of Jewry, was a believer in the Messianic hope. But it is obvious from the Gospel accounts that she, along with almost the whole of Jewry, did not understand who their Messiah was to be. Under the distorted teachings of the rabbis their expectations were altogether too provincial and too worldly. They were expecting a worldly king who would restore the worldly kingdom with all of its worldly glory to Israel. They were not expecting and they did not want a heavenly King who would set up a heavenly and holy kingdom in the hearts of men. The Word that was with God and that was God came unto His own and His own received Him not.

We are now going to consider the most amazing event in all of human history. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,...And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:1,14

These statements appear so simple and, yet, their profundity is absolutely beyond our ability to measure. Found in these words is a truth so sublime and so heavenly that I find myself shrinking from the task of trying to express it in words. I am keenly aware that I am unequal to the task. In all humility, I want to say that if you gain any insight at all into this amazing truth all of the glory and credit must go to the Holy Spirit because it is not within the capabilities of any man to explain this truth with human words and wisdom. I can write the words, but the Holy Spirit alone can open the understanding and translate these words into the language of the soul.

Perhaps the best way to begin is by reminding the reader that from the very beginning the law of God has passed death upon all transgressors. There is only one sentence for the punishment of sin—"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." When Adam sinned something changed in him. Death entered into his very being. He ceased to be in the image of his Creator. He fell from the image of God into the image of Satan.

As the procreator of the human race he passed on to every human being born into this world his own fallen nature. What he was, his children were. He begat children in his own image and could not do otherwise.

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. Genesis 5:3

The spark of life contained in his seed had become contaminated by sin and he could only beget a creature in his own fallen image. Because the whole race of man was contained in his loins just as a great forest is contained in an acorn, every member of this race for all future generations would be a partaker of the fallen, sinful nature of its procreator.

Paul tells us that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. And so death passed upon all men because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. People don't go to hell because they sin. They sin because they are hell bound sinners doing what is natural to sinners. Sinners go to hell because no sinner can enter into the presence of that God who said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." When a child is born into this world, he inherits a sinful nature from his father. As a natural consequence of his inherited nature when he reaches the age of accountability, he chooses to sin because that is what he is in his nature.

In the 25th chapter of Leviticus the LORD laid down the law which governs the redemption of a near kin who has sold himself into slavery. The law is very explicit. Only a near kinsman can redeem the slave and the owner of the slave cannot refuse the redemption. But the redeemer must pay the full price owed by the slave. Obviously, if the near kinsman were himself a slave, he would not be able to redeem anyone. In other words, only a kinsman who is a freeman can redeem a slave.

The death penalty is the ultimate penalty. There is nothing that a criminal condemned to death can do to pay for his crime except die. The law of God says, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life." So then, if someone were to offer to die in his stead, the law would be satisfied and he could go free. But the substitute would have to be a human being and he would have to be innocent of any crime worthy of death. Otherwise, his life would already be forfeited and it could not be accepted in lieu of the life of the condemned man.

We are all slaves, sold under sin. It is impossible for us to redeem ourselves because the wages of sin are death. We have sinned and we are slaves to sin. We must have a redeemer. That redeemer must be a human being and he must be sinless. Otherwise, if he were not a human being, he would not be a near kinsman and if he were not sinless, his life would already be forfeited and he couldn't pay the price of redemption.

But where can we find such a person? Every time that a man copulates and brings a child into this world, that child inherits his father's sin nature. The child does not inherit this death from his mother because the mother doesn't transmit the spark of life. The spark of life is in the male and only in the male. The mother is an incubator in which the life is developed. But the life is in the male sperm and, therefore, a child inherits the fallen nature from his father. Obviously, then, it is impossible to find anyone in this world who can qualify to be a redeemer because every person is fathered by some man.

At this point we should be remembering one of Isaiah's prophecies,

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Does it begin to make sense now? Can you see why the Devil hates the doctrine of the virgin birth? There is no redemption without it. If Jesus had not been born of a virgin, if He had had an earthly father, He could never have been without the taint of inbred sin and He would Himself have needed a redeemer. But since He had no earthly father, He entered this life as pure and as free of the taint of sin as the first Adam when he was created.

Let me digress a moment to talk a little about the virgin birth and the foolish and wicked distortion about it that the Roman Catholic Church has invented. As you can see above, the only reason that Mary had to be a virgin was that Jesus would not have an earthly father and that He would, thereby, be free from the fall of Adam. It had nothing to do with the impurity of sex. Sex is not unclean. God invented sex and sex is good, provided that the partners are married. There is nothing unholy about sex nor holy about virginity.

For some reason or other the Roman church has something against normal sex. Celibacy has played a great role in it for many years. Her priests cannot marry and her young women are encouraged to join convents. This deifying of virginity is unnatural and contrary to God's own pronouncements when He created Eve for Adam and said that it is not good that a man be alone. This perversion has caused her theologians to perpetrate outright lies in order to protect Mary's virginity and Joseph's chastity. The Scriptures are plain that after Jesus was born they had normal, God-blessed sexual relations and had several other children. Consider these following verses:

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. Matthew 1:24,25

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. Mark 6:1-3

Like the people of Nazareth, the Roman Catholic Church is offended at the real Jesus of Nazareth and have created another Jesus which is not the real Jesus and another Mary and Joseph which are not the real Mary and Joseph. They don't like it that Jesus was a real man with real brothers and sisters all of whom were born of a real mother. So, contrary to the plain evidence of the Scriptures that abominable church has declared Mary to be a virgin until death.

But the greatest Roman Catholic hoax along this line has to do with their Mary-olatry. It is now part of their dogma that Mary is also without the taint of original sin, i.e., the inbred sin nature inherited from Adam. This shows the utter darkness of that church. It shows plainly that her theologians, priests, and members haven't the foggiest idea why Mary had to be a virgin when Jesus was conceived. They have invented her absolute purity because that is what they want to believe. Facts have almost nothing to do with that church's doctrines. They apparently don't realize or don't care that in order for Mary to have been without the sin nature her birth would also have had to have been a virgin birth. But by creating these perversions they have caused this precious truth to be somewhat hidden from the world, They can be assured that they will answer for their arrogance, unbelief, and self-will at the Judgment.

But let us continue. We now see why Jesus was born of a virgin and that this miraculous birth was predicted about 750 years before the event by one of Israel's greatest prophets. In order to redeem sinful man He had to be sinless, the just for the unjust.

Why was it necessary that Jehovah Himself redeem man? Couldn't an angel have done it as well? Didn't the animal sacrifices in the Temple do the same thing? Let me answer these three questions in reverse order. First, animal sacrifices could never have been anything other than a symbol. Why? Because the blood of bulls and goats and sheep could only atone for other bulls and goats and sheep. The greater may atone for the lesser but the lesser can never substitute for the greater. Let me put it this way. If I were to owe you five dollars, you would accept a ten dollar bill for payment in full. However, you would never accept a one dollar bill as payment in full. In like manner, justice will never accept a lamb's life as payment for a man's life. The animal sacrifices in the old covenant were always meant to be symbolic of that one efficacious sacrifice of the Lamb of God that one day would be offered up for the sins of the world. These sacrifices were supposed to teach the Jews that they could never merit forgiveness of sins. They showed them that the law demands a life for a life and that the only life that will be accepted as a substitute is the life of an innocent victim, one without spot or blemish. The lambs and goats whose blood was offered up for atonement were innocent of any transgression, were at their prime, and without any blemish whatsoever.

The answer to the second question is much like the other answer. The life of an angel cannot atone for the life of a man because an angel is not a near kinsman. Only a man can atone for a man. An angel has no way to take upon himself the nature of a man. Angels are not born, they are created individually.

That leaves us with question number one. Let us remember that the law is "a life for a life." Only a man could die for a man. But one man could never be a universal redeemer. However, Jehovah is an infinite life. His life can atone for any number of condemned men. If He were to become man, He could become the Redeemer of the whole world.

Is it possible for Jehovah to become a man? If an angel can't become a man, how would it be possible for the great Jehovah to become a man? The answer lies in the first chapter of the Bible.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him... Genesis 1:27

When God created man, He created him in the image of Himself. This was no accident. God does everything that He does for some reason. God created man in His own image so that it would be possible for Him to enter into man's nature. God can't enter into the angels' nature in order to redeem them because angels were not created in God's own image. It isn't that God wouldn't like to redeem the fallen angels but there is no way that He can become an angel in order to give up His angel life for them. He can't be born an angel because angels aren't born. Angels have no mother or father. Every angel is an individual act of creation.

Now I don't say that all of this isn't a very mysterious thing. I don't say that we can ever really understand it. All I say is that we can realize it and believe it and experience the salvation that comes to us because of it. Because Adam was created in the image of God and because man is procreated, it provided Jehovah a mechanism by which He could become very man and the Redeemer of lost men. Let's look at Isaiah again,

For unto us a child is born...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

About 750 years before the fact Isaiah foretold that a child would be born of a virgin and that that child would be "the mighty God." I don't understand how it could happen, but that is what it says. It staggers the imagination, but it does say it. I don't understand it, but I can testify that I have experienced that wonderful deliverance from sin that this fact provides.

The apostle Paul revealed this precious secret to his brethren in Philippi as follows:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:5-8 (NASV)

As we study these words, I think that you will be as amazed as I am at the depth of the love of God for us. What does this amazing Scripture revelation mean? It means that Jesus Christ, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob loved men, His fallen creatures, so much that He stripped Himself of His Godhood and took upon Himself the nature of man in order that He might redeem them from death and destruction and eternal perdition and suffering and that they might, by the grace of God, become partakers of the divine nature with Him afterward. This revelation takes on its full dimension of glory only when one realizes that Jesus of Nazareth was not God but truly and completely man. Jesus of Nazareth was a man in every way. Had He not been a man and only a man, He could never have qualified as a kinsman redeemer. Man and only man could redeem a man.

Think what this implies! Think what this means! Do you grasp it? God laid it all on the line. When Jehovah stripped Himself of His divine nature and took upon Himself human nature, He actually placed Himself in a position to be tempted and to sin. He actually could have sinned and, if He had done so, He actually would have gone to hell. His sacrifice for us was no fiction. It was not play acting. He really and truly suffered and died for us. There never has been such a sacrifice and never will be again.

Once one fully realizes that Jesus was a man just like you and I, then certain Scriptures take on a whole new dimension of meaning. The significance of Jesus' sacrifice assumes an importance that it never could assume before. Let us look at a few Scriptures about Jesus.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:14,15

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil...And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou wilt worship me, all shall be thine. Luke 4:1-7

Where would the temptation be if Jesus could not have sinned? If it had been impossible for Jesus to sin (and certainly if He were at that time God, He could not have sinned), where would have been the temptation? It would have been just a game, just a pretense. The whole, thing would have been play-acting and nothing more and Satan could have cried foul.

Was His death just a sham, a little game played by someone that can't really die? God can't die. It is impossible for God to die,

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done...And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:41-44

Was His agony only a pretense? Could God ever feel agony and anguish of soul over an impending death? Of course God couldn't because God can't die. But this agony was exceedingly real. It was the agony of a man facing a cruel, unjust, and shameful death.

Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified...and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers...stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head...and they spit in his face...and smote him on the head...and led him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:22-31

What then? Did the whip on His back give no pain? With the thorns piercing His scalp were the blows on His head only a show? When they drove the nails through His hands and through His feet, was it not real human blood that ran down? God can feel no pain, but Jesus felt intense pain. God cannot bleed, but Jesus bled profusely.

"Well," one might say, "how about the miracles? Doesn't that prove that He was God? Surely only God could have done the things that He did." In studying His miracles I find not one but two possible answers to this question. First, I don't think that His miracles would be inconsistent with the power given to Adam before he fell. Consider this verse:

And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth...
Genesis 1:26

If we remember that the Scriptures call Jesus the second Adam because He was the only other man that ever came into this world in the same state of purity as Adam, it is not hard to see that He would have had the same dominion over the earth that Adam had before he fell. As far as I can see, in the case of each miracle it is possible that Jesus merely took dominion over the earth, as was His right as the second Adam. Wind and waves, bacteria and viruses, flesh and bones, fish and bread, they all obeyed His will because He had inherited the dominion that had been given to His father Adam before the fall. Of course, it is not at all clear that this is the case and for that reason I prefer the next reason.

The second way to account for His miracles is the same way that one accounts for the miracles of the apostles. How is it that the apostles were able to perform miracles? Was it not by the power of the Holy Ghost that they had received and that dwelt in them? Certainly no one thinks to attribute godhood to the apostles because of their miracles. Why, then, must one attribute godhood to Jesus because of the miracles that He performed. His miracles did not differ from those of the apostles except in number.

If we consider that according to the Scriptures Jesus never performed one miracle until after He received the Holy Spirit at His baptism by John, we can see that in all probability He could not perform miracles until then, proving that He was not God at that time. Let us look at a few verses of the Scriptures to make this a little clearer:

Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Luke 3:21-22

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Luke 4:1

For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands. John 3:34-35

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. Luke 4:14

It is more than obvious that some great change took place in Jesus. We hear nothing of Him for thirty years, no great miracles, no great sermons, no great utterances. He was a carpenter and known only as a carpenter by all of His neighbors. Then the Holy Spirit came upon Him and filled Him without measure. And now He is the mighty wonder worker, the great Rabbi, the man to whom all men came for healing and blessing.

Let me ask a simple question. If Jesus of Nazareth were God, would He have needed to be filled with the Spirit of God? Could He be God without possessing His own Spirit? Isn't it rather absurd to think that God would be without His own Spirit? I think that anyone who can break himself from the bondage of his education must admit to the absurdity of this assumption. Thus, Jesus was born into this world as a man and only a man, albeit a man without inbred sin, and at the appointed time He was filled with the Spirit of God and endued with that power that we see working in Him in the Gospel accounts.

Oh, my friends! Don't you see that Jesus of Nazareth could have backed out? That He could have failed? That He could have sinned? That He risked the loss of everything? Has there ever been such love as this man's love for a lost and wicked generation? Do you realize that He loved us and suffered for us and died for us even while we were hating Him and despising His agony and spitting in His face and driving the nails through His hands and feet?

With all of this in mind let us consider the Father's love for us. Let us look at one of the favorite Scriptures of a sinful and sin-loving church:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, gave up everything in order to redeem us. He actually stripped Himself of His deity and became a real flesh and blood man in order to redeem us. The great Jehovah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, gave up His glory, took upon Himself the form of a man, risked the loss of His glory forever, risked eternal damnation, suffered as never a man has suffered. He did that for you and He did that for me. And if that doesn't humble you, then nothing can.

If He gave up everything to purchase my salvation, can I give up less than all I have to obtain my salvation? Is salvation really something that is free? Does it make sense that Jesus would suffer so much so that we can continue in that sin that killed Him? Salvation is the most precious thing
in the world and, for this reason, it is the most expensive thing in the world. It cost God everything to purchase it and it will cost us everything to possess it. "Must Jesus bear the cross alone And all the world go free? No, there is a cross for everyone And there is a cross for me."

This then was Jesus of Nazareth, the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. He was the perfect expression of God's love to a lost world. He was perfect in His birth, He was perfect in His life, He was perfect in His doctrines and teachings, He was perfect in His sufferings, and He was perfect in His death. He was the perfect sacrifice for sin and He is the perfect Redeemer, able to save us from wrath and able to save us from sin. Through Him we can be "perfect, even as the Father in heaven is perfect."

Once again, I want to emphasize that I recognize the great difficulty in understanding this truth. How could God strip Himself of His godhood? And an even harder question to answer is how could God become man and be upon the earth and then be filled with the Spirit of God while God is telling Him that He is His beloved Son? All that I can do is point out again that God is incomprehensible. He is past finding out. However, I would like to remind the reader that only one facet of God, i.e., Jehovah, stripped Himself of the godhood. God as Father and God as Holy Spirit did not do so. It was the eternal Word of God and Him alone that did so.

So does it end here? Does this complete the revelation about Jesus Christ? No, this was just phase two of the story. In phase one we met Jehovah of the Old Testament. He created the world and all that is in it. His greatest creation, man, sinned against God and fell into death. For four thousand years Jehovah labored to prepare the world for His coming. He created a nation and gave them a religious, political system into which He could be born and who would be somewhat prepared to receive His doctrines. He arranged the providences of the world so that universal peace reigned at that time, thereby making it possible for His new church to spread throughout the world. He prepared Israel and to some extent the remainder of the world to expect His coming by the sending of many prophets to them. All of God's dealings with man during that dispensation were through the agency of Jehovah.

In phase two Jehovah stripped Himself of His deity and took upon Himself the seed of Abraham. He was born into this world totally human in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. He labored in this world for about thirty three years. During the last three years of His life He taught the doctrines of His new covenant and prepared a small group of specially chosen and trained men to carry on His work in phase three. All of His labor carried Him toward and culminated in the cross on Calvary. He offered up His life, the just for the unjust. He was unjustly condemned as a blasphemer worthy of death. But as He Himself said, He could have called twelve legions of angels to deliver Him from suffering and death. They could not kill Him because the sentence of death was not on Him like other men since He did not inherit Adam's fall. But He freely and unselfishly offered up His life a ransom for all men.

Just before He died, He cried out, "It is finished!" Many men who are ignorant of the facts think that He meant that the work of Jesus Christ was completed. But that is far from the truth. For although it is true that the work of Jesus of Nazareth was finished, the work of Jesus Christ will not be finished until the universe is perfectly redeemed. What He meant was that the legal work of redemption was finished. The sin of Adam was removed by the Atonement and the human race was now reconciled to God. This was purely a legal act and had nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of individuals. Jesus of Nazareth had legally opened up the way for men to be saved but the personal work of salvation was a totally different thing. Just as one need not know the name of Adam or the history of his fall in order to suffer the consequences of it, one need not know the name of Jesus of Nazareth or the history of His sacrifice in order to experience the consequences of it. All men everywhere as a race were reconciled to God through Jesus' sacrifice.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God, legally purchased two things with His precious Blood. First, the whole human race was alienated from God because of Adam's sin. By His death Jesus purchased the reconciliation between God and man, thereby giving individuals access to God for personal atonement. Second, Jesus paid the price of personal redemption for whosoever will come unto Him. This is an unspeakable gift and surpasses all understanding. But the individual does not possess and never will possess that salvation purchased by Him except by meeting the present manifestation of the LORD in this age and by coming into covenant with Him.

Jesus of Nazareth Himself announced the end of His work and the closing of phase two, He announced the completion of the work of Jesus of Nazareth, but not the completion of the work of Jesus Christ. The Lord's work has entered into a new phase and He is now manifesting Himself in a new way. No man partakes of that purchased salvation by believing in the historical Jesus of Nazareth because personal salvation was not His work. Personal salvation is wrought in man only through the new manifestation of Jesus Christ—the Holy Spirit. This is a great mystery to almost all people in the world that profess salvation.

History does truly repeat itself. Two thousand years ago the Jews rejected the new appearance of Jehovah and hoped to obtain salvation by faith in that Jehovah that appeared on Mt. Sinai. They held firmly to the religion delivered to their forefathers by Jehovah through Moses and rejected the Lord in the way that He appeared to them when He finally came. They wanted no part of Him and His new covenant. Today, almost everyone hopes to obtain salvation by faith in that Jesus of Nazareth that appeared two thousand years ago, but they unanimously reject Him in His appearance to them by His Holy Spirit. They want no part of the living Christ that appears to them now and they want no part of His way.

Generally speaking, I think that most of the confusion in the minds of those raised in the Christian culture is the result of a misconception of Jesus and most of the confusion in the minds of Jews is the result of their failure to see the localized nature of Jehovah, i.e., that Jehovah was that manifestation of God wherein He revealed Himself to man finitely at a point in space and time. Thus, the Christian can't see the role of Jehovah and the Jew can't see the role of Jesus of Nazareth. And neither one sees and understands the role of Jesus Christ in this present time.

Under the Law, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would slay the sacrificial lamb, collect the blood in a basin, carry it into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat to atone for the sins of the people. This whole ritual was prophetic of the day when the Lamb of God would be offered up a sacrifice for the sins of all of the people of all time. When Jesus died, He resurrected on the third day and He ascended into heaven. He carried with Him His own Blood and entered into the Tabernacle in heaven, the Tabernacle of which Moses' tabernacle was a replica (see Exodus 25:9, 40.), and atoned for the sins of the people.

When this was done, the work of Jesus of Nazareth was completed and the Lord was ready to enter into phase three of His plan. Having successfully fulfilled His mission, He was ready to clothe Himself once again with deity. In His lovely prayer that He prayed just before His passion and crucifixion, we read,

Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee...I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. John 17:1-5

Clearly, the Lord is telling us that after His death He would receive His divine glory back again. However, He would not become the Jehovah of the Old Testament again. Rather, He would be transformed into an altogether new manifestation of God; Jesus Christ, the Word of God.

Who is this Jesus Christ, the Word of God? He is that Jesus Christ Who did all things well and Who ascended up to the Father and was invested with divine glory. He is the one Who brought God down to man and He is the one Who is bringing man up to God. He has made the wrath and hatred of Satan to praise Him. Satan, in hatred, caused God's most precious creation to sin and fall from grace. But God used this tragedy to raise man from his created state of human nature into a state in which he partakes of the divine nature. In the words of the apostle Peter,

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. II Peter 1:1-4

Jehovah of old, being fully God, had no way whereby He could raise man up into the divine nature. And Jesus of Nazareth, being fully and completely man, had no way to accomplish this task either. But the glorified Christ is a synthesis of God and man. For God became man and afterward that very man was invested with deity. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is truly God and truly man. Thus, Satan, thinking to do God harm by causing Adam and Eve to sin, offered Him the opportunity to lift man up from the mire into which he fell into the glorious state of the sons of God.

God was not satisfied to restore man into the state from which Adam fell.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

Thus, through Christ we are to be redeemed from our awful fall. But we are not merely to be restored into the state of man before the fall. By the power of God we are to be lifted up into the very stature of Christ Himself.

What does this mean? Well, it means far more than most people ever dream. When Jesus died, He was glorified, that is, He was invested with deity. If we remember that Jesus was in this life exactly what Adam was before the fall, then we can begin to appreciate the full meaning of redemption. We are going to be glorified with Him if we are truly redeemed by Him. We shall be like Him. We shall actually share in His divine nature. We are not going to be like Adam was before the fall, but we are going to be elevated into the very stature and nature of the glorified Christ.

One enters into salvation by being born again. That is, one receives a measure of the divine nature into himself and by this Spirit he is regenerated and made alive unto God. This Spirit is the Spirit of the glorified Christ. Although the Holy Spirit was always here, man could never receive Him into his inward parts and partake of His divine nature until after the death of Christ.

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified). John 7:37-39

Just after the Passover supper with His disciples Jesus taught them some of the deepest spiritual truths that He had yet revealed. He was opening to them the secret of the next dispensation, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Let's look at some of His amazing words,

If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:15-18

But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you... John 16:5-7

In typical fashion our Lord identifies Himself with the Holy Spirit and at the same time distinguishes Himself from Him, leaving God an eternal mystery as He should be. But let us note that Jesus makes it plain that His next manifestation will be more glorious than that present one. He said that it was necessary that He go away because, although at that time He was with them, if He were to depart He would return to them and be in them, a far more glorious relationship than that which existed at that time.

This work of regeneration is begun in a man upon sincere repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. I do not mean faith in the historical Jesus who lived about two thousand years ago. I mean faith in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, when He appears by His Holy Spirit to convict for sin. I mean faith in that Word of God that liveth and abideth forever, that Light and Spirit of Christ that visits every man that enters into the world and shines into his heart to reveal sin and corruption.

Thousands upon thousands in this world believe on that historical Jesus without ever experiencing the least effects of God's regenerating power. The work of that historical Jesus of Nazareth is finished, as He Himself said just moments before His death. Now, in these last days since His resurrection and glorification, man comes to know God and to experience the effects of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ through the influence and work of the Holy Spirit of Christ. As Paul said to the believers at Corinth,

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new... II Corinthians 5:16,17

Paul recognized that that Christ that appeared in the flesh is no more and that His work was completed. The work of salvation is wrought in man by faith in the Jesus Christ that is alive today and that visits man today in power by His Spirit.

Isaac Penington, an eminent l7th century Quaker minister said, "The religious professors of every age have always rejected the appearance of the Lord to them. In the days of Moses the wise and religious Egyptians thought Jehovah and His prescribed worship to be an abomination. Even after seeing the great demonstrations of His power Pharaoh and his people hardened their hearts to the truth, clung tenaciously to their idols, and persecuted the true followers of the true God.

"Would the wise heathen humble themselves to God's dispensation to the Israelites? Was it not foolishness and abominations to them? Did the wise Jews believe in the law within, the Word in the heart, to learn to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God even though Moses directed them to look there for instruction? Would they wait there to have their hearts circumcised by the Word of power, and so to be washed and made clean? No, they were drowned in outward sacrifices, the temple, the burning of incense, new moons and Sabbaths, the washing of pots and pans, and such like outward observations so that they couldn't hear the truth of the LORD as it was delivered by Moses and preached by the prophets.

"In the days of Jesus of Nazareth when He preached the kingdom, and the everlasting way of redemption and salvation was made manifest, the Jews clung to their belief in Jehovah and rejected His way of appearing to them. They neither believed in nor wanted God as He was coming to them. They loved their dead belief in the Jehovah that appeared to Moses at Sinai and cared not at all for His manner of appearing to them in their own day. They hated Him and rejected Him and killed Him. They used the very Scriptures which told of His coming to prove that He was an imposter and to condemn Him to death as a blasphemer."

This generation today is no different than the Jews in the days when Jesus walked the shores of Galilee performing His glorious miracles in the flesh. Jesus Christ appears today by His Spirit to all men and shows them that they are wicked and will one day perish forever unless they repent and turn to Him with their whole heart. This call is a living call and is as sharp as a two-edged sword.

Many people see His glorious miracles that He has worked in the hearts and lives of the members of the Friends of Jesus Christ, men and women that have been transformed by the power of God and have been taken out of this world to live righteously and holily before the Lord all the days of their lives. But in spite of these miraculous deliverances from sin, they wickedly reject this present appearance of Jesus Christ and brand Him and His disciples heretics. They turn their backs on this present appearance of the Lord by His Light and Spirit in the heart and love their dead belief in that historical Jesus of Nazareth that appeared to the Jews two thousand years ago. Just as the Jews rejected the appearance of Jehovah in the very way that He was prophesied, so today with Christ.

Their Jesus never speaks to them and never teaches them. All that they can do is read about Him. And as the Jews of old, they use the very Scriptures that testify of His coming by His Spirit to save men in this age from all sin to prove that He and His followers are heretics, seducers, and false prophets.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
(Oh, wonderful promise.) II Timothy 4:8

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever, for all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. I Peter 1:22-25

This Word which liveth and abideth forever and which is preached by the gospel is none other than Jesus Christ, the Word of God. By His Spirit He is working in the world, laboring to gather out many souls. He does not save men in their sins but He delivers them out of them all, out of all their wickednesses. He is knocking on the door of every heart today. If any man will open up the door of his heart, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, will come into his heart and begin the glorious work of regeneration. If he loves His appearing, Jesus Christ will impart to him a measure of His divine life and Holy Spirit, He will teach him how to walk soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, and He will lay up for him a crown of righteousness that fadeth not away.

Be not deceived by the doctrines of sinful men who would have you trust in a belief in the historical fact of Jesus of Nazareth. His work was finished nearly two thousand years ago. You must meet and yield yourself to the living Jesus Christ, the Word of God. You must know the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in your mind and heart to bring you to a deep and profound repentance, to deliver you from sin, to take you out of the kingdom of Satan, and to bring you into the kingdom of Christ. This is the true gospel—Christ in you, the hope of glory.