Why does Jesus call God “Father?”

In the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, this identity of Jesus addressing God as father is given well over 100 times. In the Book of John, also synoptic, it is used 60 plus times. We are taught in the Lord’s Prayer to use this identity of father in “Our Father…” But why? We often hear of the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If Jesus and the Holy Spirit is in fact a part of a triune God, meaning three-in-one, then how can Jesus become the son of God? How could God create himself? Why would Jesus consistently call him Abba-father?

Many people, including seminarians ever think upon these things. JIV Note: Don’t confuse assumption with faith or doctrine. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and we must worship him in spirit. In a previous post we discussed “Our Father” and the fact that God created man with body, mind, spirit and soul. Click here to read this article. If God is spirit and created mankind with spirit, he metaphorically or literally fathered all. (You decide if it is metaphor or literal; circle your choice)

Let’s take a brief look at this. If something is an unknown biblical factor, it cannot add to our confidence in Jesus Christ. Understanding is at the lower end of the human Learning Pyramid; i.e. Awareness – Understanding – Convinced – Conviction – Desire – Action. This is a study in and of itself but here is the very short version and explanation.

The greater one’s understanding of something the more likely s/he will be convinced of its actuality instead on one’s perception or their personal reality. (This too is an article discussed in another article in this website) Once convinced of possibilities we have but three choices. Two of them are excuses, not reasons once there is a personal understanding. One can opt to Ignore, reject, or accept. It is at this point humans will DESIRE to either move on, the first two options, or take the third option desiring to do something with this gained knowledge. This takes us to the action level. We take a given learning situation and apply it to our life.

In the Old Testament the use of the word “father” is remarkably missing, Where it is found it is usually within a context or single scenario. This is how Robert Stein puts it:

“Throughout the Bible we find God portrayed as a Father. This portrayal, however, is surprisingly rare in the Old Testament. There God is specifically called the Father of the nation of Israel ( Deut 32:6 ; Isa 63:16 ; [twice] 64:8 ; Jeremiah 3:4 Jeremiah 3:19 ; 31:9 ; Mal 1:6 ; 2:10 ) or the (metaphorical) Father of certain individuals ( 2 Sam 7:14 ; 1 Chron 17:13 ; 22:10 ; 28:6 ; Psalm 68:5 ; 89:26 ) only fifteen times.” (emphasis mine)

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/fatherhood-of-god.html Robert H. Stein; Fatherhood of God

Other than in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus answers a disciple’s question, “teach us how to pray,” Jesus identifies God as his FATHER, not our father. This is a very personal identity. So how, when or where did this identity originate? Go to the Bethlehem record found in Luke 1 and Matthew 1.

This article is not intended to tell the Christmas narrative. We are researching and discussing the term “father” in its relationship to God the “father.” We read in Matthew 11:18… (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

So much content is skipped in this verse. First, Matthew is looking back at the birth of Jesus; “when his (Jesus’) mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph.” Matthew is looking back at this event in history. He is actually explaining to the Jews that Jesus is within the bloodline and DNA of King David and that HE is the promised Messiah of Isaiah prophecy. Both Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, and Mary, his earthly mother, are from the Tribe of Judah and a blood-relative of King David. This is important to the Jewish leadership of that day as this is the birth-line from which they expect their Messiah. Matthew targets Jews.

In the Book of Luke, a book targeted to the Gentiles, he does not attempt to make this connection. He makes the connection with Adam, the first human. Luke begins with current names and genealogically lists names from current to back Adam; i.e. son to father DNA. Matthew does just the opposite, he begins with King David and shows that Jesus has a legal right to the throne of King David; i.e. father to son DNA. Matthew targets the message to the Jews and Luke targets his message to the Gentiles; same message but different beginning points.

Matthew 11:18 also points out that Joseph refrained from, as this verse states (ESV) “before they came together.” That means, before they consummated their marriage. Why? Mary was already pregnant via God the Holy Spirit… “…she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (ESV). This is the reason Jesus always identified himself as the Son of God. Mary conceived through God the Holy Spirit. This is why he always called God, ‘Father.’ He was actually his “only begotten son.” John 3:16.

Now that you know the rest of the Bible Story (history), and evidence has been provided not through an opinion but through the Bible itself, this puts all of us in the Learning Pyramid at “desire.” Each one of us is left with Ignore – Reject – Accept; our only three choices. If one ops for either of the first two, s/he puts destiny (not eternity however) in human hands. If one opts for the third choice, accept, then destiny and eternity is put into Gods hands. Are you in good hands?

Action is the top level of the Learning Pyramid. After learning facts we still have the options of ignore, reject, or accept, that is, to remain ignorant via denial; say it means nothing to you by rejection of facts; Accept Jesus Christ for who he is! Of course, this is a choice. Exactly the way God intended it to be. It is called a Free Will (Romans 9:16).

Using cellphone outdoors while crossing the street.As a friend once commented in a home Bible study, we can opt to ignore the oncoming traffic, reject the fact that crossing the street at this time is deadly, or, accept the facts and use one’s choice to act(ion) accordingly.

Merry Christmas.

jStark3Rev. Dr. Jstark
December, 2015

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The Earth Was Without “form and void”

(Genesis 1:2 – The Gap proven)gapaha

How might God (Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) create something that is less than excellent when in its original created form? When we read the second verse of Genesis 1 in the Holy Word of God, we can easily ask this question, but not easily conclude. We will likely be left conjecturing if doing anything other than reading a few words as a devotional or in one of our races to “read through the bible” in a year. This is why it is critically important to STUDY the Word of God; not just read it. To “study through the bible” requires dedication and certainly more than a year.

Sadly, this is the limit, content without context, of far too many so-called Bible studies; i.e. read a few verses then have a surface discussion of only the obvious, then share several “my opinions” without additional bible support of those personal opinions. Usually the discussion just reiterates or echoes the obvious. In the above example from Genesis 1:2 the discussion question would be something like… “what is form and void? What does it mean to be without?” This is a discussion type that usually takes a group of would-be bible studies to the land of nowhere. To get the rest of a bible passage we venture into STUDY; sometimes word-by-word study.

Too often one assumes that every verse or passage in the Bible is sequential without even considering that there might be a gap (time lapse) between them. Has any of us ever told a story or relived an incident in life and left out details within our sequence of events? What about the part that is left out? Might it influence or change one’s conclusion?

Example: Where were you? Answer: I was at the store. Missing or the gap in this store venture… “I also stopped over to see _____, then grabbed something to eat at a quick stop.” Would any of this additional information left out of the original change or influence YOUR analysis or conclusions of the events? Of course it would. Would the summary of “I was at the store” be the truth? Yes! It is a summary, but not an unabridged review of events.

Realizing this human example may be weak, it does make the point that additional information would help with a better conclusion. The Bible does not record every event in every historical discussion within its pages. That would require volumes; an entire library, not one bound book called the bible. This is also why 11 Timothy 2:15 tells us:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (NIV)

Let’s now apply study and show ourselves approved of correctly handling the word of the truth; the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Let’s also realize that there was a time people didn’t understand algebra, calculous or physics (Hebrew or Greek). That is, until s/he takes the time to “STUDY” and grow his or her knowledge one piece of new information at a time.

Genesis 1:1 states that “God created the Heavens and the earth… in the beginning.” This slight detour is not part of this blog, but it is part of this thought and study process. What does “in the beginning” mean to you? What does God and author of this Holy Spirit inspired book, penned by Moses, intend it to mean? It certainly doesn’t mean the beginning of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are eternal.

First, the heaven being referred to in this verse is shâmeh in the Hebrew; the skies and universe above and within our sight; telescope and Hubble space craft included. It means the beginning of when earth, the heavenly bodies we can see that surround us today were created. This all had a beginning. It will also have an end if we study the bible books of Revelation, Ezekiel, minor Prophets, Daniel, Matthew, Luke and other scripture.

Matthew 24:25 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (NIV)

Now that we better understand the words “in the beginning” and the “heaven” in Genesis 1:1, let’s increase our awareness and understanding by offering convincing knowledge of why there is very likely a GAP between 1:1 and 1:2.

a focus on Genesis 1v1, that God created.

We communicate via words be they written or spoken. Even signing is a form of words and communication. The Bible is written for us to study and understand. One does not walk into a foreign language class and immediately understand without background and study of that language. This is true of the Bible; we must examine it; not just read it and express opinions without something to back up the opinion.

The creation of earth in a perfect state and before v2 that tells us it “was without form and void,” requires a bit of bible searching. Let’s go to Job 38. Job is being challenged by God himself. One question God asks of Job is (38:4) “where were you when I laid the foundation?” This questioning continues through verse 6. Then in Job 38:7 we get proof that the earth was originally created as a site to be seen: “…while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” In Job 38 God is talking about the creation of our known universe and the heavenly bodies were amazed. This simply does not fit with “without form and void” as we find recorded in Genesis 1:2.

The Hebrew helps our understanding much better than do most translations: Morning stars (bôqer kôkâb) are the elite princes or angels of heaven; “sang together and *all (kôl) the angels shouted for joy.”

Not hidden but often missed is additional insight(s) into the heavens and earth of Genesis 1. First, in Job 38:7 the heavenly beings are rejoicing over the laying of the foundation and creation of the earth. If this creation was little more than dull, void, and without form, why would the prince angels and angels of heaven SHOUT with joy (amazement)? Second, the word “all” in this passage is kôl in the Hebrew. kôl according to Strong, #3605 means: the whole; any (totally inclusive). Therefore the angels and the prince angels mentioned have to be the entirety of God’s angelic creation. This also points out that Lucifer and his 1/3 of the heavenly stars (angels) he pulled with him when cast out of heaven were still amongst the heavenly bodies; not yet cast out of heaven [to earth]. On a graph it would look like the following:

God creates earth – all the angels rejoice and are amazed – Lucifer, an angel, is part of “all”

Logically and without one earning a degree in theology, we can conclude that God’s perfect creation in Genesis 1:1 somehow became a waste land in v2. Who might have an interest in wasting it? The answer is too simple but explains much. Lucifer, the “morning light and most beautiful of prince angels,” became Satan once he rebelled against God. He claimed that the earth was his domain when he tried to tempt Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11) by offering him the world’s kingdoms if he would only bow and worship him (Satan). He roams to and fro upon the earth seeking whom he may devour (Job 1:7; 2:2). He wants to destroy anything beholding to or created by the God-head.

What Satan destroyed between verse 1:1 and 1:2 God redesigned beginning in verse 3 by “shedding light” upon this now formless void. The 2nd verse of Genesis 1 begins, depending on the translation being read, with words like: the [ESV], and [KJV], now [NIV], when [ISV], and etc. Let’s go directly to the Hebrew Old Testament; i.e. the Tanakh. It reads (v2): (reading left to right – translated Hebrew)… והארץ(earth) היתה(became) תהו(desolate) ובהו(empty)

“Earth became desolate, empty”…

Note a couple of things. There is no prefixed word like now, the, when, etc. in the original text of the Tanakh. Also the second word is “became.” This suggests earth in verse 2 is not what it was created to be in verse 1 when all of heaven rejoiced. Something happened between verse 1 and verse 2. JIV (Jim’s Introspective View): Satan was cast out of heaven to earth and he promptly made a mess of God’s creation; a vindictive attitude toward even his own creator.

Here us how the Summarized Bible puts it… (cut and pasted from e-Sword)

“Gen. 1 (v2) is not a history of the original creation, but of a reconstruction following a cataclysmic judgment which had befallen the original creation.

  1. Gen_1:1 Original creation.
  2. Gen_1:2 Its destruction.
  3. Gen_1:3 and on, Reconstruction.”

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary puts it this way:

…the earth was without form and void — or in “confusion and emptiness,” as the words are rendered in Isa_34:11. This globe, at some undescribed period, having been convulsed and broken up…

One might easily dismiss researching this topic on his or her own as it is “too complicated.” The same argument is given for only reading and not studying any scripture. All that means to this author is that one is not interested enough to do the work. This brings us back to 11 Timothy 2:15… right? Christianity is not a religion. It is a way of life and how can one determine or be convinced s/he is doing this without reading the manual?

jStark3

Rev. Dr. Jstark
November 12, 2015

But there is one thing you lack….(Mark 10:21; NIV)

BLOG – August 26, 2015jStark3

But there is one thing you lack….(Mark 10:21; NIV)

Here is a passage that has a very broad application to major single item issues in our lives. The bible records that a rich young ruler approached Jesus and asked “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-27; ESV)

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, onethinglooking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

This is not a passage that condemns wealth. Job, Abraham, Jacob, and others in scripture were very wealthy individuals; many camels, sheep, servants… It is about the possessions or in this situation the one possession that keeps us from living a full life with God. I recall a similar situation when preaching at a church many years ago. The preacher was ticking off a list of sins and an elderly lady sitting in the front row was vocally agreeing with each sin he identified. It goes something like this:

There are some here today who need to get certain sins out of their life. There are those here who have wondering eyes (amen mumbled the lady in the front row); those who seek wealth more than God (again she mumbled amen but a bit louder). There are those who cheat (Yes! Amen says the lady now audible to others). There are those who have tempers (Amen; now loud enough for those a few rows back). Some here have not supported the church as they should (now with a bit of a shout… Amen). There are those who have secret sins (Amen). Someone here is a compulsive liar (AMEN ). Someone here is an over-the-fence gossiper. With that the lady in the front row shouts out…”Now you are getting too personal!

It was the one sin for which she felt was excusable and okay since it was her practice in life and unwilling to give it upa gossiper; “there is one thing…“ To keep this story parallel to our passage in Mark, she agreed with hearty amen’s to the other listed wrongs and wasn’t guilty of those other sins (in her opinion that is). But there was one sin she felt was too much to give up and in her opinion was justifiable.

The rich young man in Mark 10 (also found in Luke 18:18-23 & Matthew 19:16-22) asked Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life. There is nothing in any of the passages found in Matthew, Mark or Luke to indicate he was not sincere. He knew Jesus was the Messiah, good teacher, and sent from God. He wanted to be a follower of Christ like the other disciples.

Jesus then listed (v19) a few laws of Judaism (10 Commandments); the young man replies…”all these I have kept since I was a boy (v20; NIV) Then comes the zinger; the point we all need to consider in our personal lives, worship, and faithfulness to our salvation. In verse 21 Jesus looks (emblepō; to fix one’s eye upon) him in the eyes and says… “One thing you lack,” (v21a; NIV) “go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then, come and follow me.”

Note that Jesus didn’t tell him that he would never again have treasures or that he would no longer possess wealth. Jesus told him… “you will have treasures in heaven.” The word ‘treasures’ in the Greek is thēsauros; a coffer, box, or storehouse in which valuable things are deposited/stored. By deduction this suggests that his exchange of wealth on earth is but a deposit box for the wealth he would have in the storehouse of God in heaven.

Like the amen-lady in the story told on page one of this article, he was unwilling to “give up that one thing” that was too close to his heart; she: gossiping; him: wealth. It isn’t like he sacrificed much to live within the laws of Judaism. We are not told about this other than he has upheld these laws since a bay. This obedience to the laws made him a recognized, respected and good man in Jewish society and culture. This goodness is a given in his life since childhood. He sincerely wanted to follow Jesus, but on his own terms; willing to follow but wanted to keep one hand on his earthly security of treasures or desires. He was not willing to empty his earthly coffer of one particular thing in order to follow Jesus Christ; One thing you lack.

It isn’t a matter of giving up wealth or any one-thing, but it is a position or attitude of the heart. We can be more sincere than the pastor or leadership of a great or small church yet still covet one thing in life that seems too much to give up so Christ can completely fill and fulfill our life on earth. Maybe that one thing is telling an exaggerated story, a lustful eye, watching questionable movies, that drink that takes us to the red-eye of the wine, unwillingness to share in and nurture the growth of a child (Greek: pahee-dee’-on; a child or immature Christian), bear false stories, gossip, adultery, not giving due honor to those who deserve it whether it is earned or not, speeding, etc.

We should make a ‘study-note’ that in this situation it is but an example of other one-things we are not willing to surrender in order to follow God. Buying into political correctness does not assure it is correct with God just as is looking past evils, speeding, filing almost correct taxes, the white lie, not using our spiritual gift in church, and the like. Not leaving a tip worthy of being called a tip at a restaurant is NOT a sin but is politically incorrect, anti-culture and it is being judgmental or perhaps selfish. I have seldom met a wealthy waiter or waitress; often: the poor.

Before we are tempted to use this opportunity to begin staring in the face of incorrect political correctness go back to v21; ”Jesus looked at him and loved him.” This is agapaō love. It means Jesus loved him. I found this definition of two types of love:

There are generally two types of love spoken about in our New Covenant. The first is the Greek word phileō; it means a brotherly love, to be a friend, to have affection for. This is the most common type of love that we experience in this world and it’s an emotional love that occurs in almost every person to some degree. Whether they’re saved or unsaved, the average person today readily has this phileō, this emotional type of love within them.

The other Greek word for love is agape (ah-gah-pay) and sometimes agapaō. This is a much rarer type of love that only comes from our Father in Heaven through His Son Jesus Christ. Agape / agapaō love is the love of Jesus shining forth from his and our heart. It’s that divine love that’s related to being obedient to God’s Word. (John 14:23) Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves (agape) me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love (agape) him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

The wealthy young ruler desired to follow Christ and Jesus loved (agape/agopao) him; not for his willingness but for his being a person for whom Jesus Christ was soon to die on Calvary and pay the debt of sin. “For God so loved the (entire ) world that he gave his only begotten son.”(emphasis mine). Here in the life of the rich young man seeking to follow Jesus on earth, we have a very familiar phrase that is often used by God the Father and his son Jesus Christ when making a promise or covenant. It goes like this; If you_________, then I (God-head) will ______________. In the case of this young man, it was a matter of giving up, not an easily identified sin, but something that he held more personal and of value than a fulfilled walk with Jesus. It was not the wealth, but his unwillingness to give up the “ONE THING” that kept him from Christ fulfilling His plan for his life… ours too.

Does the reader of this blog have just one inner secret of issue in life that keeps him or her from a closer walk with Christ? If there is, it is _(confidential)______                              _____________________ ?