One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith]
Lordship. To maximize our limitless spiritual potential, we as Christians must understand Jesus Christ in both his relationship to God and his relationship to us. Because Jesus perfectly represented God by always obeying His Word, he could, and did, say, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”(NASB). If we take Jesus at his word, it seems necessary to know him in order to really know God.
In the previous chapter we discussed the relationship between God and Christ. In this chapter, we will continue this theme by focusing on the truth that God’s blood-covenant relationship with man was fulfilled in His Son Jesus, the Christ. “Jesus” (Hebrew Yeshua) is his God-given name, and means “Yahweh our Savior” or “Yahweh saves.” Jesus Christ represents a kind of synopsis of all God has done for His people throughout the ages. We will look at how, in both his earthly ministry and in his exalted ministry as Lord, Jesus embodies all the chief attributes of Yahweh given in the Old Testament.
“Idolatry” means man looking to an image, an object of worship, or anything else other than the True God as a source of supernatural wisdom, power, or blessing. It is not “idolatry” to look to Jesus Christ as the exalted Lord, the position to which God has elevated him.1 It is God who chose to exalt Jesus Christ, and when we worship, honor, praise, and glorify “Jesus as Lord” (Rom. 10:9; 1 Pet. 3:15), God gets the ultimate glory (John 5:23; Phil. 2:11).
In regard to the relationship between God and His Son, consider the following verse:
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs
Here is one of many verses in Scripture that makes plain the unity of purpose of God and His Son. It was God who made the promises to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, that is, Israel). It is Jesus Christ who will make the promises to the patriarchs come true. The reason Jesus is in a position to do so is that God has “…made Him both Lord and Christ…” (Acts 2:36 – NASB) and given him “…All authority in heaven and on earth…” (Matt. 28:18).
When the angel Gabriel spoke to Joseph and Mary, he told them the name that God had picked out for His Son (Matt. 1:21). In the Old Testament, Joshua had the same name and was a clear type of Christ. It was by way of Joshua’s leadership that he and the nation of Israel were finally able to claim their inheritance in Canaan, which typified Israel’s future Millennial inheritance. However, the “rest” that Joshua gave them was only temporary (Heb. 4:8). Likewise, Jesus is the Agent of salvation for both Jews and Gentiles who believe on him, and for those believers God’s rest will be everlasting.
Those who adhere to the doctrine of the Trinity have long recognized that there are verses in the Old Testament that ascribe certain attributes to Yahweh, and corresponding verses in the New Testament that ascribe like attributes to Jesus Christ. This has led them to the erroneous conclusion that Jesus is in fact the Yahweh of Israel. A good example of this is found in the NIV Study Bible concerning Hebrews 1:6, which reads, “And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’ ” The NIV note on this verse reads as follows: “…This statement, which in the Old Testament refers to the Lord God (Yahweh), is here applied to Christ, giving clear indication of His full deity….”2
By “full deity,” the NIV translators mean that Jesus is “God the Son.” We do not see it that way, and we believe that understanding what we have thus far set forth clears up this error. God exalted His Son as “Lord” and delegated to him the authority and power to function in all the ways that God Himself had been functioning for His people (remember Joseph and the Pharaoh? Gen. 41:44). As he carries out his responsibility as “Lord,” Jesus Christ is now functionally equal to his Father. It was Jesus who said that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father, and that whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father (John 5:23). Is it really honoring Jesus to ascribe to him attributes he never claimed? Is it honoring God the Father to make Jesus “God the Son”? We think not. However, in the next section we will see that God Himself highly honored His Son Jesus (Yeshua) with the name above every name. We will now examine what this means.
God’s “Name” and Namesake
The first use of Yahweh is found in Genesis 2:4, and the Ryrie Study Bible (NASB) makes this comment regarding it:
“…the most significant name for God in the Old Testament. It has a twofold meaning: the active, self-existent One (since the word is connected with the verb “to be,” [Exod. 3:14]) and Israel’s Redeemer (Exod. 6:6)…[It] is especially associated with God’s holiness (Lev. 11:44 and 45), His hatred of sin (Gen. 6:3–7), and His gracious provision of redemption (Isa. 53:1, 5, 6 and 10).” [In short, Yahweh indicates God as Redeemer].3
In Exodus 3:14 (NASB), Moses asked God what His name was. His response was “…I AM WHO I AM…” and, “…Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Actually, “I am” is more properly translated, “I will be.” The point God made to Moses was that, in contrast to the many Egyptian gods, He is the Only True God, and He is versatile—able to be and do whatever His people needed. Regarding this verse, the Ryrie Study Bible comments on this elaboration of the name of God in the Old Testament: “…The inner meaning of Yahweh,—‘I am the One who is’—emphasizes God’s dynamic and active self-existence….” [For additional information about this section of Scripture see: “Intimacy with God”]
Philippians 2:9 and 10 (NASB) declares that God “…highly exalted Him [Jesus], and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.” Jesus is Lord over all, even as he said, “…All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18 – NASB). Because of his glorious exaltation to the “right hand of God,” his “name” is above every other name. Remember that “Jesus” is Yeshua in Hebrew, and means “Yahweh saves.” Since Jesus was God’s appointed agent of salvation who successfully completed the most important job of all time, he now stands in the same relationship to his Body as Yahweh did to the children of Israel. Does this mean that he is the same being? To us, it is obvious that he is not, and to think so misses the point of his exaltation, which was in response to his carrying out his job so successfully.
God does not reveal Himself by a sacred or special name in the New Testament. The Greek word translated “God” is theos, which is the same word used of pagan deities. In the New Testament, the primary way the One True God is distinguished from false gods is by the addition of the term “Father” in relationship to His “Son.” The One True God identifies Himself with His Son, who perfectly revealed Him. Jesus was the logos, not as a pre-existent divine being, but by representing God and actually carrying out the will of God all the way to his humiliating death by crucifixion.
In order to identify Himself to the world, God associated Himself with certain Old Testament individuals or groups with whom He had made covenants. In regard to this, the Bible refers to Him as:
“…the LORD the God of Shem…” (Gen. 9:26).
“…the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor” (Gen. 31:53).
“…the God of the Hebrews…” (Exod. 3:18).
“…the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…” (Exod. 3:6 and 16).
“…O LORD God of our fathers…” (2 Chron. 20:6).
“…the LORD, the God of your father David…” (2 Chron. 21:12).
“…the God of Israel…” (2 Chron. 29:10, 30:5).
“…the God of Jacob…” (Ps. 20:1).
In the New Testament, God has now associated Himself with the one person who perfectly embodies His redemptive character. He is “…the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Eph. 1:3). While in the past God has associated Himself with other names, now He identifies Himself with the name above every name.
What’s in The Name
What we want to consider now is how Jesus’ title of “Lord” relates to his current ministry to the Church and to his future ministry in the Millennial Kingdom. To do so, we need to briefly consider the difference between two critical Hebrew words used of God many times throughout the Old Testament. One is Elohim and the other is Yahweh. Studying both Elohim and Yahweh in the Old Testament will show that God is Elohim, the Creator, and that Yahweh is His name in relationship to those with whom He has entered into some kind of commitment or covenant. Elohim is a more impersonal title, while Yahweh, regarding God’s covenant relationship with mankind, is a more personal name.4
In the beginning, God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.
Here in its first use, we see the word Elohim inextricably linked with Creation. Throughout the Old Testament, Elohim refers to God as “the Creator” relative to man, His creation. In the context of Creation, God is referred to as Elohim 32 times in the 33 verses between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 2:3. If we are to follow the flow of its context, Genesis 2 should actually begin with the following verse:5
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD [Yahweh] God [Elohim] made the earth and the heavens—
The above verse begins the record of the creation of mankind, and here we find the first use of the word Yahweh, which refers to God in His covenant relationship to His creatures. It is significant that God is referred to as Yahweh Elohim eighteen times between Genesis 2:4 and Genesis 3:24. The only places in those verses where Scripture does not refer to Him as such are Genesis 3:1, 3, and 5, where Lucifer called Him by the more impersonal name Elohim, in line with the thrust of his assault on God’s personal love for man. The following Old Testament verse refers to God as both Elohim and Yahweh, and provides us with a vivid example of the difference between the two:
2 Chronicles 18:31
When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD [Yahweh] helped him. God [Elohim] drew them away from him,
What a fabulous truth! Because of His covenant relationship with Jehoshaphat, who had finally realized the folly of his ways and the life-threatening consequences thereof, Yahweh mercifully helped him. But because Yahweh had no relationship with the surrounding Syrian enemy, Elohim moved them away.
In the Old Testament, God’s name Yahweh is combined with certain other words that are descriptive of His redemptive functions in regard to those with whom He has entered into a committed relationship. Before the birth of Christ, God Himself did everything that needed to be done for His people. When Jesus started his ministry, he clearly demonstrated what God could be to people who trusted and obeyed Him. Now that Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of God and made Lord and Christ, God has delegated to him the tasks that He Himself did in the Old Testament. This is not to say that God has now left the picture, for we have already seen that the relationship between God and His Son is more like a “dynamic duo” [See Segment 24 of our powerful class: “One Day With The Creator”] working together for the benefit of believers.
What we will see in this chapter is that as the exalted Lord with his delegated authority, Jesus Christ is now performing all these “Yahweh functions” for God’s people. After a brief study of the context in which each of these descriptive titles are found, we will expound upon how Jesus Christ as Lord is now fulfilling each of these particular functions. Keep in mind as you are reading that you can count on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is invested with all authority as the Head of the Church, to perform these functions for you day by day.
Yahweh Who Provides
The first “Yahweh title” is found in Genesis 22:14 (KJV). It is Yahweh–Jireh, which indicates that “Yahweh will see, and therefore provide.” This occurs in the context of Abraham attempting to sacrifice Isaac. Yahweh intervened and provided an animal substitute to sacrifice in place of Isaac. It should be noted that Abraham was in the process of obeying Yahweh’s direction when additional “orders” came in at the last minute.
We can count on the Lord Jesus to see and provide for us whatever we need to carry out his will for the Church. In his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ believed God to provide actual bread to feed a multitude and changed water into wine to bless a wedding party. We find it very significant that the first miracle recorded in Jesus’ ministry was the changing of water into wine at a wedding party. They had run out of wine, and in what appears to be a favor to his mother, he not only produced wine, but a better wine than they started with. This incident shows that Jesus is not a Lord who provides only when we are in desperate need or involved in “religious activities.” John 10:10 (KJV) says that he came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. That apparently extends even to making sure that, in at least this one occasion, his mother and friends have a good time at a party. If he is willing to provide expensive wine for a poorly catered wedding reception, it is evident that he will provide the best for us in other categories as well. As the exalted Lord, he now figuratively is “the bread of life” and provides everything necessary for those who partake of it by believing in him. In his Millennial Kingdom, he will provide abundance beyond our imagination.
Yahweh Who Heals
Another redemptive name is Yahweh–Rapha, which is found in Exodus 15:26. It means “Yahweh who heals.” After the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites departed into the desert of Shur, going three days without water. When they finally found water in Marah, they could not drink it because it was bitter. Moses cried out to Yahweh, who showed him a piece of wood. He threw the wood into the water, which then became sweet. Yahweh then promised the Israelites that if they would obey Him, He would not bring on them any of the diseases that He brought on the Egyptians, but would instead heal them.6 Psalm 105:37 (KJV) says that at this point in their history there was “…not one feeble person among their tribes.” This healing was an important function in the process of redeeming Israel from bondage, for without it the people would not have survived their ordeal.
When he walked the earth, Jesus healed every person who came to him with faith, and even a few who did not.7 Since his resurrection and exaltation, the Lord Jesus continues his healing ministry in a greatly expanded scope by empowering his disciples with his spirit, the same spirit that enabled him to heal (Acts 10:38). In Acts 9:34, Peter said to a man named Aeneas, “Jesus Christ heals you,” and Aeneas rose up whole. In his Millennial Kingdom, “No one living in Zion will say ‘I am ill…’ ” (Isa. 33:24a).
Yahweh My Banner
Yahweh–Nissi means “Yahweh my banner” [protector, avenger]. In this case, a banner is an emblem or insignia representing both God’s name and the power behind it to defend His people and avenge His enemies. This term is found in Exodus 17:15 (KJV), where the context powerfully reveals the commitment Yahweh has to protect His people. Amalek had attacked the Israelites in Rephidim, where God had miraculously supplied water from the rock. While Moses held up his staff, Joshua fought against the Amalekites and defeated them. After the Amalekites were defeated, Yahweh declared perpetual war against them and vowed that their memory would be erased from the earth. A related title is Yahweh of Hosts, referring to the LORD as the leader of the angelic armies that fought for God’s people.
This aspect of Yahweh’s redemptive character is not apparent in Jesus’ earthly ministry, because he came the first time as a sacrificial lamb rather than a warrior. The days of vengeance of our God, Yahweh, and the revelation of the Warrior, Jesus, are reserved for the future. Now is “…the acceptable year of the Lord,” and Jesus encouraged his disciples to love their enemies and defer vengeance to God. Nevertheless, even in his earthly ministry we see glimpses of his passion to defend God’s honor and protect the believers. On two occasions, consumed by his passion for God’s purity and his zeal to defend God’s “house” against those who would make merchandise of it, Jesus cleansed the Temple area of money-changers.
In his love and wisdom, Jesus Christ stood between the evil Pharisees and the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1ff)—his love was the emblem in which she put her trust. When the apostle Paul sought the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies in 2 Corinthians 12:7 and 8, the Lord replied that his “grace is sufficient.”8 In other words, the Lord would not at that time be taking vengeance on Paul’s enemies, but would strengthen Paul for the spiritual battle. In the same manner, as the exalted Lord, he stands with and strengthens all the members of his Church, as Paul proclaimed: “…the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…” (2 Tim. 4:17).
In the future, we will see Jesus arrayed as a mighty warrior commanding an army of angels and redeemed saints when he returns to the earth as described in 2 Thessalonians 1:5–10 and Revelation 19:11–21. In his Millennial Kingdom, “…He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever…” (Isa. 9:7).
Yahweh Who Sanctifies
In Exodus 31:13 (NASB) (and several other places), we find the redemptive name Yahweh–Mekaddishkem, which means “Yahweh who sanctifies you,” that is, sets you apart for His service. The context of this redemptive characteristic was Yahweh’s urgent and emphatic command that the Israelites observe the Sabbath and keep it holy in remembrance of the fact that Yahweh is the one who made them holy. In his earthly ministry, Jesus observed the Sabbath, consecrating it with many acts of healing and blessing. In doing so, he opposed those for whom holiness was only an outward act of religious devotion apart from a heart of compassion. Jesus showed the heart of true holiness, as he kept himself from sin both inwardly and outwardly. He kept the Law but did not neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matt. 23:23).
Jesus chose some of those who believed on him and set them apart, or sanctified them for service to him with its corresponding blessings. Both he and his disciples attracted attention because of their unconventional ways, which were not considered properly “holy.” He and his disciples scandalized the religious crowd because they were often found “eating and drinking” with “publicans and sinners” (Matt. 11:19; Luke 5:30–33 – both KJV). Jesus was “set apart” to serve Yahweh, not by avoiding sinners, wearing special clothes, or performing the right rituals. Rather, he was set apart by his burning love for his Father and the awesome mercy he showed toward people. Jesus’ walk of holiness was precisely in accordance with what the prophets had revealed about God’s heart, in that He desired above all mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 9:13).
Hebrews 2:11 (NASB) tells us that it is the risen Lord Jesus who now sanctifies all those who believe in him. This sanctification occurs as a result of Jesus baptizing us with holy spirit, thus making us holy within, apart from our outward works. Like Jesus in his earthly ministry, we are in the world but not of the world, because we have been bought with a price. In his Millennial Kingdom, his purchase of us will be consummated and he will completely set us apart from all our enemies.
Yahweh Our Peace
In Judges 6:24 (KJV), we find Yahweh–Shalom, which means “Yahweh our peace.” The context of this statement is Gideon struggling with his calling to deliver the Israelites from the oppression of the Midianites. Gideon submitted to the LORD an offering of goat’s meat and unleavened bread. The angel of the LORD touched the offering and consumed it with fire, indicating that the offering was accepted by the LORD. In response to Gideon’s fearful reaction to these events, Yahweh said, “…Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” In this record, we see that Yahweh brings peace to His people when they are agitated and come to Him with humility.
In his earthly ministry, Jesus often worked with his disciples to assuage their fear. When they were in the middle of a storm, they feared for their lives and woke Jesus, who had apparently failed to see the urgency of the situation and was sleeping in the boat. He calmly rebuked the storm and restored peace to their lives. Near the end of his ministry, Jesus told his disciples, “…my peace I give you…” (John 14:27), and “…in me you may have peace…” (John 16:33). Ephesians 2:14 tells us that as the exalted Lord, “…he himself is our peace…,” indicating that we can have peace amidst the strife of this fallen world. In his Millennial Kingdom, our peace will be not only inward, but also outward.9
Yahweh Our Righteousness
In Jeremiah 23:6 and 33:16, we find Yahweh–Zidkenu, meaning “Yahweh our righteousness.” In that context, Yahweh made a solemn promise that a “righteous branch” from David’s line will sit on his throne and do what is just and right for the people. The result of this righteous reign is that people will live in safety.
At his first coming, Jesus declared that “…God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). As long as they believed on him, those who did so were assured of their salvation, and thus safe from eternal death. Since the Day of Pentecost, when the Lord Jesus first made available the New Birth, each person who believes in him also receives “the gift of righteousness” (Rom. 5:17). The Lord Jesus Christ has been made righteousness unto each Christian (1 Cor. 1:30), and “…in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). In his Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will have perfected our righteousness by transforming our “lowly bodies” and giving us a body “like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). At that point we will be complete, in that we will be perfected and no longer have a sin nature.
Yahweh Is Present
Another Old Testament redemptive name of God, Yahweh–Shammah, is found in Ezekiel 48:35 and means “Yahweh is present.” This title is given as the name of the city of Jerusalem that the Messiah will build after the Battle of Armageddon. This is the city from which Christ will reign in his Millennial Kingdom. Then, it will be absolutely true that the Lord is present. This name foreshadows the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation 21:10–27, where there will be no need for a sun or a moon because God is the light and Jesus Christ is the lamp. Where now we see through a glass darkly, sometimes finding it very difficult to perceive God’s presence, there will then be no question.
When he walked the earth, Jesus Christ described himself as the light of the world (John 3:19, 8:12, 9:5, 12:35 and 46). As such, he was always in the right place at the right time with the right people, and for each of them he was everything they needed him to be. Before he ascended, he promised those who would believe on him that he would be with them “…always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20 – NASB). In the Church Epistles, we often see the phrase “in Christ,” which signifies that each Christian is an inextricable part of the Body of Christ. We are “sealed” in Christ (Eph. 1:13), and nothing can separate us from him (Rom. 8:39). In his Millennial Kingdom, he will once again be physically present with us, and we will enjoy sweet fellowship with him.
Yahweh My Shepherd
The last redemptive name we will consider is perhaps the best known. It is Yahweh–Roi, which means “Yahweh my shepherd,” and it is found in Psalm 23:1. This most famous of Psalms paints a vivid portrait of Yahweh’s redemptive characteristics. In fact, this Psalm incorporates all the above qualities and characteristics:
(1) …I shall not be in want [because Yahweh will provide for me].
(2) He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters [because he is my peace],
(3) he restores my soul [because he is the one who heals me]. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake [because he is my righteousness].
(4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me [because he is present]; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies [because he is my banner]. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows [because he is my sanctifier].
(6) Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever [because he is a faithful Redeemer and has promised to save me].
In John 10:1ff, Jesus declared that he is the one who feeds and cares for his people—“I am the Good Shepherd”—even to the point of laying down his life for the sheep. In 1 Peter 5:4, referring to his ministry as Lord, Scripture refers to Jesus as “the Chief Shepherd.” It is he who cares for his Church today. In his Millennial Kingdom, all those who have ever believed in Christ “…will all have one shepherd…” (Ezek. 37:24).
As we have seen, Jesus Christ’s existence began when God fertilized one of Mary’s eggs with a perfect sperm He created in her womb. Certainly, therefore, Jesus was not literally alive during the Old Testament. Rather, as God had said to Moses, “…I will be what I will be…” (Exod. 3:14). The one and Only True God was everything He needed to be for His people Israel, and in the process established the paradigm for exercising the lordship that He would later give to His Son to fulfill. While He awaited the coming of His Son, God spoke to Israel through the prophets (Heb. 1:1), whose words pointed to the coming one—God’s ultimate communication to mankind (Heb. 1:2). The greatest thing God ever did for them was to send the Messiah, Jesus, but Israel rejected and killed him. Then God raised His Son from the dead and highly exalted him as Lord. Now Jesus Christ is the “Lord” who provides for you, who heals you, who is your banner, who sanctifies you, who is your peace, who is your righteousness, who is always there with you, and who is your Good Shepherd. In his future Millennial Kingdom, Jesus Christ will be and do all of these things to an even more magnified degree.
The Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher
When he ascended to the right hand of God, Jesus gave “equipping ministries” to his church, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.10 We can see by studying God’s Word closely that Jesus Christ exemplified each of these five ministries in his earthly ministry, and continues to energize them in his Body.
In Hebrews 3:1 (NASB), Jesus Christ is called “the Apostle.” “Apostle” means “sent one,” and Jesus was “sent” by God for the salvation of the world. In John 4:44, Jesus clearly implied that he was “a prophet.” Peter confirmed this prophetic ministry when he identified Jesus as the “prophet like” Moses that God would raise up (Acts 3:22). When Jesus preached “the Gospel,” he functioned as an evangelist (Matt. 9:35–38), and in Mark 1:38 he clearly made preaching the Gospel his highest priority. He identified himself as the “Teacher” when he said, “…you have one Teacher, the Christ” (Matt. 23:10). The crowds recognized him as such and marveled that he taught with authority, not as the scribes (Matt. 7:29 – KJV). Jesus also said he was the good “shepherd” (John 10:11), which is the same Greek word translated “pastor” in other passages in the New Testament.
Jesus has not changed in his position or way of functioning since he was first seated at the right hand of God. We can be confident that he continues to do all these things and more on our behalf and on behalf of the Church at large. Though it sometimes looks like the Christian Church is in a shambles of division and confusion, the Lord Jesus Christ is ever working to bring his Body into subjection to the will of his Father. Most especially, that means bringing people into an awareness of his lordship of their lives, and a recognition that their lives have been purchased by his sacrifice. The question then naturally arises: are we living for ourselves, or for him who died for us and rose again to empower us to become a son or daughter of God?
1. Trinitarians and Unitarians alike will advance this argument. Trinitarians assert that if Jesus is a “creature” (i.e., a created being), then it would be idolatry to worship him. Since he is a legitimate object of worship scripturally, then he must be God (i.e., uncreated). Some Unitarian Christians (especially strong subordinationists) argue that because he is a man, he is obviously a created being and therefore not worthy of worship. The argument presupposes that it is always “idolatry” to worship a created being, and that God will always be “jealous” of any other one being worshiped beside Him. However, when God highly exalts a created being to functional equality with Himself, He is obviously not concerned about the competition, and in fact solicits worship and acclamation for His Son who is worthy of exaltation.
2. NIV Study Bible, note on Hebrews 1:6.
3. Ryrie Study Bible (NASB), note on Genesis 2:4.
4. See Appendix L for more on the name Yahweh.
5. Genesis 2:4 starts with the words “This is the account of…,” marking it as an important break in the flow of the context. The corresponding Hebrew word is tholedoth, which often occurs at the beginning of major literary sections. The English reader is not helped to see them because, in most versions, the word tholedoth is translated differently. The sections are: (1) 2:4–4:26, (2) 5:1–6:8, (3) 6:9–9:29, (4) 10:1–11:9, (5) 11:10–11:26, (6) 11:27–25:11, (7) 25:12–18, (8) 25:19–35:29, (9) 36:1–8, (10) 36:9–37:1, (11) 37:2–50:26. If the commentators who had first added chapters to the Bible had started Genesis 2 with what is now verse 4, the flow of early Genesis would be easier to see.
6. When understood properly, the Bible does not say that God brings sickness upon His people. The true origin of sickness is sin, not God. See our book: op. cit., Don’t Blame God!
7. The “Gadarene demoniac,” for example, was incapable of personal faith because of the way the demons were continually tormenting him, yet Jesus healed him (Luke 8:26–39). In certain circumstances, Jesus accepted the faith of others on behalf of the sick and tormented. Demonized children were healed without personal faith, but the parents were required to have faith in Jesus (Mark 9:14–29; Luke 9:37–43). The centurion’s servant did not have faith in Jesus, as far as the Bible records, but Jesus healed him because of the faith of the centurion (Matt. 8:5–13).
8. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” has traditionally been understood as some kind of ailment or physical handicap. Such erroneous speculation could be avoided if the biblical usage of “thorn” were consulted first. Numbers 33:55 and Joshua 23:13 reveal a biblical usage of “thorns” figuratively meaning people who are actively opposing the will of God. Even a cursory reading of the book of Acts will reveal Paul’s continual battles with the Judaizers who opposed his ministry, frequently following him wherever he went and undermining his teaching. See Acts 13:45–50, 14:2, 17:5, 18:12, 20:3, etc. For more information, see F. F. Bosworth, Christ the Healer, (Fleming H. Revell Comp. Tarrytown, NY, 1973).
9. As we pointed out in Chapter 5 (re: Gen. 49:10), Shiloh was the first proper name prophetically given to the Messiah, and means “rest-bringer” or “peaceful one.”
10. See Chapter 10, footnote #2, to see why we call them “equipping ministries.”