Who Do You Say God Is: The Identity of the Father

Today’s selected reading begins in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews. When you come to the first chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews you are immediately struck with the reality that this epistle is unlike snot other epistle found within the New Testament. If you study and examine the epistle written unto the Hebrews you will almost immediately notice that there is absolutely no indication as to who wrote the letter. The epistle does not begin in a similar fashion as the various other epistles do with a customary greeting declaring who the author is. If you read and examine the Pauline epistles which were the thirteen letters preceding this epistle after the book of Acts concludes, you will find that each letter was opened with Paul’s signature greeting and declaration of grace and peace. When reading the epistles which were written by the apostle Paul you don’t have to wonder whether or not the epistles were in fact written by him, for his name is mentioned from the very beginning of the apostle. What’s more, is that more often than not when the epistles draw to a close we are once more given an indication as to Paula identify within the epistle, as well as who may have been with him at the time the various epistle was written. Even the epistles written by James, Jude, Peter and John leave absolutely no room for wondering who they were written by, for each of these epistles provide us with the individual names of the ones who wrote the epistles. The epistle written unto the Hebrews, however, includes no such indication as to who could have possibly written it. What’s more, is that it really isn’t until the final chapter of the epistle where we encounter any type of personal touch. Even with what we find at the end of the epistle isn’t enough to indicate who exactly wrote the epistle, so we are left to wonder as to the identity of the author.

Perhaps one of the most notable realities surrounding this particular epistle is in the fact that an authors name is absent. With that being said, however, I am convinced that in the absence of a specific authors name we find something far more valuable in its place. Instead of the epistle opening up and beginning with a statement that reveals who the author is, the epistle opens up with a different name. If there is one thing that immediately makes this epistle as different and distinct from all the other epistles it is not only the absence of an earthly and natural name, but the presence of a supernatural and divine name in its place. It would be very easy to get caught up in wondering who wrote the epistle and who the author might indeed be, and yet completely and utterly miss the significance and importance of the name that opens up and begins this epistle. Rather than this epistle beginning and opening up with a specific earthly name, it instead begins and opens up with the name and mention of God. Thus, before we even move any further into the epistle we must first come to terms with God.. the very first thing the epistle reveals to us is not who wrote it, but rather where our focus truly should be. As we begin reading this epistle we are found to look directly upon God Esther than man. It’s almost as if the author of the epistle didn’t want the eyes, the hearts and the minds of the readers to focus on themselves who wrote it, but on God. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which began the Old Testament book of Genesis, for this Old Testament book opens up in a similar fashion. You will recall that this Old Testament book begins and opens up with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The way the Old Testament book of Genesis begins and opens up is quite similar to how the New Testament gospel of John opens up, for this New Testament gospel begins with the following words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Thus, when we read each of these books we are confronted—not with the author of either book, but rather with the reality of God, as well as with the Word.

When I come to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews I can’t help but notice a powerful and very distinct similarity to the Old Testament book of Genesis. The Old Testament book of Genesis begins and opens up with the words “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and we are immediately struck with the reality of God when the sacred Scripture opens. In the first verse of the Old Testament book of Genesis we discover—not only the reality that God was in fact in the beginning, but we are also struck with the reality that in the beginning God was creating. It is absolutely wonderful to pause for a moment and consider the tremendous reality that God was in the beginning, and He was in the beginning creating. With that being said, I feel compelled to stop and pause for a moment and present you with the first words of the Old Testament book of Genesis as follows: “In the beginning God.” Please don’t be too quick or too rash to move from and beyond that singular reality, for it would be incredibly easy to immediately say that God was in the beginning and was in and from the beginning creating. To quickly move past the first four verses of the Old Testament book of Genesis would be to miss the incredible significance and importance of what is contained therein. I am convinced that we dare not move past the reality that God was in the beginning, for almost immediately within the Old Testament book of Genesis we are confronted with the reality and presence of God. In other words, it is absolutely impossible to begin reading the Scripture without first coming face to face with and encountering God. How we respond to this opening verse—not only this opening verse of the book of Genesis itself, but also the entire canon of Scripture—will not only determine how we view, how we react, and how we respond to the entire Bible, but also what we think about and how we feel towards God. It is has been said that the single greatest reality within the life of a man or woman is their view and their idea of God and who He is. In the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find Jesus asking His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I am,” to which they responded by presenting the opinions of what others said He was. Jesus then takes this a step further and asks them who they themselves said that He was. In other words, He wasn’t so much concerned with who men said He was in that moment, but rather who they themselves as His disciples said He was.

I am utterly and completely convinced that just as surely and just as certainly as we need to ask ourselves and answer the question of who Jesus Christ is, we must also answer the question concerning and regarding who God is. I believe with all my heart that we are and have been confronted with the reality of who Jesus Christ is within our lives and to us personally, but equally as important as embracing who Jesus Christ is within our hearts and lives there must also be a firm conviction concerning and regarding who God is. In fact, this is perhaps the single greatest premise of the eleventh chapter of this particular epistle written unto the Hebrews. In the eleventh chapter of this epistle written unto the Hebrews we are confronted with the words “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” but the author of this epistle goes on to take the reality of faith even further. Consider if you will the words which the author wrote in the following two verses of this chapter: “For by it [faith] the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were famed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:2-3). What’s more, is that in the sixth verse of this very same chapter we find the following words: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to the words found in this particular chapter within the epistle written unto the Hebrews, for it is directly linked and connected to that which we find in the Old Testament book of Genesis. I am convinced that before we begin reading the Old Testament we are confronted with our opinion of who God is. Not only this, but we are also confronted with whether or not we do in fact believe that He exists. Even more, we are confronted with whether or not we believe that He created the heaven and the earth, and that everything that has been created was in fact created by Him. Oh, please don’t miss the significance of the words which are found in the opening verse of the Old Testament book of Genesis, for within the Old Testament book of Genesis the very first thing we are confronted with is the presence and reality of God. I would dare say that this is by unique design, for before we even get any further into the canon of Scripture we must at least acknowledge the presence and existence of God. It’s almost as if we cannot, or perhaps will not accept the reality that God does in fact exist, we should not move any further within the canon of Scripture. If we have a hard time believing and accepting the reality that God does in fact exist, the entirety of Scripture might not have any worth or value to us.

As I am sitting here right now, I can’t help but be struck with the tremendous reality that in the Old Testament book fo Genesis we are Immediately struck by and confronted with the reality of the existence of God. What’s more, is the tremendous reality that not only does God exist, but we also find God creating from that place of existence. In the beginning “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). In the opening two verses of the Old Testament book of Genesis we are not only confronted with our belief in the existence of God, but we are confronted with the reality of a God who not only exists, but also a God who creates. In the Old Testament, that which God created was created “ex nihilo,” literally means creating something out of, or something from nothing. Everything God created in the beginning was created from absolutely nothing—until and except for when He came to the creation and formation of man. When it comes to the creation and formation of man we find that man was first and foremost created in the image and likeness of the triune Godhead, but we also find that man was formed from the dust of the earth. It wasn’t until the divine breath of God was breathed into man’s nostrils that he in fact became a living soul which could move upon and exist within the earth. Man was the only exception to God creating “ex nihilo,” for not only was man formed from the dust of the ground, but man was also created in the image and likeness of God Himself. When we come to the opening two verses of the Old Testament book of Genesis we encounter a God who does in fact exist, and a God who is creating—a God who is in fact working. The very first reality concerning God we encounter when beginning to read the sacred Scripture is the eternity of God, for God existed in the beginning—before the heavens and the earth were even created. As much as we need to accept and understand the fact that God exists, we must also accept and understand that God existed before the foundations of the world were even laid, and before the heavens and the earth were even created. How we view the first two verses of the Old Testament book of Genesis can and will dramatically alter and shape our entire view of Scripture, as well as our entire view of God Himself. Let’s face it—we either believe and accept the fact that God does in fact exist, and that God is in fact creating and is at work, or we choose not to accept, and perhaps even believe it.

Let me pause for a moment and ask you who might be reading these words—not necessarily who you say Jesus is, but who you say God is. As certainly and as surely as we need to settle within our hearts and minds who Jesus Christ is, we must also firmly settle and establish within our hearts and spirits who God is. How we view, and what we think about God has the amazing ability to completely and utterly transform and dramatically impact the entire course of our lives. How we live our lives is directly impacted and influenced by our view and our opinion of God, and we either live our lives with the understanding of who God is, or we live our lives denying the reality of who God is. Not only this, but we might also make an attempt to live our lives pretending that God doesn’t exist. In all reality, I am convinced that there is no such thing as an atheist, or even an agnostic, for such individuals who would make such a claim that they do not believe that God exists are doing nothing more than pretending. I am utterly and completely convinced that the way to that individual who might very well be a skeptic—and not only a skeptic, but one who declares of themselves that they are perhaps agnostic and/or atheist—is not through reason, but rather through feeling. Please note that what I mean by this is that the way to truly speak to, and the way to truly impact that one who might be a skeptic, as well as perhaps an atheist and/or agnostic is not through the head, but through the heart. It is one thing to mentally assent to the concept and reality that there might not be a God, but it is something else entirely to do so with and from the heart. I am utterly and completely convinced that the way to. Influence and impact that one who is perhaps a skeptic and/or agnostic is not through attempting to win arguments and debates with them, but rather displaying and showing them love. What’s more, is that it was Jesus Himself who declared that it is and it will be by our fruits that men will know that we are His disciples, and it was Jesus who also emphatically declared that how we love one another, and how we love others is not only the second greatest commandment, but also powerfully demonstrates that we are in fact disciples of His indeed. You who are reading these words, I would ask you what your opinion is concerning God. Who do you say that God is? Who is God to you within your heart and life? Have you firmly established the reality and presence of God within your heart and life? Are you living your life in spite of the reality of who God is and His existence, or are you living your life in direct relationship to the reality of who God is, as well as His existence?

While it is true that in the Old Testament book of Genesis we are immediately met with the reality of the existence of God, as well the reality that God is both creating and working, when we come to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we are confronted with a similar reality. While in the Old Testament book of Genesis we are confronted with the reality of the existence of God and His creating and working, we are confronted with the reality of the existence of God and his speaking in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. Consider if you will how the first verse of the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews begins and opens up: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1). It is has already been mentioned that this particular epistle does not begin with the mention of an earthly name, but instead begins with the very mention of the name of God. I am still incredibly challenged when reading this particular epistle, for when reading this epistle I must once more come to terms with—not only the existence and reality of who God is, but also in the existence of God Himself. I would dare say that the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews should perhaps be read in direct connection with the Old Testament book of Genesis. What’s more, is that I would dare say that the Old Testament book of Genesis must be read in direct connection with the New Testament gospel of John, as well as perhaps the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. In the Old Testament book of Genesis we are confronted with the existence of God, and the reality that God is creating and working, whereas in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we are once more confronted with the reality of the existence of God. It’s almost as if when we come to this particular portion of the New Testament the Spirit of God is striving with us to ensure that we continue to believe and acknowledge that we still believe in the existence of God as we did at the very beginning. It’s as if through the epistle written unto the Hebrews the author of the epistle is inquiring of us, and is asking us to take inventory of our hearts and lives in order that we might once more come to terms with the existence of God. Not only this, but we must also come to terms with the reality that not only is God creating and working, but God is also speaking. When we come to the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we are once more met with whether or not we still believe in the existence of God, but we are also confronted with the reality that in addition to God creating and working, He is also speaking.

I absolutely love that when we come to the Old Testament book of Genesis we are not only confronted with the existence of God, but we are also confronted with the reality that not only does God exist, but God was also, and still is creating and working within the earth. When we come to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we are confronted with the reality of the existence of God—and not only with the existence of God, but also with the fact that God was speaking. As you begin reading the epistle written unto the Hebrews you are first met with the reality that God has spoken in times past, and that through the prophets He spoke unto the fathers. When reading the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we are first met with the tremendous reality that God has spoken, and that God did speak, and that God was speaking. With that being said, the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews wrote how in times past God spoke in divers manners and at sundry times through the prophets. In fact, if you study the Old Testament you will find that the primary means and method for God speaking—not only unto the fathers, but unto kings, and rulers, and princes, and nations, and cities, and towns. In the Old Testament, and all the way through the time of the days of John the Baptist we find God speaking unto men through prophets—a reality which began with Moses in the land of Egypt, and then within and throughout the wilderness. In the opening chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we are confronted first with the reality that God spoke in sundry times and in divers manners unto the fathers by the prophets, but immediately after that we are confronted with the fact that God has in these Last Days spoken unto us in an entirely new and different way. While it is true that at sundry times and in divers manners God spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, God has and is now speaking unto us in these Last Days through and by His Son. Oh, please don’t miss and lose sight of this all-important and all encompassing reality, for while God did in times past speak through prophets, and holy men as they were moved upon by the Holy Spirit, He is and He has in these Last Days spoken to us by His own Son. I can’t help but be reminded of the account of transfiguration of Jesus Christ which perfectly demonstrates this particular reality. Consider if you will the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, beginning with the first verse, and you will find the awesome reality of God speaking through His own beloved Son:

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only” (Matthew 17:1-8).

It is this particular passage found within the New Testament gospel of Matthew that not only presents us with Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah atop the mountain, but also with the awesome reality that God the Father spoke out of heaven and not only declared and further affirmed the identity of His Son, but also instructed the disciples to hear and listen to Him. It is important that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for it stands as being directly linked and connected to that which we read in the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews. It is true that God did in times past speak unto men through and by the prophets, but in these Last Days God has spoken unto us by and through His Son. What’s more, is that if you read the entire epistle which was written unto the Hebrews, you are not only struck with the reality of who God is, as well as His existence, but you are also struck with the overwhelming reality of the Son. In fact, the entire epistle which was written unto the Hebrews is an epistle that is Christo-centric, thus indicating that it is focused entirely and solely on the reality of who Jesus Christ truly is. The entire first chapter within the epistle written unto the Hebrews is centered upon the reality of who Jesus Christ is—and not only who He is, but also His identity. The very first reality we are confronted with when reading the epistle written unto the Hebrews is what I would refer to as “The Speaking of the Son,” for in the first two verses of the epistle we encounter the reality that in times past God spoke through the prophets, but in these Last Days has spoken unto us by His Son. Thus, in the very opening verses of this chapter we are faced with the reality—not only that Jesus Christ is in fact speaking, but also whether or not we are listening. Perhaps the two greatest questions we must ask ourselves at the very outset of this epistle is not only “Is Jesus Christ speaking,” but also “Are we listening to the words which He is speaking?” We must not forget the words which the Father spoke from the cloud atop the mountain of transfiguration, for it was on the top of that mountain where the Father declared unto Peter, James and John that Jesus was His beloved Son, and then instructed them to hear and listen to Him. One of the most important realities within our hearts and lives is whether or not we believe that Jesus is speaking, and whether or not we are willing to listen to Him when He is in fact speaking. With that being said, it is absolutely necessary that we not wonder whether or not Jesus is speaking, or whether or not He has spoken, for He has been speaking since His return from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that the Holy Spirit within and upon the earth not only reminds us of the words which Jesus Christ spoke while on the earth, but also that which He through the Spirit continues to speak within and upon the earth. .It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we do not think or believe for one moment that Christ has somehow ceased speaking, but continues to speak—even until and unto this very day.

As you continue reading this particular chapter found within the epistle written unto the Hebrews you will be presented with a reality that I would like to call “The Sitting of the Son.” Whereas in the first two verses of this chapter we are confronted with the speaking of the Son, in verses three and thirteen we are struck with the reality of the sitting of the Son. Consider if you will that which is found in the third verse of this particular chapter: “who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High” (Hebrews 1:3). In the thirteenth verse of this chapter we find the following words written—not only concerning the angels, but also concerning the Son Himself: “But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Hebrews 1:13). In both of these verses we find ourselves being confronted with the reality that when Christ finished the work He was sent to the earth to complete, He did in fact sit down. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus Christ sit down, but He also sat down at the right hand of the Father who was in heaven and on High. This reality is again expressed in the first two verses of the eighth chapter of this same epistle: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of Majesty in the heavens; a. minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:1-2). This reality is again spoken of in the tenth chapter of this New Testament epistle beginning with the eleventh verse: “And every priest standeth daily minister and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:11-12). This reality is also expressed in the twelfth chapter of this very same epistle beginning with the first verse: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the reface that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Thus with these words we are confronted with Jesus who when He had finished and completed the work which He was sent to the earth to accomplish, sat down at the right hand of the Father who is in heaven. Not only did Jesus sit down at the right hand of the Father in a place of authority, but He also sat down in a place of intercession, for there at the right hand of the Father He ever lives to make intercession for us. When Jesus declared on the cross “It is finished,” it was truly and was indeed finished, and when He ascended into the heavens, He completed the work for which He had been sent, and sat down in the place of all authority until that time comes when His enemies would be made His footstool.

If you continue reading the first chapter of this epistle, you will not only be struck with the awesome reality of “the speaking of the Son,” and not only the awesome reality of “the sitting of the Son,” but you will also be struck with the tremendous reality of the supremacy of the Son. If you read this entire first chapter you will be confronted with the awesome reality that Jesus is in fact presented as being supreme over the angels in heaven which were created by God. The entire first chapter of this epistle paints a wonderful and powerful picture of the supremacy of the eternal Son, and His supremacy over all the angels. Consider if you will the words which are found in this epistle beginning with the fourth verse: “being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the angels. He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands; they shall perish; but thou remained; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:4-12). It is quite clear and quite obvious when reading these words that the author of this epistle sought to bring their audience to the undeniable and unmistakeable reality that Jesus Christ is supreme over absolutely everything that is found within the earth—this Jesus who is the expressed image of the person of God, and the brightness of His glory. Within this passage of Scripture we are even confronted with the reality that Jesus Christ is in fact the direct manifestation and representation of Almighty God, and as such is completely and totally supreme over everything that exists within the earth, and in the heavens. One thing we must settle when reading the words found in this epistle is whether or not we truly believe in the supremacy of Jesus Christ—His supremacy over the angels, yes, but also His supremacy over creation itself, as well as over our lives, and even over our circumstances and our situations. I leave you with the tremendous question of whether or not you are living your life under the distinct reality that Jesus Christ is indeed supreme over everything within your life, and is in fact supreme within your life.

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