Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fatherhood of the Son

Let’s take a moment and consider the confusion surrounding the doctrine of the Fatherhood of both the Father and of the Son. In doing so, there are four aspects of that Father-Son relationship that needs to be considered: 1) our Heavenly Father as our literal Parent; 2) both the Father and the Son as Creators and Fathers; 3) Jesus as Father to those who accept the Gospel plan; and 4) Jesus is Father through divine investiture of authority.

The Father of Our Pre-mortal Spirits
First off, there is a Father in Heaven, who is the literal Father of our individual spirits, as well as the individual spirit of Jesus the Christ. Each of us were begotten of Him “spiritually” before we came to travel this earth. All upon this earth was begotten of Him.

In many circles there is some question or confusion as to the names of Heavenly Father and that of Jesus Christ. For the sake of our discussion, and to help keep things clear and simple, we will refer to our Heavenly Father as either Father, or “Elohim,” and to Jesus Christ by His name or that of “Jehovah.” A lengthy discussion as to their names is not the subject of this chapter and we will not venture there. Suffice it to say, our Heavenly Father, Elohim, is the literal spiritual Parent of the entire human race.

In support of this theses, was it not Jesus who taught us to pray by saying, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matt. 6:9); and we read the words of Paul as he wrote to the Hebrews: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb. 12:9). To help us understand the truth, let’s turn to Colossians as we read where Paul, in speaking of Christ, says:

15. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. (Col. 1:15–19).

The Apostle Paul taught that Jesus was the “firstborn of every creature.” This must mean in the pre-earth state since He was not the “firstborn” in the mortal state. However, He was the first to be resurrected, being the “firstfruits of them that slept,” the “first begotten of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:20, 23; Acts 26:23; Rev. 1:5.)

Jesus’ being the “firstborn of every creature” is reiterated in Hebrews 1 and 6 where it says: “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” See also Romans 8:28-29 where it is stated that Christ is the “firstborn among many brethren.”

The term, “only begotten of the father,” as it applied to Jesus (John 1:14), refers to the fact that Jesus was the only one born both spiritually and physically of the Father. Therefore, it is not improper to speak of Jesus Christ as being our Elder Brother in the Spirit, for He was, indeed, the “firstborn” of all of our Heavenly Father’s children. In a very real sense, He Is our Elder Brother.

Elohim and Jehovah are Creators and Fathers
Secondly, God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. But He did not create the elements, they have always existed. God only “organized” those elements to create what He did; and because of His creations He is called Creator. The creators of the United States of America are known as our Founding “Fathers.” In like manner, Elohim is called the “Father.”

Jesus took Father’s assignment in creating this world. It might be said the Elohim was the architect and Jesus the contractor. As an architectural engineer may be called the builder of a large skyscraper, and the general contractor the builder, then they both are builders and “creator” of that structure; they are the building’s “fathers.” So, in like manner, Jesus Christ, the literal Son of Father, is rightly called “The Everlasting Father.” (Isa. 9:6).

Jesus Is Father of Those Elohim Hast Given Him
In another sense, Jesus Christ is the “Father” of those who accept His gospel of salvation. In His great intercessory prayer He prayed in behalf of His followers, those the Father had given Him. We shall not take the time and space to quote the lengthy passage, so I ask the reader to turn to John 17:1-24 and read the beautiful account there of His prayer to the Father in behalf of His disciples.

All who become sons and daughters unto God do so by compliance to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Christ. Jesus becomes our Father through the new birth, and through Him we are also Father Elohim’s. Jesus beseeched the Father in these words: “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” (John 17:9-10.)

Jesus applied this father-son relationship to the ungodly as he addressed the boastful Jews who claimed Abraham as their father: “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. ... Ye do the deeds of your father. ... Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. ... When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (See John 8:39-44.) Moving on to a parable found in Matthew we metaphorically read that “...the tares are the children of the wicked one,” and those whom the Father hath given to be the children of Christ are the “good seed” (Matt. 13:38)—indicating Jesus being the Father. All of us can become begotten sons and daughters of God, “...for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Cor. 4:15). So, as the devil is considered the father of the wicked, so is Jesus Christ the Father of the righteous. Thus, we have the designation of Jesus Christ being both the Father and the Son.

Jesus Is Father Through Divine Investiture of Authority
Jesus Christ, the son, represents Father Elohim in power and authority. This is true of Him in His pre-earth state as Jehovah; during His mortal state as Jesus of Nazareth; and in His resurrected state as Jesus the Christ, the Messiah. The Father placed His name upon the Son, for Jesus said He came in His Father’s name (John 5:43), and the works He does is in His Father name (John 10:25). And even though Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30; 17:11, 22), yet He declared, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). Jesus ministered in and through the Father’s name; and, in actual fact, His ministry is that of the Father because of their oneness of purpose.

Also, Jesus speaks for the Father as though He is the Father, just as the angel in Exodus spoke for Jehovah as though he was Jehovah, “... for my name is in him,” the Lord said of the angel. (Ex 23:21.) In like manner the Lord sent an angel to John the Revelator, which angel spoke in the name of Jesus Christ. This angelic being was so impressive that John “fell down to worship before the feet of the angel,” but the angel forbade him from doing so. (Rev. 1:1; 22:8-9.) Then the angel spoke as though he was Christ, saying, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:12–13.) It wasn’t the angel who was to “come quickly”; nor was the angel the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” The Lord had placed His name upon the angel, just as the Father had placed His name upon the son. So as the angel spoke in the first person for Christ, as though he was the Christ, Jesus speaks in the first person for the Father, as though He is the Father.

Jesus is not the Father of our spirits, for of all the spirit children of Elohim, our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, or Jehovah, was the firstborn. We are all simply His younger brothers and sisters. Elohim is the Father of our spirits, He being our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is “The Everlasting Father,” in that He “fathered” this world through creation; He is the Father of the gospel plan and of those whom Elohim hast given Him in the gospel; and Jesus is the Father through divine investiture of authority from Elohim.