Sunday, March 13, 2016

Honoring the Lord Jesus as God Pt. 2


By Sam Shamoun


We proceed from where we left off.

Priestly Service

The Holy Bible teaches that God has priests who serve him:

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.” Isaiah 61:6

Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.” Psalm 99:5-7

The sacred Scriptures further attest that all true believers are to be servants of the true God who look to him as their sovereign Lord and Master:

Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:1-3

This explains why prophets like Moses were given the label “servant of God/Jehovah”:

Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.” Joshua 1:13

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” Daniel 6:20

And yet the NT teaches that Christ himself has priests and servants who are expected to serve him:

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce MY servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” Revelation 2:18-20

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God AND OF CHRIST, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and HIS servants shall serve HIM:” Revelation 22:3

This explains why the earliest Christian disciples and Apostles proudly went around identifying themselves as the servants of not just God the Father, but also of the Lord Jesus Christ his beloved Son:

James, a servant of God AND OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” James 1:1

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,” Romans 1:1

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:” Jude 1:1

The following verse is quite remarkable:

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:” 2 Peter 1:1

The Apostle Peter not only refers to himself as the servant of Jesus Christ, but he also identifies his risen Master as the God and Savior of all those that have been granted saving faith from Christ himself!

Now the way in which believers are expected to serve their heavenly Lord is by offering up spiritual sacrifices to him, such as getting people saved through the preaching of the Gospel,

“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Romans 15:15-19

As well as by faithfully carrying out his will in every aspect of their life, especially in regards to how they treat their earthly masters or servants:

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Ephesians 6:5-9

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Colossians 3:22-24, 4:1

Prayers and Invocations

Another manner in which God’s people were to honor Jehovah was by calling upon his name, meaning by praising and invoking him in prayer:

Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.” Psalm 99:5-7

“I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul…  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord… I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:1-4, 13, 14

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

The reason God’s people were exhorted to call on Jehovah alone is because he alone is the God who hears and answers the prayers of his saints:

O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” Psalm 65:2

What makes this rather astonishing is that the first Christians were known and characterized by their practicing of calling upon the name of their risen Lord and Savior:

unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:2-3

The next example is quite remarkable:

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60

Here, the blessed Stephen prayed to the Lord Jesus in the exact same way that the OT saints would pray to Jehovah!

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Psalm 31:5

This practice of calling upon the name of the exalted Christ began among Jesus’ Jewish followers in Jerusalem, of all places!

Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:13-21

As cane be seen from the above passage, the risen Lord would often appear to his servants in dreams and visions as they prayed to him:

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: and when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22:16-21

Nor are these a few isolated cases, since the NT is filled with examples of the Apostles praying to Jesus, just as the following texts confirm:

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosenWhen they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?... Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us… And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,” Acts 1:1-2, 6, 21, 24

The context clearly points to Jesus as the omniscient Lord whom the disciples invoked to make known to them Judas’ replacement. And:

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” 1 Corinthians 16:22-24

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The Lord whose power is sufficient to sustain the blessed Apostle is none other than Christ himself.

In these next examples, we find believers thanking and/or invoking the risen Lord to bestow his mercy, peace and grace upon all the churches of God:

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” 1 Timothy 1:12-16

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21

And because Jesus is alive, believers are able to have fellowship and intimate communion with him through prayer, knowing that he hears them and has the power to grant all of their requests that are in accord with his perfect will:

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is IN God the Father AND IN the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, AND the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1

Now God himself and our Father, AND our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end HE may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians IN God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christthat the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God AND the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2, 12

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, AND God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in HIM, that, if we ask any thing according to HIS will, HE heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of HIM.” 1 John 5:13-15

Such prayers and invocations provide explicit testimony that the first Christians viewed the risen Christ as the Hearer of prayer, and therefore as God Almighty in the flesh, since only God possesses the omniscience and omnipotence necessary to be able to both hear and answer prayers.

Doxologies

A doxology is an ascription of praise to God, glorifying him for who is and/or for what he has done or will do. Typically, a doxology will end with the word “Amen.” Here are some verses to illustrate these points:

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 41:13

“And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:19

who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:25

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” Romans 16:27

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:20

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11

“to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:25

In the same manner, we find the Lord Jesus being praised for who he is, and for what he has done and shall do. Note for instance the following cases:

grace be to you and peace from God the Father, AND from our Lord Jesus Christ, WHO gave himself for our sins, that HE might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to WHOM be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5

I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, WHO before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in HIS times HE shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; WHOM no man hath seen, nor can see: to WHOM be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdomhenceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearingAnd the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

As if these examples weren’t remarkable enough, this next one is truly astonishing:

whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 9:5

The Apostle Paul glorifies Christ for being the eternally praised God who reigns over all!

Our examination of the biblical witness leaves absolutely no doubt that the inspired Scriptures ascribe to the risen Lord the exact same praise, honor, glory and worship which only the one true God is supposed to receive, obviously because Jesus happens to be Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh.

All Scriptural references taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.

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