Apr 20

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE BELONG IN OUR NATION? (6)

The Jefferson Bible! You may have heard of what is called the Jefferson’s Bible but just what is it? Does the Jefferson Bible mean that the third President of the United States of America was a person who embraced Christianity? We know, as it has become a common phrase, “a wall of separation between church and state,” and that this phrase has been etched into our legal system, even though it is not part of the Constitution of America. Therefore, an interest in Jefferson’s spiritual thoughts and what he really thought about the Bible and our nation.
First, just what was the Jefferson Bible? It needs to be noted that Jefferson constructed two religious works: 1) The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, was completed in 1804, but no copies exist today and 2) The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, was completed in 1820. It is most interesting to learn how Jefferson did his work on the second one. He did not write it, but he put it together by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable, for it excluded all the miracles by Jesus along with most of the supernatural events; however, he also removed sections of the four gospel accounts that covered the resurrection and the passages that portrayed Jesus as divine. With this, Jefferson removed the truth that Jesus was the Son of God and the authority behind his moral life! Jefferson’s exclusions reveal a great deal in understanding his view of the New Testament; it was not inspired!
Second, if not inspired, just what was Jefferson’s view of Jesus? The name of the work will reveal what the book was about as he entitled it: “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.” Jefferson was seventy-seven years old at the time. By this it is seen that he believed that Jesus’ life and teaching were very valuable to be emulated by Americans! In this work, he arranged the passages in a chronological order, thus, telling the story of Jesus’ life, parables and his moral teachings! While this is good, it also reveals, that Jefferson saw Jesus as a good man with worth while teachings, but he was only a man! This sounds much like a growing number of professors in our universities and colleges today!
With this one can see that Jefferson saw the value and the need for Americans to embrace what he put in the Jefferson Bible! His goal was to clarify the teachings of Jesus, which he believed provided “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man!”
In 1787, Jefferson wrote: “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
Jefferson lived in a world where political rulers routinely established a single faith as the official religion. He promoted religious freedom in order to secure the rights of differing religions and to protect the freedom of an individual to practice the religion of their choosing. It is within this context that we must take Jefferson’s words: ““a wall of separation between church and state!” Yet, he wrote in the front of his personal Bible: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.” If only more people today would have this understanding! One more point just here, Jefferson wrote referring to the Bible: ““So strong is my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to making men good, wise and happy.”
One more interesting fact, the Govern-ment printing office published a facsimile of the Jefferson Bible in 1904 which was distributed to the two chambers of Congress! Following the elections, each newly elected Senator was presented with a copy of the book until the supply ran out in the 1950’s. With these concluding remarks, it is hoped that the reader will have a better view of Jefferson’s words: “a wall of separation between church and state!” He did not want a state religion but was not opposed to religion and the state!

Frank R. Williams

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Apr 12

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE BELONG IN OUR NATION? (5)

The third President of the United States was Thomas Jefferson and he served from 1801 – 1809. Jefferson was educated at the College of William and Mary and was described as “the penman” of the America Revolution! He also served as Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781. In 1784, he went to France as a member of a trade commission and a year later, he succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister of France. He was in France for five years! It is believed that his greatest achievements while in office as the third President was the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803; this more than doubled the size of the United States!
With the above before us, let us turn our attention to what Jefferson thought about the Bible and where it belonged in America. First, let us note that within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church service in the House of Representatives! Did you get that? The “church service” was “in the House of Representatives!” Would this be allowed today? Another interesting point is that throughout his administration, Jefferson permitted church services in the executive branch buildings and the gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers! This action appears to be at odds with his view, that there should be “a wall of separation between church and state.” Just what did Jefferson mean by the words, “a wall of separation between church and state?” He was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a “national” religion. However, he did not have in mind what is set forth today, as it is believed he and Madison were by attending worship services on public property, consciously and deliberately, offering support to religion as a prop for republican government! Let us here go a little further with this thought. Just where did the phrase, “a wall of separation between church and state,” first appear? It was in a letter written by Jefferson, on January 1, 1802, in reply to an address of congratulations from the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptist Association. In his letter, he used for the first time now, so now well-known phrase, “a wall of separation between church and state.” If you would, please notice the order of the words used by Jefferson, he put the word “church” first, followed by the word “state.” Therefore, it appears to me, that he put forth that he was showing, that the “church” should not be setting forth rules and laws for the “state.” Had he used the words in the reverse order, he would have meant, or he would have been showing his concern that the “state” should not be setting rules and laws for the “church!” Today, this has reached the point, of using these two words, “church” and “state,” in the reverse order; in that the “state” has been making rules and laws for the “church!” Neither are right!
Nevertheless, many in the United States, including the courts, have used this phrase to interpret the “Founder’s” intentions regarding the relationship between the government and the “church,” as set forth in the First Amendment to the Constitution, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …” as declaring a “separation between the church and the state, in the broadest terms! The three key words are “establishment of religion.” First, what does the word “establishment” means? Here is what the word means: “the act of forming something.” Question, does it mean that government, when allowing worship service in a government building or on government land, serves as “the act of forming religion?” The answer is no!
Thomas Jefferson’s religious beliefs are not easy to state but he was religious. He wrote: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.” He did not believe in much of the New Testament; nevertheless, Henry S. Randall, a Jefferson biographer, wrote that Jefferson “attended church with as much regularity as most of the members of the congregation — sometimes going alone on horseback, when his family remained at home.”
The final question, does a person who regularly worshiped with a congregation, find it, repulsive, in what he has no belief in, does a person regularly associate with people whom he has nothing in common? The answer to these questions is answered in one word, No!

Frank R. Williams
(Editor’s note, we will have more on Thomas Jefferson in the next article.)

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Apr 06

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE BELONG IN OUR NATION? (4)

The reader may have little interest in knowing what our “founding fathers” thought about the Bible, but there is a need to know! If we do not know where we were, how can we know where we are going? In other words, what was the thinking of our “founding fathers” and the state of our new nation? We all know the world has changed greatly through the passing years, but in what direction did we go; was it for better or worse?
Before moving on, that is away from the thinking of George Washington, to John Adams, there was one thought that appeared in the search, that I would like to call to your attention. I found it really striking! Here is the quote: “Washington’s genius, his greatness, lay in his character. He was, as Chateaubriand said, a ‘hero of an unprecedented kink.’ There has never been a great man quite like Washington before. Washington became a great man and was acclaimed as a classical hero because of the way he conducted himself during times of temptation. It was his moral character that set him off from other men.” We do not have such men today! Then, there were the words of Daniel Webster, “American has furnished to the world the character of Washington. And if our American institutions had done nothing else, that alone would have entitled them to the respect of mankind.” Is there anyone today in the political world that one might write such words about? This is not to demean every elected person today but to show the character of George Washington!
It is time to notice the words of John Adams, who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” If one were to question what is wrong with America today, could it be that our leaders today would never use such words to describe our nation! Then, there are these words, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” If America is in trouble today, and she is, could it be because the American people at large, would be fearful that such a thought might be uttered today. At the present time, a growing majority want no part of a nation that would yield itself to be governed by any relationship with Christianity!
Just for the younger folks who might read this article, let it be noted that John Adams was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, judge, diplomat, he also signed the “Bill of Rights,” and was the first Vice-President and the second President of the United States. Adams also said, “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.” Here is an interesting thought from the mind of John Adams, “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!” No, America has never been a Christian nation, she has never been a “Eutopia,” but she has been in her past years a nation that has stood above all others, because her leaders believed and expressed their faith in the greatness of the nation which was built upon the principles of Christianity!
Today, our nation is being tested by the desire of some, that even a cross might be on land owned by this nation. In the mind of some, every time a cross is seen, it must express Christianity! However, could it be, that a cross simply expresses that a loved one died here? In other words, when we see a cross, we do not think of Jesus or Christianity, but death, as in a loved one died here! But those who hate Jesus and Christianity, it never enters their “little” minds that the cross may be no more than a symbol of death.
If only our nation today had such leaders as those in her early years! Those who not only believed in the greatness of Christianity, but in their humble lives lived more closely to the principles of Christianity. They also knew even as they wrote the laws, that would govern this nation, they understood the laws they wrote for a people that believed in the Bible

Frank R. Williams

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Mar 30

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE BELONG IN OUR NATION? (3)

The search we have before us is to find the way our “founding fathers” viewed the Bible and their thoughts as to where the Bible should be in our nation. We can learn what the “founding fathers” thought about our nation and the Bible can be seen in their own words as recorded in history!
As we think about our ‘founding fathers,” we start with George Washington, as there is no one who is more a “founder” than he is! Their action and words serve as the foundation upon which this nation was built. First, most of these “founding fathers” were religious, and the Bible played a great part in how they cultivated the laws by which this great nation was built up. In order to build a nation that would be secular but built upon the Bible’s “precepts” was natural to them. The only way this could be done, was to make laws that were in harmony with the Bible and this they did!
A few words about George Washington; 1) he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, 2) He presided over the convention that drafted the current United States Constitution, 3) He was the father of the U.S. military and 4) he was the first President of the United States (1789–97). These are some of the reasons he was known during his own lifetime as “the father of this country.” However, these points do not reveal his thinking about the Bible and our nation. Here are a few things about Washington you may not know. Throughout his life, Washington suffered from a laundry list of ailments: diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis—to name a few. But we are still searching for what he thought about the Bible and its place in the laws of our nation. How did this man, “the founder” and “father of this nation.” see God and his word?
The following will help us understand Washington and God in the forming of this great nation. He wrote in June, 1783, to the Governors of the several States: “I now make my earnest prayer that God would have you and the States over which you preside in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate the spirit of subordination and obedience to government …; and, finally, that he would be most graciously pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. (Morris, p360, Federer, p646, and Barton, pp 108f).” In the eyes of Washington, the “precepts” of the Bible were utmost in his mind as he looked upon the nation. On October 3, 1789, Washington issued the following National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor; … Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind care and protection of the people of this country … And, also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions; …to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue…. (Morris, pp 329,330, Federer, p654, and Barton, pp 115f; cf. Wikipedia article on “George Washington and Religion”)”
The “founder” of our nation, George Washington looked to God, and it was our duty: “to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.” Our nation today is moving away from the thoughts of Washington and his views of God and the Bible and we are the worse for it!

Frank R. Williams

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Mar 22

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE BELONG IN OUR NATION? (2)

In asking, where does the Bible belong in our nation, it is necessary to go back into the history of America. This requires us to ask two more questions: 1) what did our “founding fathers” think of the Bible, and 2) what was their thinking regarding the Bible? It may be necessary to ask more questions as we proceed in our study of, where does the Bible belong in our nation?
First, what was the thinking of the “founding fathers” as to the Bible? Before even getting to our first question, it would be good if we knew a little more about their religious thinking. Let us start with George Washington. He was baptized, but more than likely this means he was sprinkled as an infant! Therefore, he was not baptized at all, as sprinkling is not baptism as the New Testament writers use the Greek word, baptizo, which means to immerse, to submerge (Thayer). Nevertheless, he was a member of the Anglican Church (the Church of England) but due to the fact, that the clergy had to swear an Oath of Supremacy to the Monarch, the King of England, the American churches established the Episcopal Church after the American Revolution. Washington was a member of the “Vestry,” which means, that he was a member of the “lay council.” All of this means that Washington was a religious man. He was also a member of the “House of Burgesses,” (Which would be another study altogether but an interesting one.) “His 1796 Farewell Address, written by Alexander Hamilton and revised by himself, said that it was unrealistic to expect that a whole nation, whatever might be said of minds of peculiar structure, could long be moral without religion, that national morality is necessary for good government, and that politicians should cherish religion’s support of national morality: Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.” All this simply means is that Washington was a very religious man and regarded the Bible as the place to find the moral disposition that would keep America strong!
Do you know when “swearing on the Bible” started? Well, it started with our first President; that’s right, it started with George Washington! Here is what “swearing with hand on the Bible meant at this time, according to one writer: “Swearing on the Bible, especially back in Washington’s day, was seen as basically promising God you would do what you swear to do, with fear of God punishing you keeping you from breaking your oath.” (TruthFinder). Whoever wrote this, sure did understand the meaning of “swearing with hand on the Bible!” Here is a quote from Washington on the importance of the Bible and our nation: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” (Just a note, sometimes a quote is given which is attributed to a person but is questioned, did the person who is said to have uttered the words, really say it? This is certainly true of things credited to George Washington; therefore, the reader is here warned of this possibility. Nevertheless, the quotation assigned to Washington is believed to be his.) However, just to support the idea of this article, President Abraham Lincoln said: “In regard to this great Book, I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”
Was America morally better in her early years, or is America morally superior now? How do we answer such a question? We do so by asking more questions! Each question would be answered in the negative by the more liberal of today. But this only goes to show that we are less moral today than in the earlier years. Question: 1) Did mothers fight for the right to put their own child to death then or now? First, and this might surprise you, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal and was made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement! The first decision of the Court was as follows: “West v Barnes, this case was on August 2, 1791 and the decision was made on August 3, 1791.” However, the right for mothers to have their unborn child put to death was issued by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973, with a 7 to 2 majority vote in favor of the right of a mother to have her unborn child put to death, and abortions became the law of the land. There have been 50 million babies aborted chemically since 1973 in the USA: http://www.pfli.org/ Are we better now or were we a better nation then?
If we regard life as God does, we will answer the last question, were we better “then” or now in the negative! Any nation is better when it allows the word of God to set the moral standard! The words of the “wise man” will reveal this truth: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pro. 14:12)!

Frank R. Williams

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Mar 15

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE BELONG IN OUR NATION?

If we knew all there is to know of the things of this world, but if we did not know what the Bible teaches, our learning would be incomplete! Our “founding fathers” understood the importance of the Bible; Noah Webster (1758-1843) said this: “The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” Webster stated it well and his words help us understand what is wrong with today’s America! If only the greater part of our nation understood this simple truth!
When “the moral principles and precepts” of the New Testament are removed, as they have been through the years, America is on a downward free fall. If only the greater part of our nation understood this simple truth! But it has been the case, that in the United States of America, that “the moral principles and precepts” of the New Testament have systematically been removed from our conscience!
The Bible has been under attack for years, and the more we as a nation, move away from “the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures,” the more our nation is like other nations who have long ago moved away from “the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures!” With the speed of today’s informational world, where in a moment information, a mere thought is spread around the earth, as in what takes place in one nation is found in several nations! The old song, “Give Me The Bible,” is largely lost on today’s world. It would be good for our nation to hear and heed the words of this old song; “Give me the Bible, holy message shining; Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way; Precept and promise, law and love combining; Till night shall vanish in eternal day.” Compare these words with those of the Psalm: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path.” (Psa. 119:105). The world of today does not seek the “lamp” to guide them through their sojourn upon this earth; therefore, the moral downward spiral!
Give thought to the words of Rep. Randy Forbes on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: “Biblical absolutes enshrined into law offered a consensus that meant freedom without chaos. One aspect of this is that, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, there exists ‘unalienable rights’ of men. Rights were unalienable because they were given by God. This is very significant because in most societies up until that time (and indeed even today), rights are only conferred by whoever is in power at the time.” It is good, is it not, to know that some still are not ashamed to read the Bible; even in such a place as the House of Representatives? (Faith Facts, Biblical principles for America’s Laws, June 22, 2009)). If only our schools of higher learning would study the subject of our “unalienable right!”
Without the Bible, we are a nation adrift, without foundation; hear the words of Forbes once more: “So it was natural for the early Americans to turn to the Bible for guidance as to how to make civil law. This was the standard for law beginning with the Mayflower Compact all the way through the constitutions of all 50 states. By the way, what was the stated purpose of the Pilgrims as expressed in the Mayflower Compact? Contrary to revisionist history, their purpose was not to find religious freedom – they already had found religious freedom in Holland. Their purpose is clearly stated as being for the “Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith.” The Pilgrims were missionaries.”
Here is a question: just how far down into the depth of debauchery and the justifying of death of the most innocent will this nation go? We have moved from putting to death the unborn, to nearly born, to being willing to murder the new born who is not put into the arms of the mother but is put upon a cold table until the mother determines to keep or kill her child! When are we as a nation going to stop our downward spiral into the pit of spiritual darkness? Are we as a nation too far gone to come back?
The framers of this once great nation desired that every aspect of it be based on the Bible! (See DeMar’s book listed below, America’s Christian History, pgs. 57-58). For example, the first state constitution was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639) This document was a model for other constitutions, including the U.S. Constitution which followed. The Bible was not unknown but very known!

Frank R. Williams
(DeMar, Gary, America’s Christian History: The Untold Story; and God and Government: A Biblical and Historical Study (3 volumes). These books and other excellent resources available from American Vision)

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Mar 08

THE 30th ANNUAL OKLAHOMA CITY LECTURES

You may ask, why should the Barnes congregation host “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” year after year? After all, 1) we are a small congregation, 2) having limited among of money, and 3) we never have but few who come to hear the lectures from our sister congregation? Boy, there is a hand full of questions that could be asked year after year; and why have we not asked and answered these honest questions before? Well now, this is the year to ask and get answers! Taking them one by one.
First, the question, “Why should the Barnes congregation host “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” year after year? We could after all, call or identify the annual lectures by any number of phrases; therefore, it is not the words that identify the annual lectures that are of any importance at all. However, let it be known that the word “the” is a definite article! This means that there is no other lectureship that is known by the words, “the annual Oklahoma City lectures!” To be sure, there are other lectureships, even if they are not called a lectureship. There is one that is called to mind, which takes place each year in the Oklahoma City area; it is called, “Affirming The Faith Seminar,” hosted by the North MacArthur church of Christ each year. It would be well worth your time to attend these lectures! The reason the Barnes church of Christ hosts “The Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” is that no other congregation hosts such a series of lectures! These lectures are also needed in the area of Oklahoma City, the state, and even the nation! Third, these lectures have been done each year because it is one effort of the Barnes congregation to teach the truth on many subjects and issues facing churches of Christ throughout the nation!
Second, a small congregation is not excused from the charge given by Paul as he wrote to the church in Ephesus: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9-11). As part of the whole body of Christ, the Barnes congregation must be engaged the “eternal purpose” of God, which is, as Paul wrote, make “all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery … by the church … According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Friends, God has no other institution on earth, by which he prepared to make known “the mystery,” but the spiritual body of Christ, which the Barnes congregation is a part! Yes, we are limited, but limited does not change “the eternal purpose of God!”
Third, we have “a limited amount of money” generally goes hand in hand with being a small congregation, unless we should have a very rich member; which we do not! Therefore, it becomes a matter of spending the Lord’s money, yes, the Lord’s money wisely. Here let us look at the number of ways the Barnes congregation makes known “the eternal purpose of God.” First, there are those who hear the lectures in person; second, there those who read the lectureship books; third, there are those who will hear and see the lectures by way of a DVD; and fourth, though it may not be thought of much, those who will take these lectures and teach others! No, “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” are not to remain just in the minds of those who learn from the lectures, but this knowledge should be used to teach others!
Fourth, yes, a point has been added here but it is a most important point, let this point get within your minds/hearts, the lectures are not given just to remain in the minds of those who hear them! It is true that the lectures are given so that each one can grow personally in spiritual matters, but the lectures are given to make each one more able to teach others! Therefore, “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” are an effort on the part of the Barnes congregation to fulfill Paul’s words to Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

Frank R. Williams

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Mar 02

AT THE RIGHT HAND (5)

This is the last in a five-part series of articles under the above words, “at the right hand” but the complete phrase would read: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high!” The subject of these words is the “Son of God,” as in God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 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” (Heb. 1:2-3). What a text to consider? It is the elevation of the Son of God, from his sojourn upon this earth, as the eleven apostles witnessed: “while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
Let us now behold this through the words of the Old Testament prophet: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14). Here is a place where the word of God sheds light upon itself. In Hebrews we have the Son of God taking his seat at the right hand the Majesty on high “while Daniel wrote, that he saw “one like the Son of man” who “came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days.” The “Ancient of days” is equal to “the Majesty on high.” The one “like the Son of man” is equal to the one through whom God spoke, as written in Hebrews, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, … sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” So, just what happened next? Daniel wrote: “there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed,” while in Hebrews we have, he “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Clearly, we should be able to see the present location of the Son of God, he is “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!” He is there that we should serve under his “dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
So, when did “the Son of God” take his place “at the right hand of the Majesty on high?” The writer of Hebrews will answer: “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Here is an interesting point! Some teach that the Son of God came to earth to set up his physical kingdom, but his death is the means of God by which he is allowed by his nature to forgive us of our sins, as in “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Did you get it? Two things to be noted: 1) it required the blood of Jesus, which is equal to his death, so God could forgive us our sins; and 2) only after he “himself purged our sins” did he take his seat “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!” If the death of Jesus, as the Jews rejected him and put him to death, required God to change his plan about establishing the kingdom of Christ; therefore, there is no kingdom of Christ! But his death was required so God could forgive us of our sins and after “purging our sins” only then was he worthy of taking his seat “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!” Friends, the Jews by rejecting Jesus as the Son of God did not force God to change his plans but in fact fulfilled his plan!
Here is good place to call your attention to the words of Paul: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). The words, ‘the power of darkness” is equal to saying “who hath delivered us from our sins,” and “hath translated un into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Did Jesus have a kingdom at the time Paul wrote or not? YES, Jesus had a kingdom and the saved in Colosse were in it and so was Paul!
Finally, what a joy it is to study the word of God and to see how it all fits together like and hand and a good pair of gloves, only more perfectly!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/at-the-right-hand-5/

Feb 23

AT THE RIGHT HAND (4)

The one who descended only to ascend again to sit “at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3) gave us what was never true before! While on earth, he was Deity in a flesh and blood body; just like the one God made at the beginning: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). But he would discard his human body as he ascended. Read what Luke wrote about the event: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
These eleven men were permitted to see what eye had never seen before and would never see again; as this was a one-time event: the ascension of Jesus, the Christ! What a look, as Luke put it, “while they beheld.” There were several things these men did not know but would be delivered by the Holy Spirit, but at they did look, they were able to see a one-time event: the ascension of Jesus, the Son of God! The human pen cannot really write it any better than the pen of Luke, for he wrote as the Holy Spirit gave him to write. You see, Luke was not one of those who were allowed to see Jesus ascend! His words are brief but fill the human mind with wonder: 1) What was it like to look and see Jesus ascend? 2) When did he and how did he, shed that human body in which he had lived for those brief thirty-three years? and 3) Did Jesus, as he went up, ever look back to what he was leaving? Oh, the wonder of it all!
The ascension as it relates to this article takes us from the earth to “the right hand of the Majesty on high.” So great was this event, the inspired writer of the Hebrew letter, called it a begetting: “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?” (Heb. 1:5). The “begetting” of this verse does not refer to the time Jesus was “begotten” of the Holy Spirit as Matthew wrote: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). The words, “she was found,” simply mean she was begotten of the Holy Spirit! However, the words, “this day have I begotten thee,” do not refer to this event but to the ascension of Jesus; just as Paul said in “Antioch in Pisidia” while in the synagogue on the sabbath day: “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). Paul here identifies from which he is quoting, as he said: “as it is also written in the second psalm.” Therefore, no one can claim that we are using “human understanding,” as though human understanding of a text is somehow nothing, but a guess and is always unreliable! Nevertheless, we have the Holy Spirit, as Paul spoke by the Holy Spirit, identifying to what event the second Psalm refers! It is to the ascension of Jesus, at which time he would take his rightful seat “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!” Just a note here, it will help you form a better understanding of this and the other verses of Hebrews chapter one, if you would change the word “angel” to prophet; this would have the text read: “For unto which of the angels – the prophets – said he at any time.” As great as were the Old Testament prophets, never did God say to any of them, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee!” No, these words were reserved for but one and that one is Jesus, the Christ!
As the Son of God took his seat “at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” he would be there for us! As it is such a place of honor, and it truly is, the Son of God is there for us! Between the time he set down “at the right hand of the Majesty on high” until the last enemy shall be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:25), he is there for our benefit! First, it may be written as Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6); remove Jesus from this text and how would man come unto the Father? Man would not be able to come unto the Father! The Son of God may be seen as truly placed between God and man; as John wrote: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
Think on these things! For us, who have all sinned, for us who are in need of an “advocate,” there is one who sits at the right hand of the Majesty on High, Jesus the Righteous One!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/at-the-right-hand-4/

Feb 16

AT THE RIGHT HAND (3)

Looking at the one who is at the “right hand of the Majesty on high” we can see one who is “Lord of lords” and “King of kings!” There is much to notice in these few words that the reader may not notice at first. Let us look in the present and see what we can find? Just what is in the words: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa. 110:1).
First, even in English it should be noted that the word “Lord” is not the same, in that one is in all caps and one is in small letters, as “LORD” and “Lord.” This should draw the attention of the reader to the text and it should produce the question: “Why is it so written?” There is a deeper reason for the all caps in one and small letters in the other. In English we are left to wonder why did the producers of the King James Version do this? Second, if this difference is for a reason and it sure appears so, what is the reason? In English, we are just left to wonder and go on! However, in the Hebrew langue the difference is easy to see; for we have two different words. The first one, the one in all caps is the Hebrew “yeh-ho-vaw’” and means “self Existent or eternal; Jehovah.” Yes, the word is directing our attention to the “self -Existent” one! The second one, the “Lord,” is the Hebrew word “aw-done’” and means: “sovereign, that is, controller” as in “master, owner.”
The above gives us a real problem. The first word, ““yeh-ho-vaw’” is one who is Eternal;” while the second “Lord” identifies one who is both human and “sovereign” (Supreme, Deity) in nature! If there has ever been a difference, and there has been, then, this is the greatest difference there can be; as one is Eternal in nature while the other one is lonely man, who is of few days. What we now have is the “self-Existent” one speaking to the one who is “Sovereign” and human (Supreme, Deity)! It is from heaven to earth, as “the LORD said unto my lord!” Yet, there is authority in both; the one having eternal authority and the other has earthly authority; one having authority within himself, while the other has authority which is given to him.(Matt 28:18) In being David’s Lord, he was a Sovereign Deity; while being David’s “son” he was human in nature! There, we have the “Lord of lords!”
Now turning our attention to what was said: “Sit thou at my right hand.” To “sit at the right hand” of God, the “LORD” of the text, it is required that the “Lord” be changed back from humanity to spiritual; from being in the form of the earthly to heavenly! These words fit but one being! Keep in mind, that God the Father has never been “earthly;” and that God the Holy Spirit has never been “earthly;” but he which was: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8). Here is the one of whom David wrote! God in human form, who was put to “death” on the cross but of whom it is written: “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” When the writer said, he “purged our sins,” is equal to being: “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Being put to death upon the cross, is also equal to: “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 2:22-23). Having done this, he “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” which is equal to: “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (1 Pet. 2:7-8). Blessed is he of whom it is said: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa. 110:1).
This brings us to another question: “How long will he sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high?” In the words of David: “until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa. 110:1). But, just what does the word “enemies” mean? The “I” refers to God the Father, while the “thine” and the “thy” refers to him that is sitting on “the right hand of the Majesty on high;” the “King of kings and Lord of lords!” Notice as you read the words of Paul, wherein he has very the words of David: “For he must reign, (at the right hand of the Majesty on high, frw) till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:5-6). So long as there is “death,” the “King of king and the Lord of lords” is sitting “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/at-the-right-hand-3/

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