Ever since it was championed by Sonora Smart Dodd, Father’s Day has been commemorated throughout the U.S.A. on the 3rd Sunday of June since 1910.
People celebrate this event in many diverse ways annually by tradition and may not be feasible at all times in some areas. We can not play bowling at Pinstripes. Still, fortunately for us and with God’s blessings, we can continue with activities like playing golf around the house, billiard/pool and/or table tennis in the basement, chess or scrabble at the dinette area overlooking the deck and lake but certainly having breakfast, lunch or dinner (home made or take-outs) together with spouse and family, with all its trimmings.
In the Covid-19 era of 2020, these activities are especially challenging due to “shelter-at-home” guidelines of containment and transmission-preventive measures like mask/face cover, social distancing, at least 6-feet away from each other, frequent hand washing, disinfecting contact surfaces and the like. As parents may have co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, the thought of coming together takes courage and determination because of attendant risks.
Today, nevertheless on Fathers’s Day, what could be more apropos and timely to honor and memorialize it than to know who our spiritual “Father” really is? Yes, whether he is the “Lord God” in the Old Testament, the one who “fathered or created” everything “visible and invisible” or the “Father” referred to at the time of Jesus as his Father in the New Testament and henceforth. Is he the same or different from that referred to in the New Testament? Is the Father in the Old Testament the same as the Father of Jesus in the New Testament? This understanding of the designation “Father” is key to “who to worship” depending on who was referred to. To provide context to these questions and to begin with, please consider a parallel question:
Who is the God of the Old/ New Testament?
Many grew up in a Christian family and were taught that the God of the Old Testament is the Father of Jesus. And, that of the New Testament is Jesus and/or his Father, as they “are one”. It may as easily be interpreted as such, since Jesus and YHVH ELOHIM in the Old Testament “are one” and the same, by incarnation. Does being “one” mean indistinct or inseparable? Are they similar or different? In what way if any or when are they the same or distinct from each other? Is this issue a mere exercise in futility, unnecessary minutiae, pure semantics or “splitting hairs”? More than “academic“, this differentiation is key to many things that predicate from this understanding.
Although not a recent phenomenon, these questions are confusing and distracting to many today. This different intetpretation is not new. Even in mid-second century Rome, a prominent Christian leader by the name of Marcion , who had a thriving shipbuilding business at the time of Justin, was confused including an accomplished scholar and agnostic of today’s Christianity, Bart D. Ehrman who expressed this on pages 34-35 of his book “Misquoting Jesus“.
Does it really matter who is the Father or God of the Old and/or New Testament? Yes, it does for 2 reasons, viz., gives direction to who to worship and what being “one” really means. In fact, about 90 C.E., John who wrote “I and Father are one” also said that life eternal hinges on this understanding:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
The Father, “the only true God” and Jesus are distinct and separate from one another, even when they “are one”; the Father sent him and not that Jesus sent himself. Being “one” does not mean “numerical oneness“.
Always remember what Paul said in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”
We need “assurance” that depends on evidence-based facts, the “substance“, not empty promises, unsubstantiated teaching, nor hope against hope. The answer to these questions may help enhance our understanding of the subject, thus solidifying even more our handle on the truth and fortifying our faith.
Old Testament God
There are many so-called “gods”, and polytheism is more than a phenomenon; it is a reality then, as it is now among other religions. While it is tempting to deny this fact, the presence of many “gods” is acknowledged to be true by the Holy Bible (1Corinthians 8:5-6). And yes, this has been a crucial fact in the Old Testament, such that Israel has to be directed away from these known but false “gods” and commanded not to worship them. Instead, worship has to be to one particular and specific God. There was/is only one specific God to be worshipped then and now. This is the basis from where developed the Jewish “Shema” doctrine of,
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Ex.20:3) …above all gods”(Ps 95:3; 135:5)(See also this post, “What is God?”
Who, was the God of Adam, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses?
This question maybe resolved if one accepts the fact that the Creator-God in the Old Testament introduced himself with different names at different times. Strong’s Concordance helps in finding the derivation of the original Hebrew/Greek words translated to English. And, while names are different, they refer to only one proximate Creator, the Creator-God. Getting right to the point, consider this documentation and confirmation:
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heaven(s) and the earth”.
Here, without doubt, this God was introduced as the “Creator-God“. Furthermore, this particular/specific God was identified and was described as a uni-plural generic “Elohiym” (Strong Concordance 0430/plural form being supreme). But, in Exodus 6:2-3, this God was identified with different descriptive names,
“And God (Elohiym 0430) spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Yhovah 03068) : And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God (0410 El) Almighty (Shadday/07706), but by my name JEHOVAH (Yhovah 03068) was I not known to them”.
This Creator God was God Almighty/ “El Shadday” to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was known as Lord/”Yahveh:YHVH. Moreover, in Isaiah 45:11-12, this Creator God was also referred to as Lord,
“Thus saith the LORD (03068/Yhovah), the Holy One (06918/qadowsh) of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.”
That particular proximate Creator God was The Lord God(YHVH Elohim)the Holy One of Israel. Post Old-Testament times, this Creator God was also identified more specifically as the “Word”. In John 1:1-3, he said
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Notice: it was created “by him“, but the Father planned this creation and execution was “through him” (YHVH-Elohim as proximate Creator) and “for him” as in Colossians 1:15.
John then went further to identify this Creator God to be The Begotten Son, as in
“So the Word became human and….And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father” (John 1:14, NLT). (Note: the only Son currently or the first of the firstfruits as there will be more “sons and daughters”, children of God, in the future).
To make it even clearer, John reiterated that this Creator God was Jesus, as in
“The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).
The Creator God was Word God. Paul also testified, that the Creator God was Jesus ,
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of creation. For by Him all things were created…all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17 NASB). Image in the sense, that like flesh-composed Adam was made in the image of spirit-composed God, this “spirit-composed firstborn from the dead” is also an “image or representation” of the “invisible God, the Father”.
This Creator God, who “fathered” all creation, incarnated into Jesus, the Christ/Messiah, as in Isaiah 9:6,
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father(01,ab), The Prince of Peace.
From the preceding verses, one sees the “evidentiary facts” that the same specific and distinct person is known as: God:(Elohiym 0430) LORD: (Yhovah 03068) God (0410 El) Almighty (07706 Shadday) The “Holy One (06918/qadowsh) of Israel” The “Word” (3056/logos) “Begotten Son” (monogenes/3439) The “only Son of the Father” Jesus Christ, the Word of life (3056) First-born of Creation (prototokos/4416) Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Prince of Peace and being the proximate creator who “fathered all“, hence also called The everlasting Father(01,ab).
Changes in Name, Position and Function
All these descriptive positions, tasks, functions and changes in name at a particular time are no different from our own experience as humans. All of us have been children and have parents and grandparents. As we ourselves became parents, we left our description as children. After we have grandchildren, we are now called grandparents. Our position and function changed but we are still the same person. Likewise, previously, one maybe secretary in an organization, but then can become vice-president or president. That person is no longer addressed as Mr./Ms. Secretary; rather called Mr./Ms. President. The same person but different function, task and time. In general, unless described otherwise, when the word “God” is used in the Old Testament, it refers to El Shaddai/YHVH ELOHIM who incarnated to Jesus, the Word; in the New Testament, it refers to the FATHER of Jesus.
The Creator God and the only one commanded to be worshipped in the Old Testament was “El Shaddai” to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was “YHVH“. The same person was the “Word Creator” even before there was any creation. Subsequently, he incarnated, dwelt among humans and assumed a different function and name as “Jesus-Yhusuah/Massiach-Messiah, the Redeemer” (John 4:26). As an incarnate/ flesh-composed person, he was “begotten Son”.
This first official introduction ever, of the Father-Son relationship took place at the river Jordan when Jesus was baptized (Matt.3:13-17;Mk 1:9-11; Luke 3:21). The Synoptic gospels testified that the Father introduced the Son, and conversely the Son also “declared” the FATHER (John 1:14,18). And rightly so, as they knew each other from before the beginning of time. As he is the only one who had seen him, he was the perfect person to introduce his FATHER and ours as the “only true God” and commanded us to worship only his Father.
No doubt, this is fool-proof identification of both of them as distinct and separate (I Cor.8:6) , one God and one Lord, even when they “are one”. Subsequently, he was then appointed and “declared Son of God” (spirit-composed) by the resurrection from the dead ( Rom.1:4 ) He is also now “head of the spiritual church…firstborn from the dead (Col.1:18), the “head and elder Brother” (Heb. 2:11) of his “fellows” (Ps.45:7; Heb.1:9 ) , above the other “firstfruits” (I Cor.15:23; Rev. 14:4) (N.B. offered to God (the Father)and the Lamb).
As a Creator God/Word of all that is known, whether angelic spirits, inanimate universe and all living things, this ” Son of God” is now creating from flesh-composed humans, “spirit-composed firstfruits/harvest” to be his “body/church” and subsequently in due time, the ” latter-fruits/harvest”. Indeed, an “upgrade” of position and glory, all given by our “FATHER” and planned from the beginning, much before “time”.
Mechanism of How we are “Saved”
The Word/El Shaddai/YHVH has to dis-empower himself, take-off his power, and incarnate as man-Jesus so that by being human, he could die as our “Passover” ( I Cor. 5:7 ). YHVH, being spirit and eternal, could not have died unless incarnated. Jesus’ divine power, being “flesh-blood” was not inherent in him but received spiritual powers/abilities given to him, at baptism in river Jordan, by the Father much like us, humans with measured spirit-power given by the Father through the function of the Spirit ( Compare John 8:28, 19:11; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Luke 4:1 ). Not “inherent” to man-Jesus, as all his divine miracles came only after that “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit” at River Jordan.
As the “FATHER” imputed the sins of mankind on the sin of the first Adam (I Cor. 15:45-50) at the garden of Eden and eternal death to all mankind, so was Jesus’/last Adam’s death (a consequence of sin although he did not sin himself) imputed to all mankind ( Rom.5:12-21). His death was the propitiation/atoning sacrifice for our sins ( I John 2:2 ) and reconciled us to the “FATHER” (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20-22 ); putting us in a “position of already dead to sin” to initiate the process for us to become “at-one” with the “FATHER” through the same “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit”, as the “Father and Jesus are one”. His death was only the beginning and he was resurrected with “immortal spirit-composed body” so that “death, where is thy sting?” ( I Cor. 15:55 ), will no longer have a hold on us after resurrection to immortal life.
Having been reconciled, we are now “saved by/through his life” (Rom.5:10 ). But, how are we saved by/through his life? How is this knowledge and understanding “life eternal” as in:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)?
Here is how: Now that, from “flesh/human” incarnate, Jesus was subsequently created/ transformed in a “twinkling of an eye”(as future spirit-children will be) by the Father to a spirit-composed “Son of God” by the resurrection from the dead (higher than angelic spirits), Jesus “by/through his life” (after resurrection was given this “creative-power/Holy Spirit”) to now create his “body/church” of fellow “firstfruits“, “sons/daughters/children of God”, and subsequently the “latter-fruits”. All spirit-composed, at an appointed time, as in I Cor. 15:53,
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
He has to be first, a “Son of God” before he can bring other “sons/daughters” to glory as their “Elder-Brother and “Head of the church”. He is developing us (still flesh-composed) into his “body/church” through the workings of the Spirit in us(in our mind/spirit-of-man) that he could not have sent to empower us, until after his resurrection from the dead, (saved by his life) as in:
“When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about Me. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 14:25,26; 16:7).
This Spirit was sent, in a general sense, at Pentecost (Acts 2) and getting into us to have power to develop into the “body/church” of Christ.
We know about the preview or type of this mechanism in the garden of Eden. Eve was taken from “the rib” of Adam to show that the future church(Eve) will come from the “second and last Adam/ Jesus“, next to his heart. When the human Jesus resurrected from death and became spirit-composed as Son of God, he then sent this Holy Spirit of power (given by the Father) to create the woman/church/Eve in a spiritual way to be his body. As the flesh Adam/Eve “… shall be one flesh”, so shall the spirit Adam/Christ/Son of God shall be “one” with the spiritual church/Eve and be “one body“. And all shall be “one” with the Father. Amazingly, all of these as planned and implemented by God through his “first-born Son of God“, the one who executed, the proximate Creator.
Jesus performed a pivotal role in achieving the “Destiny of Man”. In the Old Testament, the Father (called so, being Creator God and “fathered” all “visible and invisible creation“) and the specific proximate Creator God that was commanded to be worshipped was the Creator God, El Shadday/YHVH, WORD, who then became incarnated as Jesus the Messiah/Christ.
Since then, in New Testament times, Jesus himself introduced his “FATHER“; and rightly so, as he was the only one who saw the “FATHER“. As incarnate Messiah/Christ, he instructed us to pray to his “FATHER“, but through Jesus and in his name (John 15:16).
Who to worship? In the Old Testament times, YHVH/El Shaddai/Jesus was commanded to be worshipped as he was “above all gods”(Ps 95:3; 135:5) known to all creation at that time. But today and for all of us, the “FATHER” of Jesus, the only one referred to as God in the New Testament, is the only one to be worshipped and prayed to, but “in the name of Jesus”.
The “Father” is the God and Father of Jesus and of us all (Eph.1:17). As the Creator God/El Shadday/YHVH took off that glory, honor, position and spirit-power by incarnating into “flesh” as Jesus/Messiah/Christ, and by so doing, he shifted and directed/introduced all of us to his Father as the only God to be worshipped today. The Father is greater than Jesus; they are not co-equal as in John 14:28
“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away,…for my Father is greater than I.”
Yet, many still will not accept that the Father is “greater than Jesus”. What in “greater” do we not understand? On the side, this particular “FATHER” of Jesus, started a “new creation” (2 Cor.5:17, NKJV), from the human “first-begotten” son man-Jesus (John 3:16) who then became the “first-born from the dead; among many” (Col.1:18; Rom. 8:29) spirit-composed Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead. Indeed, a position of “sonship” which is higher than the angelic category (compare Ps 8:4-6 and Heb. 2:6-18).
Jesus is now the “the first/wavesheaf of the firstfruits” ( compare I Cor. 15:10,20,23 and Ex 34:26, Ezekiel 44:30; Lev. 23:10-12 ). After him, will follow the remaining “firstfruits” (Rev.14:4) at the resurrection to commence the “Millenium”. As the “FATHER” through (I Cor.8:6) Jesus/YHVH/Word (the proximate Creator) created the “first known creation” (all non-living and living things including angels), the “FATHER” (through the Holy Spirit of power) is now creating a “new creation” of “sons/daughters and children” of God, first was man-Jesus the “first of the firstfruits“, then again, through the empowerment of Jesus with this Holy Spirit of power, other “fellow firsfruits” will follow “at the last trumpet”(1Cor.15:52) , all of them spirit- composed, higher than angelic spirit-beings, and after the Millenium, the “latter-fruits“.
This is Jesus’ “body” (starting as “flesh-composed” with in-dwelling of Holy Spirit to form them into “spirit-composed” members) the church, being “one” yet with many members that are distinct/separate from each other (I Cor.12:12-20) as we are altogether “one” with a distinct and separate “FATHER“. Numerically one body with many (not 3) members.
As incarnate Jesus/Passover, his death paid off mankind’s penalty for sins imputed to Adam, reconciled us to the Father so we will all be like him. Everyone at their own time , first is Jesus becoming the Son of God (the first of the firstfruits), then fellow firstfruits at this dispensation to be manifested at the start of the Millenium, then subsequently after the Millenium will manifest the “latter-fruits”.( with in-dwelling and overcomers/victorious) all with “life eternal” ( John 17:3 ), all spirit-composed children of God. The timing of in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit is “predestined” but the result is based “on hope“.
Buttressed with these facts, our appreciation of God”s love for all of us, hopefully, will be magnified and enhanced. We can have confidence and trust in God because of these facts. i.e., faith which is “evidence of things hoped for.”
Remember, that this is the plan of God, the “FATHER“, even before the first creation by the “proximate Creator YHVH-Elohim” before any of us have done anything right or wrong; a plan executed perfectly by his Son. Even our will to do good and to act are influenced and empowered by God (Phil. 2:13) so that “no one can boast” (Eph.2:9; I Cor. 1:29). Truly, grace and love manifested. Glory to God, our “FATHER“.
HAPPY FATHER’s DAY.
Original post: 2011
Revised and reposted 5/3/18
Hyperlink and revised version posted 6/16/19 on Father’s Day. All references as hyperlink, revised and reposted for Father’s Day June 21, 2020
God bless 🙏😇
Critique welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org