Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 57
The Godhead Revealed
I John 4:11 – 5:1
My goodness! We’ve got the room just about full as we’re ready to tape four lessons this afternoon, and we’ve got folks here from Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco, and points in between, I guess.
I keep emphasizing, even to our phone callers, that I am not associated with any one group. I’m not going to let anyone start putting peer pressure on me, and I told someone yesterday that “I only report to one Person and that’s the Lord Himself.” And I accept that responsibility and I know that whenever we open the Scripture it is a tremendous responsibility and I never make light of that whatsoever.
So again for those of you out in television, we just want to thank you for your prayers and for your letters! And when we say that we read every letter, we’re not kidding. It’s starting to take a little more time but we still do. And for that reason we do appreciate short letters. But, my, how many times people will write to tell us that now, for the first time in their life, they know that, when they die – they will go to Heaven. And that, of course, is the main reason we’re here. And the second biggest part is that they’re learning to study the Word, on their own. It’s not what Les Feldick says, but what the Book says, and just as important, what it doesn’t say. Now let’s study the Word, and we’ll begin in I John 4:11 where we left off in the last lesson.
I John 4:11
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Now the first thing that verse should remind you of is that John is writing this little epistle and what famous verse in his Gospel says almost the same thing? Well, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world.” Of course He did. And that’s the very crux of the matter when we study the crucifixion and so forth. It was driven by His love for lost mankind. All right, so I don’t think I have to comment much on that.
But verse 12, I imagine, has hit people between the eyes and they can’t figure this one out. And what does it say?
I John 4:12a
“No man hath seen God at any time….” Now is that what the Bible always says? No. Let me show you a verse. Now this is what I call, Bible study. This is what I love to do. Let’s go all the way back to Genesis, and now that would have to be in about chapter 32. Here, Jacob is coming back from his years with his uncle Laban and he’s just entered back into the land of Canaan and he’s spent the night wrestling with a stranger. And you know the story.
“And he (the stranger) said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29. And Jacob asked him, (that is this stranger now that’s been wrestling with him all night long) and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he (the stranger) blessed him there. 30. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: (and it’s capitalized) for I have seen (Who?) God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Well now does the Scripture contradict? Never! But it sounds like it doesn’t it? John says, “no man has seen God at any time.’’ Jacob says, “I have seen Him face to face.” Well now you’ve got to stop and think of all the times in Scripture that mankind did see God face to face. For example, do you think Adam and Eve walked with an invisible ghost in the Garden? Is that what you think? Well, of course not. They walked with a human form. Now then jump on up past even Jacob’s experience. I’m going to bring you up to Exodus chapter 3. And now we’re with Moses, and the burning bush episode. I know some of these things confuse people simply because they will not check out the Scripture, because the answers are here.
I’ve even skipped over Genesis 18, where Abraham, you remember, killed the fatted calf. Remember the three strangers that came down the path and he ran and killed the fatted calf and the three sat down and they ate. Two of them were angels. They went on down to Sodom and the third one stayed behind and conversed with Abraham. Who was it? It was God. All right, now here we’ve got the same Person of the Godhead – now I let the cat out of the bag, didn’t I? It’s a certain Person of the Godhead, the same that wrestled with Jacob, see?Now let’s look at the burning bush.
“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. (now watch the language in your Bible) 4. And when the LORD….” Capital LORD. And the LORD in the Old Testament economy is Jehovah. And Jehovah is, in the Old Testament, Christ. See?
” And when the LORD (Jehovah, – Christ, The Son, in the Old Testament) saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” Now I want you to watch the back and forth terms of Deity in this chapter because it is such a mind-boggling thing. We’ve already got Him called God and LORD, out of the burning bush. All right, verse 5.
“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6. Moreover he said, (that is out of the burning bush) I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob….” Are you convinced now He’s God? Well you’d better be! This burning bush voice is God!
“…And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Now I don’t think he just saw a flame, I think he saw a Person in that burning bush. All right, then “He hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God.” Not upon the fire, “upon God.” Now verse 7, this same person called God in verse 6 is now the LORD in verse 7.
“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt,.…”
Now I don’t have to come through all of this as you know the account. All I’m showing you is the use of the terms of Deity. All right, so now you come all the way down to verse 11 and it’s still the same language.
“And Moses said unto to God,….” The very God that John says, “No man has ever seen.” And I think there’s another Scripture where it puts it even more strongly that “no man hath ever seen God and lived.” But, here we have Moses looking straight into the face of God.
“And Moses says unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12. And he said, (that is, God from the burning bush says) Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13. And Moses said unto (Who?) God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” Now that’s an important facet all through Scripture. And we’re going to be seeing it even now in the verses to come in I John. The name. My, that meant everything. “What’s his name? Who is he?”
“And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” That’s the name of our God; He’s the great I AM. But He’s also called LORD. Now before we go back to the New Testament, I want to back up a moment to Genesis chapters 1 and 2. And again, we’re just going to skim, just to show you the terminology. Genesis chapter 1, all the way through here the term is “God.” All right, let’s go all the way back to verse 1.
“In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” But now you see in the original Hebrew, the term here for God is what? Elohim. And Elohim is a plural Hebrew word. Not singular. It’s plural. In fact, whenever you’re reading your Old Testament and it speaks of pagan gods, plural, what do you suppose the word is? Well it’s elohim, but in small letters; e-l-o-h-i-m is translated gods, plural, small ‘g’. But with a capitalization Elohim is “God” in a plurality.
Now keep that up there in your brain for a little bit. Elohim in Genesis 1:1 is a plurality God. A God in three Persons. All right, and we find that all the way through chapter 1. But, now when you come into chapter 2 and you come down to verse 4, for the first time you’ve got a change in that term. It’s not just God, it’s what? “LORD God.” Now what are we talking about? We’re talking about the I AM God. We’re talking about the Jehovah God. Now Who in the world is the I AM God? Who is the Jehovah God? Who is capital LORD of the Old Testament?
Well for that answer, let’s now jump up to John’s Gospel, chapter 8. I hope I’m still holding this all together. Here we have Jesus in His earthly ministry. And He’s being confronted by the Pharisees. They’re accusing Him of everything but the truth. They’re accusing Him of being a demon, primarily. Now we’re going to take this very slowly if I can. I have a hard time going slow. But, I’m going to try. I want you to see now how that all of this fits without contradiction. There’s no contradiction even though it sounds like it.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. (demon) Abraham is dead, and the prophets; (they’re dead.) and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art you greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55. Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
Now again, I think you can go right back to one I alluded to back in Genesis 18 where the three men came down the path and Abraham ran with hospitality and killed the fatted calf and served up a beef supper. Two of them were angels and went on to Sodom, but one was the LORD, and so he conversed with Him. You know the conversation – if there’s fifty in Sodom will you spare it? Yes, if there’s fifty. If there’s forty? Thirty? Twenty? You know the conversation and then it says the LORD went up from him.
All right, now I’m sure that this is one of the times that Jesus is referring to. Yes Abraham knew Who I am. Abraham conversed with me. Verse 57.
“Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, (Abraham’s two thousand years ago) and hast thou seen Abraham?” Now look at Jesus’ answer. And this is the crux of the whole matter.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, (what?) I Am.’” He’s the Eternal I AM. Abraham, two thousand years back was just nothing but an eyelash flick so far as Christ was concerned.
All right, so what have we got in all this? Now I guess the best way is to put it on the board like we did years ago, I think, in some of our earlier programs – and that is, I like to use a circle. And this is the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now let’s use Scripture. Go back with me to Acts chapter 2 verse 22. Now I imagine some of you are wondering what this has got to do with all this? Well hopefully, we can pull it all together.
“Ye men of Israel, (now this is Peter speaking on the Day of Pentecost) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, (that’s His name. Don’t forget that) a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:” Who did it? God did. See that? God did. But it was Jesus of Nazareth Who performed it. Right? Now look at verse 23.
“Him, (this Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered (that is up for crucifixion) by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
All right, now while you’re in Acts anyway, go on ahead a little bit to Colossians chapter 2, and again we have to read verse 8 in order to understand fully verse 9. Colossians chapter 2 verse 8, where Paul gives the warning:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (that’s the word we have to get. “Christ.”) 9. For in him (Who? Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the (what?) Godhead bodily.” Now what’s the Godhead? Well, my circle here on the board. Here’s the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That’s God! Back in Genesis 1:1 that’s Elohim. That’s the composite of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
All right, now according to Acts the Godhead counseled and agreed that they would bring about creation. Now you’ve got to remember that before something was created, there was what? Nothing. Just God. And then when the Creator began, of course, that puts things in motion. All right, so when the Godhead agreed that they would bring about creation, in that agreement to create and set everything in motion was already the Plan of Redemption, the cross. That’s what Peter is saying, that according to the foreknowledge of God, He went to the cross. God wasn’t caught by surprise. It was all predetermined.
So what we have to understand then is that when the Triune Godhead decided to set things in motion, it was delegated to the Son. And He then, became the One Who actually called in Creation. He became the Creator, even though the whole Godhead is involved. The Holy Spirit was there. The Father’s involved. But the Son is the One Who steps out of that Invisible Godhead and becomes visible. And that’s why I can show you all these verses where the LORD appeared to these various people and then, of course, miracle of miracles, He appeared at Bethlehem, born of the virgin Mary. All the same Person of the Godhead, see?
And now I’m going to take you to a verse back in I Corinthians chapter 15, and we’re talking about this same Person of the Godhead. I’m always using this chapter to show the Gospel of our salvation with these first four verses. And we’ll just look at all of them. We’ve got time enough. I’m getting so close to the end of the New Testament anyway, I might as well slow down a little, because I won’t know where to go next. But, whatever, we’re going to keep producing these lessons. People are getting a little worried – what am I going to do now when we get past Jude and Revelation? Well, we hope the Lord comes before then, but if not, we’re going to find someplace. We’re going to stay on the air. Don’t worry about that.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein you stand; 2. By which (that is this Gospel of salvation)also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (now here comes the Gospel of salvation we must believe in our hearts for us today) 3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
All right, now here’s the part I wanted you to see that connects with what we’ve been looking at. It’s the Son Who stepped out of that invisible Godhead and became visible.
I Corinthians 15:5
“And that he was seen of Cephas, (Peter, after the resurrection) then of the twelve:” In other words, the whole group of the disciples, not counting Judas.
I Corinthians 15:6
“After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.” (died) In other words, Paul is writing this probably around AD 58 – 59, which means that most of those people who witnessed the resurrection were now getting up in years but they were still living. It was still in their lifetime. And so Paul says, most of these people who saw His resurrected body, most of them were still living, “But some (of course) have died.” Then verse 7.
I Corinthians 15:7-8
“After that, he was seen of James; (the one who writes the letter of James at the back of our New Testament) then of all the apostles. 8. And last of all he was seen of me (Paul) also, as one born out of due time.”
All right, so what am I trying to show? That it was the Son – stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became visible. I think we’ve got just enough time, so turn quickly to Colossians chapter 1, and let’s drop down to verse 15, where the pronoun “Who” of course is modified by the word “Son” up in verse 13, so we’re speaking of the Son again. Christ. Jesus of Nazareth.
“Who is the image (something that you can see and touch) of the (what?) invisible God,.…” See? He is the image of this invisible Godhead, Elohim, of which John was speaking back here in verse 11 that “no man has seen.” No man has ever seen the Godhead. Nobody. But when God the Son steps out of that Godhead – now read on here.
“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:” (that is Christ) Now drop on down to 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;”