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on high after purging our sins, is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person. Now inasmuch as Christ is a tangible and material and immortal image, and he is the express image of the Father's person, it logically follows that the Father is a tangible and material personage also, and as the Son of God has flesh and bones, it also follows that the Father has flesh and bones likewise, for the Son is like the Father of whom he is begotten, as it is written in the second Psalm, “ Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” And again, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (I Chron. 17:13; Heb. 1:5), and to this agree the words of John in his first epistle (1:1-3) where he says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you."
John was one of the twelve witnesses chosen by the Lord himself, as we have already shown, to be witnesses of his resurrection, but there was a secret about the resurrection of Christ which did not appear in the resurrection of Lazarus and others during the ministry of Christ and his apostles. They were simply restored again to ordinary existence, to live out their days, and then go again the way of all the earth; but not so Christ, he was raised again immortal to die no more. “Death," says Paul, “ hath no more dominion over him."
This is what Paul referred to when he said in his letter to the Philippians, “ That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” The kind of resurrection that Paul wished to attain to is what Jesus calls “the resurrection of life." Paul wished to feel in his own person the same power that was manifested in the body of Christ when he was raised from the dead, of which he speaks again in his letter to the Ephesians as follows (1:19), " And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."
Therefore, when the apostles examined, looked upon, and handled the person of the Lord Jesus Christ after his resurrection, they enjoyed the great honor of seeing and handling the immortal body of a person who dies no more, but who will live throughout all future ages, who lives now, and who has lived already more than eighteen centuries. This was a privilege and an honor which God had never before conferred upon mortal man since the creation of the world. Moreover, in examining the person of Christ they saw a sample of the kind of body that the righteous will have in the resurrection, as Jesus said to the Sadducees (Luke 20:35-36), “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels ”; or as Mark says (12: 25), “are as the angels which are in heaven." This also is proof positive that angels have Aesh and bones, bodies and parts, and are therefore material persons, the same as Christ is, and the saints will be.
Again note particularly what John says in his first epistle (1:2), “For the life was manifested and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto
you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us."
Now here the story is plainly told. The life of the Father himself was manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore it follows that as Christ in this manifestation is the express image of the Father's person, and as eternal life in Christ was manifested in a tangible, material body of flesh and bones, there is no escape from the conclusion that the Father himself is a tangible, material person, having flesh and bones in which eternal life has always dwelt, and which is the original and inexhaustible fountain of life and immortality, and from which all life is derived. For Paul says, "God only hath immortality," and he offers of this which he has himself, to all those who seek for it earnestly, but only in the way appointed, and therefore Jesus says, “As the living Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” And the Son says to his disciples, “Because I live, ye shall live also."
A son must of necessity be like his father; If the son is material and hath flesh and bones, the father must needs have the same. Therefore, if the teachers in the churches hold and teach that the Father is a spirit without body and parts, they must reduce the Son to a spirit without body and parts also. But if they allow that the Son has flesh and bones, and is material, they must allow that the Father has the same, or he is not his father. And here again the folly and inconsistency of this essential doctrine appears, for they say: first, that the Father is immaterial and intangible; second, that angels are immortal; third, that the immortal souls of the righteous which have gone to heaven by millions are all immaterial; when lo, and behold, in comes a person, a tangible and material person, who actually has flesh and bones, who appears there also at his Father's command, as it is written in the hundred and tenth Psalm, saying, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.” This person, who is Christ Jesus the Lord, took special pains after his resurrection from the dead to show to his apostles that he was really a substantial and material person by submitting his body to the inspection and examination of these men, and by eating and drinking in their pres
He enters heaven to sit down at his Father's right hand when the strange spectacle presents itself, that he is really the only material person there, and the very singular dilemma appears of a material son sitting down at the right hand of an immaterial father. And we may ask, How are these modern teachers going to reconcile this discordant state of things? Why very easily; they, like their ancient representatives who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, simply put Christ into their theological crucible and turn him out an immaterial person, as well as all the rest. For many of them do actually hold and teach, notwithstanding all that Jesus did to show to his apostles that he had flesh and bones, that this was only apparent and not real, that he appeared to eat and drink, but really did not. And moreover the three angels who accepted Abraham's hospitality, and ate and drank at his table; did not really eat and drink of the things that Abraham provided for them, but only appeared to do so. Thus do these successors of the opposers of Christ and his apostles, like their ancient representatives, make void the word of God and convert the word of God into a lie, and deceive themselves and all others who follow after them, by their traditions.
GOD IS A SPIRIT” But, say these disputers, Did not Jesus say to the woman of Samaria at the well, “God is a spirit”? Most certainly he did, and what is the meaning of that? Why, we and our learned divines and doctors of divinity interpret that to mean the very opposite of what you are trying to establish. We understand it to teach that God is not a corporeal and material being, but on the contrary that he is incorporeal and immaterial; that he is a "pure spirit divine essence.” Very well, now let us see how that will apply, and work.
Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, " The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him," and then he gives the reason why men should worship him in spirit and in truth, saying, “ God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4: 23-24).
Now take the clerical interpretation of the saying that God is a spirit, and what is there in that idea to call for true worship? Is an essence, or anything that is very fine and thin and as far removed as possible from any thing that is material, any more entitled to be worshipped than something that is material? Is the electric fluid on account of its fineness and universal diffusion throughout the earth, the atmosphere and the clouds of heaven, any more entitled to be worshipped than the solid and material substances of the earth, such as gold, silver, brass, iron or lead? Is the air which surrounds the earth any more entitled to be worshipped than the waters of the seas and oceans, because of its greater fineness and rarity ? Most certainly not, and therefore the interpretation of the saying of Jesus, that God is a spirit, as given by the clergy of these and other times, is necessarily false and delusive, as must be apparent, even to the mind of a child.
What then is the true meaning that Jesus intended to convey by the statement that God is a spirit —"and they that worship him therefore worship him in spirit and in truth”? We reply, The subject under consideration at the well was the question of salvation, and the kind of worship that would be acceptable to God from his creatures, and therefore the obvious meaning is, that God himself is spiritual, pure and holy, and as Moses also savs, “A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4); and Peter says, “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15-16). Again it is said in the Revelation (4:8), “The four beasts rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Again it is said of them who stand upon the sea of glass, " And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints, Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest" (15:3-4).
These are the reasons why we should worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and therefore the question as to whether God is material or immaterial is not involved in the saying of Christ to the woman at all. For if Christ taught by these words what they say he did, that would disqualify himself
to be an object of worship, for he is material. Christ is a Spirit, called by Paul, “ The Lord — the Spirit" (II Cor. 3:17-18). Again he is called a quickening spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) because God has given him power to raise the dead, and quicken them into immortality. And Jesus himself said, the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will ” (John 5:21). Therefore it follows that both the Father and the Son are quickening spirits. Will the doctors of divinity now claim that Christ is incorporeal, because he is a spirit?
Angels are called spirits by Paul, for quoting the words of David in the hundred and fourth Psalm where it is written, “Who maketh his angels spirits," he adds (Heb. 1: 7-14), "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation?” They are employed of God in a holy and spiritual work, yet we have before proved that they are material beings.
Therefore when the natural man, whether he be a doctor of modern divinity, or otherwise, sets up an immaterial and divine essence in the chambers of his imagination and falls down and worships that, he is just as much an idolator as though he made a god of clay, wood, and stone and set it up in his house and fell down and worshipped that, for there are no immaterial gods, any more than there are gods of wood and stone.
The place where the Father dwells is called heaven, and therefore Israel was taught to pray, “ Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel ” (Deut. 26: 15). And again in the thirty-third Psalm it is said, “The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of
From the place of his habitation he looketh upon the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” A man therefore who is properly instructed in the Holy Scriptures, when he prays and says, “Our Father which art in heaven," has an object before his mind, the person of the Father himself, and at his right hand the Lord Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and man, who is also the express image of the Father's person. When in a vision, John was told to come up
hither that he might be shown things which were to be hereafter, he said, “And immediately I was in the spirit, and behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” And the person who sat upon the throne was the Lord God Almighty, which was and is, and is to come, as is afterwards said, “And the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created ” (Rev. 4:8-11). Thus to the Father, who sits on the throne is attributed the creation of all things, and they add, “For thy pleasure they are and were created."
THE OMNIPRESENCE OF THE FATHER
But while heaven is the Father's dwelling place, called his holy habitation, where his angels, which excel in strength, stand in his presence, that do his
commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word, and whom he sends to all parts of his vast dominions to execute his purposes (men like Gabriel, of whom Daniel says [9:21), “Yea while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning (chapter 8], being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation," and who centuries later appeared to Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, and said to him, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee, these glad tidings "), I say, while heaven is the Father's dwelling place, from whence he directs his great and mighty works, to make known the glorious majesty of his kingdom of which the Psalmist says (145), “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations,” yet by his spirit he fills the vast universe and is fully conversant with every thing that exists and every thing that transpires throughout his dominions.
Not a sparrow falls to the ground, said Jesus, without his notice; he brings forth the lily of the valley in such perfection and splendor that Jesus said again, “ Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Luke 12:27). Not a blade of grass and not a flower great or small of such as spring out of the ground in almost infinite numbers and varieties, even where the foot of man has never walked, and as the poet has said, “is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air,” — not a single one of these spring forth without the creative power and energy of the spirit of our Heavenly Father. Nor can men conceal themselves from God's all searching spirit and power, for the Lord himself says by the hand of the Prophet Jeremiah, "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord, Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (23:23).
Besides, as Paul said to the idolatrous Athenians (Acts 17:24-28), "God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needeth any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” . . . And is “not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being." We have a lease of life and breath in the present world, and if we ever receive an extension of it again, from the resurrection and forward to infinity, will depend entirely upon the fact that we are found worthy; that will never come as a matter of course, but on the contrary, we must comply with certain specific and well defined conditions that the Author of Life has himself submitted. If we neglect to do that, our life will be forfeited forever, and we will lose our life and perish. And if men think so little of eternal life that they will not employ the necessary means to secure it, they deserve to perish. If a man spends all his energies upon things of the present life, he must content himself with them, for he will get nothing more, for such a man proves himself to be on a level with the beasts while he lives, and he will be on a level with them in death.