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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Section 2 Subsection 2
Deity Manifested in Flesh.
Until nearly 430 years after the typical confirmation of the covenant made with Abraham (Gen. 15), the Deity was known to His servants only by the name of AIL-Shaddai, the Strength of the Mighty Ones. But when the time had come to bring Israel out of Egypt, the Elohim of the Deity were sent to Moses to inform him, among other things, of a new name by which He was pleased to be known to His people. In answer, then, to the question, What is this name? The Deity said to Moses by His Elohim, "!hebrew! ehyeh asher ehyeh, I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE; and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, !hebrew! EHYEH hath sent me unto you. The Elohim said moreover to Moses, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, !hebrew! YAHWEH, Elohim of your fathers, Elohim of Abraham, Elohim of Isaac, and Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you. This is my name, !hebrew! leolahm for the hidden time, and this is my memorial, !hebrew! ledor dor for a generation of the race."
In the name and memorial thus revealed at the bush, the Deity declared that He would be a person, or persons, not then manifested. He announced to Moses, that HE was the Mighty Ones who had appeared as "three men" to Abraham, and as "a host" to Jacob; but that at a future period HE would manifest Himself in others, even in persons of the Adamic race. Hence, in view of this new manifestation, and to keep it constantly in remembrance, He imposed upon Himself the name of EHYEH, "I will be." And this name of the Deity was to retain its import in a certain time hidden in the future. The time when it shall
no longer be memorial is not yet arrived. It is to continue for the Olahm - for that epoch when "He who is, and who was, and who is coming," "shall come with the clouds, and every eye shall see him; and all the tribes of the earth shall wail before him" (Apoc. 1:7). When this terrible crisis is passed, the ascription of chap. 16:5, "Thou art righteous, O Lord, who art, and wast, and SHALT BE," will be anachronous, for it will be no longer "shall be" on earth, seeing that he will then be here, and "reigning on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously" (Isa. 24:23).
The word !hebrew! asher in the memorial is the relative pronoun who; and is both singular and plural, masculine and feminine. It stands, therefore, for a multitude as much as for one person. Yea, it is clear that a multitude was intended, by reference to the parallel text in Exod. vi. 7, where the Deity commanded Moses to say to Israel, "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you for Elohim; and ye shall know that I am YAHWEH your Elohim." The Elohim here indicated in the aggregate are "the generation of the race," in which the Deity will manifest Himself by "the Seven Spirits before the throne."
In regard to this term Ehyeh, etymologically and orthoepally, I may remark here, that it is the first person singular of the future tense of the verb !hebrew! hahyah, "to be, or become." It does not mean, and never did, what it is made to signify in the English Version, i.e., "I am." The Deity did not give himself this name; but, on the contrary, said, "My name is I WILL BE; and by this name I was not known to Abraham;" nor to any one else till He revealed it at the bush. Yet, it appears in the second chapter of Genesis, and in the history of Abraham; but this happens because of the compiler of those accounts - that is, Moses - being acquainted with this new name, and introducing it wherever it was appropriate.
The English versionists have suppressed the name of the Deity wherever in their opinion it was not specially emphatic, and have substituted for it Lord, which does not at all express the sense of the original. Where they have thought the name emphatic they have represented Ehyeh, in its subsequent form, by "Jehovah," which they have only introduced nine times; though the word !hebrew! YAHWEH occurs so often, that the citation of the texts occupies seven royal octave columns of nonpareil.
The form of the name which subsequently prevailed over !hebrew! Ehyeh, is !hebrew! pronounced Jehovah, according to the Masoretic pointing invented five hundred years after the time of Jesus. But all philologists and theologians are now agreed, that Jehovah is a spurious
pronunciation. It was devised by Jewish superstition, which did not permit an Israelite to pronounce this sacred name correctly. They have another word !hebrew! Adonai, "lord, ruler, sovereign." From this they took the signs or points, and attached them to !hebrew!, thereby giving to it the incorrect orthography, "Jehovah." All critics, however, are now agreed that the true pronunciation of the word is YAHWEH, which they predicate on the fact of the word used in Ex. 6:2, 3, being the old form of the third person, future tense. Yah is the same in a contracted form; and is used of the Deity upwards of fifty times; one of which exhorts us to "extol him by his name Yah."
YAHWEH or Yah, as a noun, and signifying "He who will be," is then the memorial name the Deity chooses to be known by among His people. It reminds them that HE will be manifested in a multitude and that, in that great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, which shall stand before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands (Apoc. 7:9) - in each and every one of them, "He will be the all things in all" (1 Cor. 15:28); or, as it is expressed in Eph. 4:6, "there is one Deity and Father of all, who is upon all and through all, and in you all."
The Deity, then, in a multitude is a conspicuous element of apostolic, as well as of Old Testament teaching. It is not "One God in three Gods," and "Three Gods in One;" but one Deity in a countless multitude revealed in the memorial name, and expounded in the mystery of godliness. The knowledge of this mystery was lost sight of by the Babel-builders of the third and fourth centuries; who, as a substitute, invented the Athanasian conceit of three persons in the Divine Essence, coeternal and coequal. They bound up the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, into one person, or body; and called the fiction "the Triune God." They did not perceive that the Deity was but one person, and one substance, peculiar to himself. One Deity and not three; that Holy Spirit is an emanation from His substance, intensely radiant and all pervading; and that, when focalized under the fiat of His will, things and persons without limit, as to number or nature, are produced.
This multitudinous manifestation of the one Deity - one in many, and many in one, by His spirit - was proclaimed to the Hebrew nation in the formula of Deut. 6:4, "Hear, O lsrael, YAHWEH our ELOHIM is the ONE YAHWEH;" that is, "He who shall be our Mighty Ones is the One who shall be." Certain Mighty Ones are promised to Israel - pastors according to YAHWEH's heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding; - they will be spirit, because "that
which is born of the spirit is spirit." He, the Spirit, the AIL, or Power of the universe, self-styled YAHWEH, is their Divine Father. His nature will be theirs; so that they will be consubstantial with Him, as all children are consubstantial with their parents. The Deity will then be manifested in the Sons of Deity; He in them, and they in Him, by the one spirit. And this company of sons, led to glory by the captain of their salvation, is "the ONE who shall be," or "the ONE YAHWEH."
Of these sons, or Elohim, One is "the Firstborn" - "the child born, and the son given" (Isa. 9:6). He is Eloah in chief, "the Head of the Body;" in whom it pleased the Father that all the fulness should dwell, that among all He might have the preeminence.
This ELOAH is the great theme of prophecy. His manifestation was predicted in the promise of the Woman's Seed (Gen. 3:15) in Isaac (ch. 21:12); of the royal Shiloh from Judah (ch. 49:10) of the sceptred Star out of Jacob (Numb. 24:17); of the Divine Son assured to David (2 Sam. 7:14), born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) and to rule upon his throne (Isa. 9:6, 7). In these testimonies it was revealed, that he should be both Son of man and Son of Deity. How this could be otherwise than is related in the New Testament would be impossible to devise. "Is there an Eloah without me?" saith the Spirit: "Yea, there is no Rock; I know none" (Isai. 44:8). The manifestation therefore, must be by the spirit of the Deity, or not at all. The time of manifestation was appointed and placed on record in Dan. 9:25; and "when the fulness of the time was come, the Deity sent forth his son, made of a woman;" begotten, not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the Deity; by holy spirit coming upon her, and power of the Highest enveloping her; therefore also the holy thing she bore was called a Son of Deity, and named JESUS (Luke 1:35, 31).
Thus, "the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us," says John, "and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth;" for "the law was given through Moses; the grace and the truth came through Jesus Anointed" (John 1:14, 17). Now, "Theos was the Logos," says John; that is, Deity was the Word; and this Word became flesh in the manner testified. Was the product, therefore, not Deity? Did the unions of spirit with flesh annihilate that spirit, and leave only flesh? Was the holy thing born a mere son of Adam? or "the fellow" and "equal" of the Deity? (Zech. 13:7; John 5:18 Phil. 2:6). The latter unquestionably.
After this manner, then, THE ETERNAL POWER, or Yahweh, became flesh; and commenced the initiation of His promise, that He would be
to Israel for Elohim. The chief Eloah was now born; and, as the STAR OF JACOB cradled in a manger, received the homage of the wise, and the acclamation of the heavenly host. This babe was the "body made in secret" through which "THE ETERNAL SPIRIT," when it should attain to "the fulness of the times," designed to manifest himself. That time had arrived when "Jesus began to be about thirty years of age." He was now to be "sent forth;" "being made under the law, that them under law he might purchase from it, that we might obtain THE SONSHIP" (Gal. 4:5). His sending forth was subsequently to his immersion, and preceded by his anointing with holy spirit. Though born of "YAHWEH's Handmaid" six months after John the Immerser, John said of him, "after me cometh a man who hath been preferred to me; for he was before me." Isaiah styles him YAHWEH and Elohim, in his prophecy concerning John as "The Voice" that was to herald his manifestation; saying, "Prepare ye the way of YAHWEH, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim" (40:3). The Father was one Eloah, and Jesus was another; so that in this unity were developed two, who, in the Hebrew plural, are termed Elohim. Here, then, was a practical illustration of the phrase, so often occurring in the scriptures of the prophets, "YAHWEH Elohim," most incorrectly rendered in the English Version, "LORD God." Based upon this combination of holy spirit and flesh, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "I say unto thee, WE speak what WE do know, and testify what WE have seen; and ye receive not OUR Witness". Here was plural manifestation IN UNITY. This is abundantly evinced in all the New Testament. Hence, on another occasion, Jesus said to the Jews, "I and the Father are one" one what? We are, in the words of Moses, "ONE YAHWEH." The Jews, who "judged after the flesh," were indignant at this, and attempted to stone him for blasphemy; saying that, "because being a man, he made himself Deity." But Jesus rebuked the charge of blasphemy with an argumentum ad homines which was unanswerable. "Is it not written in your law, I said ye are Elohim, and Sons of the Highest, all of you? (Ps. 82:6). If He (the Deity) called them ELOHIM to whom the word of the Deity came, (that is, to their fathers), and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, 'Thou blasphemest' because I said, I am Son of the Deity? - Know that the Father is in me, and I in him:" - and that "he who hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 10:30-33; 14:9).
Such discourse as this was an impenetrable enigma to the Jews. They did not recognize that "the words they heard were spirit" (John 6:63). They judged after the flesh (ch. 8:15), and therefore imagined
that his words were flesh; that is, the mere utterances of the thinking of the flesh. But he told them that this was not so; for he said, "My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me;" and John also testified that "he whom the Deity had sent, spake the words of the Deity," as Moses had predicted in Deut. 18:18, concerning the Christ, saying, "I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall be, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which HE shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." And so when the Word became flesh, the Word-Flesh recalled attention to what Moses had written and said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words * * * the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak" (John 12:48, 49), "the words of eternal life."
The words, then, that came out of the mouth of Jesus, are to be received as the direct teaching of the Eternal Spirit, and to be interpreted of him. When, therefore, the utterance saluted the ears of the disciples, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father," the Eternal Spirit was communing with them from upon the Mercy-Seat, from between two of the Cherubim upon the Ark of Testimony (Ex. 25:22). He was speaking of himself, and not of the flesh which he had anointed. That flesh was the caphporeth, coverlid, or propitiatory, to be sprinkled with blood, as the result of the condemnation of sin unto death in the flesh (Rom. 8:3). It was the Veil, which, in regard to the Elohim, Jesus and his Brethren, divides their present and future states. It was the veil rent in twain bv the stroke of death, in which the ETERNAL ELOAH "forsook" the Eloah Jesus; and they continued "twain" until his post-resurrectional ascent to the Father (John 20:17).
Such was "the Faithful Witness," as he was before he was "perfected" on the third day (Luke 13:32). He came into the world to bear witness to the truth that he is King of Israel; to this he was faithful unto death by crucifixion; in which be bare in his own body the sins of all who through him become the Elohim of Israel, whether by nature Jews or Gentiles (1 Pet. 2:24). When these come to know the Deity, and to believe His promises with honest and good-heartedness, as initiated in Jesus, and to do His commandments, they obtain participation in "THE SONSHIP," and become, even in this present state, Elohim, or sons of the Deity. In view of this moral manifestation of Deity in flesh, termed by Peter the Divine Nature, one of these Elohim, in writing to others of them, says, "Behold what great-love
the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of Deity. Because the world knew him not, therefore it doth not know us. Beloved, we are now children of Deity; but it hath not yet appeared what we shall be: nevertheless, we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every one having this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure" (1 John 3:1). "We are now children of Deity." He is manifested in them through the truth affectionately and righteously believed. If "the truth as it is in Jesus" be in men thus, Christ, who is the truth, is in them; the spirit of Christ is in them; for "the spirit is the truth" (1 John 5:6): which comprehends the exceeding great and precious promises given to us, that by these heartily believed, they may be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE (2 Pet. 1:2-4).
From the premises before us, I presume that the reader will have perceived the development of "A NAME" - a name of Deity. The name is a divine manifestation. The Eternal Increate manifested in Jesus by holy spirit. This manifestation is expressed in the formula of "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). This is the name which is above every name; and embraces everything attributable to the Father and the Son. To become an Eloah, a believer of the right stamp must be immersed into this name. He will then be "in the name;" and consequently, "in Deity the Father and the Lord Jesus Anointed." A multitude may be in this name contemporaneously. They in Deity, and Deity in them, by faith and obedience. Thus, the name which comprehended only two in the beginning, becomes "a great multitude which no man can number." And in reference to these, Jesus, in the days of his flesh, said to his Father, "I have manifested thy Name unto the men (the apostles) which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. I have given unto them the words that thou gavest me, and they have received them. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou hast given me, that they may be ONE even as we. Sanctify them in thy truth; thy word is truth. I pray for them also who shall believe through their word into me; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, that they also may be ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE" (John 17:6-23).
In conclusion, then, under this caption the following recapitulation
of the points developed in the testimony in regard to this great mystery of godliness, which is the basis of the Apocalypse, may be useful as a remembrancer:
1. There is one ETERNAL UNCREATED SUBSTANCE, which is essentially power, incorruptibility, and life, dwelling invisibly in unapproachable light; and known before the days of Moses by the name of AIL-Shaddai, "the Strength of the Mighty Ones;" and from His interview with the Angel at the Bush, by that of YAHWEH, or Yah, "He who will be."
2. This ETERNAL POWER is the Logos, or Word, which is identical with Theos, or DEITY, glowing in light. SPIRIT substantial and corporeal.
3. From Deity, as the centre of the universe, is intensely radiated spirit or power; which is all-pervading, and fills immensity, and styled "Free Spirit" - the ocean of life, "in which we live, and move, and have being." So that Deity is not far from every one of His creatures.
4. All things are "out of Deity." Spirit, by the fiat of His will, becomes substance, both organic and inorganic; and the former, instinctive, or divinely intelligent.
5. The Deity is wisdom as well as Power. Hence the Divine Nature is a moral nature as well as substantial; so that His moral attributes are constituents of His glory, equally with those of His substance, in its essentiality and power.
6. JESUS OF NAZARETH, in the days of his flesh, was the reflection of the Moral Attributes of the Deity; as likewise are all his brethren who walk in his steps.
7. Since his ascension, he is consubstantial with Deity; i.e., the peculiar nature he now has is identical with the original substance of the Eternal Power, between which and his own this sole difference obtains; namely, that the substance of Jesus as it is, was created by the Deity out of His own free spirit - whereas His own substance was derived from no antecedent power or creator.
8. Jesus is the Chief-Begotten Eloah of AIL; and, when sealed with holy spirit at his immersion in Jordan, the Deity manifested himself in him by the truth he spoke and the wonders he performed.
9. In this manifestation the development of the Memorial Name was initiated. The ONE had become Two; and YAHWEH Elohim, in relation to the human race, had become a fact. But,
10. The manifestation of the Name is only initiated, not completed,
in the person of Jesus Christ. The manifestation of Deity in flesh, by holy spirit or truth, is amplified in the characters of the true believers among men, who are "partakers of the Divine Nature" in its moral constitution, as the earnest of their future participation in the Divine Substance, when they shall be as Jesus is now.
11. All the true believers who have been immersed into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit - not three names, but the One Name of the DIVINE MANIFESTATION - are a manifold unit - One in many, and many in one. They are "the one who shall be" - the Yahweh echad, the One Jehovah, not yet perfected and glorified; but when so, to be "King over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9; Apoc. 5:10).
But, in order to reach these things fully, as they are "indicated by sign" in the Apocalypse, I must request the reader's particular attention to the third division of this great mystery of godliness, or Deity manifested in spirit.