WHAT IF IT MEANS WHAT IT SAYS?
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
WILL WE BELIEVE IT?
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW of those things IN HEAVEN, and those things ON EARTH, and those things UNDER THE EARTH, and that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” NKJV
My friend Chris Nijp often asked the question, “What if?” when introducing teaching that did not fit into the doctrines held by many Christians, including what he had previously taught. One day our Lord spoke the following to him, “SINS OF THE FATHERS“ (those who taught us). Doing things by example as we were taught, rather than checking them out for ourselves.” NONE of us has a perfect understanding of all Scripture, nor did those who have gone before us.
The truth it, we all have followed this path, either because we didn’t check Scripture, or because the “heavy hand” of doctrinal authority said that we MUST accept ONLY what had been TAUGHT BY THEM, and by THEIR METHOD OF INTERPRETATION. We need the spirit of the Berean church,”in that they received the word with all readiness, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY TO FIND OUT IF THESE THINGS WERE SO.”
In June 2000, the following thought came to me. “OUR THEOLOGY AFFECTS OUR VIEW OF GOD.” And, ”OUR VIEW OF GOD AFFECTS OUR THEOLOGY.“ That which we teach, preach, and speak comes from what we have been taught about our Heavenly Father. How we understand God does have a lot to do with how our spiritual walk is, AND our attitude toward others because of it. Methinks that the popular understanding of God, and His purposes is so infinitesimal, minute, tiny, and man centered. Our theology of God is so pagan.
A. W. Tozer wrote, “The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted it for one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men.” And, “With our loss of the sense of the majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and the consciousness of the divine Presence.”
Is our view of God a NEGATIVE view in which we see Him as One to be in constant dread of, or is it a POSITIVE view in which we rejoice in His mercy, love and grace? Even in those things that we perceive as evil, we know that He is the ultimate cause of all. How would we know good, if we did not know evil? If there was no evil, then how would we appreciate good? [Psalm 103:19, 115:3, Isaiah 45:6-7, Psalm 66]
Many of us live under the negative “Mount Sinai” [Hebrews 12:18-21], Old Covenant view of God. We have been called from it, YET, we still live under “The Law” and legalism, promoting terror to all who don’t accept our views. Our opinion of God is built around the pagan conception of hell adopted by the Jews while in Babylon. It strikes terror into the hearts our minds.
The theology many of us “Bible believing” Christians have is shocking! Our view is one of DEFEAT. We fear the devil, and a coming antichrist system. Our view seems to be that Satan defeated Jesus. This is no “lofty concept of God.” The cry of Jesus was, “It is finished!” [John 19:30] “FINISHED” from the Greek “TELEO,” means to bring to an end, complete, and to perfect.
Oswald Chambers said, about Psalm 2:4, “Satan is overcome not in a battle, but by the easy might of a power greater than his own coming upon him, and that power is none other than the Lord Himself. Every now and again when you look at life from a certain angle it seems as if evil and wrong and legalized iniquity are having it all their own way and you feel that everything must go to pieces; but it doesn’t, around it is the sovereignty of God, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.” Blessed be the Name of God, evil shall not ultimately triumph! Let evil do its worst, the arrogance of self-interested iniquity in all shapes and forms surge as it may, but “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” The Spirit of God shatters every power of the world, the flesh and the devil, every power of sin and domination of Satan.”
The “MOUNT ZION” view of God [Hebrews 12:19-24] is the NOW POSITION where we praise God for ALL that Christ is, and where He has NOW placed us. From this position we have a Father of love, a VICTORIOUS CHRIST, and the guarantee that all has been accomplished in Christ! His victory is absolute and complete.
Ponder the words of this great anthem of the church, by Edward Perronet. “All hail the power of Jesus name! Let angels prostate fall; Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all.” This is one of the most majestic and triumphant hymns that this writer knows. How many of us believed the words when we sang them, other than in a misty sort of way? Today many don=t know this hymn!
As a child I grew up singing a peppy version of, “HE IS LORD.” This created a sense of joy. During the time of the Charismatic move, it became a chorus of WORSHIP. The words are from Philippians 2:9-11, which in part is based on this quote from Isaiah 45:23-24. “AIl have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.”
It is enlightening to know that the Hebrew word for “OATH” is “SHABA.” The idea is to ”seven oneself.” The root Hebrew word for “seven” and ”swear” are the same. And, ”Seven” is always considered a perfect number. So the “oath” is one of PERFECTION.
In our Philippians 2:9-11 text, the word “CONFESS” is used in place of “OATH,” or “to swear.” Here it is from the Greek word “EXOMLOGEO,” meaning TO ACKNOWLEDGE, or to agree fully. The word comes from “HOMOLOGIA” which is confession by agreeing with the truth.
The TRUTH is, JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! The “OATH” or “CONFESSION” of Isaiah 45:23-24 is, “Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength.” There are no other gods, nor caesar, accepted as being LORD, for only ONE is LORD. Known under the Old Covenant as Yahweh, revealed as the LORD JESUS CHRIST to us.
Both Isaiah and Philippians use the word BOW. The phrase is, “every knee shall bow. The Williams New Testament puts it this way, “so that IN the name of Jesus everyone should kneel, in heaven, on earth, and in the underworld, and everyone should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the praise of God the Father.”
Williams used the word, “EVERYONE” in place of “every.” This is an excellent choice, as it gives the meaning of the Greek word “PAS” which means EVERY, ALL, etc. Now MOST of us believe that this is truth, BUT, we interpret the “ALL” as meaning that in the end God will, as it were, put His hob nailed boot on the neck of everyone who is unwilling and force them to admit that Jesus is Lord under duress.
The Greek word “BOW” is from the Greek word “KAMPTO.” Perhaps the best way to give it’s meaning is to quote part of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14, “For this reason I BOW MY KNEES to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He BOWED in PRAYER and WORSHIP. In Romans 11:4 Paul quotes 1 Kings 19:18, “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed [kampto] the knee to Baal.” Take note that this is in WORSHIP, not by force.
In Romans 14:11 Paul used the Greek word “KAMPTO” for BOW. “As I live says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” This verse again is based upon Isaiah 45:11.
Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” [CONFESS is from Greek HOMOLOGIO]
How does one confess the Lordship of Jesus? Certainly it is much more than repeating a few chosen words as often used in altar call prayers for salvation. Paul shed light upon this in 1 Corinthians 12:3b. “NO ONE CAN SAY THAT JESUS IS LORD EXCEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
In Matthew Sixteen, Jesus told Peter that he understood Jesus to be THE CHRIST because it had been REVEALED to him from THE FATHER in heaven. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We now must ask, “DO WE BELIEVE WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS? Do we believe Philippians 2:9-10 means what it says?” Or, are we still ruled by past teachings that magnify sin, and Satan, over Christ? Are we able to receive fresh understanding from God as He opens the Scriptures to us and reveals truth as we are able to receive it.
Certainly, IF we believe that ALL will willing bow in worship to God, and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ, there are many, many questions that require answers. The purpose of this brief writing is NOT to provide answers to the various meanings of the words used for HELL, or as used for terms such as ETERNAL and FOREVER.
This writer does not profess to know much about some of these questions, but rather emphasizes that KNOWING CHRIST is the important issue. It is time for us to see the end result from God=s viewpoint! The Creator, knowing the end from the beginning, did not make man with the idea of keeping but a few and letting the rest suffer endlessly. As someone has suggested, that would be immoral. It would be contradictory to His basic nature of love. In truth, we still “see through a glass darkly.”
Consider what 2 Corinthians 5:19 and of Colossians 1:19-20 say. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile ALL things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
For most of us our acceptance of these words is limited, by faith, or our theology. It is enough to say that the eternal purpose God had back before the foundation of the world, however zig-zag the pathway may seem to us, will be fulfilled! For, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those things in heaven, and those things on earth, and of those things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
In closing we ask again does, “OUR THEOLOGY AFFECT OUR VIEW OF GOD, or DOES OUR VIEW OF GOD [based on man’s traditions, etc] AFFECT OUR THEOLOGY?”
WHAT IF IT MEANS WHAT IT SAYS [Kenneth Greatorex] 1