He Came Down From Heaven

He Came Down From Heaven

“He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony”. The Apostle John. 

In the above passage, John says there are two ways of seeing.  There is an earthly way and there is a heavenly way.  The earthly way views everything from the bottom up.  It begins with man and ends with man; man is the sum of all things.  From this point of view man begins with his own thinking, and in this, he creates his own world, a world filled with illusions.  He creates his religions, his science and his philosophy.  Then he falls down and worships them and in turn, looks to them for his salvation.

The other way of looking at things is the heavenly.  This point of view looks at everything from the top down and begins with the Wholly Other.  However, the problem is how can a human start with God?  It is obvious that he cannot.  The initiative must be of God.  God must make Himself known to man.  But how?  In the above words of Jesus, we hear him claiming to be that initiative.  In other words, God through and in Christ entered space and time to show us Gods viewpoint and to reveal the truth about God.  “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

This helps us to understand religion and revelation.  Religion is man trying to find God from the bottom up, revelation is God revealing himself from the top down.  In making this statement, I am not saying that man by his own effort cannot know anything about God, to the contrary man is a powerful being and a most remarkable creature that can and does create worlds and gods in his mind.

It also obvious, that God has given clues to his existence and his nature.  He gives these clues that men might seek him and find him (Acts 17:24-28).  However, man must interpret the clues and it is here where the problem begins, for in the deciphering of the clues, the divine often gets mixed with the human.  Only the Spirit of Truth can then separate the human from the divine (Heb.4:12).

This helps us to understand Scripture.  Scripture is both human and divine.  It is written by men, wishing to communicate God’s point of view to humanity.  However, they must use the medium of human language.  So, in Scripture, you have both a divine element and a human element.  You might say that God’s Spirit hides in the words of Scripture and is revealed and released by faith.

This may help us to understand the Old Testament God.  He revealed himself as the true God, the great “I Am” but the people viewed him and interpreted him from an earthly or human point of view.  Therefore, they saw him as a tribal God committed only to Israel and hating all other nations.  When in fact he wanted to use them to be a blessing to the other nations (Gen. 12:1-3). If the Old Testament Scripture could have given us a complete or even adequate view of God, there would have been no need for the Logos to take up flesh and give the Spirit to reveal the Father.  This is why John tells us that, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17-18).

 

The Old Testament scripture was given as a mediator[1] between God and the Hebrews, and like most mediators, they both enlighten and darkened the thing they mediate.  The reason for this is that people tend to view or focus on the mediator instead of the thing which the mediator points too.  An old seer once said, “When a prophet points at the moon most people look at his thumb”. However, there is one mediator (Christ) who truly mediates the complete and full image of God, i.e. as much as humans can understand while in the flesh.  Of course, while in the flesh we look at everything as through a veil (1 Cor. 13:12).

How are Christians to view the Old Testament Scriptures?  Well, the New Testament tells us.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy “that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:14-17).  The purpose of Scripture here is clear, it is to impart the wisdom of God for righteous living that leads to salvation and eternal life.

When a Christian views the Old  Testament scriptures they should view them in faith and in the light of the words of Jesus and the Spirit of Christ, for He is the fulfillment of both the law and the prophet which in turn bear witness to him.  We also need to remember that as God was hidden in Jesus of Nazareth, so is He hid in scriptures to a larger degree.  As said above, in Jesus the Christ we see both the human and the divine.  However, for those who do not have the eyes to see the divine, he is veiled or hidden in his humanity.  The same is true of scripture, without faith a person will not see the divine in scripture.  Therefore, to the person without the Spirit, the scriptures are veiled and represent nothing more than a dead letter.

In Christ, the redemptive purpose of scripture is completed.  On the cross, Jesus said of the old covenant it is “finished” in the death of Christ the old covenant was fulfilled,[2] the shadow had become reality in the person of Jesus Christ.  In Jesus of Nazareth, you see a man of flesh and blood in all of its weakness.  Yet, in his Spirit, he was the power of God.  So, it is the same with the scriptures, in the written word we see all the weakness of any written word, but on a different level, the spiritual, it is the bearer of the Spirit and the power of God.  One proof of this is that all true Christians find that when they read and study scripture there is a ring of truth there that inspires them and stirs their spirits to be more like Jesus.

In Jesus, the Christ, the Word of God became flesh and blood (He came down from heaven) and it is to that Word (Logos) that we, and scripture, bear witness to.  In fact, all those who have the Spirit are truly becoming living scripture as their Lord was while in the flesh (2 Cor. 3:1-18).

[1] Gal 3:18,19

[2] Heb 10:9-10 “then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. “He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”. NKJV