The Light of the World

Visible light is a small portion of the mostly invisible electromagnetic spectrum that ranges from gamma rays with the shortest wavelength and highest frequency, followed in order by X rays, ultraviolet radiation, the rainbow colors of light from violet to red, infrared radiation, microwaves, and finally radio waves with the longest wavelength and lowest frequency. The same Doppler effect that changes a sound’s pitch (frequency) as vehicles travel toward or away from us also applies to light, so if super-fast spaceships with lights on them existed, their light could change color or disappear when leaving the visible spectrum. There are different manifestations of the same radiant energy that can change form by stretching or contracting wavelengths. Likewise, there are different manifestations of the same God that change in relation to how He interacts with us. He’s invisible when manifested as the Father or the Holy Ghost, whereas Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15) “manifest in the flesh” (I Tim. 3:16), much like light is a visible manifestation of energy that would otherwise be invisible.

“God is light” (I John 1:5) and Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12) who “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (I Cor. 4:5). It’s foolish to think what human senses can’t detect can’t be revealed. Your bones aren’t hidden from X-ray vision, what’s in the dark isn’t hidden from infrared vision, and absolutely nothing is hidden from God’s vision. With Him there is no barrier for what can be seen or heard (Luke 12:2,3). The walls of your home will no more prevent God from receiving your prayers than they would prevent an antenna in your home from receiving radio waves, which travel through wood like light travels through glass. Invisible energy’s ability to penetrate apparent barriers is analogous to God’s ability to penetrate the soul and spirit to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). He sees all (Heb. 4:13), day or night (Ps. 139:11,12; Dan. 2:22). That’s rarely considered, especially today when cameras are the main concern. What started as rays of light imprinting images on sheets coated with light-sensitive chemicals progressed to a point that people are in fear of always being watched. Though it’s a reasonable concern, sinners worried about cameras recording their bad behavior should be more worried about a God who’s always recording their behavior to confront them with at a later time.

Besides shining light on dark secrets, God will shine the light of His glory in the hearts of Christians through Jesus (II Cor. 4:6), who transfigured Himself in raiment “white as the light” (Matt. 17:2). God wears light as a garment (Ps. 104:2), a garment that is white (Dan. 7:9). It’s very interesting that God’s glory in visions has appeared as a rainbow (Ezk. 1:28; Rev. 4:3), a band of colors split apart from white light, which contains all visible wavelengths. Unlike mixing dyes or pigments to produce new colors by absorbing and subtracting wavelengths of light, mixing colored light rays combines their wavelengths, with white having the brightness of them all. So in contrast to the light-absorbing color black being no stimulation of the eye’s retina and symbolic of spiritual darkness (Jude 13), white is complete stimulation and is symbolic of spiritual purity (Dan. 12:10). Sinners can be made white through purging (Dan. 11:35), and the “God of our salvation [who can] purge away our sins” (Ps. 79:9) manifested Himself as Jesus, “the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of His Person [who] had by Himself purged our sins” (Heb. 1:3). As “the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9), Jesus read minds (Luke 5:22; 6:8; 11:17), answered prayers (John 14:14) and forgave sins (Mark 2:5). These are all attributes of God (Ps. 94:11; 84:8; Jer. 36:3).

Some people who claim to believe the Bible deny Jesus is God based on misunderstood Scripture that should be addressed. After being called “Good Master” (Matt. 19:16), Jesus replied, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Matt. 19:17) This was probably a test for the man to identify Jesus, who similarly tested Philip with a question he should have been able to answer (John 6:5,6). And Philip initially didn’t realize Jesus was his Father God in the flesh, for he asked Jesus to show him the Father (John 14:8). Jesus replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) When saying, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), Jesus meant His manifestation “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3) was lesser than His spiritual nature. He was still equal with God (Phil. 2:5,6), but set an example for us by becoming human and humbling Himself (Phil. 2:7,8). One day, however, Jesus will be exalted when every knee shall bow to Him (Phil. 2:10) and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:11). This is an honor reserved for God, who proclaimed, “There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside Me . . . for I am God, and there is none else…unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Isa. 45:21-23)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The New World Translation, used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, inaccurately translates the original Greek so that this verse ends with “the Word was a god.” Two words, with quite different meanings, should be in focus for an accurate translation. “God” is translated from “theos,” which means deity. And “Word” is translated from “logos,” which means a thought or idea, as well as the expression of a thought or idea. (“Theos” and “logos” were combined to make the word “theology,” the study of God.) The Word was made flesh (John 1:14), so that was God’s idea in the beginning. This idea that “was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9) took effect when it was manifested in the flesh (John 1:10). John 1:1 could have been translated, “In the beginning was the idea to become flesh, and idea was with God’s thoughts, and the idea was God manifested.” Now if “theos” and “logos” both meant deity, John 1:1 would absurdly say God was with Himself and was Himself, making the New World Translation seem to have it right. But it’s flawed, and no god exists beside God Almighty (Isa. 44:8).

Paul’s words can be twisted as John’s had. In Colossians 1:2 (and elsewhere) he mentioned “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Anyone who keeps reading knows “and” is not a distinction between God and Jesus. Paul next mentioned “God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col. 1:3), which was not a distinction between God and the Father. He also made no distinction between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), because Jesus was one Spirit in a body, just like Paul, who referred to his own body as a tabernacle of clothing for his spirit that he would leave when he died (II Cor. 5:1-4). It should be noted that the same Greek word translated as “tabernacle” here was also translated as “dwelt” in John 1:14, which says “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (“Tabernacled among us” would be a literal translation.) So just as Paul’s body was a shell for his spirit, Christ’s body was a shell for God’s Spirit, who left His body upon physical death (Luke 23:46), and was then reunited with it upon resurrection (Luke 24:1-7). Christians, too, will one day be resurrected in an incorruptible body in the likeness of Christ (Rom. 6:4,5; I Cor. 15:35-54), who could no longer die after being raised from the dead (Rom. 6:9). Christians will have a glorified body like His (Phil. 3:21).

God identified with humanity by becoming human and gave Christians many examples of what they could expect. Using the title “Son of Man,” Jesus frequently spoke of Himself in the third person, possibly to make the point that His body was merely a tool of His. He told His disciples “that the Son of Man must suffer many things” (Mark 8:31), for instance. He also spoke of Himself in the second person, as on the cross when crying out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34) In a mysterious way that the human mind can’t comprehend, God abandoned Himself on the cross. On the other hand, it makes it less mysterious that He spoke of Himself in the second and third person and said He had no power of His own (John 5:30). “In the days of His flesh” God suffered (Heb. 5:7,8), as did the Christians who were partakers of His sufferings through persecution (II Cor. 1:3-7; I Pet. 4:12-14). God is a Spirit (John 4:24) who felt pain by putting Himself in a human body. “The Lord [Jesus] is that Spirit.” (II Cor. 3:17) A Spirit is a personality (Ps. 51:10; Prov. 16:18; I Pet. 3:4) and doesn’t have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), unless that spirit inhabits a body, which is a means of transportation for the spirit of the person within it.

As Jesus, God lived the way we should by fasting and overcoming temptation (Matt. 4:1-11), and praying too (Matt. 14:23). And though God knows all things (John 3:20), Jesus again identified with humanity by saying the Son doesn’t know the timing of the end, but the Father only (Mark 13:32). Jesus did know all things (John 16:30; 21:17), but was evidently making a distinction between His true nature and His mortal body. John 3:16 says God showed His love for the world by giving His Son’s life, and because no one shows love by giving another person’s life, there’s a problem here if Jesus isn’t God. However, the Son was God clothed in flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14). “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.” (I John 3:16). The Holy Ghost, God’s Spirit, “purchased [the church] with His own blood” (Acts 20:28), not another person’s blood. He didn’t subject His creation to suffering without suffering Himself. The Lamb (Jesus) who was slain is worthy of worship (Rev. 5:12-14) and is God, for God alone should be worshipped (Ex. 34:14). So when God told His angels to worship Jesus (Heb.1:6), He was requesting worship for Himself. Peter, a mere man, rightfully refused to be worshipped (Acts 10:25,26). Angels did the same (Rev. 19:10; 22:9). In contrast, Jesus accepted worship (Matt. 8:2,3; 28:9,10). Every mere human has sinned (Rom. 3:23), yet Jesus had never sinned (I Pet. 2:21,22).

Everlasting life comes through Jesus (I Tim. 1:16), “the King eternal, immortal, invisible [when not manifested in the flesh], the only wise God” (I Tim. 1:17). “God sent forth His son” (Gal. 4:4), Jesus, who then stated, “He that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me.” (John 12:45) God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:22-24), and being God, Jesus correctly said He would raise Himself after dying (John 2:19-21). “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him” (John 1:10). “For by Him were all things created.” (Col. 1:16) Jesus, the Creator, is none other than God, our “light and [our] salvation” (Ps. 27:1). This one God (Isa. 43:10) is “the Lord, and beside Him there is no savior” (Isa. 43:11). “The Lord Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 1:4) is “God our Savior” (Jude 25). The prophet Malachi rhetorically asked, “Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?” (Mal. 2:10) There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:5,6). He is “the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the Earth” (Isa. 40:28) and will one day “judge the ends of the Earth” (I Sam. 2:10). He alone knows our hearts (I Kings 8:39) and Jesus searches our hearts (Rev. 2:23). God and Jesus are one and the same.

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