In His Image

Russell Yates 01/01/12

Chapter 1: Signs of the Times

Natural Disasters

The Bible gives different signs which point to what some call the end of the world. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jesus, and others have predicted these things—see Amos 3:7. Natural disasters, wars, and disturbances have always occurred, but like labor pangs, they are accelerating in frequency. I will give just a few recent happenings.

The Indian Ocean Tsunami hit 12/26/04 and killed perhaps a quarter million people. Hurricane Katrina wiped out an entire city 8/29/05. A major earthquake struck Haiti 1/12/10 leaving over 300,000 dead and 1.6 million homeless. The Spring of 2010 saw volcanic eruptions in Iceland that disrupted European air traffic.

A 9.0 earthquake/tsunami hit Japan 3/11/11. It shifted the earth’s axis by 6.5 inches and shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds. Nuclear power installations were severely damaged. It could take years for the country to fully recover. Worldwide, the year 2011 has seen tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, wild fires, and winds of unusual intensity. Nature seems out of control.

Almost 40 years ago, a modern-day prophet, David Wilkerson, saw many of the things mentioned here. His Vision, was published in 1974.

Economic and Social Problems

The US national debt is now over $15 trillion plus another $60 trillion in entitlement obligations. State and local economies are also in trouble. The European Union now faces a debt crisis more acute than that of the US. If and when there is a worldwide economic collapse, everyone will be looking for a political answer. This may give rise to the political/religious leader the Bible calls the Anti-Christ.

The year 2011 has been especially eventful. Besides what I have already reported, the Middle East has been a hotbed—from Egypt to Libya, to Syria, to Iraq, to Iran, to Israel, and the other Middle Eastern countries.

At home and around the world, proposed solutions to the debt crisis are met with anger, demonstrations, and even violence. The Occupy Wall Street protesters that first appeared 9/17/11 in New York are now in hundreds of cities around the world. Like the rioters of the sixties, they could set fires. Where will it end?

Besides the prophetic signs I mentioned above, are the signs of escalating technology and mobility.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Daniel 12:4 KJV, emphasis added

Protesters in the Middle East and the Occupy Wall Street movement are using modern technology—social networking—to organize their disruptive activities. E-mail, text, and voice messages provide instant communication. A news item by Raymond Schillinger appeared 9/20/11; it reads as follows:

The movements throughout the Arab world appeared to have imbued social media with an irrevocable sense of legitimacy as a tool for fomenting change.

A Lesson in Divine Intervention

In Genesis 12:1-3 God called Abram to be the father of the Jewish nation. There was a famine in the days of his grandson, Jacob, which caused his people (70 souls) to take refuge in Egypt. They eventually became slaves, but continued to multiply.

At the end of 430 years, their population was 3 million—more than Houston today. Early in Exodus, God called Moses to lead them out. A major confrontation ensued. The Ten Plagues of Egypt began when Moses turned water into blood, and ended when the death angel slew every firstborn of Egypt. Pharoah then let the people go.

God spoke face to face with Moses, but with Pharoah He could only speak through signs. Despite the mighty signs, Pharoah didn’t get it. He couldn’t bear the loss of his slaves. At the end, he sent the army to pursue to departing Israelis, but his army drowned in the Red Sea.

Once the Israelis were free from Egypt, Moses led them through the wilderness for 40 years. They never stayed in one place long enough to plant crops or dig a well. How did Moses provide food and water for 3 million people? Divine intervention! God gave them manna to eat and water from the rock—see Exodus 16:35;  17:6. In summary:

Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; They lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out, And their feet did not swell. Nehemiah 9:21 NKJV

God Speaks to Unbelievers

In the above lesson, we saw the will of man in opposition to the will of God. God delivered His people from Egyptian oppression despite the will of Pharoah. History repeats itself.

Today, God is speaking to unbelievers through signs. Consider the weather: I believe disrupted weather patterns are supernatural signs sent by God to get the attention of men. Unbelievers say man-made global warming is the cause.

Because of science, modern-man thinks he has control of his destiny. Were the Egyptians less man-centered? Three times, the Egyptian magicians were able to counterfeit the miraculous signs given through Moses and Aaron. (See Exodus 7:9-12; 7:19-22; 8:5-7.) Finally, they gave up, and acknowledged “The Finger of God.” (See Exodus 8:16-19.)

The End of The Age

At the end of the age, all world governments will be replaced by the Kingdom of God. God’s people—Jews and Gentiles—will be delivered from oppression.

As surely as God terminated Pharoah’s rule over the ancient Israelis, He will soon free every Believer from the bondage of wicked government. The current upheavals in the world are but an echo from the book of Exodus. Pharoah wouldn’t listen, but many Egyptians did.

Then the magicians said unto Pharoah, “This is the finger of God.” Exodus 8:19a KJV

At the end of the age, “Every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11b KJV).

Chapter 2: Emmanuel, God With Us

The Light of the World

The light of the world is the sun. There are other lights such as the moon and the stars, but they are merely reflections of the light of the sun.

The spiritual light of the world is Jesus, the Son of God. Every Christian is to be a light, a reflection of the light of Jesus—see Matthew 5:14-16.

John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus, the Light of the world. Then Jesus declared himself to be that Light.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John 1:6-8 NKJV

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:12 NKJV

Jesus came into the world as the Light, the source of truth. The wise man doesn’t depend entirely on his intellect. He doesn’t put himself in the place of God. His lifestyle reflects his conviction: “Jesus is God, and I’m not God.”

The Nature of Man

In The Weight of Glory, C.S.Lewis writes the following: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:27 KJV

When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean, “in the exact image.”
A.W. Tozer

Still, man must be somewhat like God—let’s investigate. When God created man, what did He have in mind? The answer in a word is relationship.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 17:3 KJV

An Eternal Relationship

From the beginning, we see evidence of relationship between God and man. God walked with Adam in the Garden (Genesis 3:8). Later He called Abram (Genesis 12:1-3) and through his descendants gave us the Holy Bible, and the Messiah (Jesus).

Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice to redeem wayward man. He died, was buried, and then was raised from the dead—for us! Finally, we have His promise that every born again Believer will someday be resurrected and dwell forever (John 14:2-3) with the Lord in the Kingdom—God with us! Relationship!

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 KJV

These believe they were created to worship God and to enjoy His presence forever, and they are eager to learn all they can about the God with whom they expect to spend eternity.
A.W. Tozer

Partakers of the Divine Nature

A good study in the attributes of God is The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer, published 1961. Which of those attributes has God chosen to share with man?

Everyone is born with intelligence and a free will. Furthermore, his soul is eternal. After death, he will be resurrected to live forever in one of two places: In the presence of God, or in Hell.

We are NOT autonomous, independent or self-governing—we are different from God. We are created beings. God has always existed.

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? We are like God, but different. Still, we are of the same kind as God. The best proof is the reality of the Incarnation.

There is a vast difference between men and animals. We were created in the image of God; they weren’t. We’re like God; they aren’t. If we don’t allow that difference to point us toward God, we are living way below our privilege.

Evil and Redemption

We share God’s nature (2 Peter 1:4). This made possible both evil and Redemption.

Adam made a choice that introduced evil into the world. As a free moral agent, Adam was accountable. Nothing in nature could have made that choice. Nothing in nature could have been held responsible.

Through the centuries, men sought to deal with evil by offering animal sacrifices, but the most they could hope for was a temporary covering. After the Fall, God immediately offered a solution to evil.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
Genesis 3:15 NKJV

Evil would be dealt with, when God had a woman (Mary) give birth to Jesus, who would be the Redeemer. Nothing in nature could have done that.

The Prodigal Son

Evil and restoration is perhaps best illustrated in the story of the prodigal son told in Luke 15:11-24. The son was not an exact duplicate of his father, but he was of the same kind. Like his father, he was intelligent and a free moral agent.

The son made some bad choices that got him into trouble. He later repented, and was joyfully accepted by his father back into the family. Likewise, there is joy in heaven when one sinner repents—see Luke 15:7.

Chapter 3: The Relationship is Broken

First Creation, then the Fall

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:4-5, NKJV

But according to Genesis 1:27 they already were as God. Adam and Eve had been created in His image. Satan’s lie was that they could be autonomous like God.

Since the Fall, every man comes into the world thinking he’s God. Satan’s attempted usurpation becomes that of each man.

Most people act like they’re God, “If I believe something, that makes it true!” Or worse yet, “What’s true for me is not necessarily true for you.” That way, everybody gets to be God.

The remedy for this problem is found in what Jesus refers to as the new birth—see John 3:3. But the temptation remains, even for the Believer.

It takes a disciplined effort to continually remind myself that I am not God. If I am not God, then I might be wrong; I often need correction. By continually seeking correction I remind myself: I am not God.

Please tell me what the following people have in common: A Christian, Jew, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Humanist, Atheist; Democrat, Republican, Capitalist, Socialist, and Communist. So what do they have in common? They all think they’re right; they see others as wrong.

The following quotation was taken from one of Alan Redpath’s sermons:

Blessed is the man who knows he might be wrong.
Alan Redpath

Citizens, judges, politicians, demonstrators, and even terrorists make unlawful and often destructive choices that are rooted in the human usurpation of rightness that belongs only to God.

“Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3 :3 KJV). That’s what Jesus said to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus was still under the curse of sin; he saw himself as God. In human terms Nicodemus was a good man, but he had not yet dealt with the sin nature he inherited from his father Adam.

The Need for Understanding

We need to discover our true nature, and then relate to our Creator as He intended. He gave us His Word (the Bible), His Son (the Living Word), and His blessed Holy Spirit. In short, we need to fit in, and that requires obedience to the Lord.

Chapter 4: Human Deity

Jesus’ Claim to Deity

In John 10:30-39 the Jews sought to stone Jesus, “Because you being a man, make yourself God.” His defense was based on Psalms 82:6 which He referred to as follows:

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
John 10:34-36 NKJV

Exactly what were Jesus’ claims?

He was affirming ultimate human deity. He was also declaring himself to be the Messiah “whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world.” Jesus expected them to know from the Law that all men are gods. He expected them to know from His mighty works that He was God—see John 10:37-38.

While Jesus walked this earth and during our earthly sojourn, we men do not appear as gods because we are mortal (destructible). The Resurrection has already transformed Jesus’ body, and the resurrection-to-come will change our bodies so that we become immortal and indestructible. (See John 5:25-29 and 1 Corinthians 15:42-54.)

God created human beings that could invent, design, build, manage; multi-task, etc. and called them gods with a little “g”; we are subordinate gods. As God Almighty, Jesus reigns supreme over all men. Take a look at the next passage:

Let all be put to shame who serve carved images, Who boast of idols. Worship him, all you gods.”
Psalms 97:7 NKJV

Who are these who serve carved images and boast of idols? They are men, but they are also gods—”Worship him, all you gods.”

In his book, Heaven, p. 479, Randy Alcorn writes: “The Bible knows only one Creator: God; and only one race of sub-creators: mankind.” The idea of man as a sub-creator is entirely in agreement with the idea of man as a subordinate god.

We were NOT created to be autonomous, independent or self-governing. We are NOT God with a big “G.” God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. We aren’t!!! We are still gods, but with a little “g.”

While knowledge and invention has taken off like a rocket, worldwide morality continues to plunge. Why?

From the beginning these little gods have sought to be big Gods, autonomous—independent of God. The results have not been pretty. As Armageddon approaches, the wars of today will look like a Sunday School picnic.

Servants of God

Our calling is to serve God in an intelligent manner. We are His representatives. That means we come under His authority. To refuse God’s authority is rebellion and sin. Despite the rebellion and sin of mankind, we humans are still what God calls “gods.”

Matthew 1:23 refers to Isaiah 7:14. Jesus is called Emmanuel, God with us. It’s not just God with us men, but God with us gods. I can think of no greater responsibility, nothing more humbling or more compelling. We have not yet fully perceived the depth of God’s love.

As born again Christians we don’t think of men as gods—they don’t look like gods. Perhaps if we could see into the future, if we could see ourselves in the Kingdom—as God already sees us—we would understand why God has called us gods.

Made for Eternity

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart.
Ecclesiastes 3:11a, NIV

The marks of the divine image have been so obscured by sin that they are not easy to identify, but is it not reasonable to believe that one mark may be man’s insatiable craving for immortality?  A.W. Tozer

We see this craving expressed in inspired Scripture by Job and then by the Apostle Paul as follows:

In my flesh shall I see God.
Job 19:26b, KJV

Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1 Corinthians 15:54b-55 KJV

It should come as no surprise when unbelievers express the same craving in non-biblical ways.

Mormonism (LDS)

Janet Mefferd (www.townhall.com) writes about the Mormon doctrine of “Eternal Progression,” which says that a man may one day become a god himself. She then quotes the fifth LDS president Lorenzo Snow who said, “As man is, God once was; As God is, man may become.”

According to the passages that follow, God Almighty has existed forever, and He is the one true God. (Mormonism denies both.)

Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
Psalms 93:2 KJV

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Isaiah 44:6 KJV, emphasis added

Sorry, even if you call yourself a Mormon, you will never be a God with a big “G.” And p.s. Mormonism is not alone when it comes to a non-biblical approach to human deity.

The Sin of Adam

A good question has been asked: “If you faced Adam’s temptation, would you have made a different choice?” The passage that follows suggests that Adam was no different from the rest of us. Furthermore it provides the same remedy for Adam as for us.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV

God, The Creator of gods

  1. Adam and Eve were created as gods. They were designed for relationship with God Almighty. This means they had to share His nature.
  2. Rebellion broke the relationship between God and man, but God provided a means for restoration.
  3. Since Adam, every person born, is in the same sinful state, and must be born again (saved).
  4. We enter this world as fallen gods. You can be a lost sinner or a saved saint, but you are still a god.
  5. Restored gods work in partnership with God Almighty, whereas lost gods work in opposition to the Lord.
  6. Restored gods will be in Heaven, but lost gods will spent eternity in Hell.
  7. Under no circumstances and at no time is a god (or an angel) to be given or accept worship. God alone is worthy of worship—see Revelation 22:8-9.

Chapter 5: Arguments for Human Deity

A Question

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is he?” They said to him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in spirit call him ‘Lord’, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your Footstool?'” If David then calls him ‘Lord’, how is he his Son?” And no man was able to answer him a word.
Matthew 22:41-46a NKJV

The above passage reflects the idea of God Incarnate (Jesus) as the physical Son of a god (David). So how could David call Jesus Lord? As the eternal God, Messiah is David’s Lord. So Jesus is both the Son of David and the Lord of David. According to Revelation 22:16, Christ is the root and offspring of David. That is the miracle of the Incarnation.

In Mark 14:62 Jesus identifies himself as “the Son of Man.” He is not only the Son of David, but also the Son of the human race. Could men be anything other than gods?

More specifically, if Mary gave birth to God Incarnate, could she be less than a god? In Luke 3:23-38 Mary’s lineage is traced back to Adam. Could any of her ancestors be less than a god?

The Investigation

Most Christians, including myself, have gone decades without considering this matter. We see ourselves as mortal, but are we? If man is indeed mortal, then perhaps evolution is true, perhaps there’s no difference between men and animals, perhaps one’s existence terminates at his death, perhaps abortion is okay, and perhaps the Christian Faith is but a fabrication.

In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis writes the following:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

John Piper, in Contending for Our All, p. 70-71, refers to the writings of Athanasius (296-398 A.D.) as follows:

The Son was made man that we might be made god… He was not man, and then became God, but He was God and then became man, and that to deify us.

Could Athanasius be right? Piper continues as follows:

Athanasius is pressing a reality in Scriptures that we usually call glorification. But he is using the terminology of 2 Peter 1:4 and Romans 8:29. “He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Athanasius is pressing the destiny and the glory of being a brother of the second person of the Trinity and “sharing in His nature,” emphasis added.

For God So Loved the World

In the face of temptation Adam failed, but Jesus overcame. His death on the Cross provided the necessary atoning sacrifice. Still, each man must repent—not only for the sins he has committed, but also for his rebellion. The Lord went to a lot of trouble to rescue wayward man.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV, emphasis added

It was the death of Christ that made restoration possible. It was His Resurrection that authenticates the case for human godhood. Paul gives a lengthy defense of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Our likeness to the resurrected Christ follows:

And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
1 Corinthians 15:49 NKJV

The Incarnation

Jesus came into the world as God Incarnate. If men are created as gods, they enter this world as gods incarnate. My argument is taken directly from Scripture as follows:

I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”
Psalms 82:6-7 NKJV, emphasis added

It has been asked, “To whom was the Psalmist speaking?” He was speaking to everyone: “All of you are children of the Most High.” Genesis 1:12, 1:21 and 1:25 refer to plants and creatures bringing forth after their kind. If we’re children of the Most High, it follows that God has brought forth after His kind—we’re gods!

Jesus quotes from Psalms 82:6, and then declares, “Scripture cannot be broken.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, You are gods’?” If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, (and the Scripture cannot be broken)…”
John 10:34-35 NKJV, emphasis added

If man is indeed a god, it’s not because I said so, but because God said so. Let’s compare Psalms 82:6 with Psalms 82:7. How could a god possibly die like a man, and fall like one of the princes? The first verse spells out the privilege that is extended to each man (god). The second tells what happens to the rebellious man (god).

Jesus and all men start their earthly journey as mortals. Both Jesus (God) and men (gods) find immortality after they die, and their bodies are resurrected. The following passage has to do with the resurrection of the righteous:

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
1 Corinthians 15:21-23 NKJV

Later the unrighteous dead are resurrected, and then judged in Revelation 20:11-15.

The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:13, 15 NKJV

All men (gods) are resurrected. The redeemed are bound for Heaven, while the unredeemed will spend eternity in Hell. The latter will wish they weren’t gods. (This is serious business.)

In his book, The Harbinger, p. 88, Jonathan Cahn refers to the pool of Bethesda as evidence of God’s nature:

Bethesda means the house of mercy or the place of loving kindness…mercy…kindness. It’s God’s nature, His essence. Don’t forget that, through all this, don’t forget that. Judgment is His necessity, but His nature and essence—His heart—is love. He’s the One always calling out to the lost to be saved.

Now let’s see how the idea of human godhood fits additional biblical teaching.

The Bride of Christ—The Church

Let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7 NKJV

The above is a future event. My wife said, “We become gods when we’re married to Christ.” I quickly asked, “Did you become human when you married me?”

No, my wife was human from the moment of her conception. A man is a lost (fallen) god at birth. When he surrenders to Jesus, he becomes a saved (restored) god. Just as a baby matures, the newborn Christian becomes more Christ-like as he grows in grace.

Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:13, NKJV

The Nature of the Bride

The God-ordained relationship between a man and his wife should help us understand the relationship between Christ and the Church. In Genesis 2:7, God created Adam; then He created Eve.

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Genesis 2:18 NKJV

The woman was made from man, for man—to be his wife, to bear his children, and to help him. She is a helper comparable to him. She is different, but of the same kind.

The bride of Christ (the Church) obeys its Lord as a wife submits to the authority of her husband. And p.s. a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Jesus went to Calvary for the love of His bride, and that’s a pretty tall order.

The bride of Christ is a helper comparable to Jesus. How could His bride be anything less than a god? No more than a wife can be anything less than human!

Chapter 6: Fallen gods and Restored gods

The Narrow Way

As I said, some people refuse the authority of God, while others accept and submit to the Lord.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV

So Great a Salvation

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation…
Hebrews 2:3 NKJV, emphasis added

It’s not rare for men to lose their lives while saving the lives of others, but how often does an earthly king give his life for that of a common man? Has the King of England, or any other king, ever done that?

In the providence of God, King Jesus died for you and for me. The Eternal King, God Incarnate gave His life to save you and me from everlasting torment. We don’t have to understand the Cross, or even the need for it, but we must accept it by faith.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation…
Hebrews 2:3 NKJV, emphasis added

We have underestimated the torment that awaits the unbeliever and the glory reserved for the born again Christian. (Both are gods, but only the latter has been redeemed from the curse of sin.)

King Jesus died for men. What else makes this salvation so great? What you are saved from, and what you are saved to!

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 NKJV

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love him.
1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

“So Great a Salvation” reflects the love of God. For the sake of relationship, He is willing to share a measure of His deity; and He wants nothing but the best for us.

The Lord is not…willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 KJV

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents.
Luke 15:7a KJV

God’s love could not be more compelling, but His justice requires an answer. In John 3:3-8, Jesus said, “You must be born again.” According to John 3:14-21, those who don’t accept Jesus as Savior will perish.

A Model for the Relationship

In the following passages Jesus sets an example for each of us.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me.
John 6:38 NKJV, emphasis added

And he that sent me is with me…for I do always those things that please him.
John 8:29 KJV, emphasis added

Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Luke 22:42 KJV, emphasis added

Submission is normal for the Christian—”If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15 KJV). (A god can surrender his will to that of his Maker, but he can also refuse.)

Do We Look Like gods?

In John 14:9, Jesus told Philip that to see Him was to see the Father. Yet while Jesus walked this earth, He was seldom recognized as God.

Now Jesus…asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptist, but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
Mark 8:27-28 NKJV

If Jesus was not recognized as God, should we expect to be recognized as gods?

Resurrection Life

We get a preview of the Resurrection in the passage that follows:

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Matthew 17:1-3, NKJV

Moses and Elijah appear as brothers of Christ. They are gods, not mortals. To see Jesus in His Resurrected state is to see Him as God Glorified, rather than as God Incarnate.

And when I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last…”
Revelation 1:17 NKJV, emphasis added

Aside from the preview of Moses and Elijah, no human god has yet appeared in his glorified state, but we have God’s promise as follows:

Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Philippians 3:21 NKJV, emphasis added

The Mystery

I’ve just argued my case: Every human being is a created God. What prompted me to do this? Jesus said so in John 10:34-36.

Many will ask: “Why have I not heard this before?” Preachers seldom speak on things they don’t understand. John 10:34-36 appears as an obscure passage, which they choose to ignore.

You will find the word “mystery” 22 times in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 3:9 speaks of the mystery of the faith; Ephesians 1:9, the mystery of His will; Ephesians 6:19, the mystery of the Gospel; Mark 4:11, the mystery of the Kingdom of God; 1 Timothy 3:16, the mystery of godliness; and Romans 16:25, the mystery which was kept secret since the world began. A good summary passage follows:

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which was ordained before the world unto our glory.
1 Corinthians 2:7, KJV

It’s possible the Apostle Paul didn’t understand human deity, but C.S. Lewis seems to have understood it from a distance. I have covered it in great detail. I believe both Paul and Lewis would say “Amen,” to what I have written.

But the mystery of God is not an everlasting one. As we approach the End of the Age, hidden things are being revealed.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.
Daniel 12:4a, KJV

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
Daniel 12:9, KJV

The Apostles Paul and John saw the coming revelation of the mystery as follows:

For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2, KJV

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Revelation 10:7, KJV

The Controversy

Many Christians won’t accept the idea that human beings are created gods. (Do they think they know better than Jesus?) They are still under the influence of Satan who offered Eve the chance to be a God. To accept what I’m teaching would be a demotion.

Truth is we’re all under the same influence. Every day I must deny myself—I’m not God. I’m a mere god, under the authority of Almighty God. The result is a humility that makes me a useful servant of the God who died to rescue me. Maranatha!

Chapter 7: The Gift of Salvation

The New Birth

God created us to work in partnership with Him, but we do so under His authority. Until a man submits his will to that of his Maker, he remains separated from the Lord.

Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7 KJV). Later he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6 KJV). The new birth takes place when a man believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Goodness and Justice

In his book Heaven, p. 361, Randy Alcorn writes:

[In Heaven] we’ll never question God’s justice, wondering how he could send good people to Hell. Rather, we’ll be overwhelmed with his grace, marveling at what he did to send bad people to Heaven. (We will no longer have any illusion that fallen people are good without Christ.)

Jesus was crucified with two criminals. One was defiant, while the other was repentant. Consider the following passage:

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Luke 23:42-43, KJV

The man was not only a criminal, but also a lost sinner. He had heard that Jesus was a King, but his faith went much deeper. In two sentences a man who was on his way to Hell, was turned in the other direction.

Because of the goodness of God, this man was totally forgiven of what he had done and what he was. The sinner suddenly became a saint, but how could this be? If God is not only good, but also just, how could He simply forget everything?

Redemptive theology teaches that mercy does not become effective toward a man until justice has done its work. The just penalty for sin was enacted when Christ our Substitute died for us on the cross.  A.W. Tozer

The dying thief on the Cross witnessed the death of Christ. He became the first Christian convert to follow that event.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up [on the Cross]: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:14-15, KJV

The thief had seen and believed. He immediately passed from death unto life.

The saved man has been restored to rightful relationship to God. The invitation to the Lost is to quit acting as if you’re God, and become what you were meant to be, a restored (born again) god. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul tells how:

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.
Romans 10:9 NKJV

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
John 1:12 KJV, emphasis added

Could a son of God be less than a god?

A Warning from Tozer

God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity. The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded. As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.  A.W. Tozer

Another Warning

Ancient Egypt had an elaborate array of gods and goddesses, but their ultimate goal was resurrection and immortality. Like modern Mormonism, it was a works-oriented religion. Christianity stands apart from all other religions by denying the idea of Salvation by good deeds. The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians as follows:

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV

In Heaven, Randy Alcorn points to research that says the following: “For every man who thinks he’s going to Hell there are 200 who think they are going to Heaven.”

“If my bad deeds are overshadowed by my good deeds, I’ll go to Heaven—I’m not a bad person”; that’s what most people think. Unfortunately the idea is refuted by the passage I quoted above. Let me explain further.

The Worst Sin

Contrary to popular belief, good deeds won’t get you into Heaven and bad deeds won’t send you to Hell. The worst sin is ignoring the gift of God, which He graciously offers you.

Whether we understand it or not, we’re all by nature rebels. In the eyes of God, the rebellion is serious, and must be dealt with. In love, God sent His Son, whose death on the Cross became the necessary atoning sacrifice.

You don’t have to understand Jesus’ sacrificial death, but you must believe on Jesus to be accepted by the Lord. Good deeds are then no longer an attempt to buy your way into Heaven, but the natural result of having been born again.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 KJV, emphasis added

Chapter 8: Living as a Saved god

Good Works

Good works will be rewarded. Scripture teaches that greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven is the result of faithful service here on earth.

Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.
Matthew 20:26b-27 KJV

Fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:13b-15 NKJV, emphasis added

The thief who died on the cross, alongside Jesus, did not have the opportunity to do good works, but he was saved by faith in Jesus. Before we leave the subject of good works, I want to show how “good works” can become something other than good works.

The Kingdoms of Men

Each of us has his own domain, his own little kingdom. For almost 30 years I have had two: My family and my business. In the fear of God, I hold these things lightly knowing that everything belongs to my Lord. It is His Kingdom, and Jesus is the King. He has the right to alter or remove my kingdoms. I’m but a steward.

To recognize and acknowledge the supremacy of Jesus’ Kingdom is to be in right standing with God. It is also to enjoy the utmost assurance that we will be ready when the Lord calls.

Earthly Kingdoms

In 604 B.C. God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a dream that revealed major world kingdoms from then until the end of the age. The Kingdoms were Babylon (Iraq), Media-Persia (Iran), Greece, and Rome—all of which have been, and will be, significant in His plans for Israel—see Daniel 2:31-45.

The Kingdom of God

Colossians 1:13-19 tells us Jesus was the instrument of Creation, and that He is the Eternal King. It also tells us He is the Redeemer who made it possible for us to be part of His Kingdom. Isaiah 9:6-7 predicts the birth of Jesus, and the scope of His governance.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.
Isaiah 9:7a KJV

In Luke 1:30-33, an angel explained to Mary that she would be the mother of the promised Son: “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33 NKJV, emphasis added).

The typical Christian ministry tends to focus on itself—its little kingdom. We Christians have trouble working with other ministries unless we see things “eye to eye.” This was no less true for Jesus’ disciples. Both the disciples and we Christians stand corrected by Jesus’ words:

Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”
Luke 9:49-50 NKJV

Again I quote Alan Redpath: “Before we can pray, ‘Lord, thy Kingdom come,’ we must be willing to pray, ‘My kingdom go,'” emphasis added.

The Second Coming

According to Grant Jeffrey, 27% of Scripture is prophetic. There are eight times as many prophetic passages referring to the Second Coming of Christ as there are, to the first coming. Yet few Christians are eager for the Second Coming. According to the Apostle Paul, there’s a special reward for those who are eagerly looking for His return:

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV, emphasis added

How do we explain this? Why are so few Christians eager for the Lord’s return? When a man’s personal kingdom is center stage, and the Kingdom of God is peripheral, his heart’s cry is, My Kingdom Come, not Thy Kingdom Come.

Such a Believer is still saved, but there is a loss of reward.

The Final Kingdom

According to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation, a stone is cut without human hands and crushes all kingdoms. It then becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth—see Daniel 2:34-35 and Daniel 2:44-45. The Kingdom of God replaces every human kingdom—from the least to the greatest.

The New Man

What can be expected from the new Believer? He accepts God’s calling, and fits in with other people. He goes the second mile, and sees others as better than himself. Sometimes he’ll take an unpopular stand. Everything he does is to the glory of God, rather than for the glory of his own little kingdom.

When he’s wrong, he admits it, and asks forgiveness. He celebrates the gifts of others, and does not seek to elevate himself. He’s a humble man who walks in fellowship with the Lord. His goal is to please God.

Most of all he becomes the servant. Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). He becomes increasingly like Jesus, but this doesn’t happen overnight. Still, the Believer begins to move in a new direction.

Chapter 9: The Meaning of Salvation

The Invitation

It has been almost 2000 years since Jesus paid the price for your sin and mine. He did so on Calvary. I find it an awesome and majestic spectacle of the love of God, that anyone can be instantly forgiven of any sin he has committed or ever will commit—just by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

The Bible passage most familiar to Christians is John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV, emphasis added

What does it mean to believe on Jesus? It is to believe that He is Savior, Lord, and King. It is to accept Jesus by faith.

What difference does it make? Correct faith makes the difference between life and death—eternal life or eternal death.

In Heaven, p. 329, Randy Alcorn writes as follows:

Puritan pastor Richard Baxter’s 1649 book, The Saints Everlasting Rest was the most influential book on Heaven ever written. Baxter marveled that we don’t set aside everything else to consider Heaven and make sure we’re going there.

The invitation is for every lost soul. You don’t have to perish! You can live forever in His kingdom!

You are by nature a rebel, in opposition to God. You are a sinner who needs to be saved by faith in Jesus. If you want Him to be your Savior, you must accept Him as God and King. That means you give up your rebellion.

Once Jesus asked a blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”

What do you want Him to do for you? Do you want Him to forgive your sins? Do you want Him to be your King? Do you want Him to be your Lord? Do you want to be made into the image of Christ? Do you want to live forever in His eternal kingdom? You can have it all, but not just part. If that’s what you want, ask Him.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Luke 11:9b KJV

This is not performance based Salvation. It’s merely an expression of your heart’s desire—ask, seek, knock. You won’t be disappointed.

Chapter 10: Make Friends With God

Faith and Suffering

In the midst of suffering, Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15a). After his Damascus Road experience, the Apostle Paul was promised suffering: “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). Later Paul recounts the things he had suffered—see 2 Corinthians 11:23-26. Is there a way to avoid suffering? Yes! Don’t be born.

I appreciate the accomplishments of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computer. He died recently from cancer at 56. Despite his success, he suffered. In this life we all suffer, so why not make your suffering count? If you trust God, suffering will work to your ultimate benefit.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Suffering in this life is mandatory, but suffering in the next life is optional. The words that follow were written by a man who trusted God, the Apostle Paul:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18 NKJV

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13b-14 NKJV

Make friends with God—trust God—and your next life will be infinitely better than this one. Only God has sufficient resources for the next life.

“Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:3b-4 NKJV

Chapter 11: You Will Live Forever

Summary and Conclusion

Jesus was God Incarnate. He was born of a woman, and walked this earth 33 years. He suffered, died, was buried, and then resurrected. He now sits at the right hand of the Father—see Mark 16:19.

We are gods incarnate. Each of us was born of a woman. According to the latest statistics, we will walk this earth, on the average, 78 years. We will face obstacles and suffer pain; then we will die. Each of us will someday be resurrected. We are gods incarnate—for good or for bad.

If every man is a god, that means he will spend eternity somewhere—I have shown that from Scripture. And p.s. “Forever is a long time.”

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11, NKJV

There is one generation of Christians that won’t die, but will instead be instantly transformed and given immortal bodies. This will happen at an event called the Rapture, which could happen at any moment.

Chapter 12: The Last Seven Years

On The Edge of Eternity

When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, it gets easier at the end because fewer pieces remain, and they come together more quickly. Bible prophecy has given us numerous pieces to the end-times puzzle, and they are coming together rapidly. We are living on the edge of eternity.

Two world wars caused the nations to seek a world economy. The plan was to eliminate another world war by making the nations interdependent. An unforeseen consequence is that one nation’s economic failure can take with it the entire world economy.

The more debt the nations accumulate, the harder will be the fall when the crash comes. The American economy is burdened with numerous and expensive business regulations, unnecessary environmental restrictions, questionable refrigerant restrictions, and medical practices that are increasingly being mismanaged by the government. Wasteful government leads to increased taxation or more deficit spending.

Besides the cost of running government and entitlement obligations, we now have to cover the cost of picking up the pieces every time an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or terrorist strikes. Not to mention the cost of our numerous wars! America appears to be deliberately rushing toward bankruptcy.

The world economy will fail—it’s just a matter of time. The result will be so catastrophic that people will accept any leader with an answer that seems to work. I think that leader will be the Anti-Christ, and that he will soon be revealed.

The Coming Anti-Christ

The Bible clearly predicts a seven year period called the Tribulation. This is the last of Daniel’s 70 weeks—see Daniel 9:24. According to Daniel 9:27, the Tribulation will begin when the Anti-Christ makes a seven year treaty with Israel. After 3 1/2 years he will break the treaty.

For centuries Christians have been waiting and hoping for the Rapture in which born-again Believers will be caught away—removed from the earth. Although many signs point to the last seven years before Christ returns to earth, there are no signs pointing to the Rapture—it will be a surprise. The Bible tells what is going to happen, but it doesn’t tell when.

For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

I believe the above prophetic passage will be fulfilled before the Tribulation. People left behind will be unbelievers. There will also be multitudes who thought they were Christians, but weren’t. Everyone is called to be ready. Perhaps the most serious warning is the parable of the ten virgins—see Matthew 25:1-12.

It was the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus that launched the Church Age. God’s dealings with Israel were interrupted for almost two Millennia. The Church Age will end with the resurrection and catching away (Rapture) of all born-again Believers.

With the Christians in heaven, God will use Israel and the Jews to preach the Gospel on earth, but the invitation will remain. “Whosoever will, let him come.” Many in the Church believe everything depends on them—it doesn’t! Our programs will cease, and we’ll be gone, but God will continue the work.

The Gospel will be preached by 144,000 Jewish evangelists, the two witnesses, and the angels—see Revelation 7:3, 11:3, 14:1, 14:6.

The Anti-Christ will demand worship—just like Caesar did. To buy, sell, or hold a job those left on earth (everyone) will be required to take the Mark of the Beast—see Revelation 13:16-17. Today’s technology provides the perfect vehicle for a cashless state-controlled economy.

Those who take the Mark will sell their soul to the devil, and be forever lost—see Revelation 14:9-10. Those who refuse the Mark of the Beast will be persecuted, and many will die as martyrs (Revelation 13:15) but will be saved from Hell.

The climax of the last seven years will be the Battle of Armageddon. When there seems to be no hope, Christ will return and settle the conflict.

Getting Ready

I quote from the Sermon on the Mount as follows:

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Matthew 5:25-26 NKJV

The above is good advice that has an ultimate application. Until one is born again, he is at odds with the Lord—a lost sinner who has yet to make his peace with God. After the Rapture, will come the Tribulation, where the wrath of God will be poured out on those who have refused the God of grace.

To “Agree with your adversary,” is to accept Jesus as Savior and surrender to His Lordship. It could never be easier than it is now. (Except for Muslim countries, even the persecution is minimal.) The Age of Grace is almost over. The time of judgment, Jesus warns of, is just ahead.

David Jeremiah said, “The shadow of the prophetic event goes before it.” How can you know the end [of the church age] is near? Just watch the evening news. Pay special attention to the Middle East.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2b NKJV, emphasis added

Now is the day of salvation. Unfortunately for many, the “now” will be during the Tribulation. Still… “…whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 NKJV).

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:17 NKJV

Whosoever will, let him come.

Maranatha! (Come quickly, Lord Jesus)

To reach the Author, click here.