God with Us

MEMORY SELECTION: “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” —Matthew 1:23

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 1:1-5, 14-18

THE announcement that our Lord would come and that his name would be called Emmanuel was proclaimed by the Prophet Isaiah, who wrote (7:14): “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The coming of a Savior had been anticipated for a long time. Jesus, as a perfect human being, most nearly portrayed the character and attributes of his Heavenly Father. Therefore, in that sense, God was with us. Later, when our Lord laid down his life on Calvary’s cross, it was God who raised him from the dead.

In the opening words of John’s Gospel, reference is made to “the beginning.” This requires further study, because it is a different “beginning” than the one referred to in the opening passage of Genesis. At the time “the beginning” mentioned in the Book of Genesis took place, the “Word” (God’s only begotten Son, the Logos) was already there. Together, God and his Son planned the creation of the heavens and the earth and all life in it—including the angelic beings who sang for joy as they beheld the wondrous plan unfold.

The Apostle Paul adds his inspired testimony and tells us that our Lord in His prehuman existence was “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”—Col. 1:15-17

“The beginning” that John calls our attention to goes away back before the time when the heavens and earth were created. That beginning was the time when God—who inhabits eternity and is from everlasting to everlasting—gave life to his only begotten Son. In that remote and far distant past the apostle says that God and his Son, the Word, were alone.

John’s Gospel was written in the Greek language (the language in which all the New Testament was written). It is necessary, therefore, to consider the Greek from which our English versions have been taken. One of the better translations of the New Testament available to Bible students is the Emphatic Diaglott, which shows the original Greek text, together with the English rendering. From the Interlineary reading it is more clearly seen that the Greek articles meaning “the” and “a” are given to indicate when the reference is to God or when the reference is to God’s Son, the “Word.” Literally, the passage (John 1:1,2) should read thus: “In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [THE] God, and [A] God was the Word. This was in a beginning with [THE] God.”

The close relationship between Father and Son in that far distant time is blessed to contemplate. Perfect harmony existed between the two heavenly beings as they planned the various orders of creation. The proper thought is that the Word of God and the only begotten Son of God are one and the same being, i.e. the beginning of God’s creative work. The Word was a very high spiritual being possessing characteristics that would indeed cause one to describe him as “A God.” Great and grand as he was, however, he was not “The God” from whom all life has come. The Word was the Son of God. The Apostle Paul states the matter in proper perspective: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”—I Cor. 8:6

God was pleased to recognize and honor his Son in connection with the great work of creation. Although the power and life principle all came from the Father, it was activated through the Son as his representative. The position was one of great honor and dignity.

With these thoughts in mind we catch a glimpse of the glory of our Lord in his prehuman existence. We also learn of the manner in which he became poor for our sakes by leaving his heavenly condition—humbling himself by becoming a man and then enduring the suffering necessary to pay the penalty for sin. Truly it has been said, “What a Savior is ours!”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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