PEOPLE HAVE A DIM VIEW
It would be easy to think that the Bible presents an unimaginably glorious picture of God. He is described as being light. His appearance seems radiate the kind of light that not only blinds the viewer but also attracts them as well. The light that God emanates is not the photonic light of this temporal dimension, but the kind of light which only eternity can sustain. It is the kind of light that warms and comforts those who are drawn to it and the kind of light that warns and exposes those who try to run from it. God’s eyes are described as being like fire – they pierce the soul of the onlooker. When He speaks His voice is variously described as being like mighty thunder or the sound of many crashing waters over a gigantic waterfall. When He speaks, whatever He decrees happens. Everyone who is permitted to be in His immediate presence is not only overcome with a sense of their deepest purpose being awoken – to fully worship the Most Glorious Being in the Universe – but also to discover that in so doing, their deepest longings are infinitely satisfied. Thus, every picture of God on His Throne which the Bible reveals to us is a scene of unimaginable worship.
And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
Second Corinthians 12:3-4
The banished Apostle John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, he tells us, when he had the most amazing encounter with God that caused him to fall to the ground ‘as though dead’.
¶ Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. ¶ When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last…”
God possesses certain unique glorious qualities including omnipotence (He is all-powerful), omniscience (He knows everything), eternality (He has no beginning or end and always is), and omnipresence (He is everywhere). In attempting to convey the grandeur of God’s omnipresnce, the Prophet declares that the heavens are God’s throne and the earth is His foot-stool.
¶ Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
Yet despite all of these magnificent descriptions of the Exalted Christ, there are some who consider that, since Jesus became incarnate, he no longer possesses all of these divine attributes. This week I received a phone from a troubled believer who had heard a Bible College lecturer during the week declare that because Jesus now has a human body, He was no longer omni-present. One of the supporting Scriptures offered in support of this heterodox idea was Hebrews 12:2 –
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The argument offered from this verse is that since Jesus is somewhere (the right hand of God) He cannot be everywhere. This teaching is wrong for several reasons. Firstly, Christ’s incarnation did not remove any of His divine attributes, including His attribute of omnipresence. Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Upon meeting Jesus for the first time, Christ said to Nathaniel that He had been watching him (even though this was not physically possible) –
Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Secondly, when Christ ascended, His physical identity (determined by His unique DNA) became eternally His. But since He ‘ascended’ into Heaven (which is perhaps best understood as being translated from this physical dimension into the ultimate dimension of Heaven), a spiritual realm, His physical material would have remained in this realm to await His return to earth. This of course means that Christ’s omnipresence is not depleted in anyway.
Thirdly, embedded into the Great Commission is Christ’s declaration of His omnipresence: “And behold! I am with you until the end of the age!” (Matthew 28:20). This is supremely reassuring for every believer – especially those who pay the highest price to believe! (Christ’s omnipresence is more than a theological theory!)
Fourthly, if the Biblical statement that Christ is seated at the ‘right hand of God (the Father)’ means that He is not omnipresent, then what does it mean for God the Father (since He is at the left hand of God the Son)?
Errors like this heterodox idea (that Christ is no longer omnipresent) highlight that despite the Word of God being so freely and widely available, we still see God dimly. And this is remarkable because even what we can see dimly is so phenomenally glorious.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
First Corinthians 13:12
And if what we see of Christ in the Scriptures is a “dim” view – and yet it is so incredibly glorious and wonderful – then heaven only knows what the full picture of Christ will be when we see Him face to face! The next time you feel all alone, remember – even the dim view of Christ which we receive from Scripture tells us that: Christ is with us – even to the end of the Age! Imagine what our worship could be like this Sunday if some us get a closer view of even this dim picture of the risen, glorious, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and omnipresent Lord!
Ps. Andrew Corbett
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