God With Us

Article 2 of the Constitution of the United States stipulates the rules for the Executive branch. How long the person would serve. How they would be elected. What was the grounds for electing him. What is the process for removing him. What are the qualifications to function in that role.

In that clause, the Constitution states that the President—indeed, also the Vice President—must be thirty five years old but then it has these two other qualifications: they must have been a natural born citizen and have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.

The clause is not historically uncommon. Nations throughout history have always wanted a leader who belonged to the country. It’s understandable. When a foreign nation comes in, attacking another country and sits on the throne, the new country is merely real estate with revenue funneling back into the mother country. The ruler doesn’t represent the people of the conquered country at all. Be it Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Mother Russia, England, or the United States the leader represents the needs of his own people.

It was the people’s fear of having a foreign national with us. He’s not really of us—but he’s over us.

So the Constitution drafters insert that clause ensuring that some foreign national doesn’t come along, somehow orchestrate events to become leader of the United States, and then spends the bulk of his time supporting the desires of his real country.

Which brings us to the problem of Hebrews 2.

God Amongst or With Us
The author has established that The Son is the perfect representative of God, acknowledged as such by God, and functions in His Position as God. He does what God does (for example, creating and upholding the world by his word of power) because he has that right, God stands behind Him, and He is, in fact, God. If the Son speaks, God speaks; if the Son works, he completes that work; the very angels of God bow down to him in worship as He sits down at the position of power of the Majesty on High.

This Son is with God, on behalf of God, and Is God.

And yet, that comes with some dire ramifications for us poor humans. Warns the writer “we must pay much closer attention to what we heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” It’s one thing to deny an angel-mediated Law, quite another to deny the very message spoken by the incarnate God, the Lord and subsequently confirmed by those he has placed in power and attested to with miracles and signs by the Holy Spirit.

God is altogether involved in this message and we humans invariably fall short.

But doesn’t this in effect become bad news? This isn’t only some foreign national that’s in control; it’s one with complete power, absolute authority, and the bright white holiness that could incinerate a sinner like paper in a fireplace.

God With Them
Let’s go back to our first parents who found themselves in this sort of relationship of being with God (Gen 1:26-27; (Gen 2: 16-17)

Recently created, blinking in the new light of day, they walked around Dad’s house here on Earth with some familial prerogatives and one dire command: these other things you do, that’s just living—but if you do this one thing, ignore that I have commanded you not to eat of this tree, take it upon yourself to act on your own initiative and your own understanding you will die.

And what does man in this relationship do? He sits on the side, setting aside his authority, watching his wife take the fruit, eat and accepts the thing when offered (as if under her authority) and the immediate response was expulsion and death in later years. Indeed, death in the very home as son rises up against son and proves the catastrophe of man looking no higher for a master than his own wants.

But here, we find that the author to the Hebrews thinking coincides with our own. We’re at the very beginning of creation and seeing the position of man and the position of God. Man is told to reign, to control, to manage, to cultivate but man falls short and God punishes him. As he stands before the Lord, his sin exposed, he hears the mandate that creation will revolt beneath him. He was a cultivator of a garden before, now he’s a tackling thorns and thistles. He was living life to the fullest before now, he’s sweating into the very food he’s taken all this time to make.

David, recalling the wonder of this creation looks back and thinks about the wonder of God’s creation and how he’s established man over this creation, a little lower than God (or the angels as the LXX says), and yet man is crowned with glory and majesty.

Well, not that much glory and majesty because of that Fall. There they fell, deceived by the first murderer, His Satanic Majesty and rendered the world under His power—the prince of power of Darkness. So you arrive at the book of Daniel and hear tell of demonic powers, like the Prince of Persia, holding say over regions (Daniel 9), or you have Paul much later saying that we don’t battle against flesh and blood but against powers, against principalities in heavenly places (Eph 6).

Immanuel
But hear the words of Isaiah as he prophesies of a son being born to a young virgin. This son will show up and his name will be Wonderful, Counselor, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Government shall rest upon his shoulders. What’s his name? Oh, Immanuel: God with us.

God With Us, being born amongst us and receiving titles that belong to God alone.

Time passes and a birth is announced: the child that will be born will be called Immanuel (Matt 1:24).  And as the baby is lain in a manger, shepherds watching their flocks receive news that they will find the Savior, Christ the Lord, wrapped in clothes lying in a manger and the angels can’t help it as they cry out in exultation “Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth and goodwill towards men!” (Luke 2:7). This one grows up (Luke 2:40) and we see him growing tired (John 4:6) and thirsty (John 4:7) and weeping (Luke 19:41-44) and sweating in Gethsemene (Luke 2:41-46). God With Us, doing all these things, and yet being ministered by angels when hungry (Matt 4:11), providing food for thousands without breaking a sweat (John 6) and demanding that a fig tree withers (Matthew 21:18-22), being asked permission to enter pigs by demons (Matthew 8:30) and telling the very waters and wind “Be quiet—stop throwing a fit!” (Mark 4:39)

This is God, surely, but he’s Man. not merely a foreign national walking in our midst—like Superman, among us but not one of us—he is really a Man and God and he acts with the full prerogatives as an obedient master over creation: just as Adam was supposed to.

So when we read Psalm 8, we find that it not only speaks about the first Adam for those few moments where creation actually listened to him before he fell but it hearkens to the second and greater Adam who stands as master over creation.

But not everything is under Christ’s feet just yet, just as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15. We see Jesus, the man, for a little while made lower than the angels but then we see him crowned with glory and honor but not merely on account of being placed over creation but because he suffered, tasting death for everyone.

Man stands beneath God the Father, and the Son humbled Himself and stands beneath the Father as a real representative for God but an equally real representative for Man. And just as he cried out on the cross “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtini” from Psalm 22 he stands with Humans before God and says “these are my brethren”. Recall the words of Jesus to Mary “Go to my” not disciples but rather “brothers and say to them: I’m going to My Father and your Father, my God and your God”

Earth-shattering. Ground-swelling. Immanuel. God With Us not merely as God in our Midst but God Stands  With Us As A Man. He trusted God, and he stands with his family showing them to God.

And in so doing he reverses the power grab of the devil and his minions. Man is placed back in charge and the demons are robbed of power since death is robbed of power. And those that are plagued by the power of the devil are able to find real, honest to goodness mercy because he is actually one of us, born of our country, not a foreign national, and has our interests in mind.

Help has never been offered to angels. It has never been theirs to reach. But it was offered to Christ, the seed of Abraham. And Paul, looking at the seed of Abraham of Promise says that we are, on account of Christ, Abraham’s seed.

He’s God’s perfect representative. He speaks, God speaks. He is God with God standing behind him. And yet, he is fully man: one of us crowned with glory because he suffered and died.

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