Editor’s Note: The late Reverend Thornton contributed articles for our magazine quite frequently, in fact he was a guest speaker from time to time. His church was located in Spokane, Washington. Unfortunately, our archives has not produced any biographical information but we intend to add to these remarks later.
With all your getting – get UNDERSTANDING! This is the advice in the Bible. I know that there are a lot of people today who really don’t understand the Lord Jesus Christ as well as they should. Many of these are found even in Christendom. They could know Him so much better.
We are speaking today about the identity of our Precious Lord Jesus Christ. He challenged His enemies with the statement that He existed before Moses. But they still did not understand. They just wanted to crucify Him because He claimed more authority than Moses. They didn’t comprehend that it was, in fact, He Who had called Moses.
In His High Priestly prayer (recorded in John 17), He prayed – “and now Father glorify Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” There are many Christians who do not consider the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. This is why I say that they do not really know Who Jesus is.
In the first three verses of John, chapter 1, His identity is revealed. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.” (No doubt we would say, in today’s idiom, THE WORD WAS OF THE VERY NATURE OF GOD.) John continues, “The same was in the beginning with God. ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM: AND WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE THAT WAS MADE.” (John 1:1-3)
A few verses farther on, we are told that He (Jesus) came to His own but His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him He gave power to become the sons of God. I want to emphasize that word become. He did not make us the sons of God. But He came to His own people and, as many of His own people as received Him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God.
I wonder if you know that the Greek name of Jehovah is Jesus. You see it was Jehovah who led the children of Israel through the wilderness. It was Jehovah who established them as a nation. It was Jehovah who became incarnate and was born into the family of Abraham that He might save them from their sins! to save His own people from their sins!
A dream came to Joseph, the foster father or the guardian of the Lord Jesus Christ Who was born to Mary who was yet a virgin. Jesus was conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God Himself. Joseph, concerned about the fact that Mary, to whom he was engaged, was found to be with child, prayed about this. God answered him in a dream and told him that that Holy Child, which was conceived in the womb of Mary, was actually conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then God went on to explain to Joseph that, therefore, this Child which would be born of Mary would be named Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. So this child would be named Jehovah. Now those who know that Jesus and the mighty Jehovah of the Old Scripture are actually one and the same will have a much clearer concept of His Person and they will certainly understand Him much better.
Very often, the pulpit has presented a very poor portrait of our Blessed Lord. He has so often been painted with the brush of humanism and colored with weak and fleshly sentimentality. His lowliness and meekness have been extolled at the expense of His majesty and glory.
When the Scriptures speak about Jehovah, it is actually speaking about Jesus in His pre-incarante existence. In Psalm 68:4, we read, “Sing unto God, sing praises to His Name; extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His Name JAH, and rejoice before Him.” JAH, the name used in this particular Psalm, is a short form of JEHOVAH. So the Psalmist is speaking about Jehovah. We know that Jesus Christ and Jehovah are the same Name and therefore the Psalmist is actually speaking about the doings of Jesus Christ before He was born in the flesh of Abraham.
The Psalmist goes on to tell us that JAH or Jehovah is “. . . a Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows …” So we see His character is revealed as that of the kind, gentle and strong champion of His people, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalmist further identifies Him as the One Who came down upon Mount Sinai and gave the law to the House of Israel, saying, “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the Presence of God, the God of Israel . the chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”
The Psalmist is telling us very plainly that when Jesus Christ came down in His pre-incarnate existence, as Jehovah on Mount Sinai to give the law to the children of Israel, that He did not come alone but He came as the Head of a mighty heavenly host of angelic beings who came in chariots of one type or another and surrounded Him during the time of His sojourn upon Mount Sinai. You will remember, if you are familiar with the history of the house of Israel after they came out of bondage in Egypt by the hand of God through the human instrumentality of Moses that Mount Sinai was altogether on fire, as the Scripture tells us. Looking up at it, the people saw the top of the mountain as if it were enfolded in fierce fire. There was smoke all about and clouds also. Jehovah Himself came down upon the mountain and this resulted in that glory which they saw.
When it is known that the Lord, upon whom David relied, and who came down upon Mount Sinai and gave the fiery law, is actually the Lord upon whom we rely today and when it is realized then that Jesus is indeed Jehovah of the Old Test ament, the God of Israel, then our eyes are opened to the identity of Jesus and also to the identity of the racial family of Anglo-Saxondom which has continued to witness to Him, to print His Bible and to call upon His Name.
It has been the Anglo-Saxon peoples who have printed and distributed the Bible throughout the world. It has been the Anglo-Saxon peoples who have been instrumental in establishing the missionary program to all other peoples. We have indeed been His witnesses just as Isaiah prophesied that the house of Israel should be.
One of the most enlightening passages in all of Scripture is found in Gen. 17:7. God is speaking here through Moses and He said, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee (Abraham) in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” The relationship which Abraham enjoyed with Jehovah was to be enjoyed by the children which were to be born of his line forever. God said, I am not only a God of you, Abraham, but I am going to be a God to all your children in all their generations forever. I am going to establish my covenant with them.
In other words, there must be a people today who are the seed of Abraham, in this generation, and Jehovah is known to them today as Jesus of Nazareth!
I know that some say that these are the Jews. To this I will simply say that the promise to His people is that they must know Him and acknowledge Him as God. This the Jews in general do not do. They will not acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, they cannot be the house of Israel. Furthermore, if the modern Jew is the descendant of ancient Judah (the tribe of Judah), then we must still find eleven other tribes because the house of Israel consists of twelve tribes. We know also that the name Judah was applied to the southern kingdom which consisted of the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin. So if modern Jewry is actually descended of that remnant nation, then we still must locate ten other tribes beside because there are twelve tribes in the house of Israel. Prophetically, the modern Jew simply does not fill the picture!
There is a very intriguing passage in the gospel of John which relates to this. We are told in John 10 that the Jews came to Jesus (the Jewish leaders in His day), and they said very plainly to Him, You tell us who you are. The Lord said, I have told you but you didn’t believe me. You don’t believe me now. He said, You can’t even hear my Word because you are not my sheep. Then He went on to explain, “My sheep hear My voice and they know Me and I know them and they follow Me.”
The children of God of the house of Abraham must he those today who follow Jesus Christ. This is not surprising because the ancient Israel were the people who knew Jehovah. Jehovah was Jesus in His pre-incarnate existence.
How sad it is that the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has to give us is so seldom really given to us from the pulpit today. There is so much humanism taught, so much philosophy taught, so much religion taught, and there is so little of the Word of God taught;