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Does It Have To Be Jesus?

God, Who Is Unapproachable, Has A Way To Be Approached

Does It Have To Be Jesus?
Image Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2018 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).
Does It Have To Be Jesus? That was the question in my mind 48 years ago in January 1970. I knew there was a God. I looked into a number of religions, but I was not attracted to any because I wanted just God.

I was supposed to be Roman Catholic. People thought I was Roman Catholic when I was 17 years old in January 1970, but I had turned away from that church a number of years back. My dad was Russian Orthodox and my mom was Roman Catholic. Dad had to agree all children would be raised Roman Catholic.

As a very young boy I was very interested in science. I was also a very sincere Roman Catholic. Also, at six and seven years old I had a love for Jesus.

I was doing very well in school including catechism class. Just prior to being confirmed at Saint Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church of Kearny, New Jersey, I was able to answer a number of questions the bishop asked (seemed like he kept pointing in my direction). Although I was seemingly a “good” Roman Catholic, I and my family would dabble in the occult: palm reading, fortune telling, Ouija boards, tea leaf readings, horoscopes, and much more.

I watched a lot of TV in those days and enjoyed it -- until I saw pictures of Biafran children starving to death. During those days there was a push in Saint Stephen’s to raise money for a golden canopy in its altar area. I was very angry about this when there were multitudes starving to death in Biafra. I turned my back on the Roman Catholic Church, all religions, and God.

I Worshiped Satan

Since my family was already dabbling in the occult I decided to turn to satan {1}. I wanted power, especially over others who would tease me. So I would worship satan in my bedroom. While in a trance one evening I heard a very wicked laugh -- and it was not the neighbors next-door! I had to force myself out of that trance. That was too much of a scare so I no longer worshiped satan, but I still hated God and all religions, especially Christianity.

I soon got into pantheism. But, after a time, that did not make sense to me if you believed God was good and not evil. So I began to investigate other religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and a number more. Christianity was excluded because I hated it. However, I received a Gospel tract from Trans World Radio titled “Religion Is A Drag”. I read it. It pointed out the difference between religion and having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That made sense, but I was very skeptical if Jesus was really raised from the dead, or if He had existed at all.

There are many details about my coming to Christ that, for the sake of brevity, I must leave out. So let us “fast forward” to my junior year in high school. Against my desires I had to take biology class. I thought I would hate it, but I was soon enjoying it. In fact, I became the class assistant to care for the animals and much of the lab, and even got a commendation from the dean for my volunteer work in the lab.

Glimmers

As I studied biology I saw a number of amazing things about animal and plant cells, especially in regard to DNA and mitochondria. I then knew there had to be a God. But, how do I get ahold of Him, and just Him. I did not want religion. I did not want a human figure or a number of human figures, angels, or anything else. I just wanted God and only God. 

In those days Bob Wittik, a sophomore, befriended me and started to walk home with me after school. He was quite an intelligent young man and we had fun talking about science, theories, philosophies and more. God would come up from time to time. At one point, while we were talking about current events, Bob suggested I listen to evangelist Billy Graham.

Revelation

Though I hated all religions, especially Christianity, on the point of current events Bob had whet my mental appetite and I began listening to Graham 10 PM every Sunday night. The evangelist brought up The Revelation a number of times. I saw it was the last book of the Holy Bible. It was suppose to indicate what was going to happen “in the end.” So, over a course of time, I read the whole book not once, not twice, but four times {2}. I knew that if Revelation was true, I was not ready for what was to come, or to even die.

By January 1970 Billy Graham was making a lot of sense. And I remember thinking in January 1970 that for sure there was a God, and for sure He would bring the world to an end and judge it. I wanted God, but Graham kept saying the only Way to God was through Jesus. No! My “scientific” mind wanted God, just “raw” God. No religion, humans or any other beings. Does it have to be Jesus?

Roman Catholic paintings and artwork of Jesus would come to my mind. It seemed like most times He was “spaced out,” almost like He had been puffing marijuana or something. Other pictures showed Him in some type of sorrow or agony. Additionally, I thought most of the miracles were myth. I thought the account of His resurrection was a farce, as well as His ascension, to make people believe He was still alive and give false validity to Christianity.

Even though I was scared from Revelation, especially the flying scorpions {2}, I thought most of it was symbolism, including Jesus. Yet Billy Graham was making more sense all of the time. I had to get right with God. But why did Jesus have to be included?

Though I knew I had better get right with God, my desire for “just raw God” was a roadblock to making a commitment to Him through Christ. So for more than the first half of January 1970 I remained unsaved, unregenerate, damned, condemned to hell. Unknown to me at that time was the fact was I could not have just “raw God”. No one else can either. Part of the reason is found in 1 Timothy 6:16, but let me begin with verse 12 for clarity (although it would be great to start with verse 1 since the “prosperity gospel” is addressed in it):

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

It is the middle of verse 16 that would tell me why no one could just have “raw” (for lack of a better term) God: “dwells in unapproachable light”. Most likely I had not read that verse before I came to Christ and, if I did, I probably would have been unable to understand it. The actual word order is “dwells in light unapproachable”. Let us start with the word “unapproachable” and work our way back up the phrase.

I. Unapproachable 

Strong {3} shows the word also means inaccessible. First but not foremost, from the whole body of Holy Scripture I get the sense it would be physically painful to even get near the full glory of God. YHVH told Moses (Exodus 33:20), “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” There would be overwhelming mental and spiritual anguish, and our spiritual condition is our primary problem.

Each of us has a sin nature from the time we are born. It could be thought of as a spiritual inheritance and, of course, not a very good one. We are imperfect. God is perfect (Matthew 5:48). However, if you read that verse you will see He calls us to perfection. More on that later. “Inaccessible” speaks to the Holy Bible truth that no one can make themselves good enough to approach the full glory of God

II. In Light

It is good to keep in mind there are various kinds of light or radiation. Do not be taken aback by the word “radiation”. Not all radiation is bad and not all radiation is of nuclear origin. Infrared light is light we cannot see, but whether it is from the sun or some other source in the right amount it is safe and can keep us warm.

So the light that God dwells in is not only something like the light we mostly enjoy every day, but also spiritual. And, not only does God dwell in light He is light and within Him there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). Based on context and the whole counsel of the written Word it is the same as contrasting purity with impurity, moral good with moral evil, and so on.

Since He is light and there is no darkness within Him that means none of us could be with Him unless there was a way to do it. Verses like 1 John 1:5 speak of His holiness (along with other things). We are unholy from birth, so, none of us could be there unless there was a change. Given the immediate context and the entirety of the Word of God we will see the remedy in the beginning word of the phrase before us from 1 Timothy 6:16,

III. Dwelling 

As we see, He certainly does exist. Something that is non-existent does not dwell, or do anything else. And the fact that there is a remedy for man’s dilemma is actually seen in the very first verse of the Holy Bible. The very first word use to introduce us to the Supreme Being is the Hebrew “elohim”, translated God. Like some other Hebrew words (such as paniym, “presence”) it is written plural. In many cases the grammar of the verse along with context determines if a plural noun is to be understood as singular, and such is the case with Genesis 1:1.

The Old Testament (OT) reveals God as one, and only one, being, yet having a plurality. Let that not baffle you, for you and I are one being each, but each of us is body, soul, and spirit. Soon after using “elohim" the Holy Spirit through Moses presents His Name, YHVH, The Existing One, or it could be said The I Am. As we progress through the OT we will see there are many times YHVH refers to YHVH. My favorite is Zechariah 3:2, “YHVH (The Existing One) said to Satan, ‘YHVH (The Existing One) rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, YHVH (The Existing One) who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'"

John 1:1 is a vivid account of God as one being with plurality: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Again, there is no need to be baffled by this. Consider there is only one you, and you have a spirit, soul, and body. There is only one you, yet your spirit is you, your soul is you, and your body is you, and they are all with each other.

The Saving Son

As we look at the entire written Word of God we see one being God Who subsists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He eternally subsists this way for our salvation from His wrath. While eternal He intervened in our realm of time and space so that our salvation was captained (Hebrews 2:10) before the eyes of humanity (Luke 2:30-31) through Jesus Christ Who is the Son. He victoriously lived the life that we need to live and then offered Himself to the Father so we can have not only forgiveness of sins but also removal of sin (John 1:29, 1 John 3:8), and much more. This is why the Apostle John saw what he did as recorded in Revelation 5:1-10:

I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?" 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4 Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5 and one of the elders *said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."
6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they *sang a new song, saying,
        "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
    10    You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

Reconciliation

So Christ is the only Way to the Father. He is the access and only access to the Father. In Him, and only in Him, is a human’s cover, shield, from the holy wrath of God, and for lack of a better term “raw” God, against us because of our sins and sin nature. Let us see the immense amazing love God through Christ as recorded in the Colossians 1:19-20, “For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

God reconciles all things to Himself through Christ Who paid the penalty for our sin. Now, remember in John 1:1 the Word (the Son) Who is God was with God (the Father). The Word (logos) is soon referred to as the true Light in John 1:9. Our text says God dwells in light and 1 John 1:5 says God is light. In John 1:12 we learn that those who receive that Light are given authority to be a child of God.

Light

Upon trusting God through Christ, receiving the True Light into our sinful being a great conversion takes place. Note very well Ephesians 5:8-9, “you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth). There you have it! Through Christ a person is changed from darkness into light.

And as a result of that God will dwell in such a person. Here are some verses where it is seen God dwells in a true disciple, with the word for “dwell" being the same word that is used in 1 Timothy 6:16.

Romans 8:9 -- “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

Romans 8:11 -- “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

1 Corinthians 3:16 -- “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

With these verses in mind, let us now read John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” This is why the Holy Bible is more understandable when someone commits to God through Christ. Once I made peace with God through Christ the Holy Bible “lit up”. And I, along with a host of others, will testify that the Holy Bible lights up more and more as one remains in Christ. Those that remain in Him learn to obey Him which further opens one’s understanding of the written Word. Psalm 111:10 states, “A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.”

Access

True disciples do not do His commandments on their own strength, but with the authority and power of Christ who makes a true disciple just, righteous before God. Through Him we have access to the Father (Hebrews 10:19-24). If we remain in Him Who makes us just we will then remain in Eternal Life. It is a glorious walk that has it end in the very presence of God. It is written in Proverbs 4:18 (Webster*), “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day.” Yes, it has to be Jesus (John 14:6). Only He can righteously make you and I just. If we remain in Him we will come to that perfect day.

I finally did come to Christ by the end of January 1970. God willing, in the next article I will write about it.

Notes:

* = usually means in the NASB that the verb is actually in the present and not the past. So, ”says” in verse 5 and “they sing” in verse 9.

{1} Not capitalized on purpose. Experts Column gives me the freedom to express myself in that way.

{2} Please read Providentially Empowered And Purposed at http://holybibletreasures.expertscolumn.com/article/providentially-empowered-and-purposed

{3} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by February 12, 2018 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M483 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.


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Thank you for sharing your story with us. In my family too they dabble in the occult. I came quite close to it in 2008 when i moved to New Jersey for college. I was living with my relatives and my uncle took me to New York the day after I arrived to get a reading. I did not like it and still do and from that day I have been protesting again being involved in it.My uncle depends on these readings and even lives his life by them. But I cannot be doing these things and then be active in the church. It feels wrong and from reading the Bible I know it is wrong.

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