The Four Faces of Jesus: The Omnipotent Word (Part 13) (6-11-17)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)

There is power in words. With them man has been able to build or destroy, fortify or weaken, inspire or discourage. The lofty influence they carry in humanity was clearly manifested during the construction of the tower at Babel. The inspired amanuensis begins his detail of this event by confirming that “the whole earth had one language and one speech” (Genesis 11:1). It is well known that the people of earth, during that period of time, opted for the construction of “a tower whose top is in the heavens” as a beacon that could guide them back to the city “lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4). Although a rare unity had been achieved by man via the construction of the tower, it was a unity forged in sin due to the disobedience of God’s command to “abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (Genesis 8:17). To avoid being “scattered abroad” was undeniably in direct opposition of the Divine command to “abound on the earth.” It is interesting to realize that God, in His omniscience, identified the source of their disobedience to be “they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do” (Genesis 11:6). Hence the method executed by Jehovah God to cease man’s rebellion to His ordinance (as He watched His creation build this tower, despite His commandment to fill the whole world) was to “confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7). When this takes place, Holy Writ teaches that “the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city” (Genesis 11:8). It is wise to notice that it was the improper use of words that led man to sin against God; it was God’s proper use of them that ended man’s rebellion. In fact, upon closer examination, one must acknowledge the foreshadowing (and allusion) that can be found in this pericope of Holy Scripture. The power of the word can be traced back to the very beginning because “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6). God’s omnipotence is clearly illuminated by the fact that “He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9). This amazing truth reveals the pure nature of God’s Word since it creates and does not destroy. His eternity is highlighted by the inspired Hebrew poet in establishing that His word “stood fast.” These two facts cannot be denied by any man “for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). In other words, because the earth still exists and mankind still abides everywhere in it, God’s presence, power, and eternity cannot be dispelled. His command given to Noah after the flood continues to be fulfilled, despite man’s failed attempt at Babel. In humanity’s abuse of having a unified language, we are able to allude to how man fell at the Garden. The inspired apostle, in his warning to the Corinthian church against false teachers, enlightens us that as “the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3). Paul’s comparison of false teachers with Satan is better understood when we recall that he achieved his malicious purpose by altering God’s command with a single word. “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die’” (Genesis 3:4). This slight, subtle change implemented by the devil deviated man from God’s righteous path, and the same was true at Babel. Let us not ignore that man did indeed become fruitful and multiplied upon the earth, but their sole disobedience came from the alteration of remaining in a single city rather than abounding on the whole earth. It becomes evident, then, that in the story of Babel we are able to trace the allusion to how man fell to begin with at Eden. However, it is also true that a foreshadowing of how man would be restored to God’s righteous path is found. Before the speech of men was confused by God, they were lost in their misguided effort to avoid being scattered abroad and (as previously stated) this was insubordinate to God’s command. This deviated insubordination was corrected by God when He descended and eliminated man’s singular speech. The birth of several new languages (or words) forced man to scatter abroad and cease the construction of their city. It was by His word that man’s speech became confused and ultimately returned to the road of obedience, foreshadowing the ultimate path of salvation as manifested by John. John boldly commences this lesson by establishing that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” illuminating the eternity of Jesus as God (John 1:1-2). He continues his lesson by saying “all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” to confirm the creating power of Jesus as God (John 1:3). He further states that “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men” revealing the Divine grace found in Jesus as the Son of God (John 1:4). It was through His word that descended upon the dwellers of Babel that they were brought back to Him; it was through Jesus, the Incarnate Word that descended from heaven, that God returned humanity to Himself. Logos, is the single word that John was fully convinced would suffice to portray Jesus in a manner that could be comprehended by Greeks and Jews. He understood the value of the Greek word logos for both cultures, and he knew that they would fully grasp the significance of presenting Jesus in this light. Assuredly, both of these ancient civilizations marveled at the power that can be found in words. However, for them words were more than a phonetic combination of sounds to transmit communication. Greek and Jew, alike, had a strong belief that a word, logos, had traces of Divine nature in them. Therefore, it is not surprising that John’s eagle eye spotted this concept. Proclaiming Jesus to be the Logos during John’s lifetime was unique and never before revealed. To be continued…

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