He Upholds the Universe

Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

In the Old Testament times, and including John the Baptist and the apostles in the New Testament times, God used select human beings to be his voice to the people. The words they spoke, under the power and authority of God, were God-breathed, i.e. they were God’s words to the people, just as our Bible is God’s Word to us today – which is a compilation of the words they all spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God.

But, remember that God has always existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so Jesus was speaking in Old Testament times, too. He was present with God’s people even back then. In fact, he has always existed with God, he is God, and he is our creator God (See also John 1 and Philippians 2).

In the Old Testament times, upon God’s covenant with Abraham, and up until Jesus Christ (God the Son) died on the cross for our sins, the people of God were under the Old Covenant. When the law came into being by the Word of God via Moses, the people were under stringent rules and regulations they were to follow, too. And, if they did not follow them, in some cases, there were severe punishments for disobedience.

Then, Jesus Came

But, then God sent Jesus to the earth to take on human form and to die on a cross for our sins. In his death he literally became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God; that we might die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness (2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24).

In his death he put sin to death, on our behalf, so that we might be crucified with him in death to sin, and so that we might be resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Co. 6:20).

For, Jesus didn’t remain in the grave. He was resurrected from the dead as he had said he would be, and he ascended back to the Father, and from there he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers.

Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are thus forgiven our sins, we are delivered from our slavery to sin, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to be lived, in his power, to his righteousness in obedience to his commands.

God Continues to Speak

But, the Lord continues to speak to us through human beings, not adding to scripture, though, but in sharing with us the truths of scripture in very practical ways which can be applied to our daily lives, in our present world in which we now live. And, they do so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, as led by the Spirit via spiritual gifts (Rom. 12; 1 Co. 12-14; Eph. 4).

And, God continues to speak to us in many different ways, too. He speaks through nature (see Romans 1). He speaks to us through our circumstances, like the parables Jesus spoke. And, he speaks to us through other Christians. For, he said we are to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and that we are to speak the truth in love to one another for the building of one another up to maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

But, the words we now speak are under the New Covenant we have with Jesus Christ, and they are not under the Old Covenant the Jews had with God. It doesn’t mean we can’t teach from the Old Testament, though. We can, for there is a lot to be learned from there. But, the words we teach need to be in agreement with the New Covenant teaching in scripture. And, they need to be applied to our lives and to our world today.

He Upholds the Universe

As I was reading this passage of scripture this morning, these words really jumped out at me:

He upholds the universe by the word of his power.

The “He” is Jesus Christ, and the “He” is God. Jesus Christ isn’t merely the Son of God. He is God! He is all powerful, all knowing, and ever present. He is fully in control over all things, and he is completely sovereign over all that he has made. Nothing escapes his notice. Nothing is out of the realm of his power and control. He upholds the universe by the word of his power.

We need to get this, especially at this time in our history when we are experiencing this global pandemic, which is much more than just a virus. And, the virus could very well be the cover-up for the true pandemic taking place globally, too. For, what we are seeing goes far beyond a virus. What we are witnessing is totalitarian control over the entire planet.

But, no matter what we are presently going through, and no matter how long this lasts, or how many more stringent rules and regulations are placed upon us; and no matter what severity of punishments are placed on us, as well, for any who they decide do not comply with this totalitarian global regime, still God/Jesus is on the throne. God/Jesus is still King over all.

And, the Lord has a purpose for it all, which he will accomplish in the lives of his people, and in the lives of the people of this world. And, thus, we are to submit to the Lord in all of this, and we are to obey our governing authorities, even if what they are doing is totally wrong, and even if what they are doing is intended to cause us harm and not good.

BUT… There are exceptions to that rule. We don’t bow to the “golden statue.” We don’t cease praying to our God. And, we don’t stop sharing the gospel of our salvation to the world around us (Examples: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel and the apostles in the New Testament).

In other words, if what is required of us during this “pandemic,” and under this totalitarian rule, where we are all under house arrest – if it goes against the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles, or if it goes against anything the Lord has specifically forbid us to involve ourselves with, then we must not obey the government, but we must obey God, instead, always.

Hebrews 1:5-9 ESV

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

For, our God/Jesus hates wickedness and he loves righteousness. So we, too, are to hate wickedness and we are to love righteousness. And, the Lord, I believe, is allowing us, his people, to be under this totalitarian rule right now to teach us to hate wickedness and to love righteousness, too.

For, we may not have seen the worst of it, yet. And, in reality, this is all leading up to or is presently under the rule of the beast of Revelation (Rev. 12-14). So, it is going to get worse. But, what phase we are in, only God knows. And, what tomorrow holds for us, only God knows.

But, what I know is that God is still on the throne, he is still in control, and he intends to work this all out for good for those who love (obey) him; for those who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

But, that doesn’t mean we won’t have hardships. It doesn’t mean we won’t lose jobs or incomes, or that we won’t have shortages of food and/or supplies. It doesn’t mean we won’t be on house arrest, either, perhaps for a long while, and perhaps more than once, over a period of time, at the discretion of our rulers.

And, it doesn’t mean that our freedoms will not be stripped away from us one at a time, including our freedom to believe as we choose, or that we won’t face enormous persecution for our faith in days to come.

For, the scriptures teach that we will suffer for righteousness’ sake, and that we will go through hardships, and that we will be persecuted for our faith and for our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel. So, be prepared!

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

William Whiting

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amid the rage did sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who did brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow’r,
Your children shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e’er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

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