What and How are We Hunting?

Each year around this time it is popular for different social groups to host egg hunts. Someone takes the eggs and hides them in various “secret” places in a designated area and then children go out and look for the eggs. There are, among the children, various different kinds of hunters. There are those who do not know they are hunting at all; most of these are the little children who need to be taught what to do. There are those who are hunting the egg itself for the sheer joy of hunting the egg. Then there are those who hunt the egg for the prize that they will find inside the egg. Different children have different motives for participating in the hunt. Life is kind of like an egg hunt.

There are those who have no idea that for which they are hunting. They hurry about their daily lives doing the things that those around them seem to do simply because it appears that everyone else is doing it not knowing why they do it. Jesus described these in Matthew 9:36, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” These are like sheep having no shepherd. They wander around following the other sheep; they don’t know why they go where they go or do the things they do. These are often led down the wrong path and end up being devoured by wolves (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29). These need Jesus to be their shepherd and so Jesus invites them to come to him for the leadership that they need (Matthew 11:28-30).

On the other hand, there are those who know what to hunt for but don’t believe you can find that for which you are hunting. These say they are concerned about truth. They say that we must look for truth. Yet in some way or another they say you really can’t know and find the truth. The agnostic says that you can’t know the truth regarding God’s existence. The skeptic says you can’t know the truth regarding the origin of the Bible. The modernist says that you can’t know that Jesus is the Son of God. The denominational person says that you cannot know the true church of Christ. Each seemingly takes one step closer to the truth, but never seems to arrive at the truth. It reminds us of Paul’s statement to Timothy regarding similar men, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). They are hunting something, but they stop before they find what they truly need to find. They hunt merely for the thrill of the hunt, but for nothing more; so they walk away empty handed.

Finally, there are those who hunt with the knowledge that something wonderful is going to be revealed that they can call their own. These hunt based upon faith�a faith that rewards those who diligently seek God (Hebrews 11:6). These understand that they need a Good Shepherd to guide them and so they follow (John 10:14). These understand that they can know and obey ALL of God’s truth and be free (John 8:32). These, like Abraham, set their spiritual eyes upon that which is unseen to let it motivate them to live in a way that is pleasing to God. It is said regarding Abraham, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). And regarding all who would live their lives by faith, we read, “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:14-16).

How are we hunting? Do we simply follow the crowd content to let come whatever may? Do we seek for something yet declare that there is no way we can obtain it? Or do we hunt with the goal in mind of something better than what we have in the here and now? Placing our complete trust in God and His word for eternity? Do we let this motivate us to live faithful to the Lord each day? Yes, there is a great prize that is laid up for those who are faithful to God (2 Timothy 4:8). Let us lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12) by seeking the Lord each day and finding Him!

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Who is “us” in Genesis 1:26?

In Genesis 1:26 it says, “Then God said, Let us make man in our image . . . .” Who is “us?” Was God talking to himself or someone else?

The context is the creation of man. God’s creation of the rest of the natural world was complete and now He turns His hand to the creation of His grandest work upon the earth. We read in Psalm 8:5 that man was made “a little lower than the angels.” Man is, therefore, the highest work of the physical creation and God in attending to this creation wants to ensure that it is done properly. So there is a pause between the creation of the rest of the natural world and the now higher work of creating man. During this pause, God states these words, “Let us make man in our image.”

Some have suggested that God was speaking to His spiritual creation–the hosts of heavenly beings that surround His throne. Several passages in the Old Testament refer to these beings such as 1 Kings 22:19, Psalm 89:8, Daniel 10, and in the book of Ezekiel. The Ark of the Covenant itself was topped with two spiritual beings referred to as cherubim and Isaiah talks about beings called seraphim in Isaiah 6. Was God speaking to these of His spiritual creation? Not likely. God says that He wanted to make man in “our image” and then in verse 27 we read, “in the image of God created he him.” So, it can’t be that God was speaking to the heavenly hosts of creation.

A second suggestion has been made that God was speaking of himself in plural number such as members of the royal family do. If you have ever heard the Queen of England speak, she never says, “I” and “me” but always, “we” and “us.” Certainly it can be said of God that he is royal. He is described in Isaiah as the King of the nation of Israel (Isaiah 44:6). When the children of Israel desired a king, God told Samuel that they had not rejected him but “Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7). The implication is that God was acting as their King. So certainly God could use “we” in this sense if He wanted to. However, the word for God in Hebrew is “elohim” which in and of itself has a plural ending, but is singular in understanding. Additionally, we see that the first chapter of Genesis talks about God creating, but His Spirit moving upon the face of the deep. How could God be everywhere in the creation and His Spirit be in one particular place? It appears as if there is more than one divine person working in the creation and when we look at John 1:1, it is confirmed.

In John 1:1-3 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” So here, we see that the “Word” was instrumental in the creation–that all things were made by him. That would certainly include the creation of man. We see in verse 14 that the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Who is the “Word?” He is the only begotten of the Father. So we have involved in creation three personalities, the Spirit of God, the Son of God, and God the Father. This is the “us” of Genesis 1:26. God the Father was speaking to both the Spirit and the one who would become the Son.

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Matthew 18:10 Talking about Guardian Angels?

In Matthew 18:10, we read, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” What does “that in heaven their (the child’s) angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” mean? Please explain this verse.

In this context, Jesus is addressing the disciples regarding their question of who is the greatest. Jesus answers their question in saying that the one who is like this little child is the greatest. He goes further to speak of what he means by the character of the little child in verses 3-5. He says 1) to enter the kingdom one must convert and become as a little child, 2) the one who humbles himself as a child is humble is the greatest in the kingdom, 3) to receive a little child is to receive Jesus. He has thus far spoken of positive behavior as related to the little children. In verses 6-10 he now discusses negative behavior toward these children. He says 1) the one who offends one of these little ones is in a lost condition, 2) those who commit offenses are in a condition of woe, 3) we should cut off occasions of offense from ourselves lest we fall. Then Jesus sums up both the negative and positive in verse 10. Great care should be given not to despise the little ones on account of their status with God. What is that status? Their angels are always before the face of God. How does this fit in with the context?

First, Jesus praises the character of the little child. Second, Jesus condemns the character of the one who causes offense toward the little child. On the one hand you have the innocent. On the other hand you have the guilty. The phrase “their angels do always behold the face of my Father” must refer to the innocence of the child. But this begs some additional explanation.

In Hebrews 1:14, we see that angels are “ministering spirits.” And that they minister to those who will inherit salvation. What are their responsibilities in this regard? What are their duties? We just do not know all of the things that they do. However, we do get a glimpse in a few passages. In Genesis 28:10 we read about a dream that Jacob had. This dream showed a ladder. Upon that ladder, the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it. So God’s angels go up to heaven and come down to earth in their service to Him. In what way would an angel be of service to God?

The Greek word for angel is “angelos” and it literally means “a messenger.” The translators of the Bible thought that there was a special being that God called a messenger, so they transliterated the word “angelos” into our English word, “angel.” Having this in mind, let’s look at Revelation 8:3,4. In this context we see an angel mixing incense with the prayers of the saints. It is a context of worship before God. Given that angels are “messengers” and given that they are to minister to the saints going back and forth from earth to heaven, and given that they appear before God in the context of worship, it may be that they in some capacity serve to carry the prayers or worship of the saints before the throne of God. This is my opinion and I could be entirely wrong about this. But this fits well with the idea of a child’s angel always being before the face of the Father. That is, the child has no sin; there is no need for the child to pray for forgiveness of sins; so there is no need for their messenger to go back and forth from the earth to heaven to carry the messages of the child to God. Therefore, they are always before the face of the Father in that they are not going back and forth to the earth to carry these messages. Again, this is just my opinion as to what I think this passage means.

Some cite this passage and say that each child has a “guardian” angel. The passage does NOT teach this. In fact, it teaches just the opposite. If the angel is always before the face of the Father, then it cannot be following the child around making sure that it doesn’t get hurt or anything like that. A child’s guardians are his parents and when parents fail to raise their children appropriately, children get hurt.

So to conclude, we can definitely say that whatever this means, it is in regard to the innocence of the child. On that there is no doubt. As to the way God uses angels in the world today, there is just too much that we don’t know and I know of no better explanation for the meaning of this passage than the one I have given.

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