A letter from the Lord Jesus: About God and Me by Dale Tuggy

What follows is a superb letter written by Dale Tuggy regarding the truths about God and Jesus.
Brackets and ellipses have been added by this blog’s editor.

A letter from the Lord Jesus: About God and Me

Dear Christian,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you about God and me. I know you mean well; you’re trying to rescue my honor from people who say I’m just one of many “great spiritual teachers.” In truth, I do not wish to be lumped together with the likes of Muhammed, the Buddha, or Gandhi. (I don’t mind being compared to Moses, although my ministry has far surpassed his. [1]) I do wish, though, that you would pay attention to my teaching, both during my … ministry on earth and in my post resurrection ministry through my hand-picked apostles.

I need you to stop confusing me with God, our heavenly Father. You pray to God and then call him “Jesus,” as if that were his name. He has a name, but “Jesus” is not it! [2] Then you pray to my Father and you thank him for dying on the cross for you. But this never happened! Pay attention, my children.

I am God’s Son, not him! [3] I am a man, and it should go without saying that the Almighty is not a man. [4] He, my Father, is the only true God. [5] I am his Messiah, [6] his Christ, his anointed one, not the anointer. I died, and thanks be to God, he raised me and made me immortal. [7] But he has always been immortal, and so can’t be killed. [8] Notice that my apostles and I never told you that it was because I am God that I could be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” [9] An immortal being can’t die any sort of death, including a sacrificial death! We never told you that only a being with the divine nature could atone for the sins of humanity. In truth, God my Father, who was pleased with me, [10] considered me to be a worthy sacrifice, yes, a man with flesh and blood like yours. [11] He showed how much he loves you by sending me to sacrifice my human life for you, [12] something he could not do himself, being immortal.
It was certain imaginative men among you, not my apostles or I, who told you that the gospel is that God came and died for you. Nor should you listen to peddlers of the nonsense that I died “as human” while remaining alive “as divine,” as if I could have been both dead and not dead, and alive and not alive at the same time! Nor was I composed of a dying man and an immortal “divine Person.” It was only yours truly on that cross. I was there, and I assure you that on that terrible day no one thought that God had been crucified. [13]

God was the one I had prayed to earlier in the garden, hoping for a moment that I might be spared. But the whole terrible series of events was his will, and I submitted my will to his. [14] As my apostle Paul explained, this is why God raised and exalted me. [15] I now rule, so to speak, at the right hand of God. [16] You could say that I share his throne, [17] yes, but that doesn’t make me him! Again, as Paul and other early writers clearly explained, even in my exalted position, where as predicted I have been given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, [18] still, I am under God. We all are!

The one true God is godless; no one is his god. He’s the only one like that. The rest of us are under him. My [God] is your [God]; God is Father both of me and of you all. I told you this plainly, right after he raised me. [19]

I did something that even God could not do: I lived as an example for you of a human life lived in faithful submission to God, walking out the two most important commandments, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” [20] You can’t tempt God Almighty; [21] but I was tempted, and I passed the tests. [22] I prayed to God both in secret and in public, [23] I worshiped him in the temple, and from a young age I studied his revealed words. [24] I taught you to pray to him and I showed you how to relate to him. [25]

As I explained clearly, it was God who sent me, [26] God who empowered me, [27] God who vindicated my claims by the amazing miracles he did through me, [28] and later through my messengers. [29]

Did I make myself God? No, as I explained, that was a false accusation. All I ever claimed to be was God’s Son, his Messiah. [30] Notice that my messengers and I never once said I am “God the Son.” I did say that the Father and I “are one,” [31] yes, even as the one who plants and the one who waters are “one.” That is to say, we’re about the same business. [32] Neither I nor my apostles ever told you that the Father and I are the one [God]; no, he is my [God]. [33] I am your lord, but not your god; God is one. [34] My disciples wanted to see the Father, [35] and I told them to look at me in order to see the Father–not because I am the father, but because I am like him. I am his image, [36] and truly he was and is at work in me. [37] Eventually even Thomas was given eyes to see the Father at work in me, reconciling the world to himself. [38]

That life-changing power, it comes from us. And one who truly follows me fellowships with us, with the one true God and also with me, his unique Son, your human Lord. God and I are, respectively, the one God and the one Lord. [39] Follow me, and truly, we will dwell with you. [40] But don’t confuse us with one another, and let go of speculations to the effect that we are two “Persons” in some imagined “triune” God. I didn’t teach you that, and neither did my messengers. My Father is God, all of God; he is not merely one of three “Persons” in God, whatever that may mean!

Did I say “I am”? Yes! As in, “I am he.” Or you might say “I am the one.” And I also said which one I am: the Messiah. I explained this clearly to the Samaritan woman. Will you listen to me? [41]

Does the fact that you must worship me show that I am God himself? No! I must be worshiped because God has exalted me to his right hand. [42] This was done as a reward for my unique service to him, in winning people of all nations to him. [43] Will you adopt the scruples of a false prophet about “associating” another with God? [44] God forbid! Obey God and honor me; this gives him glory.

“Who can forgive sins but God alone?” The answer is: someone who God has authorized to forgive sins on his behalf, like me, [45] and like my followers. [46]

What could possibly convince you that I am not God, but rather his unique human Son, when I have already plainly told you that he knows more than me [47], that he is greater than me [48], and that I only do his will and follow his lead [49], and when everyone knows that I was killed? No one can kill God! He leads and does not follow; no one is greater than him. [50] While he is eternally all-knowing, I told you there was something I didn’t know. [51] If you say I really did know in my “divine nature” or in my “divine mind” then you are calling me a liar. Don’t do it!

Notice that at my trials my enemies never accused me of claiming to be more than God’s Messiah, the promised King of Israel. [52] I tell you the truth: I never said a single thing that it would be blasphemous for a man to say, so long as that man really was God’s chosen Messiah.
And so I am.

Listen to me, and I will help you to see that the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ are not the same “Lord.” Even though I am a unique Lord, the Father is my [God] even as he is yours. Don’t be confused by the fact that I now share some of his titles. He has graciously inspired his servants to call me many things that he has been called: “Lord,” [53] “God,” [54] “Savior,” [55] “Master,” [56] “First and Last,” [57] and even … [“King of kings.”] [58]

Just remember that the very people who ascribe these titles to me also clearly teach that God is my [God], the [God] over me, the [God] to whom I submit. [59] It should be no surprise, since I am like him, his very image, and am still about his business, that he would generously allow me to share some of his wonderful titles. I praise him for it! [60]

Yes, I know that some sophisticated people among you, noting the differences between God and me, will avoid saying that I am God himself. They instead proudly discourse on “the deity of Christ,” and argue that I have a “divine nature.” In truth, they have muddied the waters with their rulings requiring people to say that I am “perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man…one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures.” [61] Neither I nor my apostles taught you these things. If a “human nature” is a man, then I am a human nature. If the “divine nature” is a god, you should remember that there is only one [God] and he is our Father. [62] If “human nature” is instead supposed to be the defining qualities which any human must have, then like any human being, I have human nature. But if “divine nature” is supposed to be the defining qualities which any god must have, then I do not have divine nature, as I have already explained.

After hundreds of years of telling people that I was feigning having anything like typical human limitations, which would mean that I was deceiving those around me, more recently some of you, willing to do anything to save your godman theories, have changed your theology, saying that God can temporarily give up his perfect knowledge, his immunity to temptation, and his unlimited power.
Perish the thought!

The Lord God Almighty can’t be killed, can’t be tempted, and can’t be ignorant of any fact. Yes, [through the  means of an angel, he] … wrestle with a man, [63] visit a man and receive his hospitality, [64] … [and was] seen by Moses and the elders of Israel [65] – nothing is too hard for him. But appearing … [through the means of an angel] is not the same as being a man, is it? [66] Don’t shrink your idea of God down to human size just to save your theory that he is me! Better you should reexamine your teachings about me in light of what I and my apostles actually said, not to mention the prophets before me. They all agree that I am a man, a descendent of David, [67] and they do not offer the dark saying that I am “man” but not “a man” or that I am “human” but not a “human person.” [68]

… About this speculation that any “LORD” or “God” seen in the times of the patriarchs was me, I never told you that, nor did any of my apostles. Listen to us! It was in these last days that God has spoken through me.[69]

And let me also clear up this matter of my allegedly creating the universe. I never claimed this. I proclaimed what I was taught by my Jewish ancestors, that it was the one God alone who created. [70] The universe is the handiwork of our Father in heaven. No, I did not help. He did not need any help. [71] He did it all by his mighty word. [72] He did not need some intermediary to insulate him from direct contact with the good works of his hands. Even if he had needed that, I wasn’t around back then. I had not yet been conceived! [73] Yes, as my friend John wrote, there was something in the beginning which was with God and which was God, and it was through this that God made all things. [74] Of course I’m talking about God’s word, or in other words, his wisdom. [75] It was that wisdom which much later as it were came down to earth and was available in my teaching and in my example. [76] Of course, … I am a sort of creator, but my handiwork is the new creation, the new order, the new ages. [77]

This “second god” through whom God created the universe is merely a product of Platonic imaginations. Frankly, some of these early Gentiles were embarrassed by me, a recent Jew who had been put to death in a humiliating manner. They much preferred a gospel of a second, lesser god, who supposedly inspired the philosophers they idolized, and who directly interacted with creation, something which on the authority of Plato they thought was impossible for God to do. … They traded my actual life for a yarn about a descending lesser god somehow becoming human, human-like, or invisibly united with a human. Perhaps they wanted to forget that “salvation is from the Jews,” [78] and that this Jew is the closest thing to “a second god” that there will ever be.

To sum up, I am God’s unique Son, and I have been raised up to be his right hand man, a Joseph to his Pharaoh. [79] Someday I will be your judge; God has appointed me to that role. [80] I now rule … from a truly godlike position which I was given by the one true God. [81] I’m a man still, although God has raised me up to be “a life-giving spirit” with an immortal body. [82] If you think that it would be wrong to worship or pray to “a mere man,” you need to fearfully reconsider what you just called me. Would you stand in front of one of this world’s kings or emperors, point your bony little finger at him and say out loud that “he’s just some guy”? When you stand before me as your judge, you will see how “mere” I am! You will bow your knee to me, “to the glory of God the Father.” [83] Though I am not your God, I am your Lord, and you ought to love and fear me. [84] If you think that God could not possibly put a human being into this position – well, that is just the voice of unbelief. I told you that I am “a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.” [85] Empowered by God, yes a real man can do all that God’s Messiah must do. This man is forever your priest who stands between you and God. [86] This man is the one intermediary between God and all of my brothers and sisters. [87] This man is “the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.” [88] Now listen closely: I am not the first and the last god –that position has been taken! I am the first and last exalted human Lord, raised to immortality, and exalted until all are subject to me, even as I am subject to God. [89]

I once stumped my own countrymen by asking them how in the prophetic Psalm David could call the Messiah, his own descendent, “Lord.” [90] They didn’t know, but a reader of the New Testament should understand that God has exalted me, the very point of the prediction I quoted to them. [91] I am not the Lord God Almighty, I am the first son of Mary whom God “has made both Lord and Christ.” [92]

Yes, I understand that you’re confused. When you read the accounts of my life, you can see that I am a man and that God is someone else, the true God, the God of Israel whom I worship and serve. And yet, in other contexts powerful and impressive people insist that my whole message counts for nothing unless “the deity of Christ” is part of it. But listen carefully, my child: you must prefer me to them, just as some of my first followers had to turn from even the most prestigious and powerful scholars and scribes in order to take me as their teacher. Just come to me, and learn from me, and I will resolve your confusion. My earliest followers faithfully recorded the truth God gave me, and even more, which God’s spirit soon taught them.

“Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” [93] Do you really think my theology needs some help, some correction? Why do you call me “Lord, Lord” and yet treat my teaching about God as something desperately in need of supplementation, using words that I never used, even demanding that my disciples use them? You dare not load them down with requirements that my disciples and I did not bring as conditions of the new covenant! [94]

Listen to me, and plug your ears when people presume to tell you what I really must have been hinting at. Don’t be seduced by alleged deep secrets about my imagined “inclusion in the divine identity,” discernible only by the learned or by the “spiritual.” “I have spoken openly to the world;” truly, “I have said nothing in secret.” [95] Yes, for a short time I did have to keep my identity as Messiah quiet so that it would not result in misunderstanding, or even an armed revolt. But I told my messengers the whole truth about me and my mission; “I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father”; [96] I have held nothing back from you.

Therefore, you should attend carefully to what my messengers did and did not write. They explained how my life fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah, and also prophecies about God. But in citing these last, they did not hint that I am God himself. Rather, in some of them, the fulfillment is God working through me, [97] and in others, my God revealed to them another meaning of the ancient text, another, more recent fulfillment. [98] If you think a text from my messengers is hinting at some deep, unexpressed truth about me, look to see if the author or a worthy character in their narrative draws that conclusion. If not, you may be jumping to that
conclusion. The chroniclers of my earthly ministry wrote plainly, even as I taught; they did not write esoteric treatises which can be understood only by an elite. Listen to what they actually say. This game must end, of “finding” hidden claims in their writings such as that I am God or a “godman.” No, that I walked on water was not a hint. [99] Nor is my claim that I will return on the clouds. [100] Nor are my statements that “I am” various things. [101] I told you plainly who I am. [102] I am a teacher, not a mumbling soothsayer, and my students understood me. But will you? If you think these writings’ clear message that I am God’s Messiah is boring, you have not yet understood it. Pray that our Father in heaven will open your eyes to it. Even I will pray for you, if I see that you are trying to humbly receive “the words of eternal life” [103] which I have brought you from the Father. [104]

In conclusion, look at the record of one of the truly great days in this new era. My servant Luke has given you a faithful summary of the first sermon of this new age. In it, my friend and messenger Peter does not preach that I am God in human form. He does not say that I am God himself or call me a “godman.” He does not theorize that I have a divine nature. He does not credit me with creating the world. He does not credit me with God’s deeds in the times of Abraham or Moses. Rather, he quite correctly describes me as “a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you.” [105] Is that not good enough for you? That, friends, is the good news of this new era. There is no need for another god, a second god, or an additional “true God” [106] who is somehow from the one who I say is the only true God. Peter did not fail to preach the good news. Rather, he preached it unencumbered by unnecessary human speculations. Now you go to all nations in my name and do the same. Grow my body [107] and … [spread the Gospel of the Kingdom of God] with the power of God’s pure word.

Sincerely,
Jesus


[Footnotes]
1 Acts 3:22, 7:37; Deuteronomy 8:15; John 1:17-18.
2 Exodus 3:15.
3 John 10:33-36.
4 John 8:40; Numbers 23:19.
5 John 17:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; [1 Thessalonians 1:9-10;]
1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 5:20.
6 John 4:25-26.
7 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 42-56.
8 1 Timothy 1:17, 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:10; Romans 1:23.
9 John 1:29.
10 Matthew 3:17, 17:5.
11 Hebrews 2:14-18, 1 Timothy 2:5-6.
12 Romans 5:8.
13 Mark 15:32, 39.
14 Mark 14:36.
15 Philippians 2:8-9.
16 Mark 14:62; Ephesians 1:20.
17 Revelation 7:17.
18 Daniel 7:14.
19 John 20:17.
20 Matthew [22]:37, 39.
21 James 1:13.
22 Luke 4:1-13; Hebrews 4:15.
23 Luke 5:16, [Luke 22]:41.
24 Luke 2:41-42, 47.
25 Matthew 6:5-13.
26 Mark 9:37. [John 13:20, 14:24].
27 Luke 4:18.
28 John 5:36, 14:10-11; Acts 2:22. [Acts 10:38.]
29 Acts 2:43, 4:30, 5:12, 6:8.
30 John 10:22-39.
31 John 10:30.
32 1 Corinthians 3:8.
33 Revelation 3:12.
34 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Mark 12:29. [Galatians 3:20].
35 John 14:8-11.
36 Colossians 1:15.
37 John 14:10; …
38 John 20:28; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
39 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:4-6.
40 1 John 1:3.
41 John 4:25-26. … [John 4:29,42.]
42 Philippians 2:6-11.
43 Revelation 5:9-10.
44 https://www.thoughtco.com/shirk-2004293
45 Matthew 9:2-8.
46 John 20:23.
47 Mark 13:32.
48 John 14:[28].
49 John 5:19-20.
50 Psalm 89:6, Isaiah 40:18; Deuteronomy 10:17. [John 10:29.]
51 Romans 11:33-35.
52 Matthew 26:59-66, 27:17,22, 29, 37, 42-44; Mark 14:55-65, 15:2-5, 12, 18,26, 32;
Luke 22:66-71, 23:1-5; John 18:33-38. Some readers infer that Jesus must have been making some sort of “divine claim” because in Matthew and Mark he is accused of blasphemy. But the careful reader should note that Jesus there claims only that he will be seated at God’s right hand, which assumes that Jesus is not God himself, but rather someone else.
53 Romans 1:[3],4.
54 Hebrews 1:8.
55 Luke 2:11.
56 Jude 1:4.
57 Revelation 2:8.
58 Revelation [17:14].
59 John 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3,17; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6, 3:2, 12.
60 Revelation 15:3-4.
61 https://www.theopedia.com/chalcedonian-creed
62 John 17:1-3; 1 John 5:19-20.
63 Genesis 32:22-32.
64 Genesis 18:1-22.
65 Exodus 24:9-11.
66 New Testament writers, firm in their conviction that Jesus was a real man, speak loosely of him as “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), “revealed in flesh”
(1 Timothy 3:16), “come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2) and “being born in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7). But they do not thereby mean to suggest that Jesus only seemed to be human, or that Jesus transitioned from being a disembodied spirit to being embodied in a human (or humanoid) body. For them, he is the supernaturally conceived but human Son of Mary (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18), a literal descendent of David (Romans 1:3), “a man” (Acts 2:22; John 8:40) although “from heaven,” that is to say, God-sent and godly (1 Corinthians 15:47; John 3:13).
67 Luke 1:32; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 22:16.
68 http://www.ncregister.com/blog/steven-greydanus/is-jesus-a-human-person
69 Hebrews 1:1-2; Colossians 1:13-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18.
70 Mark 10:6, 13:19. Compare: Romans 1:20; Acts 4:24, 14:15, 17:24-31; Hebrews 11:3; … 1 Timothy 4:3-4; Revelation 4:11, 10:6, 14:7.
71 Isaiah 44:24.
72 Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26; Psalm 33:6; [Psalm 33:9;] John 1:1-3.
73 Luke 1:31.
74 John 1:1-3.
75 Psalm 33:6; Proverbs 8:22-31.
76 Matthew 11:19, 13:53; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Colossians 2:2-3.
77 Hebrews 1:2.
78 John 4:22.
79 Genesis 41:37-45.
80 Acts 17:31. [Acts 10:42.]
81 1 Corinthians 15:27.
82 1 Corinthians 15:42-46.
83 Philippians 2:11.
84 Revelation 6:16, [17:14].
85 John 8:40.
86 Hebrews 2:17, 3:1, 4:14-15, 6:20, 8:1, 9:11.
87 1 Timothy 2:5.
88 Revelation 1:17-18.
89 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 11:3.
90 Mark 12:35-37.
91 Mark 12:36; Psalm 110:1.
92 Acts 2:36.
93 John 13:20.
94 1 John 4:15.
95 John 18:20.
96 John 15:15.
97 Mark 1:3.
98 Matthew 1:23; Hebrews 1:10-12.
99 Matthew 14:[25-]33;
100 Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62.
101 … [John 6:35, 8:12, 10:7, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1.]
102 Matthew 16: 15-17; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20; John 20:31.
103 John 6:68.
104 John 8:28, 12:49, 14:10.
105 Acts 2:22.
106 The Nicene Creed, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/credo.htm
107 Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27.

SOURCE: A letter from the Lord Jesus: About God and Me

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