The Power of God

GOD gives us a wonderful illustration of his attributes in the Tabernacle. This was shown in the way the Mercy Seat was made. (Exod. 25:17-19) It consisted of a slab of gold, large enough to cover the opening of the Ark of the Covenant, and formed so that two Cherubim were a part of the slab, one at each end. Verse 19 reads, “And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.” (Of one piece with the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on its two ends.”—RSV)

The thought seems to be that in illustrating the facets of God’s character the entire Mercy Seat was to show the inter-dependence of the various characteristics, or the complete harmony and consistency of his mind, in accomplishing his works. For example, the foundation of all of his activities is justice (which was pictured by the base); and love and power (which were pictured by the Cherubim) are never exercised independently but are based on justice. Also, power will not be exercised without love and justice also being exercised.

Wisdom was represented by the presence of God himself between the two Cherubim. (vs. 22) “I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims [the Shekinah light of glory] which are upon the ark of the testimony.”—Ps. 80:1; 99:1; Ezek. 10:2

As pictured in this beautiful illustration, we find that in every case God’s varied expressions of power have been in harmony with his righteous purposes. In the account of the creation of the earth, for example, the purpose was not so much to record the creative activity as to show the process by which he prepared the earth to be the home of his creation—man. Down through the ages since Adam’s fall, God has from time to time sent forth messengers. He has found it expedient to endow these messengers with power in order to attest to their position and the authority of their message. And, of course, the greatest of these messengers was the Messenger of the Covenant. At Jordan he was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”—Acts 10:38

Jesus used God’s power in a way that was consistent with God’s use of that facet of his character. It was one of the ways that the Heavenly Father could test our Lord’s oneness of mind and purpose with himself. Jesus had a choice. He could serve self-interest or he could serve God. For example, in the wilderness, after Jesus had fasted for forty days, the Devil suggested that he turn the stones into bread. Satan knew that he could do it—as did Jesus also—but what did Jesus say? “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”—Matt. 4:4

In another instance, when Jesus was arrested in the garden and Peter started to defend him with a sword, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword, saying, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”—Matt. 26:53,54

In John 6:5-15 (the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000) many said, “This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world.” “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”—vss. 14,15

In these and other instances, Jesus demonstrated that he would use God’s power to further God’s interests and not his own.

It was God’s power that Jesus used to give authenticity to his ministry. In John 10:30-38 we have a cluster of texts to the point. Jesus had said, “I and my Father are one.” The Jews were offended and took up stones to stone him. Jesus said, “Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of these works do you stone me?” The Jews replied that it was not for the works but because Jesus was calling himself a god. Jesus then responded: “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”

The “works” that Jesus was speaking of were those works that God had foretold in the prophecies that Jesus would do. When John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was the Messiah, Jesus did not answer directly with words that could be questioned but gave the signs, or works, as proof, “how that the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached.”—Luke 7:22

Jesus also used God’s power to illustrate the blessings of the kingdom. His healing of the sick, giving sight to the blind, the raising of the dead were all wonderful illustrations of the blessings that will flow to all by God’s power operating through Christ and his church.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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