A Mighty Hand and An Outstretched Arm

“It is I, who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth.” —Jeremiah 27:5

THE FACT THAT the mighty hand and outstretched arm of the great Creator was spoken of over and over again in the Scriptures, indicates that our Heavenly Father wanted us to be completely certain—thoroughly convinced—of his almighty power, and that it was available on behalf of his children in ages past, today, and in the ages to come. A few scriptures which give assurance of this, besides our theme text cited above, are quoted here:

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, or his ear dull that it cannot hear.”—Isaiah 59:1

“Your [Jehovah’s] arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.”—Psalm 89:13, New International Version

“These all wait upon thee. … When thou openest thy [the Lord’s] hand, they are filled with good things.”—Psalm 104:27,28, Scofield’s Translation

Exodus 15:6,12 shows God’s ‘mighty hand’ to be an expression of his power, or dominion, over earth, and his control of his enemies. It tells us, “Thy right hand O Lord, glorious in power; thy right hand O Lord, shatters the enemy. … Thou didst stretch out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.” The ‘outstretched arm’ of God represents his support and strength, or his omnipotence exercised on behalf of those who trust in him. Since the human arm supports the hand and gives it direction, and through it power is transferred to accomplish particular actions, a wonderful symbolism is established, helping us to get the picture God desires us to understand—the arm of Jehovah shall give strength to any on whose behalf it is used.

“I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him,” are the emphatic words of David concerning God’s protection and guidance over him, as recorded in Ps. 89:20,21, NIV

This study of God’s great power used on behalf of his people will cover various aspects. The first will be God’s use of his hand and arm as he applies them to protect his people and to perform miracles. Then we will consider how Jesus represents the hand and arm of God. Lastly we will consider Jesus’ position of power at God’s right hand.

First let us review some scriptures which indicate how God’s mighty hand, and outstretched arm, were used to perform miracles, and to protect his people. Let us use Deuteronomy 4:34,35 as our theme text of this section of the study. We read: “Hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto you it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.”

The Lord performed many miracles as signs of his love and favor toward the children of Israel throughout the entire period of time that he dealt with them as his peculiar people. This was true particularly when he led them out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Promised Land. These wonders were performed so they might know that the Lord is the true and only God—that there is no other beside him. He is the omnipotent God!

A familiar story is told as an example of God’s ‘wonders’, beginning in Exodus 13:17 through the end of chapter 14. This account tells how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, and out from under the control of the evil Pharaoh. After nine plagues were let loose upon the Egyptians, the king had almost been brought to the point of letting the Israelites escape their bondage. But, finally, after the tenth and final plague—the death of all the firstborn among the Egyptians, both men and beasts—Pharaoh hastily dispatched the Israelites out of his land. However, with a sudden change of mind, and despite the forceful lessons God had sent to him, Pharaoh stubbornly pursued Moses, who, as directed by God, was leading the Hebrews out of Egypt.

Moses guided God’s people right up to the banks of the Red Sea. Nothing was between them and the Egyptians to their rear but a few miles distance, and the cloud and fiery pillar of God which hid them from Pharaoh’s view. What were they to do? Despite this seemingly desperate situation, God had everything in control. He told Moses to lift up his rod, and to stretch it out over the waters. When this was done, God divided the waters of the Red Sea, for his people to cross over. After all the Israelites were safely across on the other side, then the Lord let the waters close over the pursuing Egyptians, sending them to a watery grave! None escaped!

Through the writings of the prophets, God reminded Israel of this outstanding miracle, once with the words of our theme text for this segment of our study. But this same reminder was given to the Israelites many times. It is reiterated in Deuteronomy 5:15; and again in 9:29. In Deuteronomy 7:18,19 we read: “Thou shalt … well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.”

God recalled this marvelous event in Deuteronomy 11:1-5 “Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway. And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm, and his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; and what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day; and what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place.”

Later, after their miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea, on their way to Mount Sinai the Israelites were refreshed when their tongues were parched, by water gushing from a rock, at the valley Rephidim. This pictured the stream of favor which continued with them throughout their wilderness journey. And it further foreshadowed the much greater refreshing which will ultimately come to them, and to all the world, through the sacrifice of Christ.

This stream of cool, refreshing water now refreshes Christ’s disciples throughout their wilderness journey, and eventually will refresh the whole world of mankind, including the Israelites. By Christ’s sacrificial death as the ransomer of Adam and his children, ‘the water of life’ will in due time be provided for all those who desire to be the people of God.

Refreshed in body and in faith, Israel journeyed onward through the wilderness, blindly following Moses’ lead—the fiery pillar by night, and the cloud by day, which represented God’s presence with them. However they continually encountered new obstacles. The Amalekites, a warlike people, who considered the coming of Israel an invasion of their country, fiercely attacked, and engaged them in battle. A people used to peaceful pursuits, such as the Israelites had been for centuries, were at a definite disadvantage in a conflict with such well-skilled and disciplined opponents. Yet God gave the victory to his people, Israel. He indicated, however, that it was not by their valor or their own skill, but by his grace and mighty power that their enemies were conquered.

At the time of the battle with the Amalekites, Moses, stationed upon a high hill, lifted up his hands in prayer to God for the people. While he did so, the battle was in their favor; but when he ceased to pray in this manner, the Amalekites won the battle. Perceiving this, Aaron and Hur assisted in holding up the hands of Moses, until the war ended in triumph for Israel. In this way God indicated that Moses was God’s representative to Israel, because his full trust was in the Lord, and that without him they could not succeed.

Moses’ raising his hands up toward heaven, seems to be the earliest indication we have of what God considered to be the proper posture in which to offer solemn prayer. Moses not only stretched his arms toward heaven, but he also raised his eyes toward heaven as if he would look upon his Creator. Other passages of the Old and New Testament inform us that this posture seems to have continued in the Christian Church until the time that the clergy, instead of praying from the heart, read formal, penned prayers out of a book. It would be difficult to lift up your hands and eyes toward heaven while reading them from a book.

We realize that as the antitype of ancient Israel, spiritual Israel has conflicts with her enemies also—those who are too mighty for them. Without the Lord’s assistance, wisdom, strength, and power, we would fail, and our enemies would prevail against us. Figuratively, we need to keep our hands uplifted in prayer, our eyes fixed upon him and his will, that the mighty hand of God will be used on our behalf, to give us success in our warfare against the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Those who are followers of Jesus have success in their warfare, only as they have him as their Advocate and their General.

The Israelites had seen with their own eyes the great works of God. Therefore, the account of their witness of his works and power was to be passed on to their children. Not only was it passed to them by word of mouth, but this record has come down through the centuries to us through the written Word, and for this we are eternally grateful. Even those far from Israel—in every foreign land—have heard of the great deliverance of God’s people out of Egypt, and the subsequent miracles, such as the water brought from a rock, the Manna provided in the wilderness, and the conquering of the heathen nations so that the Promised Land finally became the possession of the Israelites. Many, even in the time of Israel’s favor, came from distant lands because they had heard of the greatness of the God of Israel, and acknowledged him as their God.—I Kings 8:4-43

Solomon himself prayed that God would hear the foreigners’ prayers and that God might be magnified by all the people of the earth. (II Chron. 6:32,33) It will be such inexpressible joy when all the entire world of mankind—past and present—shall know him, from the least to the greatest! This will be possible through the resurrection of all the dead, and particularly that of the church class, and the Ancient Worthies—God’s faithful people of old—who will teach mankind righteousness.

One of the most persistently reiterated themes of Holy Writ is that of man’s helplessness to direct his life wisely without God. In every turn of life, man should discover his great need for Jehovah—though it is but rarely that he either recognizes his need, or the extent of that need. The absoluteness of this need is not brought home to the heart or mind of man, because of the universal generosity of Almighty God. Only if God entirely withdrew his protection and control over this planet, would man come face to face with the full range of his needs. God is the source of unfailing abundance—providing all of man’s necessities—and man is a creature of unending need.

The story of divine grace is the record of one who has been disposed to give, and give, and give again, because it pleases him to dispense of his fullness to man, and all his creatures. When man was condemned to oblivion—eternal death—at the time of his fall from divine grace, God displayed his forgiving love and generous bounty toward him, manifesting his boundless qualities of being a great giver and forgiver.

Man has but to acknowledge God as the great giver, and open his hand to receive of that bountiful fullness which God opens his hand to give. If God withheld not his well beloved Son, shall he not also with him freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32) Christian experience of this day, and knowledge of earlier days, shows without fail that they who are most developed in grace are the ones most conscious of their need. The more one has grown in the things of the Lord, and the more loving and appreciative the heart has become, the more such become persuaded of their need for God. The ultimate end of every quest of the mature heart, is not merely to accept the gifts of God, but to acknowledge with open heart the one who is the Giver.

Another example of use of the symbolisms, the ‘hand’ and ‘arm’ of God extended on behalf of Israel, is found in Ezekiel 20:33-38, where the record states: “As I live says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. And I will bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there I will plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: And you shall know that I am the Lord.”

Israel’s experiences, under the chastening rod, have been painful and humiliating, but her buffeting is almost over, and soon the blessings of the new, everlasting covenant will begin to be showered upon her and all mankind.—Jer. 31:31-34

Let us consider another aspect of this subject, and that is how Jesus is represented by the ‘hand’ and ‘arm’ of God. We have heard the expression: “He is my ‘right arm’, or my ‘right hand man’.” These expressions indicate how valuable this person is to us, and how necessary to accomplish the desired results—the person described in this way is an extension of ourselves to help carry out our plans. For instance, we know that Jesus was the instrument through whom all things were made, as it tells us in John 1:1-4, where we find the words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Again, in an even clearer passage, Paul said in Ephesians 8:6: “There is but one God, the Father, OF whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, BY whom are all things, and we by him.” God is the ultimate source of all wisdom and all power, and thus all things are OF him—all Creation and all life. But Jesus, acting as his primary agent carries out all of God’s plans and purposes—all things are BY him.

The Scriptures point out that the Heavenly Father was the author of a plan whereby his Son, our Lord Jesus, as the ‘arm’ of Jehovah, could reach down to free us from sin, sickness, pain, and trouble. He will deliver us from the prison house of death, restoring us to liberty, and to our privileges as sons of God. The psalmist wrote: “Your arm [Christ Jesus, in glory] is endued with power.” (Ps. 89:13) Jesus himself said, “All power in heaven and earth has been given [by God] to me.” (Matt. 28:18) Again, the Prophet David wrote concerning Jesus: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things.” (Ps. 118:15,16) The Apostle Paul wrote: “Jesus of Nazareth [was] a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you.”—Acts 2:22

The martyr, Stephen, in his beautiful sermon, quoted the prophecy concerning Jesus written in Isaiah 66:1,2: “Hath not my hand made all these things?” (Acts 7:50) “Save us, and help us with your right hand [God’s beloved Son, Jesus], that those you love may be delivered.” (Ps. 60:5) Jesus himself said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”—John 10:27,28

Jesus is pictured as the ‘hand’ of God—the instrument through which God operates in carrying out his will. As Jesus is shown to be God’s hand, so also the Bride of Christ will actively carry out the will of God, as shown to her by her Heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Hands, are the ‘doing’ parts of our bodies. In the symbolism of the consecration of the High Priest of the ancient Aaronic Priesthood as described in detail in Leviticus, chapter 8, the blood of the ram of consecration was sprinkled on the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of the High Priest. The blood placed on his right ear indicated that he had consecrated his ears to the hearing of the will of God. His hands were consecrated to do with their might what they found to do, illustrated by the blood placed on the right thumb. His feet would walk in the ways of the Father, shown by the blood being placed on his right toe.

In the human body, the hand is an array of levers, hinges, and power sources, all managed by a master computer—the brain. The control of the hand uses two of the largest compartments in the brain, known as the motor cortex. Thousands of messages from the brain are required just to rotate a thumb—ordering this muscle to contract, that one to relax, causing this tendon to pull another one to rest. The muscles that control the hand are in the forearm. Considering their remoteness, the strength of the hand is surprising. From birth to death, our hands are seldom still, except for rest during sleep. During a lifetime, we will extend, and flex finger joints, at least 25 trillion times. Legs, arms, shoulders, feet, and other joints, tire with sustained activity, but how often do we complain of tired hands?

In man’s hands are identifying prints. No two person’s fingerprints are alike. They identify the person. If truly of Christ’s body, would not the hand members have the identifying features of Christ? These hand members in the body of Christ are, if emptied of self will, controlled completely by the mind of Christ. We touch things of this world physically, with our hands, but God touched us spiritually—with his hand, Jesus.

Our Lord Jesus is the mighty one upon whom the hope of the world is laid. He is indeed the Great Deliverer. But it has pleased God to have the church, selected during the Gospel Age, associated with him in this great work during the Millennial Age. All who hunger and thirst after righteousness, whose souls thirst after God as the hart for the waterbrook, who having searched for him have found him, and have consecrated themselves to him, have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, witnessing with their spirits that they are the sons of God. As anointed sons of God, these must discover in themselves the worthy traits of true sons: love, loyalty, faithfulness, zeal, energy, courage, and discretion.

To this consecrated group, with whom the Lord has made an everlasting covenant, belongs the sure mercies of God. Psalm 89:21-25 reads: “With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.” All things, even the deep and wicked designs of the Adversary, shall be so overruled by God, as to work together for good, to the David class—picturing Jesus and the Christ complete.

Jesus was the only one God could count on to carry out his plan of salvation. There was no other righteous one, no not one, among the children of men. All had sinned and come short of the glory of God, therefore, no man could give a ransom for his brother. None could redeem his fellow man except the one whom God used as his arm: “Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” (Isa. 59:15,16) God spoke of being alone. Although he searched, there was no one to help except his own ‘arm’, Jesus, who brought God victory!

But who has seen and believed that Jesus was the ‘arm’ of Jehovah? Many have seen and not believed, as told in John 12:37-43, “Jesus said all these things, and then went away out of their sight. But though he had given so many signs, yet they did not believe in him, so that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled when he said, Lord who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Thus they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their hearts; lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and should turn and I should heal them.

“Isaiah said these things because he saw the glory of Christ, and spoke about him. Nevertheless, many even of the authority did believe in him. But they would not admit it, for fear of the Pharisees, in case they should be excommunicated. They were more concerned to have the approval of men, than to have the approval of God.”—Phillips Translation

Throughout the centuries, the followers of our Lord have related the wonderful story of the Savior’s love and sacrifice, even unto death. But in the true sense, few have heard or appreciated it—particularly not many great or many mighty. Very few comprehend that Jesus is the ‘arm’ of Jehovah, stretched down for the relief of Adam and his race from their penalty of sin and death. Only a handful, a saintly few, truly believe the message. “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”—Isa. 53:1

The call of the church during the Gospel Age is to let their light concerning the plan of God shine out in this dark world. Thus they will attract persecution, and endure that persecution for righteousness’ sake. These must be rightly exercised by tribulation, exhibiting patience, brotherly kindness, pity, and love toward their persecutors, and toward all men.

Let all then, who have been invited to run for this great prize—the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus—and who see the light of God’s glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, be faithful to the Father’s conditions, calling, and service. Let all such give attention to this ministry which we have received, and faint not; be not discouraged, whether men hear or whether they forbear; whether they think ill of us or whether they speak ill of us. Let us remember that our report at the end of the way is to be rendered to the Lord himself, when he is making up his jewels.

The most honored position to be enjoyed has invariably been at the right hand of a leader. We think of the right hand as being second in command, or the most favored position. Jesus proved worthy of the position of chief favor by his unyielding obedience to his Heavenly Father’s will, and for his love and sacrifice even unto death. “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. … When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For by a single offering, he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”—Heb. 10:12-14

God has a design which the Scriptures call the “plan of the ages.” (Eph. 3:11, Wilson’s Diaglott) God’s plan shall be carried out! It cannot fail in any particular! We have assurance of this all throughout the Bible.

The Prophet Isaiah recorded many Scriptures which highlight God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm, and how they picture the accomplishment of Jehovah’s wonderful plan of the ages. One of these is Isaiah 40:10,11, which states: “Behold, the Lord God comes, with might, and his arm rules for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

Isaiah 52:10: “The Lord hath made bare his Holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

What glorious, reassuring promises to the whole world of mankind! The contemplation of making bare his holy arm, suggests that the glory and saving power of this mighty representative of the Creator is to be revealed worldwide. All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation, of our God, and shall be satisfied!

Isaiah 62:6-9: “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies, and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.”

Remembering these great and precious promises that our Heavenly Father has given to us, let us hearken to his call. Let us strive toward the mark of the prize of the high calling, knowing that the mighty hand and outstretched arm of our Heavenly Father, is always within our reach.

The Master’s Touch

In the still lute, the music lies unheard;
   In the rough marble, beauty hides unseen
To make the music and the beauty, needs
   The Master’s touch, the Sculptor’s chisel keen.

Great Master, touch us with thy skillful hand
   Let not the music that is to die!
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; not let,
   Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie.

Spare not the stroke! Do with us as thou wilt!
   Let there be naught unfinished, broken, marred:
Complete thy purpose, that we may become
   Thy perfect image, thou our God and Lord!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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