"We are the children of God: And if children then heirs, HEIRS OF GOD."
FINALLY. Like the last great crescendo of a gigantic symphony, after nearly 6000 years of man's history, the Creator of the universe is proclaiming to all mankind what the ultimate purpose of human life really is. Now, just before the close of man's age, God is revealing why He created the universe and why He designed human beings. And although known by some individuals in the Old Testament period and preached by Jesus and the apostles in the early New Testament period, this astounding and fundamental truth has never before been made available to all nations on such a massive scale. It's no accident. There's no coincidence involved. The time is now. We are living in a unique moment of the history of the universe. Our generation will see it all put together. And our generation will have to understand why. We are now ready to approach the ultimate purpose of — and for — human life. It involves our spirit, the spirit in man. (The spirit in man can be defined as the non-physical component of the human mind which differentiates it from animal brain. The spirit in man is not an immortal soul — rather it is simply a spirit essence which imparts the power of self-conscious intellect to the human brain, thereby generating the human mind.) And the purpose of human life involves God's Spirit, the Spirit of God. More precisely, the fundamental purpose of human life involves the union of these two spirit essences — and the resulting new creation which then emerges. Paul epitomizes the overwhelming significance of the entire process with breathtaking succinctness: "The Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; HEIRS of God" (Romans 8:16-17, The New English Bible with KJV).
Heirs of God
The key word is obviously heir — because we are "heirs of God." What does this tell us? First we define the word: An heir is a person who is entitled to, and assured of, the acquisition and possession of specified riches, properties, offices, titles and responsibilities — all to be received at a given time or at a particular event in the future. Now since we human beings are "heirs of God," whatever the name "God" stands for, we are entitled to, and assured, of the acquisition and possession of it. And just as surely as all the young sons of the Ford, Rockefeller and Rothschild families are absolutely guaranteed the treasures, rights, privileges and opportunities which are certified and secured by their physical fathers' family names, all human beings can be absolutely guaranteed the enormously more spectacular treasures, rights, privileges and opportunities which are certified and secured by our Creator and spiritual Father's family name — God. So we go to the next step: What is God? What is this which we all can be heirs of? The answer to this question simultaneously answers the most fundamental question of human life: "What is man?" Because mankind was created to become literally Sons of God. That's the purpose of human life — plain and simple. That's why we were created. That's why the entire universe was created. But this is such an incredible concept that most people will not comprehend it. Why? Is it too complex? No. It's too simple — too simple for minds nurtured by, and accustomed to, the tortuously tangled religious systems and dogmas of this world. So we will repeat it: All human beings — you included — were created to literally join the God Family. And become God. God as God is God. How can that be? Because God is a Family.
The Family of God
More accurately, "God" is the family name of the eternally creating class of beings who have designed, are sustaining and will forever rule all reality — spiritual and physical reality, known and unknown reality, reality that does exist and reality that does not yet exist. That's what we are heir to. The Family of God! Everything! Forever! The concept that God is a Family is as bold as it is thrilling. It is almost a "revolution." The Establishment surely can't hack it. "Organized religion" portrays God as "the Aloof Holy One" — the "Unapproachable Judge," who will barely condescend to have a few "goody-good," "super-righteous" prudes gaze at His pious face in some heavenly stained-glass paradise. To state that God is a Family seems like outright heresy compared to the twisted maze of pagan doctrines which have established themselves as the respectable religious systems of this world. Nevertheless, it is true — God is a Family. Because, as incredible as it appears to our materialistically hardened eyes, the Bible explicitly teaches that God is a Family - and that the entire purpose Of every human life is to join that "very Family circle of God" (Romans 8:15, Phillips translation). The proof centers around Elohim — the Hebrew word translated "God" in so many Biblical verses (for example, Genesis 1:1 ). Elohim is a plural word — it ends in "im" which is the regular sign of the plural in the Hebrew language. Now read Genesis 1:26 and observe that the God Family, refers to itself in the plural: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Interestingly enough, though clearly in the plural, Elohim takes a singular verb. The reason for this is that Elohim is a uniplural word — like the English words family, group, team, congregation and church. To be uniplural means that although the overall concept of the word is singular, innumerable members can compose this singular-word-concept. For example, one family, one group, one team, one congregation and one church are each singular, yet all can have as many independent members within them as desired. In like manner, God is singular. God is ONE — GOD IS ONE FAMILY - yet the God Family can and will comprise an almost infinite number of individual distinct Sons. Ephesians 3:14-15 proclaims that the whole FAMILY in heaven and earth is named after God the Father. Or, in other words, the whole family is named the God Family.
The Present Members of God's Family
At the present time — today — there are only two beings in the God Family: 1) God the Father — the Possessor of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:18, 19; Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13; John 5:19) — the Father of Jesus Christ. 2) The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — the active Creator of heaven and earth — the One who became Jesus Christ. Now the fact that the Jesus Christ of the New Testament is exactly and identically the very same Being who appeared as the God of the Old Testament — the very same Eternal Creator who made the universe, formed Adam, directed Noah, called out Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, spoke to Moses, led Israel through the wilderness and inspired all the prophets — may seem shocking. Most people assume — weakly obeying what contemporary "churchianity" commands — that you couldn't find two more opposite beings in the entire universe than the cold, cruel God of Old Testament thunder, and the weak, mild-mannered "little Lord Jesus" of New Testament piety. So it is going to be a rude surprise to discover that the God of the Old Testament was merciful (Deuteronomy 4: 31, etc.), compassionate, and a giver of grace and glory (Psalm 84:11; 111:4, etc.) — and that the Jesus Christ of the New Testament was powerful (Matthew 12 :34), authoritative (Matthew 5:17-19) and a dispenser of judgment and war (Rev. 19:11). The Christ of the New Testament had literally been God from the beginning (John 1:1). This physical man composed of flesh and blood — the One called Jesus of Nazareth — had been the One who had actually created everything — the earth, the heavens, the universe. How does one demonstrate this crucial point? With surprising ease. Compare the appropriate New Testament verses — John 1:3, 10; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2 — which state that Jesus Christ created all things, with the appropriate Old Testament verses — Genesis 1:1; 2:3; Deuteronomy 4:32; Psalm 89:12; Isaiah 40:26; 41:20; 45:7; Amos 4:13 — which state the Lord God of Israel created all things. Now either two separate Beings created all things — which is, of course, a logical contradiction — or else Jesus Christ IS the Lord God of Israel! I Corinthians 10:4 clinches the point: The "Rock" of Israel — Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31; Psalm 18:31, 46; 28:1; 62:2; 78:35; Isaiah 17:10 — "was Christ." A fascinating corroboration of the fact that the Creator God of the Old Testament was the One who became Jesus Christ of the New Testament comes from an understanding of the literal meaning of "YHVH" — the personal name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (The uncertain pronunciation of YHVH is due to the absence of vowels in the original Hebrew manuscripts.) YHVH has been thousands of times translated "LORD" in the King James Bible. This translation is misleading. Because YHVH can be thought of, in one way of bringing out the meaning, as a composite of three basic Hebrew word-concepts — "ZLUS" (HYH), "is" (HVH) and "will be" (YHYH). It therefore follows that when "HYH," "HVH" and "YHYH" are combined to form "YHVH," their respective meanings should likewise be combined to form "Was — Is — Will Be." (Most Hebrew scholars agree on this concept of "being" — although, as we might expect, they have different explanations for the exact origin of the form "YHVH.") As a result, YHVH — the personal name of the Eternal God of Israel — literally means the "Was -Is — Will Be — Being." This is the precise description of Jesus Christ found in Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday [was) and to day [is] and for ever [will be]." This is also the precise description of the God of Israel, "For I am the LORD, I change not" (Malachi 3:6).
What Will We Look Like?
What will it be like to be Sons in the God Family? To conclude this short article, let's answer one aspect of this question: What will we look like? There's only one way to find out: Find out what Jesus Christ looks like today. How will that help? Because Jesus Christ is our elder brother in the God Family — the pioneer of our salvation. What He looks like today is what we will look like in the resurrection. Because Christ has promised to give to us just exactly the same quality of glorified body which God the Father has given to Him: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them [all of Christ's disciples)" (John 17:22). And Christ did more than "just" promise — He swore by Himself (Genesis 22:16; Hebrews 6:13) and He confirmed it by an oath (Hebrews 6:17). This means that God and Christ are putting their own very names on the line. They are staking their eternal reputations. They are risking everything for man. That may sound shocking to some — but that's precisely what God inspired His Word to proclaim. Now let's read the detailed present-day description of Jesus Christ as described by John the Apostle in the book of Revelation. "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last" (Rev. 1:13-17). As unheard of as it may sound, what you have just read is a prophetic description of what you can look like in a very few years. And you can go further. Read about your potential future environment. Read about the indescribable majesty of the throne of God the Father in the fourth chapter of Revelation. Read about the fantastically beautiful "portable" throne of God the Creator in chapters 1 and 10 of Ezekiel. Finally — and the most "brain-bursting" and "mind-expanding" of all — read through the 21st and 22nd chapters of Revelation. Discover the imagination-defying, incomprehensible New Heavens and New Earth. And it ALL can be yours — everything — forever — because you can be an Heir of God!