Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 19970723-20060921)
Many of us long for a brother or a sister we have never had or may have lost through some circumstance. But we all have a true brother. It is simply a matter of recognising and acknowledging him. We do have a brother we can rely on and trust.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 1997, 2006 Christian Churches of God, ed. by Wade Cox)
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The Bible has many stories about brothers; either full brothers, half-brothers, or kinsmen in family units. Let us look at some of the early brothers of history. The first to come to mind are Cain and Abel, children of Adam and Eve. That was a very sad story with no brotherly love shown by Cain for Abel, whom he killed (Gen. 4).
Abraham, the friend of God (Jas. 2:23), had a number of sons. We might consider Ishmael and Isaac who were half-brothers, and note that there was a lot of family conflict because of these two half-brothers (Gen. 16; 18; 21).
Abraham, as half-brother to Sarah his wife, was also not so caring in his attitude to her when it came to the possibility of injury to himself (see Gen. 12:11-13; 20:1-13).
Jacob and Esau are further examples of a lack of brotherly love (see Gen. chapter 27).
Joseph had many brothers, who either envied or despised him, but mostly they had evil thoughts towards him. They were tempted to kill him but in the end sold him to some Ishmaelite traders who took him into Egypt as a slave. This was God’s purpose for Joseph, but his older brothers showed less than kindly care for him, or for their ageing father Jacob (see Gen. chapter 37).
We may also refer to Amnon, half-brother of Tamar, who mistreated his sister. These were children of King David (see 2Sam. chapter 13).
None of the above examples really shows loving care for one’s brother (or sister), such as we might expect of siblings.
A reading of history over the whole period from Adam to the times of the Judges and Kings of Israel and Judah, shows us many instances of murder, rape, trickery, lying and massacre – brother against brother. So we can see that sometimes the ideal brother is not found among members of a family – neither in olden time nor in today’s selfish society.
The word "brother" usually brings to mind a loving elder brother, or a beloved young brother, or a family unit of importance and special value to one another.
The Hebrew language has different words for brothers, i.e. kindred or companions. An interesting one is rea (SHD 7453). This word is related to (SHD 7462) ra-ah – to tend a flock, to associate with (as a friend), pastor (a flock), shepherd.
So, where do we find this wonderful person who will be like a brother and care for us as a shepherd cares for his flock? We Christians do have such a brother. This brother has shown his love by laying down his life for us. This brother, our High Priest, our Master, Our Lord, is Jesus Christ, now living and sitting at the right hand of his Father and ours, in heaven.
Jesus was not his correct name. Messiah’s name was Yoshua, or Joshua in English usage. Also see the paper Who is Jesus? (No. CB2).
How shall we describe him – our B.R.O.T.H.E.R.?
B– Beloved of the Father
2Peter 1:17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," (RSV)
Matthew 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (NIV)
1John 3:1-2See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (RSV)
Therefore Christ is our brother. He calls us his brethren.
Hebrews 2:10-12For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee." (RSV)
Christ is the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. (RSV)
Psalm 119:172My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. (KJV)
Christ is a representation of righteousness. He completely obeyed the Father’s Laws and commandments. He was tempted as we are yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (RSV)
1John 3:4 clearly tells us what "sin" is – whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness (i.e. transgression of the law).
1John 3:4Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (RSV)
Righteousness and justice are the same word in Hebrew. Therefore our brother is also just.
Zechariah 9:9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (KJV)
Acts 3:14-15But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (KJV)
In the same way, our brother is righteous because he is just as we saw above. He gave his life so we might be saved, which leads us to the next point.
Messiah’s sacrifice was the supreme offering, covering all the offerings of the ritual or sacrificial law. Let us look at Philippians 2:5-9:
Philippians 2:5-9Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, (RSV)
Our trust is in the word of God – i.e. the Bible – and in Christ the Logos, the Word of God in person. We put no trust in any man (or self).
Psalm 146:3Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. (RSV)
Proverbs 28:26He who trusts in his own mind is a fool; but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. (RSV)
Proverbs 3:5Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. (RSV)
1Peter 5:7Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. (RSV)
We hear his voice and follow, and do not listen to the voice of strangers.
John 10:3-5To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (RSV)
Christ is our eternal brother and High Priest and Saviour. He was granted eternality to sit with God the Father on His Throne.
Revelation 3:21He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (RSV)
Christ is the firstborn from the dead, and is now our eternal brother.
Colossians 1:18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. (RSV)
From Romans 1:4 Christ is declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Romans 1:4and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (RSV)
Christ is the coming King. God the Father gives him the title "Lord of Lords" and "King of Kings", as we see from Revelation 17:14.
Revelation 17:14they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." (RSV)
And further in this role:
Revelation 11:15Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever." (RSV)
Daniel was speaking of Christ in the following verses:
Daniel 7:13-14I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (RSV)
This, then, is the Brother we desire – Jesus Christ (Yoshua or Joshua, the Messiah).
He is Righteous.
He Offered his life.
We can Trust in him.
We Hear him and follow this shepherd. He will not betray us.
He is Eternal.
He will Reign forever as the King.
We have a place with him. Our loving brother is the firstborn of many brethren, and we can be co-heirs with him in the inheritance given from OUR FATHER.
Romans 8:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (KJV)
Through him we become brothers to the entire heavenly Host.
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (KJV)
How will he recognise us as brothers and sisters? How will we become children of God? Our brother has already told us who we are.
Matthew 12:47-50Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. (KJV)
He will restore the creation under the One True God who is the God and Father of us all.
John 20:17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (KJV)
That is the brother we are proud to have.