United Church of God

The Authority of God the Father: And the Submission of Jesus the Son

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The Authority of God the Father

and the Submission of Jesus the Son

MP3 Audio (21.88 MB)


The Authority of God the Father: And the Submission of Jesus the Son

MP3 Audio (21.88 MB)

The bible shows God as "the Father" and "the Son" [Jesus Christ]. This is how God wishes to be understood… through the means of a family relationship. But not who came first: father or the son... rather it is to be understood in terms of authority... authority that is expressed in love and obedience that is filled with love and respect.


The Authority of God the Father

The United Church of God believes and teaches that God is the sovereign of the universe, existing without beginning or end, and supreme above all. God is spirit and cannot be contained or described in terms of atoms, molecules, or mechanical processes like math or physics. God exists in a different realm from human beings, who are flesh, made up of atoms, molecules and subject to mechanical processes like physics  John 4:24 “tells us God is spirit”… 1 Corinthians 15:50 “tells us flesh and blood cannot inherit the KOG”.

There is a vast difference in who and what we humans are, compared to who and what God is. Full comprehension is out of reach… what understanding we do have, our ideas, and our experience of God are based on God's revelation to us through the written word of the Bible.

The bible shows God as "the Father" and "the Son" [which/who is Jesus Christ]. This is how God wishes to be understood… through the means of a family relationship. But not who came first: father or the son... rather it is to be understood in terms of authority... authority that is expressed in love and obedience that is filled with love and respect.

That there is a Father, and Son, was not previously understood in the OT scriptures. It is a teaching transmitted to us by Jesus and from the Church of God.

John 6:46 no one knew this stuff before Jesus taught it.

1 John 1:1-4 that understanding is passed along to you through the testimony of the apostles and through the teaching of the Church. 

No one sees or understands this important truth about God unless they are taught. It is not based based on logic and reasoning, or observation of the universe, or religious experience... one their own, these end up in failure and confusion. We learn about God  based on instruction which comes from Him. 

It is not a subject of metaphysical pondering… It is a teaching that has practical application which guides moral behavior. Because the truth about the Father and the Son, the truth about the oneness of God… contain an understanding about authority... and therefore also submission.

Those two words probably make you flinch a bit... but if we do not understand authority, and submission... we do not have peace, we do not have joy... and our visions of eternal life are flawed.

Old Testament Presentation of God

Jesus used OT scriptures to back up His teaching. 

Psalm 110:1-2 Matthew, Mark, Luke all record Jesus using this verse to point out two beings considered interacting with one another. Showing that there is more to God than the Jews had previously thought.

  • Acts 2:34 shows the Church of God using this same verse to carry forward this same teaching they learned from Jesus. Its quoted again in Hebrews 1:13 clarifying that this is not a referrence to angels but to "the son". [This is a very important scripture]

The presence of the the two: the Father, and the Son is implicit from the very beginning of the bible.

Genesis 1:1 the Hebrew word elohim is used. It is the plural form of the Hebrew word for God eloah [it can be used in the both capital G sense and small g sense of god].

Genesis 1:26 there has been communication between these two eloah from the very beginning. Notice the pronouns "us" and "our" which refer to elohim.

For centuries people read the words without understanding… some still do today!

Objection: some say that this is merely God speaking in the imperial we, or that He is merely addressing the divine council gathered round Him in the heavenly throne room [in other words He's talking with the angels]. However the elohim create humans in their image "in our image". Human beings are not created in the image of God and angels, we are created in the image of God alone.

Angels are sentient, immortal beings composed of spirit, but  in their natural state they are depicted as having a very different image from that of God. [such as the vision of Ezekiel... wheels, multiple eyes, cloven hoofs etc.]. Whereas allusions to God's appearance [although highly simplified no doubt] focus on the traits He has in common with humanity... who are created in His image.

God As Creator

The very first thing about God the OT scripture wants you to know is that He is creator of all things. Clarification of what this really means is found in the NT.

1 Corinthians 8:6 creation is the work of the Father and the Son together. 

Colossians 1:15-17 Jesus Christ is the member of the God family [the son] who goes forth and performs the acts based on the will and authority of the Father. His own will is in complete agreement and harmony with the will of the Father.

Hebrews 1:8-9 NT affirms that the Son is as much God as the Father is God… he is not a lesser being. There is a distinction between the two [God is speaking to God]. The nature of their relationship is not defined by who came first... it is a distinction based on authority and submission to that authority. Note : this is a quotation from Psalm 45:6-7, yet another place in the old testament where two beings classified as God are interacting with one another.

God of Israel

The most repeated and dominant aspect of God we get from the OT is His identification with Israel. In this way becomes known through the context of human history.

Exodus 3:13-15 God identifies Himself as I AM [the self existing one] the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob {Israel]. God wishes to be known through His act of redemption towards Israel, and through the laws, judgments, statutes, prophecies, and records of His deeds He entrusted to them... to the Jew were given the oracles of God… Romans 3:1-3. This is what Jesus meant when He said "salvation is of the Jews".

Our understanding of God begins with the OT scriptures. But it is through the NT scriptures that we are taught and given understanding about the meaning contained within the OT writings.

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 the member of the God family who interacted with Israel, as recorded in the OT, is the same member of the God family who entered into the world in the flesh and took the name Jesus. This is important for understanding who and what Jesus really was/and is.

The Father Was Previously Unknown

John 6:46 Israel had never actually had any direct dealings with the Father. All those mighty deeds, judgments, blessings, prophcies etc. found in the OT had actually been Him... the logos, the word, the Son.

What purpose did it serve for Jesus to get into this somewhat abstract discussion of the Father and the Son, the elohim, Psalm 110, etc. What purpose and meaning does it have for you?

Intellectual/Doctrinal: It was important for them to have this information so they could understand how God could be with them [Jesus] and yet still enthroned in heaven [the Father], or how Jesus [who was God] could be dead in the tomb and yet raised to life again by God… Jesus was dead in the tomb but the Father was still enthroned in heaven. These are just two of many…

Ethical/Moral: Understanding God as Father and Son opens up for us important truth about oneness, unity, authority and submission. Lessons we can apply in life in our preparation for the KOG… because without righteous authority and submission to that authority we will not have peace, joy, unity, and all the good things we hope for in the KOG.

Christ’s Submission to Authority

John 1:1-2 Jesus had all the Godly attributes the Father had: He had always existed, He was all powerful, all knowing, filled with glory, righteous, perfect, loving, merciful etc.

Yet within the context of their relationship, the word, the logos, the son, submits Himself to the authority of the Father and the Father's perfect will John 14:23-24, 28.

Here is a foundational principle on how to get along...

On May 1, 1992, Rodney King said, "People, I just want to say, can't we all get along? Can't we all get along?" . For my generation it was a public cry of despair in the face of violence, injustice, and human sin. 30 years later we are no closer to an answer... we have descended further into anger &confusion.

God's word asks the same question and points us towards the answer Amos 3:3.

To get along there must be agreement... and one of the first points of agreement must be on the matter of authority.  Jesus agreed with the father all the way to death by crucifixion.

Getting Along

Philippians 2:5-11 Even though the Son [Christ] was equal in form of existence [Godness] He sets the example for all eternity and all creation of willingly submitting Himself to the other member of the God family [the Father]. And in this way BOTH the proper wielding authority exemplified by the Father, and proper submission to authority exemplified by the Son, are found in the character and mind of God.

When God instructs “yield yourself to authority” He is not asking you to do anything He does not do Himself.

  1. The Father wields His authority with love and honor toward the Son and sets the ideal pattern for any and all who have authority.
  2. For His part, the Son submits to the Father's authority with love [not resentment], with respect and with obedience to His will. So much so that Jesus can say... I and the Father are one... if you have seen me you have seen the Father... my commands are the commands of the Father... my will is the will of the Father.
  3. God wants you to learn to be one… even as the Father and the Son are one… with Him and with others. That is the real future.

To help us learn this way of thinking God gives us living through the family, within the Church of God, and within human government. Ephesians 5:25-33, Hebrews 13:15-17, Romans 13:1-2. So pay careful attention how you behave within your family, within the Church God, and within society.

Caveat: Will passive acceptance of all human authority lead us to human utopia? No, because no human being can supply the perfect, righteous, loving authority that balances out the equation Acts 5:29 [there is always this tension with human authority]. No human husband, no human church leader, no human government is without fatal flaw and human sin. So be wise, However, at present we have what we need  to learn the hard lessons of submission that will serve us well in eternity.

We need… and all humanity needs… that fully righteous, perfectly loving authority. Only then we will all be able to agree. It will come when Christ returns to administer the will of the Father on earth. For now we can only see this truth dimly... as through a darkened glass. Then we will see it fully... then it will be possible for us all to "get along"... to walk together in agreement and peace.

Today we learn our part Godly submission… at the appointed time He will provide the righteous loving authority for all.


Submission to righteous authority is the answer... it is the only way. It is the way of peace, and the way of eternity.

Looking into the nature of God... the reality of the Father and the Son... and their manner of interaction... is more than clever words, and intellectual escapades... it is a practical lesson that answers the moral and ethical question: "how can we all get along'.