The Great I AM (Part 1), Ray Ambrose

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The Great I AM (Part 1), Ray Ambrose

This is the first of a series of lessons on the "Great I AM". Please check back soon for the continuation.

When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, He called Himself “I AM.”

Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

Jesus claimed to be the ancient I AM.

John 8:58 “Jesus said unto to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was,

I AM.”

That does not reveal Jesus as an eternal son. It reveals Jesus as the physical, bodily incarnation of the lone invisible Spirit that spoke to Moses. Jesus is the EMBODIMENT of that invisible voice that spoke in the burning bush.

John 8:23 “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”

If He is not, then He is the world’s biggest liar, imposter and deceiver, because He claimed to be the ancient “I AM.” No condemnation of Him could be strong enough if Jesus is not the great “I AM.”

If Jesus is not “I AM” then the entire global “Christian” society should be condemned. However, if Jesus is the voice from the burning bush, then He is the Almighty God and Creator of the universe, the fullness of God bodily. Did Jesus adequately demonstrate that He is God?

The theological jargon for this subject is “incarnation.” Another similar term that expresses this concept is “enfleshment.” Jesus is the enfleshment of God. Jesus is the physical manifestation of the eternal Spirit Who never had a body.

From a doctrinal standpoint, the most important fact is that Jesus is NOT the enfleshment of an eternal son. Jesus is the enfleshment of the Father God!

If Jesus is only the enfleshment of a second person of a trinity (and NOT the enfleshment of the so-called “first person of the trinity” or of the “third person of the trinity”) then Jesus is NOT “the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” as the scripture claims.

Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

All of God is in Christ. Not merely one-third of God.

Some will argue that God had a body in the Old Testament. It is true that God visited men occasionally, either embodied as an angel or as a man. These manifestations were positively temporary. These manifestations are referred to as “Theophanies”.

The quickest and simplest way I know to prove my point is to ask you to imagine erasing everything in the universe that God created. Imagine eliminating EVERTHING that God created. Then you will see exactly in what form God exist. Will you find three men walking through the blackness of eternal void? I think not! You will find a single, solitary, invisible Spirit. That is God. There is no eternal trinity in eternity past. There is only a single Spirit that inhabits the infinite all in all. That Spirit is who Jesus is.

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit…”

Take away the sun, moon, stars, the earth and all the firmaments. They were created.

Take away the angels. They were created.

Take away the city of Heaven with its streets of gold and the gates of pearl. That was created.

Take away the THRONE OF GOD, yes God created that, too! (Ps. 103:19)

What will you have after you erase everything God created? A perfect void inhabited by nothing but a singular, infinite, invisible, INDIVISIBLE Spirit! That is GOD!

That is NOT a body. God is NOT a body. God is a Spirit. God is a Holy Spirit. God HAS a body, but He is NOT a body.

Jesus Christ is the body of that infinite God. He is the fullness of God bodily. How else, or how better might God have revealed Himself to us than to manifest Himself in a form just like us? (The fact is that He made us after his own design for Himself.)

The Incarnation: Outside a biblical context, the word incarnation is rarely used. It is usually used allegorically, because we have no other examples of true incarnation. We speak of incarnation when an ideology is embodied in a person. A football cheerleader might be referred to as the incarnation of team spirit. A famous writer and lecturer might be called the incarnation of literary excellence. These are allegorical representations. A politician might be referred to as the incarnation of a particular political ideology or philosophy.

Among the world’s religions, you may hear the term “reincarnation” used to refer to the belief that the spirit of one who has died can be re-embodied in another form. The people of Tibet believe that there spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is the fourteenth reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion. The present Dalai Lama is said to have demonstrated at the age of two years old that he was the same person as the deceased former Dalai Lama.

Our Christian belief, based on Biblical teachings, are completely incompatible with that line of thought, and we cannot embrace that claim. All spirits return to God, Jesus is the only true incarnation.

In clear contradiction to the claims of those who believe in reincarnation, God Almighty says, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” (Ezekiel 18:4) Upon the death of a human, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

God will dispose of each and every eternal soul according to His righteous judgment, either by eternal life in His presence, or eternal damnation. The writer of Hebrews says, “…..it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”(Hebrews 9:27)

In its strictest theological context incarnation refers to the embodiment of the eternal Spirit of God within the human flesh of the man Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ we find the only true example for all time of a genuine permanent incarnation of God.

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The Resurrection of the Dead

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The Resurrection of the Dead

Author Anonymous.

I cannot think of a more enticing discussion. Can the dead be raised? History shows they can be. Jesus showed that fact clearer than anyone who ever lived. After raising several people from the dead during his lifetime, He personally returned from the grave after three days.

If Jesus could do what He did, what are the real possibilities?

1 Corinthians 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.”

Here is a subject that is very controversial. Will dead men really live again?

Christians are at the forefront of this controversy. No other society holds the views we do in this important matter.

Paul was very straight forward in his approach to the subject of the resurrection:

1 Corinthians 15: 13-20 “But if there be no resurrection, then is Christ not risen:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witness of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”

With those words, Paul sets forth his own firm belief that Jesus is in fact alive from the dead. Our eternal hope and our ultimate motivation for living for God today rest in those statements. One single fact isolates Jesus Christ from every other human being who ever lived. Jesus had complete control over his own death and resurrection.

Jesus himself explained: John 10: 17-18 “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

Ordinary men have no power with death.

The famous magician, Houdini, was fascinated with the subject of communication with the dead, and wanted to prove that it was possible. He planned an experiment in which he hoped to communicate with his wife after his death. After he died, nothing at all of the planned experiment was realized, to the great disappointment of his loving wife. Houdini had no power after death....

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"Shout It Out, Mr. Shaepe!" By Jonathan K. Greer

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"Shout It Out, Mr. Shaepe!" By Jonathan K. Greer

Republished article from The Pentecostal Herald, May 2013

During the last couple years, Oneness Pentecostals have anticipated this centennial mark in their brief, yet heavily influential, movement.  Now that the year has arrived, we can only stop and reflect on the historical moments, miraculous revelations, and pivotal and irreplaceable men and women which were instrumental in the unfolding events that took place at the revival of Arroyo Seco, CA in 1913 and the years that followed shortly after.  Yes, of course, everyone remembers the prevailing and timely sermon that was preached so passionately on that April afternoon by R. E. McAlister concerning Jesus Name baptism.  History has upheld the fame and impactful presence of Maria Woodworth-Etter, who was hosting the revival in which McAlister preached.  And recalling the impactful presence of men like Howard Goss, Frank Ewart, and G. T. Haywood is almost a requirement for salvation in the ranks of modern Oneness believers. 

            Yet, when I stop to contemplate the lasting effects of that southern California camp meeting, I cannot help but think about the impact that one man, whom history has all but forgotten, left on a revival that would soon explode into a globalized movement.  “Who is John Schaepe?” you ask.  Well, to be honest, I don’t know.  As David Reed points out in his book, In Jesus’ Name, “Schaepe soon dropped out of sight,” (p 140) and was not depended on for any formulation of the Oneness doctrine.  What we do know is there was no other person during the Arroyo Seco camp meeting that caused more of a stir concerning Jesus Name baptism than did he.  While Pentecostals are quick to herald McAlister for preaching his revolutionary sermon, Robin Johnston points out in A Pentecostal Life that even he quickly dismissed the Acts 2:38 mandate as necessary when the crowd acted uncomfortable with his sermon, “insisting that just because the apostles baptized in Jesus’ name it was not wrong to baptize according (sic) the Matthew 28:19 formula” (p 100). 

While it was McAlister’s declarations that initiated the ripple in the water, it was Schaepe who kicked them headlong into a tsunami whirlwind.  The rest of the crowd may have been settled by McAlister’s disclaimer that Matthew 28:19 was still acceptable in regards to baptism, however, Schaepe remained distraught about the issue.  That night he did not sleep.  Rather, he spent the whole night in prayer and study of the Word.  Just before dawn the next morning, Schaepe began running through the camp shouting at the top of his lungs and proclaiming that he had been given a revelation of the Oneness of God and baptism in Jesus’ name.  He then commenced to share his revelations with all who came running out to see what the commotion was about.  Harry Morse later wrote in the December 1943 issue of the Apostolic Herald (p 9), “After we listened to Brother Schaepe’s new ideas on water baptism in Jesus’ name and the Oneness of the Godhead, we agreed that we believed that he had something…. In the following months, God began to deal with Brother Ewart, Brother Haywood, and finally with me, and we came out on this line.”  David Reed further states in his book that the “Oneness tradition depends more upon Schaepe’s ‘revelation’ in the night than McAlister’s exegesis” (p 141) because of the design of early Pentecost and its desire for experiences of revelation.

For me, as a young preacher of the gospel, the story of Schaepe is not so much impactful because of what he did, but rather because of whom he was.  In terms of prestige, fame, and accolade, Schaepe was a “nobody” before the revival, and he continued to be a “nobody” after the revival.  He was not a big time camp meeting preacher, if he was a preacher at all.  He didn’t have the bloodline of parents who pastored large churches, and he carried little, if any, influence at all.  Yet, he, because of his faith and willingness to be used, caused a rift in Pentecostal, and generally even Christian, history that was unprecedented.  Too many times, we, in the church, want to sit back and wait for someone “more important” to be used by God.  We are afraid to move with the Spirit’s urge because “we don’t have the power of pastor.”  Yet, we fail to realize that God doesn’t need a Ewart or a Haywood to create a revival.  All He needs is one Schaepe.  Revival is waiting. So, go ahead and shout it out Mr. Schaepe… and let the rip tides role!

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