The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
April 30, 2017
1) Did God Know Us Prior to Our Physical Conception? (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
Did God Know Us Prior to Our Physical Conception?
Have you ever wondered whether God actually knew of you before you
were born or even conceived? Does He have that ability?
Well, hear God’s words to Jeremiah and wonder no more! “Now
the word of the LORD came to me saying, 'Before I formed you in the
womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have
appointed you a prophet to the nations'” (Jer. 1:4,5). What an
amazing foreknowledge of God!
David also knew that God was well aware of him — and of all his days
to come — before he was even born, and says of the Lord, “For You
formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give
thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful
are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not
hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought
in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed
substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were
ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the
sum of them!” (Psa. 139:13-17).
Through the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, the Lord has demonstrated
His ability to know of what is to come, such as with the thirty
pieces of silver that Jesus would be betrayed for, and where that
betrayal money would end up (Zech. 11:12,13; Matt. 26:14-16; Matt.
27:3-10); that Jesus' death would not be by stoning, but would
involve the piercing of the hands and feet (Psa. 22:16; Mk. 15:25;
Luke 24:36-40); that the Lord's clothing would be gambled for (v.
18), and that He would be “with a rich man in His death” (Isa. 53:9;
Matt. 27:57-60) -- to mention just a few of the prophecies
concerning Christ that God knew far in advance.
And what about those who are named in prophecy even prior to their
being born? Obviously, God knew of them before their
conception. Consider, for instance, 1 Kings 13:1,2: “Now
behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of
the LORD, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn
incense. He cried against the altar by the word of the LORD,
and said, 'O altar, altar, thus says the LORD, “Behold, a son shall
be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall
sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you,
and human bones shall be burned on you.”’”
Josiah was born about 648 B.C. He became the 16th king of
Judah, during the divided kingdom, and was one of its best kings.
Some have placed the above prophecy, which was made during the reign
of Jeroboam (the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel,
during the divided kingdom), about 326 years prior to Josiah’s
birth; and the fulfillment of it can be seen in 2 Kings 23:16-18:
“Now when Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the
mountain, and he sent and took the bones from the graves and burned
them on the altar and defiled it according to the word of the LORD
which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things.
Then he said, 'What is this monument that I see?' And the men of the
city told him, 'It is the grave of the man of God who came from
Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the
altar of Bethel.' He said, 'Let him alone; let no one disturb his
bones.' So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the
prophet who came from Samaria” (2 Kings 23:16-18). “All the
priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the
altars and burned human bones on them; then he returned to
Jerusalem” (v. 20).
So the Lord knew of Josiah's name, of the lineage he would descend,
and of these specific acts that he would perform – even prior to his
having been born!
God also knew of John the Baptist prior to his being born to a
childless couple who were “both advanced in years” and “had no
child, because Elizabeth was barren” (Luke 1:5-7). For an
angel of the Lord had informed Zecharias that “...your petition has
been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you
will give him the name John” (v. 13). And not only did God
know that John would be born, but also that “many would rejoice at
his birth”; and that “he will be great in the sight of the Lord”
(vv. 14,15); that he would “turn many of the sons of Israel back to
the Lord their God”; and that he would be obedient to the Lord in
being “a forerunner” for Christ. John would be called “the
prophet of the Most High” (v. 76). So God knew, in advance,
all these things about John — including how his character would be,
which is likened to that of the great prophet Elijah (v. 17).
And what about the other barren women whom God sent an angel to
inform them that they would conceive a child — and, specifically, a
Consider Samson's mother, for example: "Then the angel of the LORD
appeared to the woman and said to her, 'Behold now, you are barren
and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to
a son (Jdg. 13:3).
And to Abraham and Sarah, who “were old, advanced in age,” and
“Sarah was past childbearing” (Gen. 18:11), the Lord had promised
that "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and
behold, Sarah your wife will have a son" (v. 10).
We are more than our physical body. For we also have an
eternal soul or spirit, which has been created in the image of
God. But where does that soul or spirit come from? Is it
also in our DNA? Zechariah refers to God as being the One who
“stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and
forms the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1). And Solomon
tells us more of that spirit’s journey: "...For man goes to
his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. Remember Him
before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the
pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is
crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the
spirit will return to God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:5-7).
Mention is also made about Ishmael, the son of Sarah's handmaid
Hagar. God, in His omniscience, knew that Ishmael would
“become the father of twelve princes” and “a great nation” (Gen.
17:20). And while Hagar was still pregnant with Ishmael, God
also already knew what kind of person he would turn out to be.
So the angel of the Lord told Hagar that Ishmael “will be a wild
donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone's
hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his
brothers” (Gen. 16:12).
We must understand that though God knows all about the universe, its
time, and all things therein, yet He Himself dwells in eternity, a
totally different kind of dimension. Or can it even be called
a dimension? For eternity is without limits. To
us, however, time in our realm is linear, like a timeline. We
have our past, our present, and our future; and we exist only in the
present or the now. But notice how Jesus expresses His eternal
nature when some "...Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years
old, and have you seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly,
truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am" (John
8:57,58). Our minds cannot fully grasp what experiencing
eternity must be like for God -- anymore than trying to imagine all
of infinity. For both go way beyond our mental ability.
God's eternal nature is also seen in Psalm 90:2: "Before the
mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, YOU ARE GOD.” Notice that this
last part does not say, "You WERE God" or "you WILL BE God" — but,
rather, "You ARE God!" God is not waiting to get to the "end"
any more than He needed to get to the "beginning." For He has
eternally been. And though we cannot fathom it all, yet His
eternal nature is indicated by His creation: "For since the creation
of the world His invisible attributes, His ETERNAL POWER and divine
nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has
been made, so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20).
No wonder God has no trouble at all in "Declaring the end from the
beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all
My good pleasure'" (Isa. 46:9,10). For to the Lord, as Timothy
M. Willis has stated, “the future is always present to the
After considering these above passages, surely we can see of God’s
ability to have known each one of us, and what we would turn out to
be, even prior to our birth. He does have a watchful eye on us
— and desires for us to look to Him as well! That we might
enjoy a relationship with God, which begins here in time and
continues throughout eternity in heaven! And how much better
one can know the Lord there!
(All Scripture from NASB and emphases mine.)
News & Notes
Folks who can use prayer:
Judy Daugherty and Don Swain who both underwent
As mentioned last week, Shirley Davis is scheduled for five
different doctor appointments in May. And one for June 1,
which will involve stents put into her feet, due to poor
circulation. She has also been having swollen legs and back
pain; and the eye she had cornea surgery on is still a little
blurry, but should clear in 5 to 7 weeks.
Also: Lexi Crawford, Kay Byars, Jim Lively, James
Medlock, Mary Vandevander, La Donna Andrews, Michelle Rittenhouse,
Billy Lowe, and Tom Haney
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark
16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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