Watchman Nee, The Better Covenant, CFP, 125-128
God As Father and God As God
On the day of His resurrection the Lord Jesus said to Mary Magdalene: “Go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God” (John 20.17b). This tells us that we have both a God and a Father. What then is the difference between God as Father and God as God? The Bible shows us that God as Father signifies His relationship with us individually, while God as God denotes His relationship with the entire universe. Speaking of Him as God points to His position—that is, He is the Lord of creation.
Knowing God as Father causes us to cast ourselves upon His bosom, whereas knowing Him as God induces us to prostrate ourselves on the ground in worship. We are God’s children, living in His love and happily enjoying all that He has bestowed upon us. We are God’s people, standing in our place as men worshipping and praising Him. In knowing Him as God we “worship Jehovah in holy array” (Ps. 29.2b)! Just as the psalmist sings: “In thy fear will I worship” (5.7b). If a person knows God as God, how dare he not fear Him in all things? He dare not be careless about his garments, his conduct. All who give ground to sin—being careless and loose, presumptuous and arrogant—know not God as God.
We should understand that “there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4.13). Therefore, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of” (Eph. 5.11,12). Whatever is done in darkness is feared to be laid open before God. They are shameful things. “Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord,” says Paul, “we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5.11). How dare we not fear Him! We would persuade men that if they have really repented and are saved, they should know that “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12.29). Do we misinterpret His temporary hiding as a falling asleep? Can we despise His patient endurance in waiting for us to repent? “God is not mocked” (Gal. 6.7). We must fear God.
All who know God as God will learn to be men. For in the fall we were tempted to be gods, but in deliverance we are ready to be humans. The principle of the garden of Eden is ever that by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3.5 mg.); while the principle of Calvary is to restore us to the position of man. For this reason, we will surely take the proper place of man if we know God as God.
The purpose of our Lord’s birth into a carpenter’s home is to be man (Matt. 13.55). His receiving the baptism of John the Baptist is likewise to be man (Matt. 3.13-16). And He thrice resisted the temptation of the devil, again in order to be man (Matt. 4.1-10). The fact that the Lord “himself hath suffered being tempted” (Heb. 2.18a) shows that He is man. Being mocked by men, He yet refused to come down from the cross because He took the place of a man (Matt. 27.42-44). If all these are true of our Lord, how much more ought we to be men!
The twenty-four elders (Rev. 4.4) are the elders of the universe (because these twenty-four have already sat down on the thrones and wear on their heads crowns of gold; moreover, the number twenty-four is not the Biblical number of the church; these must therefore be the elders of the universe—representing the angelic beings whom God created to be the elders of the universe). Knowing God as the God of creation they worship Him by declaring: “Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created” (Rev. 4.11). Until the day of the marriage feast of the Lamb, they shall still be seen to prostrate themselves and to worship God who sits on the throne (Rev. 19.4).
The angel flying in mid-heaven, having eternal good tidings to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, says with a loud voice: “Fear God, and give him glory;...worship him that made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of water” (Rev. 14.6,7). This is instructive of the fact that all who know God as God must worship Him. Knowing God as the Lord of creation draws out worship.
Whoever knows God as God will stand in the place of a servant and worship (Rev. 22.9). He who “sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God” must be the one who opposes the Lord (2 Thess. 2.4). And the one who performs great signs in order to deceive those who dwell on the earth into worshipping the beast must be the false Christ (Rev. 13.14,15 and Matt. 24.23,24). But all who know God as God will worship Him. And this will glorify Him.
For further proofs of the 24 archangels, see notes on Rev. 4 (section 4.4) and in the Rapture Proof (section I.C.)