Rev. Kuiper is pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
From time to time it is necessary for pastors to remind their catechumens, both young and old, that they must memorize the prepositions in their answers carefully. These little words indicate the relationship that nouns, pronouns, and verbs have in regard to each other. It makes a world of difference whether something is for or against, under or on, before or after. Prepositions form a family of words which show these relationships very clearly. The study of prepositions is important in any language, but never more so than in the Hebrew and Greek. The word with deserves our attention in the Scriptures, for it is often used by the Holy Spirit to set forth relationships that can only be called sublime. Withcan indicate sameness of direction; it can show that two or more share in an activity, arrangement, or benefit; or it can reveal a combination, accompaniment, or presence. Although with is found hundreds of times in the Bible, we will examine only a few occurrences to show what tremendous truths are set forth by this little word.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was withGod, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Not only do these opening words of the fourth Gospel prove the eternity, the divinity, and the distinct Person of the Son, but they also reveal to us an aspect of the covenant life within the Trinity of God. The Son is in perfect harmony with the Father and the Holy Spirit; He lives the same life, seeks and delights in the same things, has the same motive and goal. The original term suggests that the face of the Son is always toward the Father. The Son had glory with the Father before the world was (John 17:5), and in the days of His flesh had favor withGod (Luke 2:52), and spoke of those things which He had seen with His Father (John 8:38).
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14), which being interpreted is, God with us (Matt. 1:23). God and man are so united in the virgin’s Son that the covenant of God, the might and wisdom of God, the treasures and pleasures of God, become our benefit. Having been justified by faith, “we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). The God of peace, harmony, unity gives us to share in this blessed virtue. Arguing from the greater to the lesser, the apostle Paul writes that if God did not spare His own Son, “How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Through the resurrection and ascension into heaven, Christ is exalted and enriched with a glory in which all the saints share. We are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).
According to Genesis 5:22 and Genesis 6:9, Enoch and Moses walked with God in the midst of a world that hated them and persecuted them. Living in a world that more and more resembles the world before the flood, as members of the party of the living God, we know Him, walk with Him, enjoy the highest Good, and reveal His praises.
The future of the children of God is bright in light of the promise of the risen Savior, “And lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). The presence of the Lord is our comfort, strength, and sure defense. Although bodily He is in heaven, “with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace, and Spirit He is at no time absent from us” (L.D. 18). “Your life is hid withChrist in God” (Col. 3:3). When Christ sat down at God’s right hand, He took His church with Him there; as the Head was raised far beyond death and the evil one, so every member of His body is safely hid in God where they can never be destroyed.
When Christ returns at the end of this world, “the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16, 17). At His coming, the prayer of Jesus shall have been perfectly answered, “that the glory which God has given him might also be given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22). Then “the tabernacle of God is withmen, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).