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The Role of the Father
By Tom Brown

            Today there is a great need for wonderful fathers. In the past, fathers as a whole have failed our society. They have abandoned the home and left mothers to raise children by themselves. The ones that have stayed at home have often neglected the most important duty of fathers—and that is to be the priests in the home.

            Men know little about being a priest. They want to be the king of their castle, but until they are willing to serve as priest, they are not worthy to be king.

            Look at the result God warned when the home does not have a father whose heart is turned toward home.

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (Mal 4:5-6)

            Our land has been struck with a curse. In the last half of the previous century we saw an incredible increase of crime, violence, drugs and gangs—and although legislators and economists offer various solutions, the real root of the problem is negligent fathers and unparented children. The good news is God has promised a revival of fatherhood in the last days.

Family is Fatherhood

            The world has discounted the importance of fathers, yet the biblical definition of a family is fatherhood. Paul writes, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Eph 3:14-15) The Greek word “family” is patria and it is derived from the root pater. For those who know either Greek or Latin, you recognize that this word means “father.” To define a family in the biblical sense, therefore, is to call it “fatherhood.” Without a father, there is no family. The proof of this is that the family gets their name from the father.

            Don’t misunderstand me, single mothers should not feel inferior. Society accepts single mothers with children as families, and they should; I’m only pointing out the biblical definition of a family. This concept should clearly show the importance of fathers. Also, the biblical definition of an orphan is to be “fatherless.” It’s not to be without both parents, but to simply be without a father, and so we have a whole flock of children in our land who are orphans. Without fathers the family cannot grow to become all God intended for it. The father is the root of the family, and if the root is bad, the family will likely have trouble. On the other hand, where there is a godly father, the children often are godly.

            We are bombarded with lies from Hollywood and television. They tell us that men are not important. Television has gone from “Fathers Knows Best” to “Homer Simpson.” If we listen to them long enough, we might conclude that fathers are a necessary evil, rather than a vital root to family success.

Jesus Revelation of God as Father

            Not only does the Bible define family in terms of the father, but Jesus revealed the most important title that God enjoys is “Father”. Jesus prayed to God, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. (John 17:6, NKJV) What name was new to the disciples? They already knew the name Yahweh, but they were not accustomed to the name “Father.” Jesus called God Father more than any other title. In fact, He almost exclusively used the name Father in reference to God.

            Since Father is the greatest title we can ascribe to God, then it stands to reason that Father is the ultimate name we can obtain. Every man should be proud to be called father. Even a single man is called to be a father to the fatherless. Fatherhood should be exalted as the greatest job for man.

            Yet men, instead of embracing the greatest call, have shunned from it. They have felt inadequate. Sometimes selfishness causes them to hide from this high calling. Perhaps they want to be a father, but they have no earthly example of one.

            It is my desire through this article to help you discover your true calling as a man and to explain what the calling entails for you.

Jesus is the Example of Fatherhood

            How can we know what a father should be like? Well, since God is called Father, we can look to Him; however since God is invisible it is quite difficult to exemplify fatherhood from an invisible God. So Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

            Isaiah prophesied the coming of Christ,

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6)

Notice carefully who Jesus is to God! To us a son is given. Whose son is He? He is God’s Son! God says about Him, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matt 3:17) He is a son that God gave. Jesus is to God, a Son. But to us we will call Him the everlasting Father.

            Now don’t confuse the nature of the trinity. 1 There is one God in three persons. Jesus relates to God as a Son, but relates to us as a father. How is that possible? Let me explain. Hebrews 2:10 says,

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

Jesus calls us brothers, because He is the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom 8:29) However, as the elder son, He takes the responsibility to be the Father to the children. Notice the Hebrew writer continues. He says that Jesus cries out,

"Here am I, and the children God has given me.” (Heb 2:13)

            It was normal in biblical times for the oldest son to take the responsibility as father to his brothers. In fact when the father died, the eldest son would receive the entire inheritance, and he would then take care of his brothers like the father did. So Jesus is both the firstborn among the brothers and the father to them.

            So to understand what it is like to be father, we simply need to look at Christ. Jesus is the example fathers should follow. And what example did He give? The Hebrew writer continues,

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God…(Heb 2:17)

Notice that Jesus main function for his brothers is to be a faithful priest to God. A priest represents his family to God. How God views the father is the way God will view the family. The main intercessor is the priest, and in this case, the father.

            Yet too often fathers vacate the office of priest and by default place the mothers as priests. This is not God’s order or pattern. Just as fathers cannot take the place of mothers, mothers cannot take the place of fathers. Fathers are to be the priests in the home.

Offering Sacrifices

            One word describes the duty of a priest: sacrifice. The father should sacrifice for the family. Yet, often the children sacrifice for the happiness of the father. If the father wants a new car, often the children will sacrifice clothes for school so that father could have his new toy. Even entertainment becomes the choice of the father. If he wants to go to Las Vegas, then never mind the lack of children’s activities, they are going to Las Vegas. He does not want Disney Land, because that is for kids. He often refuses to sacrifice for his children.

            The worse way a father does not sacrifice for his children is his unwillingness to keep a marriage alive. He often has selfish sensual needs, so if he is not happy with his wife, then never mind the need for the family to have both mother and father at home, he leaves the wife so he can enjoy his revelry. The children are the ones who suffer the most.

            Outside of the obvious concept of sacrifice, there are three important areas by which a father can offer sacrifices for his children.

1.   Offering a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving.

            Our main ministry as priests is mentioned in Hebrews 13:15: Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (NKJV)

            Few are aware of the fact that the best way to lift up people is by giving God thanks for them. Many children feel embittered, lonely, and depressed because they do not feel wanted. Without a father showing gratitude for his children, the children are likely to carry with them a spirit of rejection. Even if the mother shows her love, that is often not enough.

            Consider Jesus on the cross. He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” The Father had turned His face from Christ because Jesus became our sin substitute. Here is the point: Jesus’ mother was at his feet weeping and showing her deep love for her son, but that was not enough! He needed the love and acceptance of the Father!

            The same is true of children. Mothers can show much love, but without the father showing his love and gratitude, the children will feel rejected.

            The one warning the apostle Paul gives to fathers is found in two epistles: Fathers, do not exasperate your children (Eph 6:4) and Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (Col 3:21) Both passages in essence say the same thing. This caution should clearly show the weakest area among fathers—and that is their tendency to “put down” their children. The remedy is simple: give God thanks for them. Lay your hands on your children and pray, “Father God, I want to thank You for my child.” A smile will break across the face of your child. They will know they are wanted.

            You might say, “Yeah, that would be easy if I had reasons to give thanks, but my children are not such great kids.” Listen, giving thanks is a sacrifice! Sacrifice implies doing something that you do not feel like doing. If we felt like it, it would cease to be a sacrifice. Do it fathers, and you will see the redeeming hand of God work in your children.

2.   Offering the Sacrifice of Intercession.

            A priest is known for prayer: Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:24-25) Samuel was the priest to Israel and he exclaimed, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” (1 Sam 12:23)

            Fathers, as priests, you must pray for your children. It is a sin against the LORD to fail to pray for them. Job is a great example of one who prayed for his children:

His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. (Job 1:4-5)

            Job was called the most righteous man in the entire east. He showed his true concern for his children by offering intercession, and the Bible says it was his regular custom. He made it a habit to pray for his children. His greatest concern was for their spiritual life. He wanted to make sure they were forgiven if they had sinned or cursed God silently in their hearts.

            A critic might say, “All of them were killed in a freak accident! What good did Job’s prayers do for his children?”

            Let’s look closely at his story! In the end, the Bible says,

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

How much more was Job blessed in the end? He was blessed twice as much as he had before. Look carefully at the description of his possessions before and after. 

He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. (Job 1:1-3)

Compare that with what he ended up with:

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. (Job 42:12-13)

            You will notice that he received twice as many animals as was lost in the accident, but the scriptures says, And he also had seven sons and three daughters. He had the same number of children as before! How could that be if he was blessed twice as much? Halleluiah! Do you get it? Job did not lose his children for eternity. Yes, they died in their home when a cyclone hit it, but their souls were saved! In the end, Job had twice as many sons and daughters in heaven. His prayers for his children were answered. God had forgiven them and brought them to heaven.

            Sometimes we may not understand the manner in which prayers are answered, but be sure to know that if you prayed and claimed the benefits of Calvary’s cross then God will answer. This is the duty of the father as priest.

3.   Offering the Sacrifice of Religious Duty.

            A priest is the religious leader in the home. He must sacrifice the lamb. That is his job. He must also apply the blood over the mercy seat. So it is with the fathers. Fathers must apply the blood over their family. Consider the first Passover:

Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. (Ex 12:3)

Notice that the father was to pick out the lamb? It says, “Each man is to take a lamb for his family.” It was the father’s duty to select the lamb and apply the blood over his home.

Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. (Ex 12:7)

This religious act was to be performed by the fathers. Yet, too often, fathers let the mothers take the responsibility for religion in the home! They often send the kids off to church with the mothers, and the fathers stay home to watch television. I believe the failure of fathers to take their religious obligations seriously has weakened Christianity.

            As a priest in your home, sir, you must be the spiritual leader in the family and set an example for your children. You should arise early every Sunday and get your children ready for church. You should lead them to the house of worship. They should see you singing the hymns and praises in your congregation. They should watch you reading the Bible. They should observe you praying! You are the priest!

            It is time for fathers to take the role of priests seriously in the home. The result will be forthcoming! You will be proud to see how successful your children will become in the Lord!

1 The oneness sect confuses the roll of Jesus to God with Jesus to us. They misrepresent Isaiah 9:6 as claiming that in the Godhead Jesus is the Father, but the passage does not say that God calls Him the everlasting father. He is called “A son” by God.  So to God He is the Son that was given. But to us He is the father that is received.

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