Who or What Was Jesus Christ Before His Human Birth?
Was Jesus Christ the Messiah "very God of very God"?
Is He a second member of the divine Godhead? Is there
a contradiction between the terms "God the Son" and "the
Son of God"? Were there two or more divine Beings,
co-equal and uncreated, who have existed for all eternity,
who were and are "God"? Why did Jesus speak of His
Father as "the only true God"? Why do the Jews recite,
"The LORD is our God, the LORD alone "? Who is the
"LORD" of the Old Testament? Isaiah quotes God as saying,
"I am God, and there is none else" (Isa.45:22), "there is none
beside me" (verse 21). Does this preclude the pre-existence
and divinity of the Christ, the Messiah? Heresies abound in
these "last days," terrible heresies and apostasizing errors --
deviations from the truth which could rob you of your eternal
salvation! It is time you knew -- and proved conclusively --
the PLAIN TRUTH about Jesus Christ the Messiah!
William F. Dankenbring
The apostle Paul warned almost 2,000 years ago, speaking of our End-Time generation, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron" (I Tim.4:1-2).
In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul warned that these evil deceivers are "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth -- men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone" (II Tim.3:7-9).
Such a heresy has arisen in these last days. It has received a new dimension of clever manipulation and pseudo-scholarly advancement by its authors. Claiming the Jews only worshiped "one God," and that they are rejecting "pagan" errors, they assert that Biblical revelation teaches that Jesus Christ was indeed the "Son of God," but definitely not "God the Son," making a clever distinction betweens the two terms.
According to one proponent of this "new theology," which is really just an End-time revision and revanchist version of the first century, age-old Gnosticism, it is a "striking fact" that Jesus never referred to himself as 'God.'" He asserts, in contrast, that the word "God" in the New Testament refers to the "Father" some 1350 times. He admits that a few texts refer to Christ also as "God," but claims those particular texts should be translated with a small "g" for "god." He then asks, "Why this impressive difference in New Testament usage, when so many seem to think that Jesus is no less 'God' than his Father?" (from the booklet, "Who Is Jesus?" by Anthony Buzzard, p.3).
The author goes on to state that people today may not appreciate the strength of "monotheism -- belief in one God -- which was the first principle of all Old Testament teaching about God. The Jews were prepared to die for their conviction that the true God was a single person. Any idea of plurality in the Godhead was rejected as dangerous idolatry." According to Buzzard, therefore, only the "Father" is truly God from all eternity, and Christ was merely a human being, albeit He was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit. Buzzard states dogmatically that Christ had NO pre-existence before His human birth, except as a "thought" or "idea" in the mind of the Father, but that this "idea" goes back to the beginning of the human race or time of Creation.
Buzzard then declares: "It is essential to ask, therefore, whether the Old Testament anywhere suggests that the Messiah was to be 'coequal God,' a second uncreated being who abandons an enternal existence in heaven in order to become man. If it does not say anything like this (and remembering that the Old Testament is concerned even with minute details about the coming Messiah), we will have to treat as suspicious the claim of anyone saying that Jesus is both Messiah and an uncreated second eternal person of the Godhead, claiming the title 'God' in the full sense" (ibid., p.7).
Is Jesus Christ "God"?
What about this claim? What do the Scriptures say about this new "theory" concerning the role of Jesus Christ? Was He merely a Messiah with no claim to divinity? On the other hand, did He pre-exist from the beginning of all Creation, coequal and uncreated, along with the One known as the "Father"? Could, by some chance, both views be equally erroneous and inaccurate? What is the truth about God, and especially Jesus Christ, our Saviour?
It is amazing how a clouded and prejudiced mind can only view Scriptures through the filter of its own artificial prejudice. Even so, those who claim Jesus was not truly divine argue that "only a few" Biblical texts seem, on the "surface," to suggest that Christ was indeed divine. But, they claim, these "few" texts should not be seen to overthrow the "unflinching monotheism" of the Old Testament. According to them, there is not even a "hint" in the New Testament that Jesus Christ regarded Himself as divine "God." They attempt to "explain away" by sheer dismissal all the Biblical verses where Jesus said He, the "Son of man," came "down from heaven," as merely picturesque speech reflecting only the fact that as an "idea" of the Father, Jesus figuratively came down from heaven. Thus with a subtle, slick, back-door approach to the subject, these neo-Gnostics defy and deny the divinity of Christ!
This is no mere academic argument. This is crucial -- foundational -- the very essence of "Christianity" and the teaching of Scripture! Either Christ was divine and pre-existed with the Father -- or He was a mere man, albeit a "perfect man." What difference does it make? If Christ was a "mere man," and not truly Divine, and not the Creator of all mankind, then I ask you -- of what good is the fact that He lived a perfect life? On that basis, then, His death might atone -- on the basis of a life for a life, or one for one -- for JUST ONE other human life! If he was merely a "perfect human being," and died sinlessly, his death might have atoned for ONE human life -- but not for billions of billions! In order for a sinless life to be equal to all sinful mankind, that sinless life had to be equal to ALL HUMAN LIVES -- that is, He had to be equal to the CREATOR of all human life, or that Creator Himself!
Messianic Texts in the Old Testament
The Messiah was to be born of "the seed of a woman" (Gen.3:15). He was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He was to be a descendant of David (II Sam.7:14-16; Isa.11:1). He was to be a mighty prophet, like Moses (Deut.18:15-16). But was He also to be very "God" Himself, a member of the divine Godhead?
Let us not assume. The apostle Paul tells us plainly that we must "prove all things," lest we be led away into hideous error and slanderous deception, which could deny us salvation itself (I Thess.5:21). He praised the Bereans because they searched the Scriptures daily to prove whether what he taught was true or not (Acts 17:11).
We know from many Scriptures that the coming of the Messiah was prophesied. This of itself neither proves His divinity or His humanity. It merely proves that the Father indeed had planned for the Messiah to appear to save mankind from their sins -- from the beginning. But is the Messiah ever referred to as "God" in the Old Testament?
The answer to this question is an astonishing and overwhelming YES!
"The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). If even in just ONE verse we find the Messiah referred to as "God," then that would be sufficient proof of the fact. Scripture does not and cannot contradict itself. Jesus said of the Father, "Thy word is TRUTH" (John 17:17). In other words, just one clear Scripture would be sufficient to PROVE the divinity and pre-existence of Christ, the Messiah!
But God has given us much more witness than that. Notice! In the 45th Psalm, speaking of the coming Messianic king, David writes prophetically: "You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your side, O might one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king's enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O GOD, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy" (Psalm 45:2-7, NIV).
The word for "God" in this passage, used once for the Messiah, and later for His "God," is the Hebrew word Elohim. It can refer to "gods in the ordinary sense," but in the plural with the article, refers to the supreme God. It is a word occasionally applied by deference to magistrates, and sometimes to angels, judges, or the mighty (see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance).
This is the very same word used in Genesis 1, where we read: "In the beginning GOD (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth" (Gen.1:1). The very name "Elohim" is a "uni-plural" word denoting both unity and plurality at the same time. The singular form is "El," literally meaning "the mighty one." Thus Elohim, strictly speaking, is literally "The Mighty Ones"
-- an indication of just ONE GOD composed of more than one entity, being, or personality!
This conclusion is further reinforced by simply reading the rest of Genesis 1, especially the verses concerning the creation of mankind. We read, "Then God (Elohim) said, 'Let US make man in OUR image, in OUR likeness, and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created MAN in HIS OWN IMAGE, in the image of God (Elohim) he created him; MALE AND FEMALE he created them" (Gen.1:26-27).
Notice this passage of Scripture carefully. God is not like the absent-minded professor who forgets how many of them there are, who speaks in the plural when there is only the singular. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). When He said, "Let US make man in OUR image," He was clearly referring to the fact that there were at least TWO PERSONAGES in the Godhead, communing with each other -- just as in a human family, there are Two Beings -- a man and a woman -- who become One in marriage! Both beings are on the same level -- that is both are human beings; but the man has authority over the woman. Even so, in the original Godhead, there are Two Beings -- the One we know as the Father, and the Other -- the One who BECAME the "Son" when He was born of the virgin Mary! This second member of the Godhead was also God, of the same composition and spirit essence as the Father -- but He was inferior in authority, even as the wife is inferior in authority to her husband. Thus a Great Truth is taught to us in this ancient verse of Genesis, the first book of the Torah!
Thus the "Son of God" did pre-exist as a member of the Godhead. However, He was not "coequal" with the Father, but was subject to and under the authority of the Father, who was greater than He. With this truth in mind, we can more fully understand the words of the prophet Micah who wrote: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, WHOSE ORIGINS ARE FROM OF OLD, FROM ANCIENT TIMES" (Micah 5:2). I believe it is very tenuous, and stretching the point, to try to claim that the person mentioned here was in existence merely as an "idea" or "thought" in the mind of God in ancient times. This verse, on the contrary, says that His very ORIGINS are of old, from ancient times -- or as the King James Version has it, "from EVERLASTING." The original Hebrew expression here is, "from the DAYS OF ETERNITY."
Does this really sound as if the Messiah really had no literal existence until His birth of the virgin Mary some 2,000 years ago? Nonsense! Falderol! Balderdash! Sheer bunkum!
The prophet Isaiah also foretold that the Christ would be God incarnate. He wrote: "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. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Anthony Buzzard and others claim that the word "God" here should be with a small "g." Now it seems to me, if you want to talk about idolatry, that would be it -- to worship any "god" with a small "g"! The Jehovah's Witnesses, of course, also subscribe to this interpretation. Thus they deny the Godhood and divinity of the Messiah! In the Hebrew, however, the expression "Mighty God" is gibbor meaning "mighty, powerful, champion, valiant" and "God" which is"El," the singular of Elohim, and which means, "The Mighty One." Thus the Christ is here portrayed as being the "Powerful, Valiant Mighty One," or "Powerful God." He is also referred to as the "Father" of Israel, His people, but not just that -- but as "EVERLASTING Father." The Hebrew for everlasting is ad, from adah, and means "for perpetuity," "eternity," "everlasting," "world without end."
Therefore, the Messiah is here depicted as being Eternal, Everlasting, and is once again referred to as God, "the Mighty, Powerful God," to distinguish Him from all pagan gods or lesser objects worshiped as gods by mankind.
Notice more proof that the Messiah was to be the Divine King of Israel. In the second Psalm we read: "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD (here the Messiah is actually referred to directly as the "LORD"!) with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him" (Psalm 2:7-12).
Christ, the Messiah, is clearly referred to here not only as "the LORD," and is called by the Tetragrammaton (YHVH), or "Yahveh," but He is also referred to as the "Son of the LORD" (verse 7)). Let us learn a lesson from human experience. A husband and wife mate, and produce a "son." That son is fully human, just as much as his parents. He is just like them in every way -- with the same genetic code imprinted in his chromosomes. He is in the very image and likeness of his parents. He is FULLY HUMAN!
Even so, when the Father spoke of His own Son, whom He would give the nations of the earth as His inheritance, He was referring to a literal, begotten, and born SON -- fully Divine, just as He, the Father, is Divine -- FULLY GOD AS HE IS GOD, just as human children are fully human as their parents are!
To claim that the divinity of the Messiah is nowhere mentioned or alluded to in the Old Testament is nothing short of sheer unadulterated, fabricated ERROR and doctrinal heresy! It may not be pleasant to hear this belief described in such blistering, plain, and no-holds-barred terms, but it is true, nevertheless. Christ is very God, just as much as a human son is very human. But, of course, there is much more evidence! Now let us turn to the NEW Testament, and see what Christ Himself said on this pivotal question.
Testimony of the New Testament
What do Jesus Christ Himself and the apostles have to say about this very important question? When the high priest interrogated Christ, and demanded, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" Jesus answered: "I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14:61-62).
On another occasion, the Jews asked Him, "Are you greater than our father Abraham?" "You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!" (John 8:53, 57). Jesus replied to them: "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!" (v.58). At this point, the Jews picked up stones to stone Him for what they considered blasphemy (v.59). In other words, they understood that He was claiming to have existed BEFORE ABRAHAM -- they knew at this point that He was claiming to be the "I AM" -- the God, or YHVH, of the Old Testament!
Notice the play of words that Jesus was using. In Exodus 3, when God reveals Himself to Moses at the burning bush, He said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exo.3:6). Moses then asked God His name, so He would be able to tell the Israelites who had sent him. God then said, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. I AM has sent me to you" (Exo.3:13-14).
When Jesus told the high priest He was the "I am," the priest tore his clothes and accused Christ of blasphemy, of claiming to be God. When Jesus told the Jews that before Abraham was, "I AM," He was also telling them that He was the "I AM" who appeared to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. They got the point, and that is why they sought to stone Him to death!
Why is it that modern so-called "scholars" and professors of theology cannot grasp this simple, singular truth? Why is it that in their ignorance, arrogance, and conceit, that they overlook this fundamental TRUTH of Scripture?
Although Jesus deliberately hid His awesome true identity from the masses for most of His ministry, and simply let His miracles and signs do the talking for Him, speaking in riddles and paradyms and allegories to the masses, nevertheless there were special times in His ministry where He much more than "hinted" as to His true secret identity! He was GOD IN THE FLESH!
Bout with the Jehovah's Witnesses
Years ago, in 1958, when I was a young converted teenager, getting ready to go to college, my father decided that I was getting too "fanatical" in obeying the Word of God. He decided to have a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses speak to me about my religion. Before they came, my dad told me he didn't want me to follow them, either, but he thought they might open my mind to the fact that I didn't have all the truth, nor did Herbert Armstrong. I agreed to meet with them.
The two men appeared at our home a few days later. We went to my room, where the discussion began. Since they believed the Law of God was abolished, I confronted them with several Scriptures which prove God's law is eternal and everlasting, and Christ did not come to abolish it. They had no answer the the simple Word of God, except to deny flatly that the Scriptures I quoted were relevant; however, they could not explain them.
During our discussion, they mentioned that the Word of God teaches that Christ was not divine "God," but a created being less than God. At this point, I turned to Hebrews, chapter one. Notice what this Scripture says:
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets
at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has
spoken to us by his Son, whom he apointed heir of all things,
and THROUGH WHOM HE MADE THE UNIVERSE" (Heb.
Now, how can those who deny the divinity of Christ get around such a plain verse as that? Here it very clearly states that it was through the One called Christ that God the Father "made the Universe"! Yet Anthony Buzzard and others simply decline to admit the simple veracity of this plain statement; they "interpret" it to say only that it is through Christ that all those who are to be saved will be saved -- that is, the "universe of the saved." That is pure unadulterated poppycock and pishtwaddle! Can't we believe the simple words of Scripture? Do you really think God had the words of the Bible written in such a way that only blowhard errant intellectual "elite" could understand the real underlying meaning? Must we "force" the Scriptures to say what WE want them to say, because we are blinded to the truth? Must we deny one key Scripture,
and then another and another, just so we can maintain our own pet cherished theory?
This verse very clearly is not talking about just the numbers of those who are saved. It says very plainly that God the Father created ALL THE UNIVERSE -- including all the planets, stars, galaxies, and the earth, sun and moon, and all life -- THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!
In this Scripture, the apostle Paul goes on: "The Son is the RADIANCE OF GOD'S GLORY and the EXACT REPRESENTATION OF HIS BEING, SUSTAINING ALL THINGS by his powerful word" (Heb.1:3). A mere created being, less than God, could not have been the radiance of God's glory and the EXACT representation of His being. To be an EXACT REPLICA of GOD, you must alsos BE "God"! Furthermore, this verse says Christ SUSTAINS ALL THINGS -- that means, the entire Universe! -- by HIS powerful Word! To be the Creator, and Sustainer of the Universe, One would have to be identified as VERY GOD!
Now let us continue this amazing chapter. Paul goes on, "For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father?' Or again, 'I will be his Father, and he will be my Son'? And again, when God brings his first born into the world, he says: 'Let all God's ANGELS worship him' " (verses 5-6).
Now, if Christ were simply a created perfect human being, why would God the Father command all the heavenly ANGELS to worship Him? Maybe, in that case, human beings should worship Him, but why the angels? The angels of God in heaven never sinned. They don't need "redemption" and "salvation." So why should they worship the Messiah, the Christ? That would make no sense at all. However, since Christ is ALSO the One who CREATED all the angels, it makes perfect sense for all the heavenly angels to WORSHIP Him!
This verse also brings up another point. The angels are commanded to worship the Messiah. He is regarded as worthy of WORSHIP by all people. To worship means to revere, to reverence. One should only worship GOD! The Word of God itself says: "I am the LORD your God . . . You shall have NO OTHER GODS before me" (Exo.20:1-3). Only GOD, the supreme God, should be worshiped and reverenced. Any other worship would be IDOLATRY!
In the book of Isaiah, we read of the supreme God, who says: "Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior" (Isa.43:10). If Jesus Christ was a created "god," or became a "god" through the perfect life He led on earth, then He was clearly formed after the supreme God -- and this Scripture very clearly says THERE WILL NEVER BE SUCH FORMED! Further, this verse says that there is no "god" apart from the Supreme Being
Himself, the true Godhead! Therefore, the wacky and weird ideas of Anthony Buzzard and other modern Gnostics are without Scriptural foundation. This verse also states that there is NO SAVIOR apart from God Himself. This tells us, then, that unless Jesus Christ IS part of the Divine Godhead, and IS the "LORD" of the Old Testament, He would have NO CLAIM to being a savior!
How plain! Isaiah goes on, quoting God: "And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is NONE BUT ME" (Isa.45:21). Since Jesus Christ is our Savior, and the Savior of the world, He MUST be a member of the Godhead. Otherwise this plain Scripture would be broken, and God's Word would contradict itself!
Again, Isaiah declares of God: "Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isa.46:8-9). It is true that the Jews worship ONE GOD. That God is the LORD, or YHVH, which would be pronounced "Yahveh," according to the best knowledge, today. Some spell God's name YHWH, but the "W" in the German language is pronounced like a "V." The ancient Hebrew language had no "w" sound or letter. The fourth consonant of the Tetragrammaton was "vav" which carries a distinct "v" sound, which is an explosive sound formed by closing the air passage through the mouth, and then opening it slightly and forcing air through the slightly pursed lips. It is a powerful sound. The German "w" however is a weak, ineffectual sound, as in "weak, wuss, woolly, winsome, wild." The "v" sound is strong, as in "victory, violent, vine, vial, veil, vim, vigor," etc.
Does the fact of there being two members of the divine Godhead contradict the idea of ONE GOD? Not at all. The truth is, there is only One "God," but that God is composed of two divine, celestial Beings, members of One Divine Family. One is the Father; the other is the Son. There is a FAMILY relationship between them. One is completely obedient to the other. Therefore, they are not "coequal" in the sense of authority or power. But they are UNITED AS ONE in thought, plans, goals, and complete spiritual, emotional and mental unity. Therefore, Jesus Himself prayed, expressing this DIVINE UNITY, which He has ALWAYS had with the Father, "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the GLORY I HAD WITH YOU before the world began" (John 17:5). This is not speaking of some vague "idea" or nebulous "thought" that was in the mind of God before the world began that He would create a human Messiah someday. Jesus here is speaking expressly of THE VERY DIVINE GLORY HE SHARED WITH THE FATHER FROM ETERNITY -- before the world was created!
Jesus went on, saying of His disciples, "They knew with CERTAINTY that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me" (John 17:8). This is a literal truth. Jesus was not stretching the point, meaning that He only came from God in the sense of being a "divine idea" originating with God. If He meant that He would have expressed it in another manner. But He clearly said that the disciples KNEW He came from God and was sent by Him.
Jesus prayed that the disciples would be one, "as we are one" (verse 11). Jesus said to His disciples, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?' Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words that I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me . . ." (John 14:8-11).
Christ and the Father are One in thought, purpose and mind. They are perfectly welded together, united, and completely harmonious. They are "one." Yet the Father is the greater of the two. Jesus said, "The Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). He told them on another occasion, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these" (John 5:19-20).
From the very beginning, Jesus has learned from and imitated the Father. Paul wrote, in the book of Colossians, speaking of Christ, "He is the IMAGE of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, FOR BY HIM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS were created BY him and FOR him. He is BEFORE ALL THINGS, and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. And he is the head of the body, the church . . ." (Col.1:15-18).
Now consider this Scripture carefully. If indeed "all things" were created by the One who became Christ, as Paul so clearly says here, then Christ had to EXIST before all the things which He created. You cannot create something before you yourself exist! Therefore, He must have pre-existed the created Universe around us! But of course! Paul plainly says He is "before ALL things" (v.17). That means He existed before the Universe was formed, as is recorded in Genesis 1:1. He, the One who became Christ, existed before the Universe was made, and then was instrumental in the CREATION of all things, including angels and atoms, planets and galaxies, amoeba and mammoths, seas, skies, and mountains.
Being a pre-existant member of the Godhead, then, why and how did He become the Messiah, the Christ or Anointed One?
Notice! The apostle Paul wrote, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, BEING IN VERY NATURE GOD, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil.2:5-11).
Being God, a Spirit Being, Jesus divested Himself of His divine nature, and became a mortal man. Because He successfully completed His mission, now every being will worship Him -- all the future children in the Kingdom of God, and all the angelic beings in heaven, and even all the demons and their leader! Those who will not worship Him willingly will do so by constraint. Those who must be forced, and are incorrigibly wicked, will be destroyed in the lake of fire (Matt.25:41).
Moffatt translates this verse: "Though he was DIVINE BY NATURE, he did not set store upon equality with God, but emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant . . ." (Phil.2:6-7). The Phillips Translation says: "For he, who had ALWAYS BEEN GOD BY NATURE, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man." The Amplified Bible gives the full sense of the Greek words in this passage: "Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make GOD GOD], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity] so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being."
I believe these Scriptures are incredibly clear as crystal and to the point. How anyone can deny the divinity and pre-existence of Christ after reading these verses, is really beyond me. It is obvious that false assumptions concerning the Godhead has caused them to deny plain and simple Scriptures to maintain their bull-headed and false presumptions.
The Gospel of John
Perhaps one of the clearest and yet most mysterious verses in the Scriptures is found in the beginning of the Gospel of John. John writes:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him ALL THINGS WERE MADE; without him nothing
was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was
the light of men" (John 1:1-4).
Now compare this verse with Genesis 1:1:
"In the beginning GOD [Elohim, "The Mighty Ones"] created
the heavens and the earth."
Notice! The Greek word for "Word" in this passage in John's gospel is Logos. It means literally "word," divine "expression," "utterance," "reasoning" or "communication" of God. In this Scripture is it clearly a reference to a DIVINE BEING and PERSONALITY -- One who was with the Father, and through whom He made ALL THINGS -- the WHOLE CREATION -- THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE! In fact, according to this verse, nothing was made without the involvement or agency of this "Word." Who was this "Word" or Logos of God?
John goes on to tell us:
"The Word BECAME FLESH and made his dwelling among
us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the ONE AND ONLY,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (verse 14).
This divine Being who was involved in all Creation literally became human flesh and blood, so that He could die for our sins on the cross. These verses do not merely discuss some "thought" that was in the mind of God in the beginning. This is far more than the mere personfication of a "thought." John does not use such personfications in his gospel. It is not his writing style. It requires major forcing of the text and major surgery to interpret this passage as a mere "allegory" or "personification." Such twisting and wresting of the Scriptures, and manhandling of the Word of God, is a sign of arrogance and lack of submission to the power of God and the Spirit of God.
Paul wrote of those who wrest and twist the Scriptures, and their followers, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a DIFFERENT GOSPEL -- one which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to PERVERT the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be ETERNALLY CONDEMNED! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, LET HIM BE
ETERNALLY CONDEMNED!" (Gal.1:6-9).
This may seem like severe language. Paul means every word of it, and so do I! Paul goes on, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal.1:10).
Who Is the LORD of the Old Testament?
Jesus Christ is the Logos, or Word, the Second member of the Godhead, who did the creating in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. He, as the "Word," is the One who spoke the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). He is actually the One who revealed Himself to the children of Israel and to Moses, and who spoke to Moses in the burning bush! That is why He told the Jews who questioned Him as to His identity and authority, "I AM."
The proof of these remarkable assertions is really very simple. We read in the book of John, the words of Christ:
"And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning
me. You [referring to the Jews, as well as all mankind] have
NEVER HEARD HIS VOICE NOR SEEN HIS FORM, nor
does his word dwell in you" (John 5:37-38).
Jesus Christ also pointed out: "NO ONE has SEEN the Father except the one who is from God; ONLY HE has seen the Father" (John 6:46). Who, then, was it Who revealed Himself to the Jews at Mount Sinai, and spoke with them? Who really gave the Ten Commandments at Sinai?
If no one ever heard the voice of the Father, or saw His shape or form, then it could not have been the Father who gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. We read in Exodus 20, "And God spoke all these words . . ." (Exo.20:1). When the people heard the thunder and the trumpet blast, and the words of God, and saw the lightning on the mountain, they were terrified, and trembled with fear, and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself, and we will listen. But do not have GOD speak to us or we will die" (Exo.20:18-19).
Since it was GOD who spoke to them, yet no man has heard the Father at any time, as Jesus said, then the One who spoke must have been the Logos -- the One who became Christ!
Furthermore, Jesus said that no man has ever seen the shape or form of God the Father. Yet we read in the book of Exodus this remarkable statement:
"Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders
of Israel went up and SAW THE GOD OF ISRAEL. Under
his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear
as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these
leaders of the Israelites; THEY SAW GOD, and the ate and
drank" (Exodus 24:9-11).
The God of Israel, the LORD of the Old Testament, the One who brought Israel out of Egypt, then, was SEEN OF MEN, including the elders of the tribe of Judah. Yet Jesus Christ said that NO MAN had ever seen the form or shape of the Father. Is this a contradiction in the Scripture? Has the Scripture been broken? Not at all! There is no contradiction whatsoever. The simple explanation of this anomaly is simply that the One whom they all SAW was the LOGOS -- the WORD OF GOD -- the ONE WHO BECAME CHRIST! He WAS the "LORD" or YHVH of the Old Testament who revealed Himself to Israel!
Moses said to this same One, on a later occasion, "Now show me your glory" (Exo.33:18). Because God was pleased with Moses, we read:
"And the LORD said, 'I will cause all my goodness to pass
in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in
your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for no one may see me
"Then the LORD said, 'There is a place near me where you
may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put
you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until
I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will
see my back; but my face must not be seen' " (Exo.33:19-23).
Moses looked upon the God of Israel. He saw His back, although he was not permitted to look at His face. Yet Jesus said NO ONE had ever seen the Father, or heard His voice. Yet Moses was right there, communing with God, listening to His voice, and even looked upon His form!
What an amazing event! What an astonishing, dumfounding occurrence! The One who revealed Himself to Moses was none other than the Word, the Logos, the One who became Jesus Christ, as both Paul and John so clearly record in the New Testament!
Up until the time Christ came, the world was in virtual total ignorance of the Father. There were several allusions to Him in the Psalms, but the Jews did not understand the relationship of the Godhead. Jesus Himself said that He came to REVEAL the Father. His exact words were,
"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one
knows the Son except the Father, and NO ONE KNOWS THE
FATHER except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses
to REVEAL him" (Matt.11:27; see also Luke 10:22).
Notice! Jesus said plainly that nobody knew or understood the Father -- He had not been REVEALED to mankind. Yet the God of the Old Testament, the God of Israel, revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, and to the children of Israel when He entered a covenant relationship with them -- a "marriage covenant" (Exodus 24). He also revealed Himself to the prophets, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and others. Yet Jesus declared without any equivocation that NO ONE KNEW THE FATHER! That statement would have been bizarre and erroneous if it had been the Father who had revealed Himself to the patriarchs and prophets of old! Here again, then, is visible and palpable PROOF that the God who stands REVEALED in the Old Testament is none other than the One who became flesh and dwelt among us -- the Logos, who became Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Saviour!
Therefore, it is the Logos, who became Christ, who is quoted in the book of Isaiah as saying, and speaking for the Godhead, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols" (Isa.42:8). He is the One who said, "Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior" (Isa.43:10-11). This God says, "You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, that I am God. Yes,and from ancient days, I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?" (Isa.43:12-13). This Personage says, "I am the LORD [YHVH], your Holy One, Israel's Creator, your King" (verse 15).
This same Logos, or Word of God, continues, revealing Himself to Israel through the prophet Isaiah: "I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it" (Isaiah 44:6). Interestingly, in the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ also reveals Himself as
"the first and the last"! He declared: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev.1:8). He said also, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead. And behold I am alive for ever and ever!" (Rev.1:17-18). He said also to the Smyrna Church of God, "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last" (Rev.2:8). How clear that these two Beings are One and the Same!
Isaiah also quotes the LORD as saying: "This is what the LORD says -- your REDEEMER, who formed you in the womb. I am the LORD, who has made ALL THINGS, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself" (Isa.44:24). He goes on to say, "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God" (Isa.45:5). "I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things" (Isa.45:6-7). This same God says, "Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be SAVED, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, 'In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength. All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult" (Isa.45:21-25).
Notice that paragraph very carefully, point by point. The LORD of the Old Testament was the REDEEMER. Christ is our only Redeemer (Luke 1:68; 24:21; Gal.3:13; Rev.5:9; 14:4). The LORD made "all things." So did Christ (Col.1:15-16; John 1:1-3; Heb.1:1-2). The LORD is our Savior (Isa.43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16). Jesus Christ is our Savior, and there is no other (Rom.4:12; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31, 13:23; Phil.3:20; Titus 2:13, 3:6; II Pet.2:20; I John 4:14). There cannot be two Redeemers, each saying there is no one else! There cannot be two Saviors, each the "only one." There cannot be two different Ones, both of whom independently made "all things." If it were so, they would mutually EXCLUDE each other! Or One would have to be a LIAR! How can the riddle be solved? How can the conundrum be resolved? How can the puzzle be put together?
The answer is simple: Christ IS the LORD of the Old Testament -- the One who revealed Himself to Moses, and the One who spoke to Isaiah! There can be no other logical, consistent, coherent, cogent answer! Therefore, indeed, CHRIST IS GOD -- DIVINE GOD! Any other belief or doctrine is sheer heresy and anathema to the Word of God!
What Does It Mean, Christ "Came Down from Heaven"?
In John 3:13 we read the very words of Christ, "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came down FROM heaven -- the Son of Man." In verse 31, John declares: "The one who COMES FROM ABOVE is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from HEAVEN is above all."
In chapter 6 of the gospel of John, Jesus said plainly: "For the bread of God is HE WHO COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN and gives life to the world" (verse 33). Further, Jesus said: "For I have come DOWN FROM HEAVEN not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me . . ." (verse 38).
The Jews who heard Him say these things grumbled to themselves (verses 41-42), wondering how He could claim to have come down from heaven, since they knew He was the son of Joseph the carpenter and Mary. Jesus went on to tell them, "No one has seen the Father except the one who is FROM GOD; only he has seen the Father" (v.46). Speaking of himself, He then added, "But here is the bread that came down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven" (v.51).
These verses clearly speak of the pre-existence of Christ with the Father in heaven. There can be no doubt that Jesus told the crowds that HE CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN. Skeptics and pseudo-scholars may try to explain away these simple, straight-forward Scriptures, but their reasoning falls flat. The ONLY real so-called "evidence" they can offer to negate these powerful witnesses of Scripture is the assertion that they cannot be literal since the Jews only worshiped "one God," and were monotheistic, and that -- in the minds of these so-called scholars -- therefore means that Christ COULD NOT have co-existed with the Father in heaven as very "God." But this claim-proof sequence is nothing more than "circular reasoning" -- assuming to be true that which you are attempting to prove to be true! It is also called "begging the question." Obviously, it is not these plain and simple Scriptures which are faulty, but their own reasoning -- their own interpretation of what "monotheism" implies and constitutes.
The apostle Paul also concludes that Christ came down from heaven. He wrote to the Corinthian Church, "The first man [Adam] was of the dust of the earth, the second man [Christ] from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the MAN FROM HEAVEN, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the MAN FROM HEAVEN" (I Cor.15:47-49).
Jesus Christ came from heaven, from the right hand side of the Father. And after His resurrection and ascension, He went back to heaven, where He had come from, to once again sit at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Heb.4:14; 6:20; 7:26).
Overwhelmingly, the evidence -- if we will just look at it with an open mind, without preconceived and prejudicial ideas -- shows that Jesus Christ not only pre-existed as a literal Being before His human birth, but that He came down from Heaven, and that He was actively involved in the Creation of the entire Universe, and in sustaining its continual operation. He was the "LORD" who revealed Himself to Moses and the patriarchs, and the prophets of old, as well as seventy elders of Israel.
But what about the other question: Was this member of the Godhead "coequal" with the Father in every respect, and "uncreated"?
We have already seen that Christ revealed that He was always subject to the Father and under the authority of His Father, and plainly said, "The Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). Did the One who became Christ have a "beginning" at one time? Or did He exist from all eternity, as a separate Being alongside the "Father"?
What Is the ORIGIN of GOD?
One of the mysteries which is not set forth plainly and clearly in the Scriptures is the question of the "origin of God." The simple explanation is that "God always was, and always has been." We human beings cannot easily focus our minds on the concept of "eternity." Somehow the very idea eludes us and evades our comprehension. Just what IS "eternity"? How long is "forever"?
Little children often ask their parents a most logical question, which they have never really been able to answer: "Mommy, Where did God come from?" Or, "Who created God?"
Evolutionists deny God exists. But evolution is a "non-science" -- a mere warped interpretation of existence by men who deny a Creator. Could "God" have evolved from nothing at some remote point in the primordial past? If it is impossible for human life, and the varieties of life on the planet earth as we know them -- millions of species of plants and animals -- then surely it would have been much more impossible for a spiritual Being, "God," with all His power and attributes, to have "evolved" over eons of time, from "nothing."
Where then did "God" come from?
Some things we are not given to understand at this time. Moses, the Lawgiver of Israel, wrote: "The SECRET THINGS belong to the LORD our God, but the things REVEALED belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law" (Deut.29:29). God has not revealed at this time the truth about His origin. It is probably completely beyond the human mind to comprehend.
Solomon wrote of God, "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they CANNOT FATHOM what God has done from beginning to end" (Eccl.3:11). Solomon went on, "No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it" (Eccl.8:17).
Isaiah wrote of God, "Truly you are a God who HIDES himself, O God and Savior of Israel" (Isa.45:15). Therefore we can only know of God that which He wants us to know; our knowledge is presently limited. As the apostle Paul wrote, "the mystery of God" is wrapped up in "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col.2:2). He also wrote, "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up into glory"(I Tim.3:16).
The apostle Paul put it this way: "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a POOR REFLECTION as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (I Cor.13:8-12).
The apostle John declared, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason that the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now are we children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we whall be LIKE HIM, for we shall see him as he is [Jesus Christ in the fullness of His divine glory of Godhood, as the eternal radiant Son of God!]. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure" (I John 3:1-3).
The Awesome Destiny of Mankind
We have already seen that Jesus Christ was the Logos, or very God, from "the beginning." We have also seen that when He appears, WE shall be "like Him, for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:3). Does this mean, then, that we, too, shall become "very God," of the very nature and substance and attributes of
the Godhead, in the resurrection?
This may seem preposterous to some -- outlandish and heretical. But notice what divine Scripture says! Jesus Himself declared, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? If he called them 'gods' to whom the word of God came -- and the Scripture CANNOT BE BROKEN -- what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse ME of blasphemy because I said, 'I am GOD'S SON'? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:34-38).
Jesus was claiming to be DIVINE -- the divine Son of God! The Jews knew what He meant, and they sought to capture Him and kill Him for alleged "blasphemy" (verse 39).
Why is it that some supposedly erudite and intelligent men, today, cannot see the truth about the divinity of Christ? The apostle Paul asserted, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the GLORY that will be revealed in us [the GLORY of God shining out from us, as resurrected and born SONS of God, members of His divine Family!]. The creation waits in eager expectation for the SONS OF GOD to be revealed" (Rom.8:18-19).
Paul declared, "Now if we are children, then we are HEIRS -- heirs OF GOD and CO-HEIRS WITH CHRIST, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in HIS GLORY" (Rom.8:17).
Do you get the vast, incredible import of these verses? Christ is literal GOD. We, as children of God, if we share in His sufferings, and remain faithful to the end, will SHARE IN HIS GLORY, AS HIS YOUNGER BROTHERS!
This awesome calling and destiny, to which God has called us, is spelled out in even more detail in the book of Hebrews. Paul wrote,
"But there is a place where someone has testified: 'What is
man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you
care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything
under his feel.' In putting everything under him, God left
NOTHING that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do
not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who
was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with
glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the
grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing
MANY SONS TO GLORY, it was fitting that God, for whom
and through whom everything exists, should make the author
of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who
makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the
SAME FAMILY [the Family of GOD!]. So Jesus is not
ashamed to call them BROTHERS. He says, 'I will declare
your name to my BROTHERS; in the presence of the congre-
gation I will sing your praises' " (Heb.2:6-12).
Notice! God said, in the beginning, when He created Adam and Eve "in His own image," but out of dust of the earth instead of spirit, that they were to rule over "all things." Paul points out in this passage that we DON'T YET SEE "ALL THINGS" under the rulership of mankind -- that this is a FUTURE PROMISE! In other words, God someday intends for us to rule over EVERYTHING THERE IS! What does that include? Does God mean what He says? Everything would include very single atom or subatomic particle of the farflung stars and galaxies, and living creatures, of the entire UNIVERSE! It would also include the angels in heaven!
God doe not merely promise that we shall become "as" angels in the resurrection. Not at all! Rather, as the apostle Paul said, "Do you not know that we shall judge ANGELS?" (I Cor.6:3).
As sons of God, divine members in the very family of God, under the rulership of God the Father and Jesus Christ our Elder Brother, we shall rule the farflung reaches of all Creation -- that is, "EVERYTHING"!
Paul summarizes this awesome truth this way: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he 'has put EVERYTHING under his feet [under His authority!].' Now when it says that 'everything' has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God
himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has DONE this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all" (I Cor.15:22-28).
Do we grasp the sheer awesomeness and mind-boggling incredible vastness of this divine promise? God the Father will put EVERYTHING under Christ. Christ says He will put EVERYTHING under US! Of course, "everything" means the WHOLE CREATION, including stars and galaxies, planets and angels. But it does not mean Christ Himself, or the Father. They are excluded, as the Ones OVER ALL, who give us this authority.
What Is the ORIGIN of the "Word"?
This incredible truth brings to our minds the concept that in order to become a "Member" of the Divine GOD Family, of whom there are only the Father and Christ the Son, today, ruling in heaven, God has ordained a Plan so that human beings can enter His Kingdom, and be literally born of Him, begotten by His very Spirit essence (Acts 2:38; 5:32; Eph.1:13-14; Gal.19). This presents an astonishing truth! That is this -- one can become a very "God," or member of the Family of God, even though one has NOT eternally existed! In other words, our "BEGINNING" as members of God's Family will be AT THE RESURRECTION!
Paul wrote, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will TRANSFORM our lowly bodies so that they will be like his GLORIOUS body" (Phil.3:20-21).
Imagine it. We have been humbled. We have been "as nothing." We shall, from this lowly, humble, unimportant beginning, BECOME SONS OF GOD HIMSELF! Doesn't that mere thought take your breath away? Doesn't the very thought make you tremble, and shake with nervous anticipation and reverence toward God?
What is Jesus' body like today? What will our bodies be like in the resurrection? Paul wrote, "And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the LIKENESS of the man from heaven (I Cor.15:49). He went on, "Listen, I tell you a MYSTERY: We will not all sleep, but we will all be CHANGED -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be CHANGED. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with IMMORTALITY" (I Cor.15:51-53).
We will then be IMMORTAL SONS OF GOD, just like Jesus Christ!
A description of the fantastic appearance of Jesus Christ, the Divine Son of the Divine Father, is given in Revelation, chapter 1. Notice! John writes, "And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. He feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was LIKE THE SUN shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades [the grave]" (Rev.1:12-18).
We will enter this awesome glory. We will become like Christ -- just like Him (I John 3:1-2). But, of course, it has not always been so. We come from nowhere. We formerly did not exist, until God caused us to be created in the womb of our mothers. Prior to that conception, we had no existence at all, except as a "thought" in the mind of God.
This brings up the question then -- WHY is the Logos under the authority of the Father? WHY is He subservient to the Father? If, as most people believe, they are both UNcreated and COequal members of the Godhead, and BOTH existed from all "eternity," then WHY is One greater than the other?
Is thee something the world has missed here? Is there something about their relationship which the world and churches have completely overlooked?
Indeed there is! Notice a verse, now, which has perplexed and befuddled scholars and Biblical exegetes for thousands of years. In Revelation chapter 3, Jesus Christ says:
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev.3:14, KJV ).
"These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the beginning of God's creation" (Phillips Translation ).
"These things sdays the Amen, the witness faithful and true,
the BEGINNING of the creation of God" (Englishman's
Greek New Testament ).
What have we here? Now notice further:
"He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
Beginning and the End" (Rev.21:6, NIV).
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the
Beginning and the End" Rev.22:13).
Christ says very clearly that He is the "BEGINING." But in verse 14 of Revelation 3, He declares that He is the "BEGINNING OF GOD'S CREATION"! What does that mean? Just as the word "Logos" means literally the "word," "utterance," or "expression" OF THE FATHER, which came OUT of or FORTH FROM the Father, and Jesus continually said that He came "FROM THE FATHER," is it possible, then, that back before time began, before there was any Creation, that the Father actually took part of Himself, part of His Spirit, and literally CREATED a Second Member of the Godhead -- One who would be under His authority, subservient to Him, and yet still "God," and a Member of the Divine Family? Did God the Father anciently, bofore time existed, take of Himself and make the Logos, or Word, of God?
Consider: God said of Adam and Eve, "Let US make man in OUR image, in OUR LIKENESS" (Gen.1:26). "So God CREATED man in his OWN IMAGE, in the image of God he created him; MALE AND FEMALE he created them" (Gen.1:27).
Now, God created Adam of the dust of the ground (Gen.2:7). But how did He create Eve, the wife of the first man?
"The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him' . . . . So the LORD God
caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was
sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place
with flesh. Then the LORD God made a WOMAN FROM
THE RIB he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to
the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and
flesh of my flesh; she shall be called "woman," for she was
taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father
and mother and be UNITED to his wife, and they will become
one flesh" (Gen.2:18, 21-24).
What an awesome picture! God made MAN in His own image. He made Eve by taking a portion of the body of Adam, and creating the woman. They, too, were to become ONE FLESH, even as God and the Logos or Word are "ONE IN SPIRIT" (John 17:22). The marriage relationship is the nearest thing we humans can experience that is akin to the Divine Relationship! It is meant to be a PERFECT UNION -- a perfect ONENESS! Of course, as humans we generally fall far short of the mark.
Nevertheless, there are several levels of meaning hidden in this Scripture in Genesis, describing the original creation of Man. Remember, man is in the IMAGE and LIKENESS of God. Therefore, it is also possible that the Creation of Eve was a TYPE of the original Creation and Origin of the Word or Logos of God, from the very Being of the Father!
This would explain why one Member of the Godhead is subject to the authority of the other, even as a wife is to be subject to her husband in all things (Eph.5:22). In fact, Paul declared that the husband-wife relationship is "a PROFOUND MYSTERY -- but I am talking about Christ and the church" (Eph.5:32). Husbands are to love their wives, and their wives are to reverence their husbands (verses 22-33).
This great mystery tells us something about God, and the origin of the Second Member of the Godhead long before there were any angels or Creation. The One who became the Father took of Himself and made a Companion -- the One who was to become the Christ, or Messiah! Perhaps there is a key in understanding in the fact that once God made Adam, He immediately said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen.2:18). Perhaps, having existed for all eternity, until the thought came into His mind, to make a Companion for Himself, God knew all there is to know about "loneliness" and being "alone." One of the greatest curses a human being can experience is the feeling of utter loneliness! Is God so different from us? He made us in His own image, remember, and we have emotions much like His own. He created us in His own image, and likeness, including what we call emotions. And the feeling of rejection and being alone is one of the most awful things a human being can experience.
An amazing Scripture which seems to discuss and reveal the "origin" of the Word or Logos of God, is found in the book of Proverbs. Here the Word of God is referred to as "Wisdom," or the "Wisdom" with which God made the Universe. Notice this most remarkable revelation!
"The LORD brought me forth as the FIRST OF HIS WORKS,
before his deeds of old; I was APPOINTED FROM ETERNITY,
from the BEGINNING, before the world began. When there
were no oceans, I was given BIRTH, when there were no springs
abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its
fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the
heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of
the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely
the foundations of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he
marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I WAS THE
CRAFTSMAN AT HIS SIDE, I was filled with delight day after
day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind" (Prov.8:22-31).
Read this passage over very carefully. This vivid description appears to be telling us the ORIGIN of the One who became the "Word," Logos," or "Wisdom" of God. He is God's first "Expression" of Himself. He was, at a point before Time began, created by the Father as the "beginning" of the Creation of God -- as the "FIRST OF HIS WORKS, before his deeds of old." The Logos was actually "appointed from ETERNITY." He existed "before the world began." He was given "birth" before any of the Creation was formed and fashioned. He was not only present at the Creation of the Universe, but He also was "GOD"S CRAFTSMAN," the One who did the actual creative work, under the direction and supervision of the Father!
This is a fascinating passage of Scripture. Years ago, I used to work with my own father, who was a house builder and contractor. Working with him, building houses, up in the Seattle area, I learned how to dig foundations, build forms, pour concrete, build floors, raise walls, create windows, and doors, build corners and place headers, nail floor and ceiling joists and construct rafters. It was healthy, wholesome, and fascinating work. I remember many days, as the clouds floated overhead in the sky, we would be nailing down subroofing. We would take a break, and have a drink of refreshment, sometimes a can or Olympia, and rejoice in the accomplishment of our work! There was a THRILL as we saw the house take shape and near completion!
Perhaps, in a small measure, the feelings I had were similar to those that the Logos or Word of God had, at the Creation of the Universe!
At any rate, this Scripture in Proverbs tells us a great deal of "hidden truth" concerning the origin of the Word of God. Revelation 3:14 tells us that Christ was the "beginning of the creation of God." The Greek word for "beginning" here is arche, and means, literally, "a commencement," or "chief," "beginning," "corner," "first (estate)," "magistrate," "power," "principality," "principle," "rule." Thayers Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says this word means: "1. beginning, origin . . .2. the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader." In this sense, Thayers says, Christ is "the beginning" (Col.1:18), and "the beginning" (Rev.1:8). The word is also, "3. that by which anything begins to be, the origin, active cause." "4. the extremity of a thing . . . 5. the first place, principality, rule, magistracy."
When we put together all the Scriptures, we see a wonderful picture emerging, which the world cannot understand. We see that in the very earliest "beginning," there was the Father, or "Ancient of Days." At some time in prehistory, He took of Himself and gave "birth" to the Logos, or Word or Wisdom of God. These two collaborated in making the entire Universe. They were the "Elohim," or "Mighty Ones" who created the heavens and the earth (Gen.1:1). The Word was instrumental in all this creation (John 1:1-3).
But that is NOT THE END of the "Family" of God! The Father intends to bring MANY MORE SONS TO GLORY, in His divine Family, through Jesus Christ (Rom.8:17-18; Heb.2:5-13).
The Family of God is EXPANDING! It will have NO END! Human reproduction is merely a "type" or figure of the awesome Plan of God. Even as the human race reproduces, each new human being has the potential for becoming a divine Member of the GOD FAMILY -- a Son of God, like Jesus Christ, with radiant power and glory -- with Creative Power through the Holy Spirit! Someday we will be able to CREATE WORLDS -- PLANETS -- STARS AND GALAXIES -- UNIVERSES! Even LIFE itself!
Isaish wrote in a little understood Scripture: "And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the INCREASE of his government and peace [blessings, prosperity] there will be NO END" (Isa.9:6-7).
Do you really understand what I am saying? God is NOT STATIC. He is not "dead," or obsolete. He is ALIVE -- a LIVING BEING! Life can come only from life. That is a law of nature, the famous law of biogenesis. God is the Author of all life. As a living Being, He THINKS, reasons, has emotions, PLANS, creates, BRINGS INTO BEING -- or if He is displeased, He
destroys, tears up, roots up, and replaces. This Eternal Creator says:
"I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and
create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the
LORD, do all these things" (Isa.45:6-7).
God says in Deuteronomy:
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will
heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand" (Deut.32:39).
As a Living, All-knowing, Omniscient and Omnipotent Being, God is not like a static brick or stone or inanimate Object. He is not merely some "First Cause," or "Primordial Push" that set the Universe in motion. He is ALIVE! And His Divine Family is GROWING and EXPANDING! Of its "increase" there will be NO END -- NO TERMINATION! That is, its growth and expansion will CONTINUE ON FOREVER!
God has put it before you. You can be a part of that Divine Kingdom. You can become a member of that Divine FAMILY! Truly, as the apostle Paul wrote:
"No, we speak of God's SECRET WISDOM, a wisdom
that has been hidden and that GOD DESTINED FOR
OUR GLORY before time began. None of the rulers of
this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have
crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him' -- but God
has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things,
even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the
thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the
same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit
of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the
Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God
has freely given us. . . . The man without the Spirit does not
accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they
are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because
they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judg-
ments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's
judgment: 'For who has known the mind of the Lord that he
may instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (I Cor.
The awesome and mind-numbing Plan of God for mankind leaves me speechless. It is overpowering, beyond comprehension -- glorious beyond words to describe. The best I can do is quote the apostle Paul, who, in thinking about these things, said:
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and paths beyond
finding out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who
has been his counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God
should repay him?' For from him and through him and to him
are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen" (Rom.11:
33-36).Filed under: Biblical, Jesus
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