Doctrine Article
Expanded Internet Edition - October 15, 2007 

Elohim and the Son of God - Part 2

by David Sielaff, October 2007
 

Read the accompanying Newsletter for October 2007 Part 2

This article is Part 2 of the written form of the lecture I delivered on June 9, 2007 at the One God Conference in Albany, New York. It continues on directly from Part 1 located on the ASK website at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d071001.htm. I want to encourage you to also read the “October 2007 Newsletter” (http://www.askelm.com/newsletter/l200710.htm) which both introduces that article and provides additional background information.

MP3 Audio Track for Part 2: Listen  (9MB)

What I Cover in Part 2

In this portion I emphasize that Jesus was unique in all ways. He was a unique Son of God among other sons of God (just as we who believe, are sons and daughters of God, John 1:12). He was also the unique Son of Man among other sons of men. Jesus states that He “saw” God the Father but that could only have taken place before His incarnation. 1 I will show that Jesus was present (not in a figurative or spiritual way but existentially) at the time of the exodus from Egypt and in the wilderness. I explain that human beings can only be called Elohim in the Old Testament when they are delegated to that office and title by God the Father, but they are not Elohim naturally. Legally at present we are children of God, we are considered Elohim, and will be our final state when we have attained to our intended glorious state in the resurrection. Then I discuss the concept of eternity and that it does not really exist in Scripture. I will show that Jesus accepted worship and that clearly He existed before He “was made flesh” (John 1:14). Finally I will show that, like Christ, you are a child of God, now.

Jesus Christ as the Son of the God

There are reasons definite articles are used. Sometimes the reasons are overlooked. Sometimes the reason is very important such as when the definite article is used with the phrase “Son of God.”

“And the high priest answered and said unto him, “I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you be the Christ [the Messiah], the Son of [the] God.” 2

Jesus said unto him, “You have said [agreeing with the high priest]: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

Jesus is citing an Old Testament passage here. There are other gods (Elohim), and other Sons of God than Jesus Christ, but they have no right to contact anyone, to claim authority over you or anyone at any time. They have no right to be worshipped anymore, not even by the nations. They have no right to be around. As a matter of fact there is a death sentence upon them. Whether some removed themselves from earth to somewhere else, who knows? Who cares?

Analysis: Jesus does not deny He is “the Christ, the Son of [the] God and the Son of Man.” The usage the High Priest uses is with the definite articles: “the Christ the Son of[the] God.” [o` cristo.j o` ui`o.j tou/ qeou/]. In this single passage Jesus identifies Himself with the titles: “Messiah” = “Son of God” = “Son of Man.” They considered that blasphemy because if He was correct then they were putting to death God’s Messiah, God’s anointed.

If He was wrong then God would punish them for not punishing heretics and endangering their nation. They were in a very difficult situation. They could hope that if they were wrong that God would forgive them, but I do not think they cared about that. They were empowered by the Law to do what they had to do to fight blasphemy and anyone who would claim they were divine, or God, or the Messiah. Jesus quotes the Messianic verse, “sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (combining Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13). Look who else called him the Son of God.”

Many times the New Testament has simply the phrase “Son of God” without an article. Sometimes it is the Son of God.” Sometimes it is “Son of the God.” Sometimes it is the Son of the God.” I have not worked through the significance to all of the meanings, but I bet they are precisely and intentionally used by God. The writers all knew what they were saying when they wrote these words. Let us look at John 5:25 more closely:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of [the] God: and they that hear shall live.

For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;

And has given him [the Son] authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”

Once again in this passage, as in John chapter 10, Jesus connects “the Son of the God” with “the Son of Man.” Most of you know this material, but I hope I am approaching it from a different direction:

Jesus as the Son of [the] God” makes excellent sense because there are other Sons of God.

“But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of [the] God; and that believing you might have life through his name.

[1] For the perfecting of the saints, [2] for the work of the ministry, [3]for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of [the] God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

I do not want to make too much of the Son of the God,” but it is there for a reason.

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of [the] God, let us hold fast our profession.”

“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of [the] God, [the] God dwells in him, and he in [the] God.”

Other verses that use the Son of the God” in Greek (besides those already cited) are in Hebrews 6:6, 7:3, 10:29; 1 John 3:8, 4:15, 5:5, 5:10, 12–13, 20; and Revelation 2:18. All those verses show that Jesus is the Son of the God,” among other Sons of God. Jesus’ distinction is that He was sent from God as the only-begotten Son of God. You see that appellation upon Him frequently. The other gods were created, but He is the “only begotten” Son of God. He was the only one who became flesh permanently through His birth to Mary. Finally, the other Sons of God sinned. Jesus never did. Human beings from Adam who believe will also become Sons of God:

“But as many as received him, to them [He] gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which [sons of God] were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God [of the will of God]. 3

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), 4 full of grace and truth.”

“No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.”

Significance of “Only-begotten”

Notice what these passages are saying. Christ being identified as “the only-begotten” Son of God demands that there were other Sons of God who were not begotten. Otherwise why make that distinction at all?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting [eonian] life. …

Remember, the Book of Enoch was known all over Judea (and Enoch is even mentioned in the Book of Jude). It was a popular work. This was the common understanding that the angels were the Sons of God, etc., etc. That was wrong according to the Book of Hebrews. John is also making a distinction for his audience, which also has that same background of information in their worldview:

He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Ordinary humans can also be “only begotten.” How many of you realized that? But ordinary humans cannot be “only begotten” as Sons of God:

  1. The “only begotten” son uses the same term in Luke 7:12, in the Greek.
     
  2. Jairus had an “only begotten” daughter in Luke 8:42 in the Greek.
     
  3. The man’s “only begotten” son had a demon in the Greek of Luke 9:38.
     
  4. Isaac was said to be Abraham’s “only begotten” son according to the Greek of Hebrews 11:17.

All these instances use the same Greek term for “only begotten” but when it is attached to “Son of God,” then the phrase “only begotten” takes on a whole different meaning. “Only begotten Son of God” is communicating something specific and definite. Jesus was unique as “the only begotten” Son of God the Father.

Christ was the Son when He was sent:

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

Christ was “the Son” before He was sent. He existed before He was sent. All things came through Christ, who, Scripture shows existed before His incarnation. Now all the verses in Colossians, Philippians, and 1 Corinthians 8:6 make sense, and one does not have to come up with creative wordplay or exegesis to explain these verses:

“But to us there is but
     one God, the Father,

          of   whom are all things, and WE
           in   him; and
     one Lord Jesus Christ,
          by
 
[dia, through] whom are all things, and WE
          by 
[dia, through] him.”

Christ is an active agent in both “all things” and also an active agent “in us.” There is no doubt that we have our salvation “through Him.” Likewise, we have creation “through Him.” He is the prime contractor of God the Father. We are not merely passing through Him without Him touching us. He is active. We come through Christ just as all things came through Christ. Let me break down this passage so it will be clearer:

“But nevertheless for us there is

one God, the Father,
     out of    Whom
[the] all is, 5 and we
     into for  Him,

and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
     through  Whom
[the] all is, and we
     through  Him.”

You can also take that first part of this verse and coordinate it with the second part. It is not anything esoteric or fancy. Remember, everything that was read in ancient times was read out loud, so it had a response to the ear. Even when people read to themselves, they read to themselves aloud. People who read silently were considered strange and even mentally ill, even unto the 3rd century C.E. until people began to read silently. But in ancient times everyone read aloud.

Jesus “Seeing” God

Jesus makes some intriguing statements about “seeing” God in the Gospel of John. This is by no means a trivial matter. Jesus is said to be “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3). That could be known only by revelation or by “seeing” God. When did Jesus “see” the Father after His incarnation? (Remember that it is claimed by some that Jesus is not divine, that YHWH is the only Elohim, and that Jesus did not exist prior to His incarnation, except as the Word of God (a plan). But Jesus Himself says:

No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.”

“… Not that any man [no man] has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he [Jesus Himself] has seen the Father.’”

Questions: When did Jesus “see” the Father? I see no indication in the New Testament narratives or Gospels that Jesus at any time “saw” the Father anytime after His incarnation and before His death, do you? Flesh and blood cannot see God. We know that from John 1:18 from commentary by the apostle John. We know that Jesus saw the devil because He was tempted by him. 6 Did Jesus “see” the Father AFTER His incarnation, when He was flesh and blood? If so, then show me.

In fact, there is no evidence from scripture that Jesus ever “saw” the Father either after His incarnation or before His resurrection. Christ heard God the Father speak at His baptism (Matthew 3:17). At His Transfiguration (which was a vision, Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; Acts 13:33; 2 Peter 1:17) there is no indication anyone “saw” the Father. “Angels came and ministered unto him” (Matthew 4:11) after the temptation. I presume He saw them at that time.

There was never any theophany in vision in the Gospels such as occurred in Isaiah 6:1, 5 7; Ezekiel 1:1, 28; or in Daniel 7:9. This is important because nowhere in the Gospels is there described an occasion when Jesus saw God the Father. Yet Jesus specifically states He “saw” the Father:

I [Jesus] speak that which I have seen with [para, beside] my Father: and you do that which you have seen [Greek, heard (not seen)] with your father [the devil].

It says that Jesus saw the Father but He does not describe it. There are no details. There is no instance or occasion mentioned when this happened. So, therefore it is proper to ask the following questions: When did Jesus see with His Father? When was Jesus beside [Greek, para] His Father?

You might say, well, these are trivial questions. Consider another passage:

“Jesus said unto [Philip]… he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, ‘Show us the Father’?”

How did Jesus know that He looks like the Father, unless He saw the Father? Again, when did Jesus see the Father?

These legitimate questions have only one answer: Jesus saw the Father before His incarnation.

“And this is life eternal [eonian], that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you [Greek, “beside you”] before the world was.”

Now this passage makes perfectly good sense. When did Jesus have that glory with His Father, “the only true God”? When was Jesus beside [para] His Father?

None of the above. Jesus, as the Son of God,” had that glory with His Father “before the world was,” when He was with or beside His Father.

Now let us see that Jesus Christ was active at the Exodus. He did not have the name Jesus at that time.

Christ Was Active at the Exodus

“… you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in …

     denying the only Lord [despotas] God, and
     [denying] our Lord [kurios] Jesus Christ.

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord [kurion, referring to Jesus], having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”

It would be rather remarkable for the second occurrence of “Lord” (kurion) to refer to something else that is not in context when immediately above it you have “Lord” (kurios) referring to Jesus Christ. Note that Christ was active as “the Rock” when Israel was in the Wilderness:

all our fathers were under the cloud, and
all passed through the sea; And were
all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did
all eat the same spiritual meat; And did
all drink the same spiritual drink: for
they
[all] drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:
 
and that Rock was [the] Christ [the Messiah].
 
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”

They were overthrown “in the wilderness” when the Rock was there present. What was going on there? If the Rock was a metaphor completely, then the Rock itself is a metaphor and it is a metaphor for the Spirit, for the water, which itself is a metaphor because the water came out of the rock and sustained the people physically, and the spirit sustained them spiritually. So you have a metaphor on a metaphor on a metaphor. It gets a little messy after a while. It is meaningless.

However, if Christ was really there as Jude says, and as Paul seems to indicate, then there is no problem. It all makes perfectly good sense. Note what is said in Hebrews:

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, ‘To day if you will hear his [Christ’s] voice, …’
 
For some, when they had heard
[Christ’s voice], did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he [Christ] grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?”

It seems to indicate that “He” was grieved and “He” was there. If you put these three passages side by side it seems that you have a reality that is not metaphorical or a metaphor on a metaphor. Metaphors only work when A represents B, not when A represents B represents C represents D. That is meaningless.

Christ was extremely active in the Wilderness period after the Exodus from Egypt:

Jude 3–5

1 Corinthians 10:1–5

Hebrews 3:14–17

“… contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, …

and denying the only Lord [despotas] God, and our Lord [kurios] Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord [kurion], having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”

“… all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, ‘To day if you will hear his voice, …’

 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he [Christ] grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?”

Jesus did all those things:

He was living and present at that time. If He was not present, if He did not do all those things, and if all those actions Paul and Jude attributed to Christ were merely figurative, then why should anyone consider those actions important? If those actions are merely figurative then the warnings become meaningless. However, if those actions took place because Christ was present and performed those actions as described, then the writings of Paul and Jude have immense significance and the warning is real, relevant, and present.

Can Humans Now be Elohim?

So back to this idea of “what are Elohim?” Human beings are never identified as Elohim in the Old Testament! 8 However, human beings are given authority of Elohim (i.e., in Moses, Exodus 7:1), and are compared to Elohim, just like the “angel of the Lord” is given the authority of, the power of attorney for YHWH Himself, and can use the name of YHWH. 9 The angel of the Lord is not YHWH, but he is the angelic being who Moses talked to, who Jacob wrestled with. These distinctions and classifications must be maintained. We love to classify things in the western world, and they do not do so as much in the non-western world, yet I believe God is very precise in choosing His words. His Word cuts like a two-edged sword, very precisely (Hebrews 4:12).

“And YHWH said unto Moses, See, I have made you Elohim to Pharaoh: and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.”

There is a comparison being made here. Moses was to be like an Elohim to Pharaoh. He was compared to Elohim in Pharaoh’s eyes. Moses was not to be an Elohim. In the future the House of David will be like an Elohim:

“In that day shall YHWH defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be AS ELOHIM, as the angel [messenger] of YHWH before them.”

There are two comparisons here. The House of David will be like an Elohim and also like an angel, a messenger, of YHWH. It is not equating Elohim and messenger in this instance, it is comparing the house of David with Elohim or with an angel of YHWH. Comparisons are being made here. 10

Eternity?

The idea is put forth that Jesus did not exist “from eternity.” This is true, not because Jesus did not exist prior to His birth from Mary but because eternity does not exist as a concept in Scripture. The nouns olam in Hebrew and eon in Greek never mean “eternity,” and the adjectives never mean “eternal.” 11 Eons, the ages, had a beginning (Hebrews 1:2). Eons have a conclusion (Hebrews 9:26). Time has a beginning (and an end). God is outside of time. There is also a relationship between chronos and eons, although both are Greek terms for time. There is a relationship between cosmos and eons. Eons deal with time, cosmos deals with the physical real, although they interrelate and interact.

Christ had a beginning and He was created before time began, and in fact He made the eons. The ages (which together constitute “time” as we know it) were created by the Son:

“Has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by [di, through] whom also he [God] made the worlds [eons, ages].”

The term translated “worlds” is the Greek eons which is plural for “ages,” which talk about time. The ages were made by God through the Son. The Father is the eonian God according to Romans 16:26, and not the “everlasting” God as mistranslated by the King James Version. He is King of the eons (Revelation 15:3).

Again, I must ask these same questions: When were the eons made “through” the Son? If Jesus did not exist until after His incarnation, then when did He make the eons?

These same questions relate to the question of the eons which clearly were made by God the Father through the active agency of the Son. These are valid questions.

If Jesus existed before His incarnation as the first creation of God through which everything else came, including the other Sons of God, the angels, the foundation of the earth, Adam and Eve, and all the physical realm, including time, the eons, then everything makes perfectly good sense according to the plain meanings of the passages we have looked at, and many others.

Worship of Christ

I found this website on the internet. I disagree with a lot that this author has in this website, but his concise remarks regarding the worship of Christ make some good points:

“For an Israelite, to worship anything other than the Father was idolatry, a wicked sin. For any man to accept worship would be to set himself up a God. Yet in the Bible we have multiple accounts of Christ accepting the worship of other men. If Jesus Christ were merely a ‘good teacher’ He would have rebuked these men instantly for their error, but no such rebuke ever came. (Peter in Acts 10:26 is a good example of refusing such worship). Men worshipped Jesus and He did not refuse [worship]:

From the wise men (Matthew 2:11),
From the leper (Matthew 8:2),
From the ruler (Matthew 9:18),
From His disciples in the boat (Matthew 14:33),
From the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:25),
From the man born blind (John 9:38),
From the women and other disciples following His
          resurrection (Matthew 28:9, 17),
From the disciples following His ascension (Luke 24:52).”

Some have said that the Greek terms translated as worship in these and other passages should be understood as giving honor or veneration and not worship, as unto God. They claim these occasions of “worship” were examples of reverence. But Jesus did not refuse worship. As Peter came into the house of Cornelius, the centurion in Acts 10:25–26, Cornelius met him, fell down at Peter’s feet, and “worshipped” (proskuneo, the same Greek term used in the passages quoted above). Peter took him up and told him “Stand up; I myself also am a man.” Peter demonstrates that a “mere man” like himself was not worthy of such worship, but Jesus, who was a man — and so much more — was worthy of such worship, and He accepted that worship.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged in 1 Volume (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995, c1985), p. 948, says this about the word proskynéō in the Greek Old Testament where it is used for divine worship:

“The LXX uses the term for various words meaning ‘to bow,’ ‘to kiss,’ ‘to serve,’ and ‘to worship.’ Most of the instances [of proskynéō] relate to veneration of the God of Israel or of false gods.”

In the New Testament proskynéō is used in the same way, the veneration (or worship) of someone who has a relationship to divinity. Christ accepted such worship (or veneration) because of who He was — the Son of God.

Note what Matthew said in his Gospel:

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped [prosekunaesan] him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.’”

This would be a highly unusual thing to say immediately after receiving worship from one’s disciples, unless Jesus Christ had authority from His Father to receive such worship.

Jesus’ Existence before His Incarnation

Some deny that Jesus existed before His incarnation. This is necessary for their consistency of message. If Jesus existed before His incarnation then He would be more than just a human being anointed by God. This idea, however, diminishes the concept of Jesus as the Son of God. We need to consider various actions that could only have happened before Christ was incarnated.

[God] has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by [di, through] whom also he [God] made the worlds [eons, ages].”

As noted above, the Father created time, the ages, through His Son who existed before Christ (the Son) created time. God also saved us “in Christ Jesus” before the world began. This occurred not just as part of the Father’s plan, but as a reality, with Christ’s being present, agreeing to that plan, and being active in that plan before His incarnation:

[God] Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, … according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [chronon aionion, before “times eonian”].”

Christ was an active agent. More questions: When did God save us and call us? It was done before time itself was created. When was God’s “purpose and grace … given us in Jesus Christ”? It was done before time existed.

“Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.’ Then took they up stones to cast at him.”

Jesus existed before Abraham. This was not a metaphorical, spiritual, or poetic statement by Jesus. We can know this because of the reaction by His audience. They understood exactly what He said and they reacted violently and wanted to kill Him. He had identified Himself with God and they thought that was blasphemy. This yields more questions to those who deny Jesus existed before His incarnation: When was Jesus “before Abraham”? When did Jesus assume authority of precedence over Abraham?

These questions all have to be answered. Christ in Philippians chapter 2:

“Who [Christ], being in the form [morphe] of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”

Still more questions: When was Christ “in the form of God” — ever — before His incarnation? How is that possible if, as some say, He did not have existence or consciousness before His incarnation?

Was Jesus’ “form of God” merely a poetic form of comment by the apostle Paul? How does that morphe differ from our likeness of God? We are created in the image and likeness of God. What is unique about that word morphe? It has a unique meaning. Morphe is different than “likeness.” It is different than “image” in Greek. When did Jesus have “the form of God”? Also, when did Christ think to be “equal with God”? Obviously, for those who deny Jesus’ pre-incarnation existence, it would have to be some time after He was an infant. Did it just occur to Jesus one day, or what? The same questions apply to Jesus being “equal with God”:

“But [1] made himself of no reputation, and [2] took upon him the form of a servant, and [3] was made in the likeness [schema, different from morphe] of men:”

Note: Jesus “made HIMSELF of no reputation.” When did He do that? When did He have any “reputation” in the flesh? We know what the result was (no reputation), but from what did He “make Himself of no reputation”? Again, the questions must be asked:

1. When did Jesus make “Himself of no reputation”?

2. When did Jesus take “the form of a servant”?

3. When was Jesus made “in the likeness of men”?

All these three events must have taken place before His incarnation. Note also that He “made himself of no reputation.” This means that He emptied Himself. 13 What did He empty Himself of? He took “the form of a servant” means that He “took” that form upon Himself. He was the sole active agent in that action. It was not done for Him or to Him.

Philippians 2:6–7 indicate that Jesus existed before He emptied himself of his reputation, before He took the form of a slave, and before He obtained “the likeness of men.” Look at the next verse:

“And being found in fashion as a man, [1] he humbled himself, and [2]became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Questions: When did Jesus find Himself “in fashion as a man”?

When did Jesus “humble himself”? He humbled Himself all through His life, after His incarnation through His sufferings. But note that all the actions of Philippians 2:6–8 were done by Christ Himself! They were not done to or for Him by God the Father. Note this passage by Paul.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.”

Questions: When was Jesus rich, and what did that mean? Rich in glory? When did He have that glory?

Was He rich in power? Yes, He was rich in power derived from God the Father. He never became poor in that power. He always healed when He needed to. When the woman touched His robe and she was healed (Matthew 9:20–22; Mark 5:25–34; and Luke 8:43–48), it says He lost power but He got it back because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. So, when was Jesus rich? When did Jesus become poor, and in what sense? It seems obvious that He was rich before His birth and incarnation. He became poor after Hn. The acof 2 Corinthians 8:9 were done by Christ Himself.

“And the Word [logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John [the Baptist] bore witness of him, and cried, saying,

‘This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me

     [1] is preferred   before me [in authority]:
     [2] for he was     before me [in time].’”

Remember that Jesus was 6 months younger than John. The apostle John relates that the Baptist repeated his statement of John 1:15 with almost the same words. The next day the Baptist sees Jesus coming unto him again, and says:

“Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man which

     [1] is preferred  before me:
     [2] for he was   before me.”

The relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist is clear when the two verses are put side by side when in almost identical words, they are saying the same thing. The first aspect is authority and power, and the second aspect is time. Jesus was pre:

John 1:15

John 1:30

He that comes after me
     is preferred    before me: for
     he was            before me.”

“After me comes a man which
     is preferred    before me: for
     he was            before me.”

Two different things are specified by John’s usage of “before me.” Clearly Jesus was “preferred before” John in status and authority, but He also “was before” John in time. This is repeated for emphasis.

You Are a Child of God Now!

Jesus was not the only Son of God in the past (Psalm 45:7). Jesus is not the only Son of God now. Jesus was not the sole “only-begotten” human, but Jesus was THE only-begotten Son of God.” YOU are a son (child) of God NOW if you have God’s Spirit within you. Read what the apostle John says what we should be called and who we are:

“See what love the Father has given us, that
     we should be called children of God; and so WE ARE. ... Beloved,
     WE ARE God's children now;

it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he [the Son] appears
     we shall be like him; for
     we shall see him as he is.”

Salvation has appeared from God our Savior. 14 Who will be the one who will appear? Read Titus:

“… that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. For the grace of God that brings salvation HAS APPEARED [evpefa,nh] to all men, ...

Looking for that blessed hope, and THE GLORIOUS APPEARING [evpifa,neian] of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, ...”

The Father will not appear at the coming, but Christ will appear at His Second Coming. He will have the name of the Father appropriated to Him (Isaiah 9:6 where the Messiah is also called “The mighty God [El]). That sounds Godlike to me.

Conclusion

Christ is first in two important areas. He is God’s first creation and He is God’s firstborn from the dead:

“Who [THE Son] is the image of the invisible God,
     the firstborn of every creature:

For by [in] him were all things created,
     that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,
     whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:

all things were created by [dia, through] him [the Son], and for him: …”

Paul is speaking with expansive language as comprehensively as he possibly can. As the firstborn all things were created by the Son …

“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

And he is the head of the body, the church: [He] who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence
[be first].

Does the firstborn from the dead have preeminence in rank? Yes. Does He also have preeminence in time? Yes. “He is before all things.” All things consist in Him. All things come after Him. He is the firstborn of every creature (in verse 15) and He is the firstborn from the dead. You will be part of those next born from the dead.

David Sielaff, October 2007

Read other parts of this article:
 
Part 1
at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d071001.htm
Part 3 at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d071016.htm


1 Some object to the non-biblical term “incarnation” referring to Jesus. True, it is non-biblical but it refers exclusively to Jesus and the noun is derived from the Latin incarnātus, past participle of incarnāre which means “to make flesh” (American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed., 1992). This non-biblical term accurately describes the concept that the Word “was made flesh” (John 1:14).

2 That is how it is in the Greek with two definite articles. I put [the] in brackets to indicate the definite article is in the Greek.

3 This verse is talking about spirit-filled human beings who are now Sons of God.

4 The words in parentheses are generally, and correctly, considered to be John’s commentary on the event.

5 The definite article is there, meaning “the all” in Greek.

6 In my lecture I wrongly stated Jesus saw Satan during the temptation (see Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; and Luke 4:1–13). However, Jesus did see Satan fall from heaven:

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through your name.’ And he said unto them, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’”

7 Note the verse:

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also YHWH sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. …

Then said I, ‘Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, YHWH of hosts.’”

8 I should have emphasized this point more strongly and more often: in the Old Testament humans are never called Elohim except by comparison.

9 See Dr. Martin’s Chapter 2, from his book The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine, “The Law Was Given by Angels” at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess004.htm, which explains who this “angel of the Lord” was in terms of power and authority.

10 In the extended passage of Zechariah chapters 12, 13, and 14 the phrase “house of David” actually refers to the Tomb of David. See “The Location and Future Discovery of King David’s Tomb” at http://www.askelm.com/temple/t061001.htm for the evidence.

11 Eon has an indefinite but limited duration. Among several works that explain this teaching (and which Dr. Martin taught for decades as part of the biblical teaching of universal reconciliation) is the work by Dr. Heleen Keizer, Life Time Entirety (Univ. of Amsterdam, 1999). This was Dr. Keizer’s dissertation. She is a leading scholar on the Greek works of Philo Judaeus and Professor at the University of Milan, Italy. She was the first scholar to use the “Thesaurus Lingua Graeca” to examine and analyze every instance of eon in Greek literature, 800 B.C.E. to 600 C.E. Her conclusion: Eon never meant eternity until theology inserted that meaning into the word in late antiquity. Later the Gnostic Christians made eon into the title of a being, a god.

    See also the articles by Dr. Ernest Martin and C. Gary Reid “The Time Periods of Salvation, Part 1” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d041101.htm, Part 2 is at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d041201.htm and the third article in the series “The Doctrine of the Ages in the Bible” by Dr. Martin alone at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050101.htm. See also the book Time and Eternity: A Biblical Study by G.T. Stevenson at http://tentmaker.org/books/time/index.html.

12 See the internet article “10 Claims in the Bible on the Deity of Christ” at www.crossandthrone.com/2006/07/28/10-claims-in-the-bible-on-the-deity-of-christ.

13 The Greek of Philippians 2:7 actually means “emptied Himself.” This is vastly superior to the King James rendering “of no reputation.”

14 John 1:12–13:

“But as many as received him [the Word], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

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