Also read this related article on the deity of Christ: Who do you say that I am? and Wayne Grudem’s: What does Christ’s Ascent into heaven mean for me?
The Preexistence of Jesus Christ (via) Tyndale publishers Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible (P 609)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SON
1) Introduction. It has been estimated that some forty billion individuals have lived upon this earth since Adam. What a contrast can be seen in this vast multitude of humanity. These men have explored and settled every corner of their earth. They speak dozens of languages, practice multitudes of religions, and have formulated numerous cultures.
But every single human being shares one vital thing. His purpose of life down here and his eternal destiny afterward depends completely upon his personal relationship with the subject of this study, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, absolutely impossible to overemphasize the importance of His life. The key question of the universe continues to be: “What think ye of Christ? Matthew 22:42
Note the following:
To the artist he is the One altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16)
To the architect he is the chief Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6)
To the astronomer he is the son of righteousness (Maleachi 4:2)
To the baker he is the Bread of life (John 6:35)
To the banker he is the hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44)
To the builder he is the sure foundation (Isaiah 28:16)
To the carpenter he is the door (John 10:7)
To the doctor he is the great Physician (Jeremiah 8:22)
To the educator he is the new and living way (Hebrews 10:20)
To the farmer he is the sower and the Lord of the harvest (Luke 10:2)
2) The Preexistence of Jesus Christ as God. It is possible (as some have done) to hold to Jesus’ preexistence without believing in his diety. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult brazenly declares that Christ preexisted as Michael the archangel prior to Bethlehem. But the Bible dogmatically declares both his preexistence and his diety.
A. The fact of his divine existence.
1) As taught by John the Baptist. “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me” (John 1:15, see also John 1:27,30). According to Luke 1:36, John’s birth occured 6 months prior to Christ’s birth, but John declares that ‘he was before me’, a reference to Jesus’ preexistence.
2) As taught by the Apostle John.”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).”For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and showed unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” (1 John 1:2). Here the Apostle John connects Jesus’ preexistence to his diety.
3) As taught by the Apostle Paul. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of a cross (Philemon 2:6-8).
4) As taught by the Apostle Peter. “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” (1 Peter 1:20)
5) As taught by Christ himself. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38) “I am the living bread which came down from heaven:if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, “Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:51,61,62). Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 6:58). “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). Here Christ requests that the Father share His glory with the Son. But note the Father’s previous statement about his glory in Isaiah: “I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another…” (Isaiah 42:8). One is thus forced to conclude that either Christ was God indeed and had rightful claim to this glory, or he was an arrogant impostor demanding something the Father would never give Him!
B. The activities of the preexistent Christ. What was the Savior doing prior to his Bethlehem appearance? The Scriptures make it plain that he was busy indeed.
1) He was creating the universe. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).”For by 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 Him, and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world…And, thou, o Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands” (Hebrews 1:2,10). This creation included everything, from electrons to galaxies, and from angels to Adam.
2) He was controlling this created universe. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High” (Colossians 1:17) Our Lord Jesus not only put all things together, but he continues to keep all things together.
3) He was communing with the Father. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast loved me” (John 17:23). “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24)