Ascension Day Post – The Preexistence of Jesus Christ

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)

Reclame

6 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. ChrisPrunean
    mai 17, 2012 @ 17:52:36

    Outstanding post on the divinity of Christ. It is probably my favorite subject in sermons and theological studies.

    Now, regarding Jahova’s witnesses, we will never be able to reason with them from a scriptural perspective about the diety of Jesus because they use their own translation of the Bible, the NWT. Most modern theologians think that the NWT is a joke. For instance in John 1 where John says that the Word was God, they translate the word was „a god.” Same problems arise with verses that point to the divinity of the Holy Spirit. In the second verse of Genesis „Spirit” is „active force.” I’ve had many back-and-forths with a JW colleague. They really have a lot of elements you would find in a cult… So sad.

    • rodi
      mai 17, 2012 @ 18:56:25

      Chris, thanks for your feedback. Great to hear that you are having conversations with a Jehova’s witness and I hopefully your effort is not as frustrating as ours was, because when you discuss with some JW, you cannot always engage because most times they have to go back to their leaders and ask what they should say and believe about a certain verse. This is no different than catholicism where someone else has to approve your interpretation before you can believe it.

      And, now I find out their Bible is different? I did not know which translation they used, let alone compare translations. But, no wonder… when I looked up NWT I connected the dots, it’s been „translated” by the Watchtower. Just amazing.

      It reminds me of a woman I sat next to at an American church we visited, earlier this year. She introduced herself and asked if my husband and I were saved, I think she was going to take whatever little time there was to preach CHrist to us if we were not. 🙂 That was actually awesome to see! After we told her we were, she told me her story. She and her husband were Catholic. Their teenage daughter visited this American church and asked her parents to go visit as well. When the parents visited and heard the word preached from the Bible, they were moved and decided to start attending and going to bible study group for new beginners. So the lady says to me: Do you know that when we brought our Catholic Bibles to Bible study we found out that our catholic Bibles had this whole section added in there that wasn’t even part of the original Bible and we didn’t even know it. And she was so excited that she was told that she and her husband should read the Bible at home and study it themselves and let God reveal Himself to them. A few months after their first visit they got baptized and became members at that evangelical church. And, I couldn’t help but watch as they took notes during the sermon and thumbed through their Bibles with zeal during that service. It’s amazing the power of the Word to transform lives.

      By the way, if you have time, here’s an interesting link on another religion that Christians consider on the „fringe”, but take a look at what the president of Fuller Theological Seminary says about Mormonism. I’m no conspiracy theory buff, and hate the labeling with such words as „ecumenical”, but what I see is the erosion of Biblical faithfulness and a disregard for the orthodox teachings that the Church has adhered to for so many centuries. I am staunchly for dialogue and evangelism with/of all, but this one is just blatantly ridiculous. Even Romney has said that Mormonism is different from evangelical Christianity. Link – http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/richard-mouw-evangelical-leader-says-engaging-mormonism-isnt-just-about-being-nice/2012/05/14/gIQA6wTMPU_story.html

      • ChrisPrunean
        mai 18, 2012 @ 01:42:51

        Rodi, I forced myself to study JW theology in much detail because in my line of work I run into a shockingly interesting problem… I’m a physician anesthesiologist and we have a huge dilemma because JW patients do not accept blood transfusions due to a misguided interpretation in the OT where God forbids His chosen people to eat blood. I know of patients who died because of staunched, stupid refusal of life-saving transfusion. The worst was when a 29 year-old mother of three needlessly died from hemorrhage after elective surgery.

        The internet is full of former JW who came to Christ and were set free from the bondage of the the WatchTower. Just google and you’ll be shocked. The stories you read are amazing.

        First of all, the WatchTower leaders can decree things that are held at the level of God’s decrees. Even though there is a movement in their ranks to reverse their stance on transfusion, the conservatives will not allow it… to reverse would mean that thousands of people have died needlessly because of transfusion refusal and they would never want that kind of official guilt on their hands.

        Second, their theology is ridiculous in light of Scripture. Examples:
        -salvation by works
        -their ultimate goal is becoming a member of the 144,000 described in Revelation by works
        -they are polytheistic not monotheistic like us
        -they believe that Jesus is a god, Satan is a god, etc etc
        -they say that Jesus was created and deny the Trinity
        -they do not believe in the immortality of our souls
        -they are annihilationists if I remember correctly, they say that Satan and the wicked are annihilated… so these will not live forever
        -and many many other issues that I can’t remember now.

        And also, there is a common theme that runs through all the testimonies of former JW who converted to Christ. There all felt coerced, cornered, and pressured to perform and behave according to their standards to a very extreme point… always threatened with isolation and rejection… …there is so much on this out there… If you have time to do some research you could write a nice article 🙂

        And about the Fuller… It is in may back yard here so to speak… lets just say it is not the most conservative seminary around 🙂 🙂

        • rodi
          mai 18, 2012 @ 08:48:47

          thanks for the bullet points on the main differences JW have. What really opened my eyes though, is knowing that they have „translated” the Bible for themselves. that is a nice way to make their man made doctrine fit to the Bible, instead of the other way around. I think that would be my strongest point if and when the opportunity comes up in conversation with JW. How can they trust their leaders, when their leaders wrote their own Bible in the 1960’s? I think inspiration may play a big part when it comes for all those who are leaving the JW faith. Without belief of inspiration for the Bible, I think it becomes hard for people to follow it. Even „christians” who come to (erroneously) believe that the Bible was written by fallible men or that it is not to be taken literally, eventually that conclusion becomes fatal to any kind of sliver of faith they may still have had. It is amazing how many ways people have counterfeited the true Gospel (including Christians at various times in history).

  2. Dorine Hewgley
    mai 23, 2012 @ 09:53:07

    Hey there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

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