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The Eternal Pre-existence Of Christ

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
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The Eternal Pre-existence Of Christ

Postby Itiswrittenkjv1611 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:26 pm

Pro 8:22-30 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

The nature of Christ's pre-existence

The pre-existence of Christ is the existence which He had before assuming a human nature.

The doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ is an essential doctrine of the Christian faith. If Christ did not have any existence before His incarnation, then He could not be deity. If Christ is not Divine, then there is no Trinity.

The pre-existence of Christ, standing alone, may not necessarily affirm Christ's deity. But, if Christ is Divine, which is true, then His pre-existence is implied from His deity. God is eternal with no beginning and therefore, if Christ is Divine, then He must have no beginning as well.

Some completely deny and reject any pre-existence of Christ, others affirm the pre-existence of Christ but differentiate between the nature of the pre-existence.

For example, some believe in an idealist view in which Christ only pre-existed in the sense that He existed in the mind of God. (God's foreknowledge)

Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach that Christ existed before the incarnation but as a created being, an archangel.

Mormons believe in the pre-existence of Christ but as another God apart from The Father.

Seventh Day Adventists deny Christ preexisted as the begotten Son of God. They teach that He was unbegotten like the Father in His preexistence. Instead of referring to Him as the Son of God prior to the incarnation, they refer to Him as "the second person" in the Godhead. According to their theology, there are basically no distinctions between the persons in the Godhead before the incarnation. (Incarnational Sonship, Walter Martin and John MacArthur used to believe this.) Thus, they deny the eternal generation and eternal Sonship of Christ and the eternal Fatherhood of the Father.

Some people think that any pre-existence of Christ would make Him less human, rejecting it and by doing so denying His deity. They do not understand how Christ can be fully divine and fully human. Regardless of our ability to comprehend such a thought, it is what the Bible teaches and we must stand on these truths.

It is important that we believe and understand not only that Christ did have an existence before the incarnation but also that we believe and understand the true nature of that very existence.

"There never was a time when He was not" - First Council of Nicaea

The true nature of the pre-existence of Christ is an eternal existence, before the creation of all things as the second person of the Trinity, a Divine person, the eternal Word, the Son of God, distinct from The Father and the Holy Spirit, yet equal with God for He was God.

Only begotten Son

There is something more in the meaning of "Begotten" than is commonly understood of "Birth." When we think of birth, we think of that as the beginning of all personal existence for the individual. In the light of all the plain teachings of the Scriptures concerning an existence prior to Bethlehem for the Christ with a real individual personality, we must find further meaning.

Christ was not begotten in time, but in eternity.

This is known as "The eternal generation of Jesus Christ".

This term is never applied by John to any but Jesus Christ. It is applied by him five times to the Saviour, John 1:14, John 1:18; John 3:16, John 3:18; 1 John 4:9. It means literally an only child. Then, as an only child is especially dear to a parent, it means one that is especially beloved. Compare Genesis 22:2, Genesis 22:12, Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 6:26; Zechariah 12:10. On both these accounts it is bestowed on the Saviour.

1. As he was eminently the Son of God, sustaining a special relation to Him in His divine nature, exalted above all human beings and angels, and thus worthy to be called, by way of eminence, His only Son. Saints are called His "sons" or children, because they are born of His Spirit, or are like Him; but the Lord Jesus is exalted far above all, and deserves eminently to be called His only-begotten Son.

2. He was especially dear to God, and therefore this appellation, implying tender affection, is bestowed upon him.

Firstbegotten

Heb_1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

Firstborn among many brethren

Rom_8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

that he might be the first-born among many brethren—"The First-born," the Son by nature; His "many brethren," sons by adoption: He, in the Humanity of the Only-begotten of the Father, bearing our sins on the accursed tree; they in that of mere men ready to perish by reason of sin, but redeemed by His blood from condemnation and wrath, and transformed into His likeness.

Firstborn of every creature

Col_1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

begotten before all creation

Col 1:16,17 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: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Firstborn from the dead

Col_1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Some interpreters, rendering first-born, find in the phrase the metaphor of death as the womb which bare Him, comparing Col 1:18 with Acts 13:33 Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, to oppose Christ’s natural and eternal Sonship, but very inconsequently and absurdly; for:

1. Christ was properly the Son of God before his resurrection from the dead, he did not then receive that relation by it, as other texts clearly prove, Psalm 2:7 Proverbs 30:4 Micah 5:2 John 1:1 17:5.

2. If his resurrection had been a begetting of him, then would he have begotten himself, so been Father and Son to himself, because he raised himself.

Church of The Firstborn

Heb_12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

The firstborn is Jesus.

Evidence of the pre-existence of Christ

The testimony of Jesus Himself

Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

God and Christ are one, in a much higher sense than Christ and believers are one; namely, one in essence and nature, one in authority and power, Christ being con-substantial with God.

We see then,

1. That the Lord Jesus Christ is for nature co-essential, for dignity co-equal, and for duration co-eternal with the Father.

2. That although Christ be one in essence with the Father, yet are they distinct persons one from another.

3. That the Son being one in essence, one in power, one in consent and will, with the Father, they are both equally concerned for the perseverance of the saints, for preserving them in grace, and for bringing them to glory. None shall pluck them out of mine or my Father's hand: for I and my Father are one. If the power be the same, the essence must be the same.

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Abraham’s birth preceded Jesus’ own birth by many centuries.

Before Abraham was, I am—The words rendered "was" and "am" are quite different. The one clause means, "Abraham was brought into being"; the other, "I exist." The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did (as Arians affirm is the meaning), but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally (as Joh 1:1). In that sense the Jews plainly understood Him, since "then took they up stones to cast at Him," just as they had before done when they saw that He made Himself equal with God (Joh 5:18).

Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Before the world was - There could not be a more distinct and clear declaration of the pre-existence of Christ than this. It means before the creation of the world; before there was any world. Of course, the speaker here must have existed then, and this is equivalent to saying that he existed from eternity. See John 1:1-2; John 6:62; John 3:13; John 16:28. The glory which he had then was that which was proper to the Son of God, represented by the expression "being in the bosom of the Father" John 1:18, denoting intimacy, friendship, united felicity. The Son of God, by becoming incarnate, is represented as "humbling himself" Philippians 2:8. He laid aside for a time the external aspect of honor, and consented to become despised, and to assume the form of a servant. He now prays that God would raise him up to the dignity and honor which he had before his incarnation. This is the state to which he is now exalted, with the additional honor of having made atonement for sin, and having opened the way to save a race of rebels from eternal death.

Joh 17:24 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.

The love of the Father to the Son before the foundation of the world implies the personal pre-existence of the latter with God.

Joh 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

‘All things given into His hands,’ means universal and absolute dominion. ‘That He was come from God,’ means pre-existence, voluntary incarnation, an eternal divine nature, and unbroken communion with the Father. ‘That He went to God,’ means a voluntary departure from this low world, and a return to ‘His own calm home, His habitation from eternity.’

Other verses that state Jesus came from God/Heaven, which imply His pre-existence:

Joh_6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Joh_6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Joh 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Joh 16:28-30 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.


The Testimony of the Apostles

John

Joh 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Joh 1:14 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,) full of grace and truth.

Here is His co-existence with God from eternity, His identity with God, and His creatorship as God back in creative days.

Paul

Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

The "form" here referred to must have been something before he became a man, or before he took upon him the form of a servant. It was something from which he humbled himself by making "himself of no reputation;" by taking upon himself "the form of a servant;" and by being made "in the likeness of men." Of course, it must have been something which existed when he had not the likeness of people; that is, before he became incarnate. He must therefore have had an existence before he appeared on earth as a man, and in that previous state of existence there must have been something which rendered it proper to say that he was "in the form of God."

1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

God was manifest in the flesh; not God essentially considered, or Deity in the abstract, but personally; and not the first nor the third Person; for of neither of them can this or the following things be said; but the second Person, the Word, or Son of God; see 1 John 3:8 who existed as a divine Person, and as a distinct one from the Father and Spirit, before his incarnation; and which is a proof of his true and proper deity: the Son of God in his divine nature is equally invisible as the Father, but became manifest by the assumption of human nature in a corporeal way, so as to be seen, heard, and felt: and by "flesh" is meant, not that part of the body only, which bears that name, nor the whole body only, but the whole human nature, consisting of a true body and a reasonable soul; so called, partly to denote the frailty of it, and to show that it was not a person, but a nature, Christ assumed; and the clause is added, not so much to distinguish this manifestation of Christ from a spiritual manifestation of him to his people, as in distinction from all other manifestations of him in the Old Testament, in an human form for a time, and in the cloud, both in the tabernacle and temple.

Col 1:15-17 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.


And he is before all things - As he must be, if he created all things. Those who regard this as referring to a moral creation, interpret it as meaning that he has the pre-eminence over all things; not as referring to his pre-existence. But the fair and proper meaning of the word "before" is, that he was before all things in the order of existence; compare Matthew 8:29; John 11:55; John 13:1; Acts 5:36; Acts 21:38; 2 Corinthians 12:2. It is equivalent to saying that he was eternal - for he that had an existence before any thing was created, must be eternal. Thus, it is equivalent to the phrase, "In the beginning;" Genesis 1:1; compare the notes at John 1:1.

The Book of Hebrews

Heb 1:2,3 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 worlds; 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;

He was the Son of God when the worlds were made by him. Accordingly, He, without whom was not any thing made that was made, is called the only-begotten of the Father, John 1:1-14. Therefore, the Son, as the Son, was before all worlds: and his glory reaches from everlasting to everlasting, though God spake by him to us only in these last days.

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

These words may be expressive of the duration of Christ: he was "yesterday", which does not design the day immediately foregoing, nor some little time past, but ancient times, formerly, of old; and though it does not extend to eternity, which is true of Christ, yet may be carried further than to the days of his flesh here on earth, even to the whole Old Testament dispensation; yea, to the beginning of the world, when he existed not only as the eternal Word, the everlasting "I am", but as the Saviour and Redeemer of his people; during which dispensation he frequently appeared in an human form, and was the sum of all promises and prophecies, and the substance of all types and shadows, and the spiritual food of his people: and he is "today" under the Gospel dispensation; in his person as God-man, and in his offices as prophet, priest, and King: and will be so "for ever": he will never die more; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his priesthood an unchangeable one. Moreover, these words may regard the immutability of Christ; who is unchangeable in his person, perfections, and essence, as God; and in his love to his people; and in the fulness of his grace, and in the efficacy of his blood, and in the virtue of his sacrifice and righteousness

The Testimony of the Prophets

Joh_5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Luk 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Act_10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Isa 6:1-5 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 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, the LORD of hosts.

The one who Isaiah saw on throne was Jesus, the Son of God.

Joh 12:39-41 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

Mic 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

This is, perhaps, the most important single prophecy in the Old Testament: it respects the personal character of the Messiah, and the discoveries of himself to the world. Here is foretold that Bethlehem should be his birthplace. Hence it was universally known among the Jews, Mt 2:5. It distinguishes his human birth from his existing from eternity.

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Mat 1:22,23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

And shall call his name Immanuel; which is, by interpretation, "God with us", Matthew 1:23 whence it appears that the Messiah is truly God, as well as truly man: the name is expressive of the union of the two natures, human and divine, in him; of his office as Mediator, who, being both God and man, is a middle person between both; of his converse with men on earth, and of his spiritual presence with his people. See John 1:14.

Isa 9:6,7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

We have here the great mystery of the Incarnation. "Unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given." "Unto us a Child is born" relates, we may safely say, to the humanity of Christ. "To us a Son is given" relates to the Divine nature of Christ. He was a Son when born, even the Eternal Son of God.

The mighty God - This is one, and but one out of many, of the instances in which the name God is applied to the Messiah; compare John 1:1; Romans 9:5; 1 John 5:20; John 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8. The name 'mighty God,' is unquestionably attributed to the true God in Isaiah 10:21.

The everlasting Father; which does not design any relation of Christ in the Godhead; and there is but one Father in the Godhead, and that is the first Person; indeed Christ and the Father are one, and the Father is in him, and he is in the Father, and he that has seen the one has seen the other, and yet they are distinct, Christ is not the Father. It is easy to make it appear Christ is not the Father, but is distinct from him, since he is said to be with the Father from eternity, to be the Son of the Father in truth and love, his own Son, his only begotten and beloved Son; Christ frequently calls the first Person his Father, prayed to him as such, and is our advocate with him, as well as the way unto him; he is said to be sent by the Father, to come from him, and to go to him; and many things are said of Christ that cannot be said of the Father, as his being made flesh, suffering and dying in the room of his people; and the Father is said to do many things unto him, as to anoint him, to seal him, to show him all he did, to commit all judgment to him, and give him to have life in himself as he had.

John the Baptist

Joh 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Yet from Luke 1:26 we find out that, naturally speaking, John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus. He could only have reference to Christ's preexistence.

The Manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament


Jos 5:13-15 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

There appeared to him one as a man to be noticed. This Man was the Son of God, the eternal Word. Joshua gave him Divine honours: he received them, which a created angel would not have done, and he is called Jehovah, chap. 6:2.

Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Exodus 3:2. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him — Not a created angel, but the Angel of the covenant, Christ, who then and ever was God, and was to be man, and a messenger from God to man. He, termed the Angel of God’s presence, (Isaiah 63:9,) had wrestled with Jacob, (Genesis 32:24;) and had redeemed him from all evil, (Genesis 48:16;) and afterward conducted his posterity through the wilderness, 1 Corinthians 10:4. These his temporary appearances were presages of his more solemn mission and coming, on account of which he is fitly called the Angel or Messenger. That this angel was no creature, appears from his saying, I am the Lord, a language which angels never speak; but, I am sent from God. It is a vain pretence to say that the angel, as God’s ambassador, speaks in God’s name and person; for what ambassador of any king in the world did ever speak thus, I am the king? Ministers are God’s ambassadors, but if any of them should say, I am the Lord, they would be guilty of blasphemy, and so would any created angel be too, for the same reason.

The Testimony of Implication

The works of creation are ascribed to Christ

Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Col 1:16 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:

Heb 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

The many titles of Deity ascribed to Christ relate Him to the Jehovah of the Old Testament; therefore, eternally existing.

"The Son of God," "First and Last," "Alpha and Omega," "The Lord," "Lord of All," "The Mighty God," "Everlasting Father," "God with us."

See how Jesus Himself uses this to affirm His Deity and answer the question of His Sonship.

Mat 22:42-45 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

The Triune usage of names.

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

He is explicitly called God.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Heb 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

His pre-existence is implied by the fact that He is to be worshipped as God

Joh 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Heb 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

The attributes of Deity are ascribed to Him. This implies His pre-existence.

Life

Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Self-existence

Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

Immutability

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Omnipresence

Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Omniscience

1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Col 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Omnipotence

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

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