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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’s Deity’

The Wednesday Word: More about the Mystery of Christ

Colossians 2:9, “For the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him.”

Sadhu Sundar Singh, an Indian preacher of another generation, used to illustrate the incarnation mystery in this way. A simple countryman was being shown a red glass bottle. They told him it was full of milk. The countryman couldn’t believe it was filled with white liquid till he saw the beverage poured out from it. The redness of the bottle had hidden the colour of the contents of the bottle.

Sadhu said, so it was and is with our Lord’s humanity. Man saw Him tired, hungry, suffering, weeping and thought He was only man. ‘He was made in the likeness of men,’ yet He ever is ‘God over all, blessed forever.

The red milk bottle is a good illustration but there is an even better one and that is the Tabernacle in the days of Moses. It looked plain and ordinary on the outside, but inside it housed the very glory and presence of God. What a glorious picture of Christ! He looked just like an ordinary man, but the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Him.

In Colossians 2:9, we see our New Testament Tabernacle. We see once more that Jesus is both human and divine. Of course, Christ’s enemies say that here the word ‘Godhead’ does not actually mean Godhead or they say that this verse means that it was merely the power of God which dwelt in Christ. It is astonishing to discover the hatred that men still harbour towards Jesus and the truth of His deity. However, the Bible cannot be clearer on Christ’s identity than it is in this verse. This verse, according to Calvin,

“ … means simply, that God is wholly found in him (Christ), so that he who is not content with Christ alone, desires something better and more excellent than God. The sum is this, that God has manifested himself to us fully and perfectly in Christ.”

Calvin’s Commentaries.

In Isaiah 11:2-5, we are given a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus which conveys something of this fullness. There we read,

“..and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.

Notice how Christ demonstrates the sevenfold Spirit of God!

The Spirit of the Lord.

The Spirit of Wisdom.

The Spirit of Understanding.

The Spirit of Counsel.

The Spirit of Might.

The Spirit of Knowledge.

The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord.

The fullness and perfections of the Godhead were and are truly manifest in the Lord Jesus. The foundation of our faith then is that He who died on the cross was God incarnate. When we meet Christ Jesus, we meet with God in His fullness. This is the foundation upon which we can build our life and eternal destiny.

“Mortals with joy beheld his face,

Th’ eternal Father’s only Son;

How full of truth! how full of grace!

When through his eyes the Godhead shone.”

Isaac Watts

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Yes Indeed, He Must be God!

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

When the first missionaries arrived in Japan they encountered a young Japanese man who wanted to improve his knowledge of English. So they gave him the Gospel of John to translate. In a short time, the would-be learner became very restless and agitated. At last, he gushed out with the question, “Who is this Man about whom I have been reading, this Jesus? You call him a man, but He must be God.”

Yes indeed, He must be God!

But, not only can we say, He must be God, we can, with certainty, declare that He is, in fact, God. Notice how His deity is spoken of loudly and clearly in Titus 2:13. Observe how Jesus is clearly and plainly designated as the ‘great God.’

There can be no ambiguity about His deity. This passage is unmistakably about Christ.

In verse 11, He is called the ‘grace of God’, and in verse 13, He is designated as the ‘great God.’ Then, in verse 14, this same one who is termed the ‘grace of God’ and the ‘great God’ is said to be the one who has redeemed His people from all iniquity. It doesn’t get plainer than that.

Those who deny the deity of Christ try to argue that this verse says both the Father and the Son will appear at the blessed hope. However, nowhere in Paul’s epistles is the Father said to ‘appear.’ The word ‘appear,’ on the other hand, is used continuously of Christ. He is the revelation of the one True and Living God. He ‘appeared,’ as already mentioned, in verse 11 of this chapter. In 1 Timothy 6:14 we are told to, “keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And we are informed He shall “judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” 2 Timothy 4:1.

The One who will appear is both the great God and our Saviour. What a stunning and humbling thought this is, that the man who suffered and shed His blood for us is none other than the great God whom the Old Testament declares to be;

“God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regards not persons, nor takes reward:” (Deuteronomy 10:17).

This same great God who died for His people and rose again from the dead will appear a second time. For;

“Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto those that look for him will he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation, (Hebrews 9:28).

So, when we read that we are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13), we know that, contrary to the JW (Jehovah Witness) teaching, Christ is in no way to be considered the little God, but the great one.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word – Jesus, God over All

Romans 9:5. “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen” (ESV)

God became a man. He became a member of the human race. He became flesh and blood.

Stunning!

Although He became human, He remained entirely and thoroughly the Lord God from Heaven.

Even more stunning!

He was and is the Mighty God, the eternal, self-existent one who was and is and is to come.

He is ‘over all.’

That means,

There is no one above Him.

He is over all angels.

He is above all created beings.

He governs all.

What exceedingly good news! It was the Lord of Glory Himself who came to redeem us. We were helpless, and God Himself loved us enough to come to the rescue.

The God of the Arians (Jehovah Witnesses and others) didn’t love us enough to come here to save us. He, according to their teaching, created and sent someone else to do the job for him.

Perhaps their god didn’t want to get his hands dirty? Or maybe it was because he didn’t like the idea of pain, suffering, rejection and humiliation? Or perhaps he was occupied with more pressing matters? But whatever the reason, he, according to them, stayed in Heaven and sent a substitute to represent Him. He can, therefore, be likened to a man who while walking over a bridge with his son spies someone drowning in the river below. His heart is so smitten with concern that he asks his son to jump over the side to rescue and save the drowning man. But, not so the God of the Bible! He laid down the vestiges of royalty, wrapped himself with humanity and came here Himself to rescue and save us from the river of death by bearing our sins on the cross. Jesus was man’s substitute, not God’s. As Bonar said,

‘Turn your eye to the cross and see these two things, – the Crucifiers and the Crucified——-See the Crucified. It is God himself; incarnate love. It is the God who made you, suffering, dying for the ungodly. Can you suspect his grace? Can you cherish evil thoughts of him? Can you ask anything farther to awaken in you the fullest and most unreserved confidence? Will you misinterpret that agony and death by saying that they do not mean grace, or that the grace which they mean is not for you? Call to mind that which is written, – “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16.

Horatius Bonar: Christ Died for the Ungodly.

In the scheme which denies Christ’s Deity, we are presented with a god who was either unwilling or unable to come here himself and rescue us. We must then ask, had their god become too frail to undertake the mission? Did he need someone more energetic and youthful to complete the task? Candidly speaking, this business of God creating some super-angel to do His redeeming work leaves God looking somewhat suspect in His commitment to us. Frankly, I’m not impressed with a god who wouldn’t come here Himself to rescue me! A god who stayed in heaven while I was utterly ruined cannot melt my heart. A god who delegates my redemption to another cannot command my loyalty. On this matter, I take my stand with Luther who said,

“Wherefore, he that preaches a God to me that died not for me the death on the cross, that God will I not receive.”

Martin Luther: Smalcald Articles.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Jesus, the Real Bread for the Hungry Soul

In John’s Gospel, we find the seven ‘I Am’ scriptures, spoken by Jesus to declare His Deity. Among them, we find John 6:35,

“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Listening to this, we must conclude that, if Jesus is not God, He can hardly be viewed as a repository of deep humility. Here, He declares Himself as the Bread of Life; the one who gives life to the world. What a cheek …that is if He is not God!

Indeed, when we read this discourse, in John 6, we discover that Jesus makes a sevenfold reference to Himself as the Bread of Life (see verses 32-33, 35, 48, 50 -51, 58). According to Jesus, this is the very bread that must be eaten, by faith, to receive everlasting life (see verses 50, 51- 53, 54, 56, 57, 58).

We should note that the Roman Communion makes much of these statements to establish her wretched doctrine of the Mass. They painstakingly fail, however, to point out that this discourse has nothing whatsoever do with the Last Supper… They also fail to note that Christ’s language in this passage is figurative, not literal, the Lord’s Supper not being in existence until about a year later.

The bread to which Christ refers is Christ Himself. He, as our High Priest, offered Himself on the altar of Calvary, redeemed His people and answered the sin question as He satisfied the justice of God. When we receive Him by faith alone, we are figuratively eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

In verse 33 He says, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.”

Notice how Jesus referred to Himself as, “He which cometh down from heaven.” By this term, Jesus is again asserting His deity! In the Old Testament, to “come down from heaven” meant a divine descent from the throne of God to accomplish a task of either grace or judgment.

“In Genesis 11: 4 and 7, for example, God “came down” in Judgment against the Tower of Babel.

In Genesis 18:21, God, regarding Sodom, says “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me.”

Regarding the people of Israel in Exodus 3:8, the Lord says, “I am come down to deliver them.”

In Exodus 19:20, God “comes down” upon the mount of Sinai to give His law.

In Psalm 18:9 He “… bowed the heavens and came down” in answer to cries of distress.

Since to come down from heaven is God’s work and prerogative, we once more see the Master making the grand declaration that He is God manifest in the flesh.

In summary,

Jesus as the Bread of life is the sustainer of life that means He is God.

Jesus declares He has come down from heaven … again that means He is God.

Jesus claims that union with Him is essential to eternal life … again that means He is God.

Now here’s the question. Have we eaten of the Bread of Life? Have we tasted and seen that the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8)? Are we still looking anywhere but the Gospel for satisfaction?

In Greek mythology, Tantalus was made to stand in a pool of water, right under the branches of a fruit tree. However, when he tried to reach for fruit, the branches would go higher and out of reach. When he tried to drink a sip of water, the waters of the pool would recede. A symbol of utter frustration, his name is immortalized in the English word “tantalize.” So, too, the world may at times tantalize the Child of God. It promises much but delivers nothing. Only Christ can give us a cleansed conscience. Only Christ can remove our guilt and give genuine peace. He is the Bread of Life.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Conclusion- Book Fifth

Book Fifth

CONCLUSION

“What think ye of Christ?” We may now, with great propriety, consider this question solemnly addressed to us. We have contemplated the person, states, and offices of Christ. What impression does the contemplation leave in our minds? What emotions has it produced? Have the words of the prophets been fulfilled in our case: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him”? Or, can we say, “He is the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely”? According as Christ appears in our view, the evidence of our spiritual state is favorable or unfavorable; and by this test, we may try our hope of acceptance through him, and of reigning with him for ever.

In the ordinary experience of mankind, the affections are attracted most strongly by objects near at hand. To the imagination, distance may lend enchantment; but the affections of the heart play around the fireside, and fix their firmest hold on those with whom we converse most familiarly. In accordance with this tendency of our nature, the son of God attracted the hearts of men, by dwelling among them, and exhibiting himself in familiar intercourse with them, and in the endearing relations well known in human society. We see him, as the affectionate brother and friend, weeping in the sorrows of others, and alleviating their sufferings by words and acts of kindness. The tenderness with which, when hanging on the cross, he committed his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, is an example of filial love, which cannot be contemplated with an unmoved heart. In the simple narratives of his life, which have been given for our instruction, we trace his course in his daily walk as a man among men, going about doing good, and the traits of character exhibited in this familiar intercourse, call forth our love. The heavens have now received him out of our sight, but we know that, in fulfillment of his promise, he is always with us; and we are taught to regard him, not only as near at hand, but also as sympathizing with our infirmities, having been tempted in all points as we are. In the humanity of Jesus, we see the loveliness of the divine perfections familiarly and intelligibly exhibited.

It sometimes happens, in the experience of mankind, that persons of extraordinary merit remain for a time in obscurity, and that those who have been most intimate with them have been taken by surprise, when the unsuspected greatness of their character has been disclose. Writers of fiction know how to interest the feelings, by presenting great personages under disguise, and unveiling them at a fit moment, to produce impression. But incidents, infinitely transcending all fiction, are found in the true history of Jesus Christ, in which the concealed majesty of his divinity broke forth, and caused surpassing astonishment. The humble sleeper in the boat on the Lake of Tiberias, comes forth from his slumbers, and stills the raging water; and the beholders of the miracle exclaim: “What manner of man is this?” The weary traveller arrives at Bethany, and claims to be the resurrection and the life, and demonstrates the truth of his claim, by calling the dead Lazarus from the tomb. As a condemned malefactor, he hangs on the cross, and expires with such exhibitions of divinity, that the astonished Roman centurion cried: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” We have contemplated the divinity of Jesus Christ, not merely in these transient outbursts which occurred while he was on earth, but in the full demonstration which has been given since he ascended to heaven, and the impression on our hearts ought to be strong and abiding. The disciples who attended on his personal ministry loved and honored him; but when they saw him ascend to heaven, being more deeply impressed with his divinity, they worshipped him. Let us devoutly join in rendering him divine honor.

We read with interest the history of men who have passed through great changes in their condition, and who, in every condition, have displayed great and noble qualities. But no changes of condition possible to men, can equal those which the Son of God has undergone. Once rich in his original glory, he became so poor that he had not where to lay his head: and from his depth of poverty, he has been exalted to supreme dominion, and made proprietor and ruler of all worlds. Through these changes he has ever exhibited such moral perfections as have been most pleasing to God. In whatever condition we view him, let us delight in him, as did his Father.

The offices which Christ sustains toward us, are such as have been in highest repute among men. Prophets, priests, and kings have always been accounted worthy of honor. We should give the highest honor to Christ, who, as a prophet, is superior to Moses; as a priest, superior to Aaron; and as a king, the Lord of David. These offices, as exercised by Christ, deserve our honor, not only because of their excellence, but also because of their adaptedness to us. We are, by nature, ignorant, guilty, and depraved. As ignorant, we need Christ, the prophet, to teach us; as guilty, we need Christ, the priest, to make atonement for us; and as depraved, we need Christ, the king, to rule over us, and bring all our rebellious passions into subjection. These offices of Christ are also adapted to the graces which distinguish and adorn the Christian character. The chief of these, as enumerated by Paul, are faith, hope, and love; in the exercise of faith, we receive the truth, revealed by Christ, the prophet; in the exercise of hope, we follow Christ, the priest, who has entered into the holiest of all, to appear before God for us; and we submit to Christ, the king, in the exercise of love, which is the fulfilling of the law, the principle and sum of all holy obedience.

In the theology of the ancient Christians, Christ held a central and vital place. If we take away from the epistles of Paul all that is said about Christ, what mutilation shall we make? If, when we have opened anywhere to read, as at 1 Cor. ch. i., we expunge Christ, what have we left? Paul, while in ignorance and unbelief, thought that he did God service, by persecuting Jesus of Nazareth. But when his eyes were opened, to see that the despised Nazarene, whom his nation had crucified, was the Lord of Glory, when he learned that in him are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, unsearchable riches, and the fulness of grace, the heart of the persecutor was changed, and he became devoted to the service of him whom he had sought to destroy. Henceforth, he counted all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Has our knowledge of Christ produced a like effect on us? If our hearts are in unison with that of the great Apostle, we are prepared to say, from the inmost soul, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel,” a gospel of which Christ is not the centre and the sum, “let him be accursed.”[1] “If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be an anathema maranatha.”[2]

In our investigation of religious truth, we have found four sources of knowledge: our own moral feelings, the moral feelings and judgments of others, the course of nature, and the book of divine revelation. The first three of these can give us no knowledge of Jesus Christ and his great salvation. For this knowledge we are wholly indebted to the Bible. Yet, when we have learned our lost and helpless state by nature, the scheme of salvation which the Bible reveals is so perfectly adapted to our condition, that it brings with it its own evidence of having originated in the wisdom of God.

When Paul preached the gospel of salvation, he know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He gloried in nothing, save the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have tarried long in our meditations on the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ; and, before we dismiss the subject, it may be profitable to linger yet a little time at the cross, that we may again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ, all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God; but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies. God’s moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of his character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of life everlasting. On him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid, and from his wounds flows the blood that cleanses from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and peacefully relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy streaming from the cross; and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Saviour’s love, we resolve to live to him who died for us. The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us. Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which caused the death of our beloved Lord; and we grow strong in the purpose to wage against it an exterminating war. By all the Saviour’s agonies, we vow to have no peace with it for ever. The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on him whom we have pierced, and mourn. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer, murdered by our sins; and we resolve that the murderers shall die. The cross is a holy place, where we learn to be like Christ, to hate sin as he hated it, and to delight in the law of God which was in his heart. In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has hold of our heart; and we surrender to dying love.

The wisdom of man did not devise the wonderful plan of salvation. As well might we suppose that it directed the great Creator, when he spread abroad the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. But as in the heavens and earth human reason may see the power and wisdom of God, so, to the Christian heart, Christ crucified is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin, than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.

[1] Gal. i. 8.

[2] 1 Cor. xvi. 22.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Prophet- Book Fifth- Chapter 3- Section 1

Book Fifth

CHAPTER III.

OFFICES OF CHRIST.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN.[1]

A mediator is a middle person between two parties. The term is especially applied to one who interposes between parties at variance, with a view to effect a reconciliation. Men are under the displeasure of God, on account of their sins, and are in rebellion against him, and enemies in mind by wicked works. Christ appears as mediator, to effect a reconciliation.

The duty of a mediator differs, according to the relation of the parties. When the variance between them arises wholly from misunderstanding, an explanation is all that is necessary to effect a reconciliation. In this case a mediator is simply an interpreter. When an offence has been given, but such a one as may be pardoned on mere entreaty, the mediator becomes an intercessor. But when the circumstances are such as to require satisfaction for the offence , the mediator must render that satisfaction or become surety for the offender. On God’s part, as he has committed no wrong, nothing more is required than an Interpreter,[2] to show to man his uprightness. But, on the part of guilty man, it is necessary that the Mediator should be both Intercessor and Surety.

The union of two natures in Christ qualifies him for the work of mediation. As man, he sympathizes with us, is accessible, both when we desire to present petitions and to receive instruction; and he is capable of standing as our substitute or surety, and of making the requisite satisfaction of divine justice. As God, he understands fully the claims against us, has ready access to the offended Sovereign, has all the knowledge which it can be necessary to communicate to us, and can give dignity and value to the satisfaction offered in our behalf. These qualifications are found in no other person, and accordingly “There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”[3]

In the one office of Mediator three offices are included, which need separate consideration: those of Prophet, Priest, and King.

SECTION I.–PROPHET

JESUS CHRIST, AS PROPHET, MAKES REVELATION FROM GOD TO MEN.[4]

Among the revelations made by prophets, the foretelling of future events has held a conspicuous place: but this does not constitute the whole of the office. The word prophesy does not always refer to future events, as is apparent from an incident in the injurious treatment which our Redeemer received at his trial. When blindfolded he was struck by one of the attendants, who contemptuously demanded, “Prophesy who is he that smote thee.”[5] From this example we learn that the term was not exclusively used for the foretelling of future events, but was applied to the making of any declaration which required superhuman knowledge.

Jesus Christ, as a Prophet, was superior to all other prophets. Moses was so far distinguished above the rest, that it was said no prophet had arisen like him;[6] but Moses foretold the coming of Jesus Christ, in these words: “The Lord, thy God, will raise up unto thee, a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”[7] Elijah was a prophet, highly distinguished in his day, and was translated to heaven, without tasting death: but Moses and Elijah appeared on the mount of transfiguration, to lay down their prophetical office and honors at the feet of Jesus, when the voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.”[8] Moses and Elijah were to be heard in their day; but the voice from the excellent glory singled out Jesus as the superior prophet, whose instructions we are commanded to receive.

Not only was Christ superior to the prophets of the former dispensation, but it was he who qualified them for their office, and spoke through them.[9] This fact accords with his statement, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”[10] He is, in this view, the only Prophet, the only Revealer of the mind of God. Before his personal ministry commenced, he made revelation by prophets whom he inspired; during his ministry, he spoke as one from the bosom of the Father; and after he left the world, he continued to make revelation, through his apostles and others, to whom he gave his Spirit. The last book of the Bible is a revelation which he gave to is servant John;[11] and the whole Bible is now to us as the word of Christ. His truth he still uses, as the Prophet of the Church, instructing his people into the knowledge of God.

God has sometimes been pleased to make known his will by the ministry of angels; but the prophets, whom he ordinarily employed, were men of like passions with ourselves. There was peculiar fitness, as well as condescending kindness, that the great Prophet of the Church should be one in our own nature. Though it was true, “Never man spake like this man,”[12] it was still true, that he spoke with the voice of a man; and, instead of the terrific thunders heard from Sinai, addressed those who were willing to receive his instructions, in the accents of tenderness, as an affectionate friend. But such affection might have existed, without the knowledge necessary to make known the whole mind of God. This qualification his divine nature supplied. Paul asks, on one occasion, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord? and who hath been his counsellor ?[13] But, it had been predicted of Jesus, that he should be called Wonderful, Counsellor.[14] He was the wisdom of God, from the bosom of the Father, and was therefore fully qualified to reveal the mind and counsel of God to men.

At the feet of this Prophet let us sit, that we may learn the knowledge of God. With Mary, let us take our place there, leaving the cumbering cares of the world, and opening our ears and our hearts to receive his heavenly instructions. Peter, James, and John, who saw his glorious form in the holy mount, when the bright vision had passed away, were left in possession of the divine command: “Hear ye him.” Let us take this direction as the guide of our way, until we shall be admitted to the brighter vision of his glory, of which the former was but a shadow.

[1] 1 Tim. ii. 5; 2 Cor. v. 18; Col. i. 20; 1 John ii. 1; Gal. i. 4.; iii. 13; Tit. ii. 14.

[2] Job xxxiii. 23.

[3] Acts iv. 12.

[4] Isaiah lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18, 23; Heb. ii. 3; 1 Pet. i. 11; Deut. xviii. 18; John iii. 34; xvi. 1; Rev. i. 1.

[5] Matt. xxvi. 68.

[6] Duet. xxxiv. 10.

[7] Deut. xviii. 15.

[8] Matt. xvii. 5.

[9] 1 Pet. i. 11.

[10] John i. 18.

[11] Rev. i. 1.

[12] John vii. 46.

[13] Romans xi. 34.

[14] Isaiah ix. 6.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: States of Christ: Original Glory- Book Fifth- Chapter 2- Section 1

Book Fifth

CHAPTER II.

STATES OF CHRIST.

SECTION 1.–ORIGINAL GLORY.

BEFORE HIS INCARNATION, THE SON OF GOD WAS IN INTIMATE COMMUNION OF GLORY AND BLESSEDNESS WITH THE FATHER.[1]

The existence of Christ, previous to his appearing in the world, is proved by passages of Scripture, that do not expressly declare his divinity.

If we had no further teaching on the subject, we might suppose that he was a created spirit, had enjoyed honor and happiness in the presence of God, and had consented to appear, in obedience to the will of God, in the person of Jesus Christ. But the proofs which have been adduced from other parts of Scripture, clearly show that this pre-existent spirit was God, and not a creature.

Several names are ascribed to the pre-existent divinity of Jesus Christ. John calls him the Word of God.[2] He is more frequently called the Son of God. Various passages speak of him as the Son of God, antecedent to his coming into the world. He is called the Angel of the Lord, the Angel of the Lord’s presence, the Angel of the Covenant, the Captain of the Lord’s hosts. It is also supposed that he is intended to be designated, in the 8th chapter of Proverbs, by the name Wisdom.

To ascertain the precise import of these several names, is attended with difficulty. He appears to be called the Angel or Messenger, because he is sent to make known, or to execute, the will of God. He is probably called the Word of God, because he is the medium through which the mind of God is made known. Why he is called the Son of God, is a question on which divines have differed. His miraculous conception, his mediatorial office, his resurrection from the dead, and his investiture with supreme dominion, have been severally assigned, as the reason of the title; but these appear rather to declare him to be the Son of God, or to belong to him because of that relation, than to constitute it. The phrases first-born, first-begotten, only-begotten, seem to refer to the true ground of the name, Son of God: but what these signify, it is probably impossible for us to understand. The ideas of peculiar endearment, dignity, and heirship, which are attached to these terms, as used among men, may be supposed to belong to them, as applied to the Son of God; but all gross conceptions of their import, as if they were designed to convey to our minds the idea of derived existence, and the mode of that derivation, ought to be discarded as inconsistent with the perfection of Godhead. Some have considered the titles Christ, the Son of God, as equal and convertible; but the distinction in the use of them, as pointed out in our examination of the charges brought against the Redeemer, shows the error of this opinion. When Saul at Damascus,[3] and Apollos in Achaia,[4] preached to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ, the aim was to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah, long expected by their nation. But when Saul preached “Christ, that he is the Son of God,”[5] and when the eunuch professed his faith, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God,”[6] more than the mere messiahship of Jesus is manifestly intended. Christ or Messiah is a title of office: but the phrase “Son of God,” denotes, not the mere office, but the exalted nature which qualified for it.

The possession of proper deity is alone sufficient to show that the Son of God was glorious and happy eternally; but we may learn the same truth from the language of Scripture directly referring to this subject. “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee, before the world was.”[7] “For ye know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”[8] “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.”[9] “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”[10] “The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father.”[11] The full communion of the Son with the Father, in all the glory and blessedness of the Godhead, is to be inferred from these passages.

[1] John i. 15, 30; iii. 13, 17, 31; vi. 38; viii. 58; xvii. 5; 1 Cor. xv. 47; Gen xvii. xxii. 15; xxxii. 30; Ex. iii. ; xx.; Acts vii. 30, 35, 38; John i. 3; Col. i. 16; Heb. i. 2, 10; Mic. v. 2; John viii. 58; Heb. i. 8; xiii. 8; Rev. i. 8, 18.

[2] John i. 1.

[3] Acts ix. 22.

[4] Acts xviii. 28.

[5] Acts ix. 20.

[6] Acts viii. 37.

[7] John xvii. 5.

[8] 2 Cor. viii. 9.

[9] Prov. viii. 30.

[10] Phil. ii. 6.

[11] John i. 18.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology