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Archive for May 14th, 2014

Paul1_001

Some areas I plan to cover in our future meetings:

  • Life, Virgin birth, Baptism, Messianic Secret, Miracles, Teachings, Parables, Ipsissima vox, Temptation, Resurrection, Ascension, Pre-existence, Eternal Sonship, Eternal generation, Deity, Two natures, Incarnation, Humanity, Offices, Jewishness, Suffering Servant, Second Adam, Sinlessness, Impeccability, Emotions, Atonement, Historicity, Genealogy, Messianic prophecy, Jesus and the Law

“Now the Christian meaning of the term “deity of Christ” is fairly clear. The Christian believes that there is a personal God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, a God who is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. So when the Christian says that Jesus Christ is God, or when he says that he believes in the “deity of Christ,” he means that that same person who is known to history as Jesus of Nazareth existed, before He became man, from all eternity as infinite, eternal and unchangeable God, the second person of the holy Trinity.”—J. Gresham Machen, What is the Deity of Christ?

“Possibly we do not always fully realize the nature of the issue here brought before us. Here is a young man scarcely thirty-three years of age, emerged from obscurity only for the brief space of three years, living during those years under the scorn of the world, which grew steadily in intensity and finally passed into hatred, and dying at the end the death of a malefactor: but leaving behind Him the germs of a world-wide community, the spring of whose vitality is the firm conviction that He was God manifest in the flesh. If anything human is obvious it is obvious that this conviction was not formed and fixed without evidence for it of the most convincing kind. The account His followers themselves gave of the matter is that their faith was grounded not merely in His assertions, nor merely in the impression His personality made upon them in conjunction with His claims, but specifically in a series of divine deeds, culminating in His rising from the dead, setting its seal upon His claims and the impression made by His personality.”—B. B. Warfield, The Lord of Glory: A Classic Defense of the Deity of Jesus Christ, p. 301

PURPOSE: Eternality and deity of Christ

But the first aspect we see in this study…

  1.  Point 1: John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with   God, and the Word was God.”  Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.[1]  En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos.
    1. Proof:
      1. In the beginning” (Ἐν ἀρχῇ) is in reference to creation (Gen. 1:1).  John refers to creation too in John 1:3-4).
        • ἀρχῇ(archē): Means origin.  The Word is the originator of all things.
          • John is referring to the beginning of all things (Gen. 1:1; Jn 1:3-4)—the beginning of the universe.[2]
        • This phrase, “In the beginning” is different from 1 Jn 1:1, whereby John is referring to the starting point of Jesus’ ministry and Gospel preaching.  Here in the Gospel of John, the starting point is related to creation, the beginning of the universe.
          • John is basically saying that at the time of the creation of the world, Jesus was already there; and Jesus continuously existed.  In other words, this refers to His pre-existence.  It does not mean that when the world was created, Jesus came into existence.  For example, SEE (ἦν; ēn).  He antedates the beginning of creation.
      2. The word “was” (ἦν; ēn) in the phrase “In the beginning was the Word” is the Greek.
        • ἦν (IAI3S) came from εἰμί (to be)
          • Stresses continual existence in the past time.  Stresses the pre-existence of the Word (Jesus Christ).
          • Good translation would be, “In the beginning the Word was continually existing.”[3]
        • Implication:  The Word goes back before the origin of the universe.  You go back as far as you can and the Word was always there.
        • John does not use the genealogy like Matthew and Luke.
          • Jesus’ humanity=genealogy
          • Jesus’ deity=no genealogy
            • Without the genealogy, John is pointing out the PRE-EXISTENCE & ETERNALITY of Christ.  Before He became the God-man, he had no genealogy (John 1:14).  Whenever genealogy is used in both OT & NT, it is in reference to His humanity.
        • (ἦν; ēn) is different from the verb “to become” (egeneto) that is used in Jn 1:6, 10, 12.  You see the verb “to become” flushing out more clearly with its purpose verse 14; whereby the starting point is in reference to the incarnation. In other words “the Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14).
        • The eternal Word became flesh.
        • The eternal Word that is equal in essence and nature made contact with polluted sinners.
      3. The Word (λόγος); Hebrew=dāḇār
        • Vocabulary is borrowed not only from the OT, but also from Gr. philosophy.
        • Jews saw it as the Word expressing itself in creation, revelation, and deliverance; while the Greeks saw the Word as a rational principle of divine reason, intellect, wisdom, and knowledge.”[4]
        • But it is important to note that the Greek understanding is not the exclusive background here, but the OT understanding of the Word is at play.
        • Word definitely has connection and alludes to the OT meaning (Ge. 1:3; Pss 33:6; 107:20; Pr. 8:27); and it is made in reference to a person, Jesus Christ.  The Greek philosophical background is not the exclusive content.
          • Creation: Gen. 1:3, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light;” Ps 33:6, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.”
          • Revelation: Je. 1:4, “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying”; Isa. 9:8, “The Lord sends a message against Jacob, And it falls on Israel”; Ezk. 33:7; Am 3:1,8
          • Deliverance: Ps. 107:20, “He sent His word  and healed them, And He delivered them from their destructions; Is. 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
        • However, the “Word” is used by John because he wanted to reach out to both groups.  Both groups understood this term
      4. The Word was with God” (ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς [pros] τὸν θεόν)
        • The Word is with (πρὸς [pros]) God.  Clearly John is making a distinction that there are two separate persons involved.  This goes against the teaching of the heresy called Sabellianism/ Modalism (they teach that there is one God who takes on different modes).  They deny the distinction of personhood.
        • He had intimate timeless fellowship with His Father throughout all eternity (Is 6:1-13; 12:41; 17:5), but He willingly left His royal chamber by taking on a form of a man.  The sacrifice is eternal because He will always be the God-man.  Even in the future he is still God incarnate (Revelation 5:6).
        • It is amazing that the eternal Son of God would take on flesh.

 

 


[1]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993; 2006), Jn 1:1.

[2]D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 113.

[3]Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded  (Chicago, Ill: Moody Press, 2014), 229.

[4]John MacArthur.  The MacArthur Study BibleNew American Standard Bible (Nashville: Nelson Bibles, 2006), 1539.

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