“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35.)
Christ had no corporeal existence before that point of time. Though he was in the mind and purpose of God from the very beginning, and in that sense was “with God,” be did not exist as a person until the “word was made flesh and dwelt among” the Jews 1900 years ago (John 1:14).
Unfortunately, confusion reigns concerning the person of the Lord Jesus, and his purpose and place in the plan of God, as a result of the reaching that claims be is the second person of a Trinity, or that he preexisted before his birth.
We ask that if the reader believes either of these doctrines, he suspend judgement upon what we have stated above, until all the evidence is before him. We undertake to explain any verse of Scripture in the light of the teaching we have set down, but we fail to understand how anybody can logically believe that Jesus and God are two persons and Net one, or that the Lord Jesus existed before he was born.
Jesus was born of his mother, and grew up to reverence God, his Father. We learn that he “increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). This expresses normal development; but if Jesus were God such a statement is incomprehensible; or if he pre-existed, it meant that he must have forgotten everything he knew in his previous existence, and had to learn it all again!
Born of a human mother, he inherited the nature common to all mankind. This is a nature subject to death, so that the Lord was in need of redemption from death, just as much as those he came to save. He was subjected to the some trials and temptations as is mankind generally, but whereas all others have failed, be triumphed over the nature he possessed, and rendered sinless obedience to God.
Where did Christ derive the strength to conquer, whereas all others possessing the same nature have failed? The answer is: from God. God was his Father and a spiritually-minded woman was his mother, so that from birth the Lord inherited qualities that be was able to develop by his own independent freewill as he grew towards maturity (see Luke 2:40, 42–47, 52). In addition, he was granted the spirit of God without measure (John 3:34), and this quickened him in the understanding of God’s will and purpose (Isaiah 11:2–3; Luke 4:18–19). By these means, Jesus, who was the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), received strength that enabled him to render sinless obedience to the requirements of his Father, and manifest a character which reflected the Divine image (1 Peter 2:21–24).
This was necessary for the work of redemption, so that it is not solely the work of Christ, but that of the Father and the Son acting in conjunction one with the other. The Bible teaches: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). Jesus leaned heavily upon the Father, and God strengthened him, with the result that the fullness of the Divine character was revealed in a human body, that inherited the consequences of the firstsin.
The lesson of redemption, therefore, teaches that we must seek a Strength apart from flesh, even that which comes from God (James 1:17), if we would develop a character pleasing unto Him. Moreover, such Strength is available to us, as Paul taught. He declared: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
How The Seed Of The Woman Was Bruised On The Heel.
Muthmannsdorf parish church St Peter im Moos, Lower Austria: 13th century fresco at the vault of the crossing. In the centre Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), surrounded by the Twelve Apostles Date 20 September 2009Thus, being the “begotten son of God,” Jesus was the perfect “seed of the woman” promised in Genesis 3:15. In accordance with that prophetic covenant, his righteousness so excited the enmity and malice of his fleshly contemporaries, that they conspired to put him to death. They, (the seed of the serpent), by “wicked hands” brought him to the cross, thus, unconsciously, fulfilling “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23–24). God had decreed he should thus die (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10) as a sacrifice for sin (Psalm 40:5–9; Heb. 10:5). They did not realise that he was the “lamb of God” to “bear away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and therefore, they imagined that once they bad crucifiedhim, they had seen the last of him.
How mistaken they were was revealed three days later when he rose from the dead.
Why did God permit His son to die upon the cross? What was accomplished in his death? First of all, it constituted a public exhibition of what is due to flesh which the history of mankind has revealed to be evil and sinful in its tendency.
Jesus rendered perfect obedience to the Father, in spite of the flesh, not because of it (John 6:63). If Jesus had yielded to his own will instead of that of the Father, be would not have rendered perfect obedience “even unto the death of the cross,” for in submitting to the requirements of God, did he not say: “Not my will but Thine be done.”
Flesh which has proved so rebellious against God throughout the ages, could only be atoned for by one way: the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22). The flesh of Jesus, hanging lifeless upon the cross, presents the lesson of salvation to humanity. Being of our nature, he had to conquer it in order to attain unto immortality. This he did by rendering perfect obedience unto God through the strength he derived from that source. In a figurative sense, therefore, he had crucified the flesh in life by controlling its desires, and subjugating his will to that of his Father. When, at last, he hung lifeless upon the cross, the struggle was at an end. In that final act of dedication, the flesh had been silenced for ever, and no longer could assert itself against the will of God.
The “crucified Jesus” is a public exhibition of what God requires of mankind if they would seek after salvation, whereas the risen Christ” is the symbol of hope for those who are “in Christ.”
Mansfield, H. (1997). Key to Understanding of the Scriptures (electronic ed.). Findon, South Australia: Logos Publications.