"Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son's name? Surely you know!" (Proverbs 30:4)
There is a teaching that is gaining momentum, that would have us believe that Christ did not come into existence until after His birth in Bethlehem. This teaching has no scripture to back it up, unless of course you remove several verses from the scriptures, then it might has some merit. But, if you keep the scriptures intact, and compare them with one another, both Old and New Testaments, you will soon come to the realization that Christ is the first begotten of the Father (God), the beginning of creation (Revelation 3:14), the One Who God created all through. The One Who came to this earth several times as the visible expression of God, long before His coming to Bethlehem.
We first read about Christ appearing to humans in the book of Genesis.
"They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8)
I have asked many people how this can be so: that the sound (some versions "voice") of God walked in the garden, when we know that God is Spirit (not "a" spirit),which makes God invisible:
"God is spirit." (John 4:24)
"No one has ever gazed upon God." (1 John 1:12)
"Now to the King of the eons, the incorruptible, invisible, only, and wise God, be honor and glory for the eons of the eons! Amen!" (1 Timothy 1:17)
"Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him." (Job 9:11).
Yet it is believed by many that God walked in the garden.
Answer: He couldn't have, but His Image could have, and did. The Image that He reveals Himself in when He wants humans to know what He wants to say, or do something that requires His physical presence. We read of this in Hebrews 1:1-3:
"By many portions and many modes, of old, God, speaking to the fathers in the prophets, in the last of these days speaks to us in a Son, Whom He appoints enjoyer of the allotment of all, through Whom He also makes the eons; Who, being the Effulgence of His glory and Emblem of His assumption, besides carrying on all by His powerful declaration, making a cleansing of sins, is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the heights." (CLNT)
The Emblem and Effulgence are both descriptions of Christ, as we can see in the context.
The Effulgence is the Radiant Splendor of God's glory through Christ. Paul (I believe) saw this radiant spender when He saw the bright light of the glory of God, through Christ, on the road to Damascus. We read:
"At midday, on the road, I perceived, O king, a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining about me and those going together with me. Besides, at all of us falling down to the earth, I hear a voice saying to me in the Hebrew vernacular, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting Me? Hard is it for you to be kicking against the goads!'
Now I say, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' Now the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting." (Acts 26:13-15)
The Emblem (Christ) is the role God assumes whenever God manifests Himself to His creation.
In the case of Adam, and His wife, the Image was the One who made for them skins for clothing (if one takes this literally). This is a beautiful display of God's care for us when we can't seem to care for ourselves. God's expression (Christ) came and met the needs of the two who were trying to cover up what they had done (Genesis 3:7).
In the earliest book written from the scriptures, Job, we read:
"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God (Eloah), Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!" (Job 19:25-27)
Job makes the claim that his Redeemer was alive at the time of his life, and, he will see God.
I added the title Eloah in parenthesis, as that is the proper name title. It is a plural noun for god's or deity, and is found in a few literal translation (CLOT, Dabhar Translation), Elohim is derived from Eloah. Eloah (who Job will see) is the same Elohim, (Expression), that Adam and Eve saw in the garden. And that is Christ, Job's
Redeemer, the One who is the Image (visible expression) of the invisible God, the image (emblem) God assumes when He comes Face to face with His creation.
AFTER ME YOU COME FIRST
In Genesis chapter 18 we read the account of when God paid a visit with Abraham and Sarah.
"Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, "My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant. Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "There, in the tent." He said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son. Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off. The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?" (Genesis 18:1-5, 9-10, 16-18)
Here, again, we read of the Expression God assumes when He speaks Face to face with His creation.
Jesus, in John's account, while having a discourse with the Jews, tells them of His existence before Abraham's time, but first He acknowledges their (the Jews) linage through Abraham:
"(The Jews say);The seed of Abraham are we, and we have never been slaves of anyone(Jesus agrees) I am aware that you are Abraham's seed." (John 8:33-37)
It should be noted that Jesus makes no claim of being of the linage (seed) of Abraham. How could He, when we read in Genesis 18 that He spoke with Abraham Face to face. What Jesus does tell them is:
"Abraham, your father, exults that he may become acquainted with My day, and he was acquainted with it and rejoiced." The Jews, then, said to Him, "You have not as yet lived fifty years, and you have seen Abraham!" Jesus said to them, "Verily, verily, I am saying to you, Ere Abraham came into being, I am." (John 8:56-58)
Jesus is telling them, that before Abraham was, He had already been.
AND IN THIS CORNER
There is an interesting account in the scriptures concerning Jacob as he was journeying toward his brother Esau. Jacob sent all his company ahead of himself, when he was alone a man came to him and we are told:
"A man wrestled with him until daybreak.When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked him and said, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved." (Genesis 32:24-30)
Jacob said: "I have seen God face to face."
Did Jacob really see "GOD", God who we are told is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17)?
John in his epistle which was written centuries later, tells us in 1John 7:12:
"No one has ever gazed upon God."
John also wrote in his Gospel account:
"God no one has ever seen. The only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He unfolds Him." (John 1:18)
Calling Jesus the only-begotten God reveals to us what Paul said in Philippians:
"Who, being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God."
Jacob saw Christ, the only begotten equal in purpose with God, Who is in the bosom (heart) of the Father, the One that Phillip asked to see, and Jesus answered:
"Philip is saying to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficing us." Jesus is saying to him, "So much time I am with you, and you do not know Me, Philip! He who has seen Me has seen the Father, and how are you saying, 'Show us the Father'? Are you not believing that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The declarations which I am speaking to you I am not speaking from Myself. Now the Father, remaining in Me, He is doing His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; yet if not, believe Me because of the works themselves. (John 14:8-11)
Christ is the One Who is equal with God, He unfolds God to us, points us toward God (John 1:1). He is the word that became flesh (John 1:14). He is the voice of God. He is the One Who is worshipped as God, as Thomas said when he finally saw the risen Christ:
"And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
He was the One that Jacob wrestled with.
SON OF DAVID?
"I am the root of the race of David." (Revelation 22:16)
From the genealogies in both Matthew and Luke we read the worlds perspective of Jesus' human linage through both His father Joseph's family, and His mother Mary's family, respectively. Joseph was Jesus's legal father, and Mary, although His birth mother, was not His biological mother, she was a surrogate mother, as we read:
"And the messenger said to her, Fear not, Miriam, for you found favor with God. And lo! you shall be conceiving and be pregnant and be bringing forth a Son, and you shall be calling His name Jesus. He shall be great, and Son of the Most High shall He be called. And the Lord God shall be giving Him the throne of David, His father, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation. Yet Miriam said to the messenger, "How shall this be, since I know not a man? And answering, the messenger said to her, "Holy spirit shall be coming on you, and the power of the Most High shall be overshadowing you; wherefore also the holy One Who is being generated shall be called the Son of God. Now Jesus Christ's birth was thus: At the espousal of His mother, Mary, to Joseph, ere their coming together, she was found pregnant by holy spirit. Now Joseph, her husband, being just and not willing to hold her up to infamy, intended covertly to dismiss her. Now at his brooding over these things, lo! a messenger of the Lord appeared to him in a trance, saying, "Joseph, son of David, you may not be afraid to accept Miriam, your wife, for that which is being generated in her is of holy spirit. Now she shall be bringing forth a Son, and you shall be calling His name Jesus, for He shall be saving His people from their sins. Wherefore, entering into the world, He is saying, Sacrifice and approach present Thou dost not will, Yet a body dost Thou adapt to Me." (Luke 1:30-35, Matthew 1:18-21, Hebrews 10:5)
We see this in type when we read of Melchizedec:
"For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who meets with Abraham returning from the combat with the kings and blesses him, to whom Abraham parts a tithe also, from all; being first, indeed, translated king of righteousness," yet thereupon king of Salem, also, which is "king of Peace"; fatherless, motherless, without a genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor consummation of life, yet picturing the Son of God is remaining a priest to a finality." (Hebrews 5:1-3)
So although from a human perspective Jesus had a mother and father, and was born of Mary, and of the linage of David (through Mary and Joseph), He was actually generated by holy spirit, and was therefore fatherless and motherless, as far as a human mother and father having a part in His being generated. His real Father was/is God. We read that:
"Who, being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God,
nevertheless empties Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming to be in the likeness of humanity, and, being found in fashion as a human, He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:6-8)
The body that was adapted for Him was in the likeness of a human, yet (and that is the reason) it could not see corruption (decay), even in death:
"Wherefore, in a different place also, He is saying, 'Thou wilt not be giving Thy Benign One to be acquainted with decay.' For David, indeed, subserving his own generation by God's counsel, was put to repose, and was added to his fathers, and was acquainted with decay; yet He Whom God rouses was not acquainted with decay." (Acts 13:35-37)
Jesus's body laid in a tomb for three days and three nights, and from what these verses tell us there was no decaying of the body. Unlike Lazarus who was dead in a tomb for four days, and when Jesus asked for the stone to be removed, Martha interjected: there will be a smell of his decaying body. So, although Jesus' body could die (it had to, for the remission of Sin) it could not decay, as it was completely of holy spirit, yet made in the likeness of a human, to preform what was necessary to bring all to God. He did not have an unrighteous sinful nature, or a corruptible body inherited from Adam, through Mary. He had a Righteous holy nature, and an incorruptible body, which was inherent from His Father-God.
When Jesus spoke with the Pharisees concerning if the Christ is the Son of David, He asked them:
"Now, the Pharisees being gathered, Jesus inquires of them, saying, "What are you supposing concerning the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They are saying to Him, "David's." He is saying to them, "How, then, is David, in spirit, calling Him Lord, saying,
'Said the Lord to my Lord, 'Sit at My right, Till I should be placing Thine enemies underneath "Thy feet!"'? If, then, David is calling Him Lord, how is He his Son?"
And no one was able to answer Him a word, neither dares anyone, from that day, inquire of Him any longer." (Matthew 22:41-46)
Jesus, in the above verses, denies any biological connection with king David. How could He be a Son of David, when David is calling Him Lord?
Jesus was telling them that He does not have His roots in David, David has his roots in Him (Revelation 22:16)
COULD NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAVE GOTTEN IT RIGHT?
When we come to the book of Daniel, there is an account of the three (Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego) friends of Daniel, who are tossed into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship the image of gold that Nebuchadnezzar had made.
The fire was stoked to seven times hotter than was necessary to burn them up. When cast into the furnace the three fall down, yet when Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he sees a forth figure standing with the three. He asked his counselors:
"Did we not throw three men, firmly bound, into the fire?" "Certainly, O king," they replied. He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!" (Daniel 3:24-25)
Nebuchadnezzar could not possibly know of the Son of God, but to his eyes, and his limited understanding of the true God, he says the only thing that makes any sense to him: "the fourth person looks like a son of the gods." Later in verse 28 Nebuchadnezzar calls the deliverer of the three cast into the fire an angel, who was sent by God.
It was Nebuchadnezzar who made the two statements: one like a son of the gods, and the angel sent from God, that is what was recorded, but not necessarily the truth concerning Who was in the furnace with the three men.
The fourth person was the Son of God, Who once again comes to His people in their time of need.
In Isaiah we read:
"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you, When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;" (Isaiah 43:1-3)
It was God in the Expression He assumes, Christ, Who delivered the three from the flames. Nebuchadnezzar was close to the truth, but not quite there.
THE WISDOM OF GOD
"Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24)
In Proverbs chapter eight we read of wisdom. In the first several verses it speaks of what wisdom does for all who hear it calling. As you read further something changes, wisdom takes on a persona, that is birthed:
"Yahweh Himself acquired me as the beginning of His way; preceding His deeds of yore. From the eon was I inaugurated, from the beginning, preceding the earth;
When there were no abysses I was travailed in birth, when there were no springs teeming with water. Ere the mountains were sunk in place, before the hills, I was travailed in birth, when He had not yet made the earth and its open places, or the beginning of soil for the habitance. When He established- the heavens I was there,
when He delineated- the horizon on the face of the abyss, when He made the skies firm above, when He set the springs of the abyss with strength-, When He established the for the sea its statutory limit, so that the waters, they may not pass beyond His bidding, when He delineated- the foundations of the earth. Then I was beside Him as His foster child (Master Workman: NASB, the Enfaithed One; Dabhar), and I was filled with bliss day by day." (Proverbs 8:22-30)
It should be obvious to all that God does not acquire wisdom. For those who are uncertain of the meaning of acquire: "Buy or obtain (an object or asset) for oneself. Learn or develop (a skill, habit, or quality)."
Does God learn wisdom, does God buy wisdom?
Could wisdom be filled with bliss, be beside Him, as a Master worker? An Enfaithed One?, as verse 30 from Proverbs 8 tells us.
We read of The Master worker's (Christ, the Expression (Image), power and wisdom of God) work in Paul's writings:
"(Christ) Who is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him. And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first, for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell"
John wrote these words that Jesus spoke concerning that time of bliss He enjoyed with His Father-God, and His longing to return there:
"I glorify Thee on the earth, finishing the work which Thou hast given Me, that I should be doing it. And now glorify Thou Me, Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had before the world is with Thee." (John 17:4-5)
ARE THE ANTICHRIST?
"For many deceivers came out into the world, who are not avowing Jesus Christ coming in flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." (2 John:7)
The title "antichrist" has for some reason been set aside for some future world ruler/dictator. So when many think of this title they assume it cannot refer to themselves, or their teachings concerning Jesus Christ: Who He was, or Who He is, or when He was begotten.
John, in the above verse, clearly tells us who antichrist is. It is someone who denies Jesus Christ's coming in flesh. Those who deny His preexistence do believe He was here in the flesh, they believe He became Christ at a certain time during His earthly ministry. They deny He emptied Himself of His glory, which He had with His Father-God, even though Paul tells us in Philippians 2:6-8:
"Who, being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God, nevertheless empties Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming to be in the likeness of humanity, and, being found in fashion as a human, He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
They deny His coming in flesh (the coming in flesh as John describes to us in 2 John, and above from Paul).
They deny that He was the One who walked in the garden, spoke with Abraham, protected the three in the fiery furnace, wrestled with Jacob, and His other appearing's before He emptied Himself and became a child in Bethlehem. They deny that all was created through Him, that He was a Master worker at His Father-God's side, they deny His previous glory, the glory He longed for while He was here on earth and longed to return to.
They do believe He was a man, the Son of David, through the linage of Mary his mother, and Joseph his legal father, and at some point in his life as a man, he became the Christ.
Does their belief fit the definition of an antichrist? You will have to decide that.
Although there are many who believe in the preexistence of Christ, many deny that He took on flesh before He came to be flesh in Bethlehem. I ask, Who was it that these men and women saw, ate with, wrestled with, were helped by, rescued by, whom they called God, or a son of the gods, or an angel sent from God, if not the Christ.
The flesh expression He was seen in could quite possibly be the flesh that will be inherited in the coming kingdom. His flesh was different than that of ours, it was generated by holy spirit ( Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:20, Genesis 3:15), not by or with the help of another human (only to carry Him to full term), not immortal, yet not mortal, and not corruptible, it was adapted to finish the work His Father-God had sent Him to accomplish:
"Wherefore, entering into the world, He is saying, Sacrifice and approach present Thou dost not will, Yet a body dost Thou adapt to Me." (Hebrews 10:5)