38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
"I have come down from heaven", Jesus said. Clearly, Jesus came down from heaven. He comes from heaven, and have been sent to the world.
Clearly, this passage speaks of Him as preexisting in heaven before He existed on earth.
Here are some questions to think about:
1. Who was He who came down from heaven? Does He have a name? If so, what is His name in heaven?
2. What was His nature of existence in heaven? Is He invisible and immortal?
3. Who is He relative to God?
Do you believe what Jesus says in this verse?
If not, why not?
If you do, how do you answer the 3 questions above? Do you have answers?
My answers: Yes, I believe totally in what Jesus says in this verse, I believe everything anyone inspired says in the Bible. So if for example Sadducees claimed there is no life after death, I don't believe that, they were not inspired to say that. Or if Pharisees said Jesus committed blasphemy, I don't believe that. But I believe of course everything Jesus said, he is always infallible. And I believe everything that apostles wrote in the Bible, they were inspired. Likewise what prophets of God wrote in the Bible, they were inspired, it is all true.
So my answers to your other questions:
1. Before he came down from heaven, he was already the Word, and the Son of God. When did he become the Christ, already in preexistence, or was he anointed in Mary, I don't know. God anointed him.
Does he have a name? Now his main name is Jesus. Another name of his is Immanuel. He still has those names in heaven. He did not have those names in his preexistence in heaven. Maybe his name was Michael, that would be true if he is the Archangel. Or possibly he did not have any name. Or his preexistence name is not revealed in the Bible.
2. His nature in his preexistence in heaven was probably as a powerful spirit being. Though I can't completely eliminate the possibility of what some Oneness Pentecostals teach, that in his preexistence he was not a person, but a form. Is he invisible and immortal? Now he is. Back then, in his preexistence, if he was a powerful spirit being, he was invisible too. If he was just a form, he was perhaps visible. But he was not immortal, he died later on the cross. But now he won't die again, he is now immortal.
3. Who is He relative to God? If Oneness Pentecostals are right, he is now in a human spiritual glorified body with God formerly incarnate inside, now dwelling inside, since I believe he no longer has flesh. He is therefore God, the only person of the Godhead.
If Trinitarians or Binitarians are right, he is now the second person of the Godhead, with similarly a glorified human body, where the second person was incarnated, and now dwells, since he no longer has flesh.
If Arian churches are right, he is now a powerful spiritual person, with a spiritual body in which the spirit was incarnated and now dwells, and that spiritual person is the second most powerful person in the world, he might be God's holy Archangel.
But regardless of the theories above, he is God's holy Christ, the anointed King of kings, the Word, our Lord. That's who he is relative to God for sure. And he is faithfully and lovingly obedient to God the Father. So that is his obedient relation to God.
So as you can see, I do have answers. And where the Bible provides us with clear answers, I am dogmatic about my answers. Where the Bible provides us at most with possible hints, about what Jesus might be, I am likewise not able to be dogmatic, I can provide only guesses. I expect we will know far more after we are resurrected. Like Paul wrote, now we see through glass darkly, but when the perfect comes, we will know.
Who was He who came down from heaven?
Your answer: the Word, the Son of God.
Does He have a name? If so, what is His name in heaven?
Your answer: You don't really know.
I agree that it is the Word, the Son of God was Him who came down from heaven. And before He came down from heaven and came to earth, He is called or referred to in scriptures as the Word, the Son of God, the Christ. Certainly, scriptures does not call or refer to Him in the name Michael.
What was His nature of existence in heaven? That you can't really tell. So, you don't know.
Well, as for me, being referred to by John as the Word, that He is spirit in nature.
Is He invisible and immortal? I was referring of course to the time before He came down from heaven. And your answer is that, as to His being invisible or not, you really don't know or can't tell. And as to His being immortal, you say He was not immortal.
As for me, being a spirit, He is invisible. And that He is immortal. His dying later on the cross was not that He was not immortal, but that, because He became a mortal human.
Who is He relative to God? You said "he is God's holy Christ, the anointed King of kings, the Word, our Lord.".
As for me, in relation to God, He is the Son of God.
Well, of course now Christ has names. But did he have any names before he became incarnated in Mary? The Word, the Son of God, the Christ are titles, not names. So perhaps his name was Michael. He is called in the Old Testament the Prince of Israel. That can fit the Son of God, as the ruler of Israel. Michael is mentioned in the New Testament as coming at the end, right before the resurrection. That can fit the Son of God well. So even if he is God, he might be called Michael. Michael is called the archangel, meaning he rules over the angels. That role can fit the Son of God well.
Now was he visible and immortal, before coming into Mary? As far as being invisible, if he was a spirit, then yes, he was invisible. If he was a form, as some Oneness Pentecostals think, then I guess he was visible. Maybe hidden somewhere, but still potentially visible.
Was he immortal? If he was a person, a spirit, not just a form, then he surely knew he was going to die. Anyone fated to die, is mortal.
And of course I agree that one important thing he is in relation to God, is he is the Son of God. Of course that is not all he is to God. But it is certainly necessary for us to know he is God's Son, without knowing it we can't be saved. So it is vitally important information.
You said "The Word, the Son of God, the Christ are titles, not names."
He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
His NAME is called The Word of God.
Is that a title or a name? Or is a title considered a name or not?
Is "Lord of Host" (Yah-weh ṣə-ḇā-’ō-wṯ) a title or a name?
For the rest, you don't have to explain yourself repeatedly Tomas, what you don't know:
Does He have a name? If so, what is His name in heaven? You don't really know.
What was His nature of existence in heaven? That you can't really tell. So, you don't know.
Is He invisible? You don't know.
Was He immortal before He became a mortal human? You don't know.
Who is He relative to God? And I'm referring to relationship Tomas, in the same sense of the question, who is the Christian in relation to God?
You have good knowledge of Rev. 19:13, I forgot about that. So yes, Word is another name of Jesus. And he had that name from the time he was created.
In Yahweh of hosts, Yahweh is the Father's name.
Christ has names in heaven now, like Jesus, Word, Immanuel.
I assume he is invisible now, since he has a spiritual glorified body.
Relative to God, Christ is His only begotten son, just like we Christians have a somewhat similar relation to God, we are his adopted sons and daughters.
So, I understand that, you now believe that the Son is called the "Word" before He came down from heaven to come to earth. That's good.
Regarding "Lord of Host", is this a title or a name? You have not answered this.
In some translations of the OT, he is called the LORD of hosts. When all 4 letters are capitalized, it is a substitution for the holy name Yahweh, because in the New Testament Lord is substituted for Yahweh. So most translators did a similar substitution in the OT. But some translations retain the holy name Yahweh, so they call him in the verses you speak of, Yahweh of hosts. Or it can be translated Yahweh of armies. There Yahweh is the name, and of hosts is the description, who he is Yahweh of.
So, can you tell me directly what is "LORD (Yahweh) of Host", if it is a name or a title?
Now, what does it mean when you say God is the "Yahweh of" ....?
The whole phrase "Yahweh of hosts" is not a name or a title. The word Yahweh is the name. "Of hosts" is the description, that he is Yahweh of whom? Of hosts, of armies.
"Yahweh of" ... What does that mean?
What it means, in English it is a sequence of two words, the holy name Yahweh, followed by the possessive preposition 'of'. In Hebrew, no preposition 'of' is used, so instead the possessed noun Yahweh is in the construct case. In a language like Czech, first comes the holy name, followed by 'of hosts', with no preposition, but the word 'hosts' is in genitive case. Similarly in ancient Greek or also in Modern Greek. So it all depends on the language.
If the whole phrase "Yahweh of hosts" is not a name or a title, then what is it?
Perhaps you are right, but it remains that "LORD of Host" or "Yah-weh ṣə-ḇā-’ō-wṯ" is a title of God, an appellation of God, a name of God.
And maybe you'll tell me that "Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords" is not a name too, nor is a title, but some descriptive words in sequence. Well it is a name. And who can be such, no one except God, who is the King of kings, and the Lord of Lords?
I'm not a linguist like you, but I believe in scriptures, which says that such is a name.
Yahweh of hosts, is the holy name Yahweh, followed by a prepositional phrase in English, 'of hosts'. It is a possessive construction. So the 3 words together are a noun phrase. Not a name or a title, or an appellation.
In the book of Revelation, King of kings and Lord of lords is a name of Christ, not a name of the Father. The Father has only one name. So for the Father, King of kings, Lord of lords, are two titles.
So now at least you admit that "King of kings and Lord of Lords" is a name.
Yes, Christ has several names, unlike the Father.
"King of kings and Lord of Lords" is a name, and not something you may explain away to be some noun phrase or what. And what a name indeed it is. And that while this name is truly most fitting and absolutely to be of that of no one else but the only almighty God, it is revealed in scriptures that such is the name of the Word who became flesh, who dwelt amongst sinful men, of no reputation, in the form of a bondservant, having nowhere to lay His head even.
Regarding this "King of kings and Lord of Lords", scriptures declare:
1 Timothy 6:13-16 [CAPS MINE]
13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, HE WHO IS the blessed and only Potentate, THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, 16 WHO ALONE has IMMORTALITY, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
Revelation 17:14 [CAPS MINE]
14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, FOR HE IS LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."
16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
As the Spirit & Truth Fellowship International points out on their website, Christ himself asserted in Mt. 28:18 "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth". So no wonder he can be called King of kings and Lord of lords. Yet the Spirit & Truth Fellowship does not believe Christ is God, they simply believe all power has been given to Christ by God. So God is the ultimate authority. And of course Christ is not Lord over the Father, he is not King over the Father. So Christ is not necessarily God, just because he too has the titles of King of kings and Lord of Lords, and it is even one of his names. Christ himself pointed out that the Father is greater than him. And that he obeys the Father. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Father obeys Christ. So just because the Father has given Christ all power in heaven and on earth, does not mean he has given him power over himself. Meaning over the Father. After all, 1 Tim. 6:15 says of the Father that he too is King of kings and Lord of lords. So it is impossible that Christ meant that he has been given power over his Father.
Are you one with the Spirit & Truth Fellowship International on this issue? Or do you take what they believe to support your position and belief regarding our issue here?
You point out that Christ is not King nor Lord over the Father. Yet that is not the issue here, and is an entirely different matter. And that, certainly implies that, Christ is not truly King of kings and Lord of lords, as He is not King or Lord over the Father. That sure puts the title in question, as it turns out to be vague. Or I suppose, so that you can say that Christ and the Father are both King of kings and Lord of lords, yet in a different sense. But scriptures does not make any such distinction as you here try to put up. Scriptures simply and clearly tells us, straight away, that Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and that God is King of kings and Lord of lords.
When someone ask you the question "Who is the King of kings and the Lord of Lords?", what will your answer be? Or is the question somewhat invalid or incomplete?
Personally I believe the Spirit & Truth Fellowship is too dogmatic in claiming that Christ is not God. He could be God after all. But the Bible does not say he is God or is not God either. So their argument supports my point, but they take it too far, too dogmatic about him not being God.
Christ is King of kings, but not of all kings, he is not King over the Father. Likewise Christ is Lord of lords, but not of all lords, he is not Lord over the Father.
So if someone asks me "Who is the King of kings and Lord of lords", I will say both the Father and the Son are, thought the Son is not King over the Father, and likewise he is not the Lord over the Father, while the Father is King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.
And there you go, your answer is that both the Father and the Son, but the title means differently for the Father and different for the Son.
My simple answer to the question is God.
Yes, it is a bit different for the two of them. Your answer is God, now the Son could be God too, but the Bible does not teach he is God. So the Bible does not tell us.
In your perspective, you don't see that the Bible teach that Christ is Deity, and so goes your answer.
On the other hand, I see the Bible teaching the Deity of Christ, and so my simple answer to the question is God.
You think the Bible teaches Christ is God, but I have not seen any proof that it does. A few verses could be interpreted by you that it does, but then many verses could be interpreted that Christ is not God. And there is no contradiction. So I believe the clear conclusion is again that no verse really teaches he is God, and no verse clearly teaches he is not God. After all, some verses make it clear there is a lot we still don't know about God.
Your having not seen any proof that the Bible teaches Christ is God, does not mean it's not there. And I can understand why you don't believe it as I do. I see it, and you don't. And so we believe differently.
We just have to respect each other then on this matter.
Well, of course a Christian who believes Christ is not God, can tell me similarly: "Your having not seen any proof that the Bible teaches Christ is not God, does not mean it's not there. And I can understand why you don't believe it as I do. I see it, and you don't. And so we believe differently.
We just have to respect each other then on this matter."
And so I respect him, as I respect you.
I can see scriptures speaking of the deity and of the humanity of Christ, and so it is what I believe.
Yes, different Christians think they see different things in the Bible.
So some Christians will say: I can see scriptures speaking of the non-deity and of the humanity of Christ, and so it is what I believe.
It is just like different Christians believe they see different doctrines in the Bible about things like oaths, warfare, Sunday, Sabbath, water baptism, Holy Spirit baptism, salvation, life after death, etc., so there are differences among Christians on lots of issues.
Yes apparently there are differences among those who believes in the Bible to be God's words. That is the reality, sad to say.
Now, what one sees in scriptures, that is what he should believe. To believe anything that he does not see to be in scriptures is not wise. That is why, the noble Bereans comes to mind. We should learn from them. And I believe that, if everyone practice what they did, examining in the scriptures before they believe anything preached to them to be the truth, there will be less differences.
The task was somewhat simpler for the Bereans. They were studying the Old Testament, to see if Christianity is right, if Jesus is really the Christ promised in the Old Testament. So they could check verses pointed out to them that Jesus fulfilled, and they could see that he really fulfilled them.
But now we have the New Testament, and it can be more difficult to figure out some of the doctrines. For example a Christian can read Jesus telling us not to swear oaths, just say no or yes, and James writing similarly. So he would conclude that swearing oaths is always sinful. But then one can study more carefully, and find out that for example Paul seems to be swearing oaths, in two verses. So then one has to figure it out, some think that what Paul wrote was not really oaths, others say that they were clear oaths, so then what Jesus and James meant is to avoid unnecessary oaths, not all oaths. So I became convinced that important oaths, like in a court, are not sinful. But some disagree.
And likewise with the other doctrines I mentioned, often it is a matter of trying to harmonize verses that seem at first sight to contradict each other, so then some resolve the seeming contradiction by emphasizing one set of verses and explaining the other set of verses with the first ones, and other Christians instead emphasize the other set of verses, and explain the first set of verses using the other verses. That is what so often leads to doctrinal disagreements among Christians. Like with the oaths, some emphasize the verses that seem to prohibit oaths, others emphasize the exceptions.
Don't be too worried about what others who read scriptures think or understand about what they read. The important thing is that they believe that all scriptures is God's words and is true and does not contradict itself, and they read it to see and know the truth. I do believe that, each should pray to God, to guide them in this. If one truly seek truth in scriptures, he will find truth, as God wills and grants him understanding, in his time.
I do believe that, there will be less of differences, when each believer diligently pray and read and meditate on scriptures, and with an open heart and mind, try to hear what God says to them in scriptures.
But isn't that true of all denominations that preach the gospel, that many believers in them diligently pray and read and meditate on scriptures, and with an open heart and mind, try to hear what God says to them in scriptures? It sure is. Yet, the differences persist. It is just difficult to figure out some parts of the New Testament. So your solution will not work. The differences will persist, until Christ comes back, we are resurrected, and we will be taught correctly. I think then we will learn to understand every verse in the Bible.
Yes, I do want to believe that. But I believe that most of Christians, when reading scriptures, start off with their prejudices and biases to their belief. And so I said "I do believe that, there will be less of differences, when each believer diligently pray and read and meditate on scriptures, and with an open heart and mind, try to hear what God says to them in scriptures".
Most Christians start off with their prejudices and biases to their belief? Now in some cases they start off because they were taught some belief. In other cases, they can read the Bible for themselves, and interpret it the way they think they understand it, so that can start the bias. For example someone can grow up thinking that oaths are OK, since no one told him otherwise. Then he can start reading the Bible, and reaches Mt. 5:33-34, and sees Jesus telling us 'Do not swear at all'. So he can change his mind, and think that Jesus is telling us that all oaths are sinful, that we are commanded not to swear under any circumstances. So then when he reads for example Rev. 10:6, where an angel swore, then he can think angels are allowed to swear, but we are not. But then he might miss for example Heb. 6:16, which approves of some oaths. Or he might miss 2 Cor. 1:23 and Gal. 1:20, not recognize that there Paul swore an oath. He might then see James 5:12, which also seems to command us not to swear oaths.
On the other hand, it is true that someone can grow up Mennonite, or Amish, or Hutterite, or in some other denomination that forbids oaths, for example the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), which is a much larger denomination than even any Mennonite denomination, so he can be taught from childhood that oaths are always sinful, so that bias can start from childhood, and then it can be reinforced by reading Mt. 5:33-34 and James 5:12.
So in either case, he can diligently pray and read and meditate on the verses, and with an open heart and mind, try to hear what God says to them in scriptures, but it might not help him at all, he can then continue to think that oaths are sinful, so that when a Christian swears an oath, for example in a court, he is sinning.
It is simply that some verses can be hard to harmonize with each other. So an unbeliever can read such verses and say they contradict each other, the Bible is unreliable. But the believer faces the difficult task of harmonizing such verses. Some harmonize them correctly, some incorrectly. I might have harmonized correctly the verses about oaths, but incorrectly some other verses. Some other Christian might have harmonized incorrectly the verses about oaths, but correctly some other verses, which would seem to an unbeliever to contradict each other.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This speaks of the natural man. Opposite the natural man is the spiritual man. And as the natural man can't receive and can't know the things of of the Spirit of God, the spiritual man can.
Here's Paul's prayer for the Colossian Christians:
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Paul ask of God to fill them with knowledge and SPIRITUAL understanding.
But many verses are difficult even for Christians. So even though the things of the Spirit of God are spiritually discerned, and God can fill us with knowledge of His will and spiritual understanding, that does not mean that God will reveal to us what verses mean. God fills us with knowledge and spiritual understanding through the Bible alone, not through some revelation about what something means. Likewise we discern meaning spiritually, with our spirit, but again it does not mean that God gives us new revelation about what some verse means, so that we become infallible about that verse.
Yes many verses are difficult even for the Christian. And that gives the more reason for them to pray to God, to fill them with knowledge and SPIRITUAL understanding of difficult verses.
You said "God fills us with knowledge and spiritual understanding through the Bible alone, not through some revelation about what something means".
Does scripture teach us what you say there? Please cite scriptural reference relative to this so I can examine and consider it. Thanks.
You said "Likewise we discern meaning spiritually, with our spirit..."
And only the Christian, the spiritual man, would be able to discern the things of God, unlike the natural man who cannot receive nor can he know them, because the spirit of God who alone knows the things of God, is in the Christian, but not in the natural unbelieving man. This is not to say at all that the Christian is infallible concerning the things of God, but that, the Christian have in him who can give him knowledge and understanding of the things of God.
The unbeliever could very well have his own understanding of what he reads in scriptures and some may well be the right understanding. But that does not mean that he is capable of understanding the things of God written in scriptures. For scriptures says that no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now the unbeliever does not have the Spirit of God. This is why scriptures says that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, nor can he know them.
The basic principle is that our understanding is from the Bible alone, sola scriptura. Not some revelation from God about how to understand verses.
This principle is based on 1 Cor. 4:6, 'not to go beyond what is written'. If God gave us some understanding of verses, such understanding would not be written, so God would be violating his own principle, not to go beyond what is written. And of course God would not do that. So we need to rely on the Bible alone. We can pray to God for more wisdom, but not for understanding, that won't work.
Perhaps you pray for more wisdom and not for understanding, for some reason. But I'd say that to say that "We can pray to God for more wisdom, but not for understanding" is definitely wrong and a false teaching. Scriptures speak of Paul praying for Christians in Colosse (Colossians 1:9), in fact do not cease to pray for them that they may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We also have Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:7, said "...may the Lord give you understanding in all things". So, needless to say, I believe that we can pray that God gives us understanding, for scriptures shows that we can.
This is not to mean that, the understanding that God gives is some revelation from God about how to understand verses. It is spiritual understanding. This understanding is that which enables the Christian to understand the spiritual things of God as revealed and written in scriptures. This does not all mean as going beyond what is written.