Before Abraham was–I am? (Resources & Notes)

[Note:  Jesus said:  “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.  And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (Jn. 5:37-40).

These verses have been interpreted by some to claim that no one ever heard the voice of God, allowing for such an interpretation to replace the voice of God with another individual–namely Jesus–and thereby implying that Jesus was the God who spoke to the people of Israel and not God the Father.

However, Scripture clearly defines the God of the Fathers as God the Father and the father of Jesus, and he alone claims to be speaking for himself.

Additionally, if people claim that no one ever heard God, and yet claim that Jesus is God, while also claiming Jesus spoke to Moses, then we have a natural contradiction because if Jesus was God, they indeed heard the voice of God.  That is to say the people of Israel and Moses were witnesses that they heard the voice of God.]

[Note:  The idea of Jesus being a co-creator is not found in the Bible.  The notion of this interpretation is based on the incorrect conclusion that the Logos is a separate being from God the Father, with the further assumption being that he was then transformed into the person of Jesus the Christ.  Taking the interpretation further was a result of assuming that Jesus’ words about not seeing or hearing God, when he spoke to some of the Jews who confronted him, could be randomly applied to all situations where God’s voice was spoken to different individuals, such as to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, John and the disciples of Jesus.

Thus, the idea of translating Logos as “spokesman” assumed and fabricated a conclusion that someone else must be speaking instead of God, even though the Bible is clear that the one speaking claims to be the God of the Fathers.  Where the false notion takes an unusual turn is when it also assumes that a spokesman can claim to be the person they are speaking for, when in reality they cannot, and so what we have is an imposition on the Scripture.]

[Note:  The writer(s) of Hebrews insert a quote from the Psalms in order to explain the relationship of Jesus with God the Father.  In some cases, it is incorrectly assumed that Psalm 45 is speaking of Jesus as being God, but a closer examination of the work shows differently.  Psalm 45 is a matter that addresses “the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (Ps. 45:1).  The context is one of a ruler who has a God, and the writer addresses the king’s arrows in his enemies, and his garments and his daughters, with other examples, and the writer exalts God who is stated to be the God of the king, for we read:  “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.  Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Ps 45:6-7).

The reason the king can be anointed with the “oil of gladness” is because he was anointed by God.

In Psalms 45 the king is placed into the context of “thy God,” which is the God of the king, and it is this God who has anointed the king with “gladness above thy fellow,” which the writer(s) of Hebrews uses to show the relationship of God and Jesus, wherein the king is Jesus—and not God.]

[Note:  In Hebrews chapter one, the writer is not labeling or calling Jesus God, but is quoting what is being said to the son, borrowed from the psalms, which again shows Jesus as the one who has a God.  For we see the context is one of God, who speaks through his son:

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.  But unto the Son he saith [the Psalmist saith], Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb. 1:1-8).

We notice in this context that we see a comparison of what is being said, and to whom it is being said, for we have 1) when the “first begotten came into the world,” which is Jesus, and 2) it tells us “and of the angels he saith,” which is a statement about the angels. and how they are only ministering spirits, and they are not exalted to the throne of God.

Here again Jesus is not called God, but follows the pattern of the Psalmist, and refers to Jesus as the one who has a God (“thy God”) and he is the one anointed by God.

Thus, the Psalmist is qualifying his statement by exalting the God who anoints him, and the Psalmist addresses this to the king, or we can say the Psalmist is writing from the perspective that he is addressing the king, and it is not what he is calling the king, but rather what he is saying directly to the king, and by doing so he exalts God for being the one who anoints the king.]

[Note:  When Paul wrote to the Colossians he opens his address with an important distinction between God and Jesus by saying, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Col 1:3).

Here God is the Father of Jesus.

This framework is what defines the issues that Paul addresses in the remaining part of the chapter, and Paul focuses on what is known by the prophets and the apostles when speaking of Jesus and God the Father.  It is often assumed that Paul is only talking about Jesus in a narrowed context because people tend to follow the interpretation by the pronouns, instead of the agreement between the prophets and the apostles.

For Paul tells us “ Col 1:12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:12-14).

The points taken are these: 1) God delivered us and translated us into a kingdom, and 2) this kingdom is that of his son’s and our redemption is through his sacrifice.  In Col. 1:14-15 is a qualifier for what is described about the son, as 1) a sacrifice, a redeemer and the way to be forgiven of sins, and 2) he is not God, but “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” ( Col 1:15).

The latter became true at the resurrection of Jesus.

But the one who created all things is God, as defined by the apostles and prophets, and so for Jesus’ sake, and for the necessity of Jesus becoming the firstborn, everything else was created for that purpose, as Paul states:  “ Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:   And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col 1:16-20).

Here Paul reiterates the foundational knowledge in understanding what God did to bring this about and states that God was in Christ, “for it pleased the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell,” and so the spirit of God tabernacles in Jesus.

The preeminence is understood in that we consist and have our existence because of him, and he is the beginning of the creation.  In a sense, Jesus is the first thought, and was known of God before the physical creation, and all things were brought into being to fulfill God’s will in this regard.

Thus, the subject here is not a description of Jesus’ pre-existence, but Paul is using the order of the creation to explain the “preeminence” of Jesus, not his pre-existence, which is a misleading term and cannot be applied to the Christ.  Therefore, Paul is placing the issues in the order they are to be understood as Jesus “is before all things,” and by him “all things consist,” that is they consist for a reason, and the reason is Jesus.  It is not telling us that Jesus brought all things into existence, for Jesus tells us that God the Father did that, but Paul is telling us why we exist, and what the creation exists for, including the invisible things, and authorities, and so on.  For Paul tells the Colossians, as he did the Corinthians, that God was in Christ, and so Paul says:  “for it pleased the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell,” and so what God was creating by and through Jesus was not Adam and this world, but a kingdom of those like Jesus, and so he is the firstborn of this creation.]

[Note: The notion that Jesus was “fully” God, and “fully” man requires that the distinctions between God and man should be clearly understood and defined.  To say that Jesus was a man, and this was the understanding of those who saw him, and worked with him, then one is brought to figure out in what way he was God.

Was Jesus half god and half man?  Was he partly God and partly mane?  Was he a man in form, but his mind was that of God?  Is there a Bible position on these ideas?  Also, if Jesus was God, then did God, while maintaining his full powers and intellect, only take on the form of man, and how would that fit the definition of Jesus being “in the image of the invisible God”?  If he was fully God, and could not do the miracles on his own according to Jesus and the apostle Peter, in what way are we to define how he was “fully” God?

If he was God in mind, why was it that Jesus did not know everything if he was God, and if we say he didn’t know everything and claim it was because of his human limitations, then he was not “fully” God.  Considering that he would not know the day of his return, and he had to grow in wisdom, and according to Isaiah God does not have to be taught, “Who hath taught him?”  On, the other hand, Jesus had to be taught by God (Isa. 40,13, 14; Jn. 8:28; Lk. 2:52).

What this leads to is that the god/man concept is faulty on all fronts, and cannot be supported from Scripture.  For if Jesus was “fully” God, then he would look, be and do like God in every way, and no one would be able to look upon him, and he could not be tempted as Jesus was, but if he was “fully” man he would in every respect be like a human being, which is what Jesus was, being the only begotten of the Father, but “not of blood” (Jn. 1:13).]