Q & A Series:  What makes Jesus Christ the true and only son of God?

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Tom

To: craig@bibleanswerstand.org

Subject: Hey Craig

 

Hey Craig,

How are you?

I have a question for you: The term "Son of God" is applied to Jesus and to other Biblical Prophets.  What makes Jesus Christ the true and only son of God?

Thanks in advance,


Tom

 

 

Craig’s Answer:

 

 

Hi Tom,

 

The term “son of God” is generic and Jesus is distinguished from other people that are also called ‘sons of God” because he is referred to in the New Testament as, “the ONLY begotten son of God.”  Most Christians and all Muslims are totally ignorant about what the term “only begotten” son of God means.  Christians think it means that, “God became a man” by taking upon Himself “a body of flesh.”  This is ludicrous and why would anyone believe it? The reason Christians believe Jesus is “God” originates from his alleged role as the “second Person of the Trinity.”  The pagan dogma of the Trinity originated with the Roman Catholic Church teachings, which have subsequently permeated the doctrines and theology of the Christian churches. At my website you can find many studies and email Q & A’s on the Trinity and Jesus as the Son of God. (Links to several will be listed at the end of this email.)

 

Lastly, but not least, because Christians share their faith with Muslims by telling them that Jesus is the “son of God” because “God became flesh” or because “God became a man” (both absurd views), naturally Muslims have laughed and scoffed at such notions, but without realizing the hypocrisy of their own teaching. The Koran teaches that Jesus is a “true prophet” of Allah, and when I have asked a Muslim what he or she believes a “prophet” says and does, they always reply, “a prophet speaks the words of God.”  By this, they mean a prophet speaks as God’s messenger, not as God Himself.

 

Then I tell them I do not believe in the Trinity, nor do I believe Jesus is “God” or “Deity” in human form, but that he (Jesus) is the “only begotten” son of God.  To this, of course, thinking I refer to the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb, they shut off hearing and go their deceived way.  But in fact, Jesus BECAME the “only begotten” son of God, not at his birth as a man, but AFTER God raised him from the dead, and this was witnessed by over 500 hundred people.  Jesus himself said that one must believe in Him (Jesus) as the “only begotten son of God” (John 3:16), but by this, he refers to the regeneration  (resurrection), not his birth. 

 

In the Greek New Testament there are different words used for the actual birthing process.  The most prominent Greek word translated as born, begotten, birth is gennᜠ(NT: 1080); gennᜠmeans literally generation, kind, or offspring.  Another Greek word used for birth in scripture is tíktœ (NT: 5088) meaning to produce from seed, as a mother, a plant, the earth, etc. 

 

In Luke 1:31 the Greek word for, bear,” a son is tikto and not gennao.  Jesus would be produced from seed in his mother just like any other human baby.  There is one significant difference between Jesus’ conception and that of other humans; GOD was the One that used HIS power to generate the seed (or sperm cell) inside of Mary.

 

Jesus was called, “the son of God,” at his birth, but he BECAME God’s, “only begotten,” son at the resurrection from the dead.  The Greek word translated, “only begotten,” in John 1:18, and John 3:16, 18 is monogenoús and monogenoús (NT: 3439) means literally, “only-born, i.e. sole, or single of its kind.”  Acts 13:33 specifies the resurrection as when Jesus was, “begotten,” by his Father God (see below):

 

Acts 13:33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that he raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'You are My son; TODAY I have begotten you.' NASU 

 

Acts 13:33 denotes the exact point in time, (i.e. “today”), designated for Jesus to be “begotten,” by God the Father.  It happened when God raised him up and out from among the dead, saying, “Today, I have begotten you.”  This is a fulfillment of what was prophetically spoken thru the prophet David in Psalms 2:7.

 

Psalms 2:7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten you.’ NASU  

 

Because there was a spiritual birth occurring at the resurrection of Jesus the event qualified him as the firstborn son (meaning the first “begotten” son) of God from the dead.

 

Colossians 1:18 He (Jesus) also is the Head of his body, the church; seeing he is the beginning, the firstborn from (from = ek, ‘out of’) among the dead, so that he alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place stand first and be preeminent.  AMP

 

Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, NAS

 

In Colossians 1:18 Jesus is the firstborn from (from = ek, ‘out of’) among the dead because he was the first man to permanently come out of death’s hold.  In Revelation 1:5 Jesus is the firstborn OF the dead, which portrays him in a position of preeminence over others raised from the dead.

 

Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son according to the flesh, but he is GOD’S firstborn son according to the spirit.

 

Matthew 1:24-25 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth HER firstborn son.  And he called His name JESUS.  NKJV

 

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth HER firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  NKJV

 

When God raised Jesus from the dead He caused the human soul and spirit of the man to reenter the body of flesh and blood that had been crucified.  This is how God caused the mortal body of His son to come to life, but there was something even more miraculous.  God the Father likens the resurrection of His son to be the moment in time (i.e. “Today”) when HE gave, “birth,” after HIS (God’s) own kind.  We might compare this spiritual birth to that of human beings whose fleshly bodies give birth after THEIR own kind (See Genesis 5:1-5).

 

I am not teaching some esoteric, pie-in-the-sky, or hard to understand doctrine when I say God the Father gave birth to His son Jesus at the resurrection.  In fact, there is absolutely no other place in the entire scripture that says GOD caused Jesus to be “begotten” at any time other than the resurrection.  As I proved earlier in the study by comparing all the gospel accounts of Jesus’ fleshly birth, it was his mother MARY that gave physical birth to him.

 

God IS spirit and when the day came for Him to declare Jesus as HIS, “only begotten,” Son, He raised him up in demonstration of His (God’s) Divine power according to the Spirit of holiness.  This means Jesus is the first man ever to be born again (i.e. literally ‘born from above’) and he was regenerated (born) anew and given the capacity to impart this same Spirit of holiness to all that would come to God by faith thru his mediatorship and because of his propitiation (sacrifice) for sin.

 

Romans 1:1-6 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name's sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.  NAS

 

Romans 8:2-4, 12 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit…12 But if the Spirit of Him {God} who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He {God} who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. NASU

 

When Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem this fulfilled that which God promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born a descendant of David according to the requirement of the flesh (Romans 1:2-3).   God made a promise to king David that from one of his descendents would come a MAN (the Messiah aka the Christ) that would ascend to his (David’s) throne.  Once Messiah ascended to the throne of David, (a kingly position symbolic for his position of rule over all the TRUE Israel), he would rule in justice and righteousness from that day forward and forever (2 Samuel 7:8-16 & 1 Chronicles 17:7-15).

 

Christians often confuse the fleshly bloodline of David as being connected to Jesus thru his mother Mary.  However Mary is NOT descended from the bloodline of tribe of Judah.  The only mention of Mary’s lineage in the Scripture is found in Luke 1:5, 36, where it is associated with Aaron’s line and the Levites.  In Luke 1:5 mentions a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  In Luke chapter One the angel of the Lord was sent to give Mary a message concerning the conception and birth of her son Jesus the Christ.  As part of the instructions given to Mary, the angel said to her in Luke 1:36, “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age.”

 

The promise God made to David however was that one of his descendents according to the flesh would rule his throne WAS fulfilled in the FLESHLY way thru Joseph, who was husband of Mary because HE was the fleshly descendent of Judah.  When John the Baptist was born, his father Zacharias prophesied concerning the imminent birth of Jesus, which would soon follow, and in his prophetic utterance he mentions the, “House of David.”

 

Luke 1:67-70 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68 " Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant-- 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old-- NASU

 

Zacharias’ mention of Jesus as coming from the house of David refers DIRECTLY to Joseph, husband of Mary, because Joseph is specified in scripture as a descendant of the house of David, and the tribe of Judah.  Joseph is even referred to in the common Jewish vernacular as the “son of David.”

 

Matthew 1:1, 20-21 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham… 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. NAS

 

The reason Joseph is referred to as the son of David is due to his ancestry, which is traced directly to the bloodline of king David, son of Jesse, from the tribe of Judah.  To insure that Jesus would be legally born into and thru the line of Judah, it was necessary to do so thru Joseph.  Just before the birth of Jesus, Caesar Augustus sent a decree for everyone to register their families’ names; below are excerpts from the account in Luke’s gospel:

 

Luke 2:1-7 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth…3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. NASU

 

Through Joseph the Lord Jesus was registered legally as being from the fleshly line of David, even though this was not done genetically thru Mary.  Further proof for this is found in the narrative that records what happened when Jesus was age twelve, when Joseph and Mary returned to find him, after he was found missing from their caravan; they found Jesus in the temple court teaching and asking questions:

 

Luke 2:48-51 When they saw him, they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us this way?  Behold, your father {Joseph} and I have been anxiously looking for you." 49 And he said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"  50 But they did not understand the statement, which he had made to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he continued in subjection to them; and his mother treasured all these things in her heart. NASU

 

When Mary rebukes Jesus in Luke 2:48 (above) she says to him, “your father {Joseph} and I have been anxiously looking for you.”  This shows the relationship that existed between Jesus as a boy and Joseph, who was acting as and considered by all to be the father of Jesus (even though God was the true Father of the child, because God was the One that conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb).  The last and final proof that Jesus was descended from the tribe of Judah and as the descendent of king David is found in excerpts from the genealogy of Christ below:

 

Luke 3:23, 32-33 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli… the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah.   NASU

 

Jesus had to come from the bloodline of Jesse, father of David, and Jesse was a descendent of the tribe of Judah.  Since Joseph was registered as from the house of David and since Jesus was the, “supposed the son of Joseph,” this put him in the correct genealogy to ascend to David’s throne.  The only problem was that Jesus did not ascend to David’s throne until AFTER he was resurrected from the dead, as is plainly stated in Acts chapter 13.

 

Acts 13:22-23, 28-39 "And after He {God} had removed him {king Saul}, He raised up David to be their {Israel’s} king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.' 23  From the offspring of this man {David}, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus… 28 And though they {the Jews} found no ground for putting Him {Jesus} to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30  But God raised Him from the dead 32 And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm,' Thou art My Son; TODAY I have begotten Thee.' 34  And as for the fact that He {God} raised Him {Jesus} up from the dead, no more to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.' 35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'Thou wilt not allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.' 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you…”    NAS

 

The passage above specifies that God fulfilled His promise to king David concerning his (David’s) descendent when He {God} raised up Jesus from the dead.  At the same time, God also says of Jesus at the resurrection, “Thou art My son, TODAY I have BEGOTTEN, thee.”  As Paul summarizes in what he says in Acts 13:38, because of the resurrection, when He had “begotten” Jesus, the atonement for sin was complete and from then on through Jesus Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed.

 

Something happened at that moment of Jesus’ resurrection that the scripture describes as the birthing of an indestructible body.  A capacity to spiritually beget other sons and daughters in the spirit was given to Jesus by God at the resurrection.  Jesus did not exercise this life-giving capacity until AFTER he had ascended to his position of glory at the Father’s right hand.

 

In Hebrews 5:5 Jesus was, “appointed,” as High Priest at the resurrection, but his role as the active agent and mediator between God and man occurred when Jesus was “exalted.”  Read the text below slowly and deliberately, and you will see Jesus was, “begotten,” by God at the resurrection, and this also initiated his role as, “High Priest,” to Israel and all mankind, being given a priesthood that resembles that of Melchizedek, whose FLESHLY ancestry was untraceable, but whose priesthood remains untransferable and permanent.

 

Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, "you are my son, today I have begotten you"? And again, " I will be a Father to him and he shall be a son to me"? NASU

 

Hebrews 1:5 is a verse is set in a context that specifies Jesus was not “begotten” by God until AFTER Christ had made purification for sins.  Also note that “will be” and “shall be” are both future tense, meaning after Jesus had made purification for sins, he would then be “begotten” by his Father God.

 

Hebrews 5:5-10 So too Christ (the Messiah) did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed and exalted by Him Who said to him, “You are My Son; TODAY I have BEGOTTEN You; 6 as He says also in another place, “You are a Priest appointed forever after the order & with the rank of Melchizedek. 7 In the days of his flesh Jesus offered up definite, special petitions for that which he not only wanted but needed and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him {the Father, God} Who was always able to save him out from death, and he was heard because of his reverence toward God; that is his godly fear, his piety, in that he shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father.  8 Although he was a Son, he learned active obedience through what he suffered; 9 and his completed experience making him perfect he became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey him, 10 being designated and recognized and saluted by God as High Priest after the order & with the rank of Melchizedek. [Psalms 2:7; Psalms 110:4; Isaiah 45:17]  AMP

 

Hebrews 7:1-3, 6, 11-19 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all the spoil.  He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates, ‘king of righteousness,’ and then he is also, ‘king of Salem,’ which means, ‘king of peace.’  3 Without record of father or mother or ancestral line, neither with beginning of days nor ending of life, but resembling the Son of God, he continues to be a priest without interruption and without successor… 7:6 this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham himself and blessed him who possessed the promises of God…7:11 Now if perfection, a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper, had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood--for under it the people were given the Law--why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron?  12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law concerning the priesthood as well.  13 For the one of whom these things are said did not belong to the priestly line but to another tribe, no member of which has officiated at the altar.  14 For it is obvious that our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe.  15 And this becomes more plainly evident when another Priest arises who bears the likeness of Melchizedek, [Psalms 110:4.]  16 Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry, but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life.  17 For it is witnessed of Him, “You are a Priest forever after the order & with the rank) of Melchizedek.”  [Psalms 110:4.]  18 So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness--19 For the Law never made anything perfect--but instead a better hope is introduced through which we now come close to God.  AMP

 

There can be no mistake whatsoever what constituted a Priest was accomplished, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement, (concerning his physical ancestry), but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life at the resurrection.  Jesus was made a high priest, being appointed and exalted by God, the Father, Who at the SAME TIME said to Jesus, “You are My Son; TODAY I have BEGOTTEN You.” 

 

This cannot refer to Jesus’ birth because Jesus had to “learn obedience” from the “things he suffered” and having been “made perfect” thru suffering he became the FIRSTBORN of many brethren (at the resurrection), being designated a High Priest AND as the firstborn of the spirits of righteous men who were subsequently “made perfect” by his sacrifice.

 

 Romans 8:29-30 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  (NIV)

 

Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.  (NIV)

 

Recall earlier I mentioned the definition of the Greek word monogenoús translated as “only begotten” son of God and how this word is derived from two words; mónos meaning sole, only one, one, single and génous, (NT: 1085), meaning kind, kindred, to become, offspring, posterity.  Jesus was to be the sole offspring and the only unique posterity of the Father, because the Father begets after HIS own kind, just as we beget after our own kind.

 

An interesting note is the root word mónos from whence monogenoús is derived comes from a root meno (NT: 3306) meaning to remain, to stay, to abide, to continue; when used figuratively (or in any use outside its normal applications) meno can mean to not to depart, not to leave, to continue to be present; to continue to be, i. e. not to perish, to last, to endure: used of persons, to survive, to live.  Thru this list of definitions you can readily see applications to the resurrection of Jesus. 

 

Adam was the first and only man whose physical body was created from the dust of the earth and because of his sin, all human kind in Adam was sown a perishable seed (or offspring).  However in Jesus, the last Adam, is sown an imperishable seed in the hearts of those that believe in, trust, and rely upon God, even the Father THROUGH Christ as Mediator. 

 

Through the atonement provided by one man’s sacrifice for sin, God justified all men He raised Jesus up from out of the dead.  By virtue of this resurrection the Father imparted to Jesus a new kind of birth, saying to him, “You are my son, TODAY I have begotten you.”  In this way Jesus became the FIRSTBORN out from among the dead, and he also became the FIRSTBORN of MANY brothers that would be born-from above by God the Father thru him {Jesus, the life-giving spirit; 1 Corinthians 15:45).

 

God the Father, who alone possesses immortality, gave Jesus Christ the capacity to impart eternal life to others.  Jesus became like a seed planted by the farmer into the decomposing ground of humanity; like a germinating seed that goes into the soil and dies so that it can bear fruit, Jesus grew into a fruit-bearing vine. Jesus is now the life-giving spirit thru whom we become the spiritual fruit of the Vine (John 12:24ff).

 

The resurrection is the central theme in 1 Corinthians 15:45 as the apostle Paul writes about Jesus as the last Adam who became a “life-giving spirit” which aptly describe sin his spiritual and heavenly glorified existence together with God the Father.

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 20-24 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…20 But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead, and he BECAME the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death.  21 For since it was through a man that death came into the world, it is also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead has come.  22 For just as in Adam all people die, so also shall all in Christ be made alive.  23 But each in his own rank and turn: Christ is the firstfruits, then those who are Christ's own will be resurrected at his coming.  24 After that comes the end (the completion), when he {Jesus the man} delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every other rule and every authority and power. NAS + AMP + {insertions mine}

 

I included 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 20-24 to demonstrate how NT scriptures include the term “firstfruits” to describe the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is a departure from words like, “firstborn” or “only begotten” but depicts the transformation of Jesus from his physical existence (in a body of flesh and blood) to his glorified existence (in a celestial, spiritual body.  Paul uses “firstfruits” instead of “firstborn” in the context of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 because firstfruit best explains the spiritual process involved and how the transformation from earthly toward celestial.

 

Firstfruits is an agricultural term whereas “firstborn” is descriptive of Jesus’ rank and position of importance in the family and kingdom of God.  Firstfruits typify the cycle of life using crop growing and the germination process to illustrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Firstfruits are the earliest mature fruit or produce; as the first matured and collected in any season, it is indicative of the harvest to follow.

 

Before any crop can be harvested the grain is planted and the process of germination takes place, given the conditions are favorable.  Germination is the act of sprouting; it is the first beginning of vegetation in a seed or plant.  It refers to the time in which seeds vegetate, after being planted or sown.  Jesus began his existence as a ‘seed’ generated by the Father in the womb of a virgin.

 

Throughout his first 33-½ years of life, Jesus matured by growing in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and with his fellow man (Luke 2:52).  The first seed was planted by an act of God inside Mary.  Now, as his messianic ministry came to its completion, Jesus recognized it was time for him, as a fully ripened (fully matured human) grain of wheat, to be planted as an act of obedience TO God.

 

John 12:23-24 And Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified and exalted.  24 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain; it never becomes more but lives by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.  25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.  26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also; if anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.  27 Now my soul is troubled and distressed, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour of trial and agony?’  But it was for this very purpose that I have come to this hour that I might undergo it.  28 Rather, I will say, ‘Father, glorify honor and extol Your own name!’  Then there came a voice out of heaven saying, “I have already glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”  29 The crowd of bystanders heard the sound and said that it had thundered; others said, “An angel has spoken to him!”  30 Jesus answered, “This voice has not come for my sake, but for your sake.  31 Now the judgment (crisis) of this world is coming on; sentence is now being passed on this world.  Now the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world shall be cast out (expelled).  32 And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth on the cross, will draw and attract all men Gentiles as well as Jews to myself.”  33 He said this to signify in what manner he would die.   (John 12:23-24, 27-33 = Amplified Bible) (John 12:25-26 = New American Standard Updated Bible)

 

The first time God sowed seed Mary gave birth to a man child; the second time God planted the willing and obedient seed of His own son Jesus, it was into the hot (hostile) soil of humanity, where the grain of wheat (Jesus) would die, be buried in the earth (i.e. tomb), and after three days and nights, God would begin the spiritual germination process by raising him from the dead.

 

The firstfruit is the very first crop harvested because it is the first to come to full maturity.   The firstfruit is used to describe the resurrection of Jesus Christ just as “firstborn” is used to describe the resurrection of Jesus elsewhere.  Here in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 firstfruits is a fitting type because the emphasis is upon different types of bodies, comparing the earthly with the celestial.

 

Jesus BECAME the firstfruits of God’s spiritual harvest because he was the first MAN to come to full spiritual maturity.  As such he has become to all those who follow him the pattern (dead to self but alive to God).  Paul says Jesus BECAME the firstfruits WHEN he was raised from death and then those who are Christ's own will be resurrected at His coming.  This statement is not a dispensational discourse about the Rapture, as many Christian teachers claim. 

 

This “coming” in 1 Corinthians 15:23 is not the proverbial “second coming” currently espoused throughout Christendom, but rather it is describing the past event when Christ came to those held captive in their present state of existence in the realm of the spirit known then as Sheol.  A parallel to this “coming” of Christ to set the captives in Sheol free is found in 1 Peter 3:18-22 and again in Colossians 2:12-15.

 

1 Peter 3:18-22 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.  21 And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.  NAS

 

Colossians 2:12-15 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. NASU

 

Firstfruits refer to agriculture and here it is used as figurative for those whose eternal redemption would came as a spiritual harvest for God, with Jesus becoming the “firstfruits” of the church.  This of course describes those first people redeemed from the curse of the Law, which is sin.  It was through a man (Adam) that sin’s consequence (i.e. death) came into the world.  For this reason God ordained that it would also be through a Man (Jesus) that the resurrection of the dead has come.  For just as in Adam all people die, so also shall all in Christ be made alive.

 

Ephesians 1:18-22 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.  NASU

 

Jesus spent 3 days and nights in the heart of the earth, (a Hebraism for Sheol but not lower Sheol; or in Greek, Hades); there he preached to those people that were literally “once disobedient” in the days of Noah who were without a covenant and without having the promise of resurrection available to them thru covenant promises.  At the end of the three days, Jesus led a host of captives into the glorious freedom, which meant he liberated all the OT believers.  These are the people mentioned in this “coming” in 1 Corinthians 15:23 that were waiting for his “coming” (Greek = parousía i.e. presence, or coming) to deliver them from Sheol.

 

1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 40, 42-58 But someone will say, “How can the dead be raised?  With what [kind of] body will they come forth?”  36 You foolish man!  Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life germinating, springing up, and growing unless it dies first.  37 Nor is the seed you sow then the body, which it is going to have later, but it is a naked kernel, perhaps of wheat or some of the rest of the grains.  38 But God gives to it the body that He plans and sees fit, and to each kind of seed a body of its own… 40 There are heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars) and there are earthly bodies (men, animals, and plants), but the beauty and glory of the heavenly bodies is of one kind, while the beauty and glory of earthly bodies is a different kind… 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead.   The body that is sown is perishable and decays, but the body that is resurrected is imperishable (immune to decay, immortal). 43 It is sown in dishonor and humiliation; it is raised in honor and glory. It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and endued with power.  44 It is sown a natural (physical) body; it is raised a supernatural (a spiritual) body.  As surely as there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.  45 Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being (an individual personality); the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving Spirit restoring the dead to life. 46 But it is not the spiritual life, which came first, but the physical and then the spiritual.  47 The first man was from out of earth, made of dust (earthly-minded); the second MAN is the Lord from out of heaven. 48 Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust (earthly-minded); and as is the Man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven (heavenly-minded).  49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us also bear the image of the Man of heaven.  50 But I tell you this, brethren, flesh and blood cannot become partakers of eternal salvation and inherit or share in the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable, (that which is decaying), inherit or share in the imperishable (the immortal).  51 Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God).  We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed (transformed) 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call.  For a trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed). 53 For this perishable part of us must put on the imperishable nature, and this mortal part of us, this nature that is capable of dying must put on immortality, freedom from death.  54 And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, ‘Death is swallowed up; utterly vanquished forever in and unto victory. [Isaiah 25:8.]  55 O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting? [Hosea 13:14.]  56 Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power upon the soul through the abuse of the Law.  57 But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.  58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord, knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile it is never wasted or to no purpose.  AMP

 

The reason I laid forth the entire context of the last half of chapter 15 is because there is a practical application seen for our daily living.  Jesus became the life-giving spiritual body thru whom God expresses Himself in a personal relationship with us as believers.  Through his resurrection Jesus became the first begotten of many brethren, and he is now being used to beget other sons and daughters of God.  This is why we as Christians are admonished to always abound in the work of God, laboring in His strength to bear fruit by begetting others in Christ.

 

The chain of command was established in Jesus; he was the firstborn from the dead.  Then, acting as Mediator and Helper between God and man, Jesus gave spiritual birth to the church, and those that mature in Christ thru the same process of suffering and death to self, are given life by God and consequently give birth and bear fruit, both in character, and in their labors together with Jesus yielding disciples in his name, character and authority… then the process repeats itself by men’s choice to obey.

 

John 12:23-25ff And Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified and exalted.  24 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains (meno) just one grain; it never becomes more but lives by itself alone.  But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.  25 Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. (Read verses 26-34)

 

Begotten By God Is A Spiritual Birth Not A Fleshly Birth

 

John 1:18 is the only other scripture verse in the New Testament that mentions Jesus as the “only begotten” but in this text, Jesus is said to reside in the “bosom of the Father” as the “only begotten magistrate (ho theos).”  I will explain this translation later.

 

John 1:1-18 is what is known in any discourse, prose, or poetry as a prologue.  John’s gospel account begins with a prologue about the messianic nature and role and fulfillment of Jesus as the Christ to Israel and to the New Testament believer.  A prologue is actually a word translated from the Latin version of the Greek word (logos) for discourse.  It is the preface or introduction to a discourse, or performance, chiefly the discourse or poem spoken before a dramatic performance or play begins. 

 

A prologue is given in John 1:1-18 to introduce his gospel account with a sort of formal preface that was familiar to Jews of that era and he uses words and phrases to convey concepts familiar to them in a messianic context.

 

John’s style of writing is very Hebraistic in the first chapter; that is, he follows the trend of Jewish writers who often present the introductory narrative twice; what this means is that the first rendition (i.e. the prologue) is typically symbolic but maintains literal qualities in an exegetical (pragmatic) sense.  The second narrative is minus the descriptive prologue and gives more basic factual evidence surrounding the people and events written about.  To give you an idea of what this means and how it is done, below is part of John’s prologue and he mentions John the Baptist for the first account:

 

John 1:6-11 There came a man sent on a mission from God; his name was John. 7 This one came for the purpose of giving a testimony, intending to testify all over concerning the light, so that all might believe through him.  8 He (John) was not the light, but on the contrary, to testify with regard to the light.  9 The light that is true and genuine IS presently coming into every man {to} spiritually enlighten, and imbue with saving knowledge.  10 He (the light) was {here} in the world and {it was} thru him the world came into {spiritual enlightenment} but the world did not recognize (or become acquainted with) him.  11 He came to his own, and those who are his own did not associate with him. TAT

 

So far this prologue has alluded to John the Baptist’s testimony concerning Messiah and how Jesus’ testimony to, “his own,” Jewish people was rejected.  What stands out to me and perhaps other scholars that study Greek verbs and prepositions is the use of tenses in John chapter one.  The verbs represent past action that continues in a linear application to the present.

 

At first this threw me for a loop as seen in John 1: 9, “The light that is true and genuine IS presently coming into every man {to} spiritually enlighten, and imbue with saving knowledge.”  The verbs here represent action taking place as the apostle John records his account of the gospel, which means his prologue is not so much directed at what Jesus did in the past, (when he was ministering to people during his 3 ½ year ministry), but what Jesus is doing NOW (presently as John was writing). 

 

If viewed in the present tense the next seven verses from John 1:12 thru John 1:18 are applicable to that moment and continue to this present moment.  To interpret John 1:18 in light of the verb tense of the surrounding context demands the reader to look at what is happening before and after verse 14.

 

John 1:12-18 Yet as many make him their own, to them he gives the right to become children of God, even to those who are believing in his name, 13 who were (past tense) begotten (gennao), not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  14 So then it came about that the experiential knowledge {of him} was expressed in {our} human flesh, pitching a tent in us, and we give careful, deliberate consideration to interpret the vision of his glory, a glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  15 John was testifying all over about him and cried saying, "This is he of whom I said, 'He who is coming after me has come to be in front of me, for his rank is higher than mine.'" 16 For of that which filled him we all {have} obtained and grace for grace.  17 For the Law through Moses was given; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only begotten (hoos monogenoús) Magistrate, Ruler, & Judge (Theos) who IS (presently) in the bosom of the Father, he unfolds Him. TAT

 

John 1:12b-13a says, “…to those who are believing in his name, who were begotten (gennao).”  This wording speaks of the believers presently (as John writes) who were in past time (probably at Pentecost) born of the will of God, meaning a spiritual birth.  This sets the tone for the remainder of the prologue of John 1:12-18.

 

John 1:18 speaks of Jesus as, “the only begotten,” who IS IN the bosom of the Father.  This takes the prologue narrative out of the past and into the present when John is writing.  In effect John is saying this: Jesus the man, the son of God was “begotten” by the Father at the resurrection and is presently glorified and residing IN the His bosom. In this unique position Jesus is presently tabernacled among and in us (the church) revealing the meaning of the glory he shares because he is perfectly united as “one” in his relationship with God.

 

All that we know about God the Father therefore is seen and expressed in and thru His son Jesus who resides where His (the Father’s) heart is.  That takes me to the last section of scripture, whereby our part as believers that participate in the birthing process kicks in.  We began looking at John 3:16-18 and we ended this study looking at John 1:18 and; it seems fitting for the apostle John’s close friendship with Jesus to help conclude it.

 

Below are John’s epistles and I end this study by allowing you to read thru the portions I have pasted into the body of text, and highlighted and italicized key words for your reflection.  Two key themes are in focus regarding those who are, “born,” of the spirit of God thru Jesus Christ; first, they walk in the truth and righteousness of God’s will, and second, they manifest His love to the brethren.  Except each of these requirements is fulfilled, one cannot say he or she is being, “born,” or, “begotten,” of God.  SELAH

 

1 John 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. NAS

 

1 John 3:9-10 No one born (begotten) of God deliberately, knowingly, and habitually practices sin, for God's seed (spérma) remains permanently within him; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God. 10 By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness; who does not conform to God's will in purpose, thought, and action is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow believer in Christ). AMP

 

1 John 4:7-5:21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  16 We have come to know and have believed the love, which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us.  20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.  3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  6 This is the One who came by water (BIRTH)  and blood (DEATH), Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.  It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. NASU

 

1 John 4:9-10 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. NAS

 

Galatians 4:19-20 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. NASU

 

1 Corinthians 4:15-17 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten (gennao) you through the gospel.  16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.  17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.  NKJV

 

Philemon 10-12 I appeal to you for my child, whom I have begotten (gennao) in my imprisonment, Onesimus, 11 who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. 12 And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart. NAS

 

 

Now I ask the Muslim brother, why won’t you believe the words spoken by the Prophet Jesus in TRUTH?

 

In Jesus love,

 

Craigo

Craig Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

Jesus:

1 Timothy 2:5 The Man Christ Jesus (Comparing the Athanasian and Nicean Creeds to the Scriptures)

Jesus is the Magistrate

The Alpha and The Omega: Contrasting God and Jesus in Revelation Chapters 1 through 5

The Alpha and The Omega: Contradictions of UPC and Trinity Doctrines

“Before Abraham Was Born, I Am” - Understanding John 8:58

Did God Forsake Jesus on the Cross?

His Majesty King Jesus

How God Conceived Jesus in Mary’s Womb

In The Beginning Was The Word – The True Meaning Of John 1:1 "

Isaiah 7:14 Explained - "Immanuel, God With Us"

Isaiah 9:6 Explained - "The Mighty God & Eternal Father"

Is Jesus Christ To Be Worshipped As God? "

Jesus Became The Only Begotten Son of God AT THE RESURRECTION

Jesus, Descendent Of David,Resurrected Seed Of God

Comments On 1 Timothy 3:16

John 1:1-18 Retranslated: With Translation Notes

The Attitude Of The Man Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:6 Explained)

The Da Vinci Code: Was Jesus Really Married to Mary Magdalene?

The Genealogy of the Messiah

The Time Before Jesus Was Twelve

The Search for a Man after God’s Own Heart: Will the Real King David Please Stand up - A study based on the text of 1 Samuel 13:14

 

The Trinity:

Understanding the Trinity

1 Timothy 2:5 The Man Christ Jesus (Comparing the Athanasian and Nicean Creeds to the Scriptures)

Jesus is the Magistrate

The Alpha and The Omega: Contrasting God and Jesus in Revelation Chapters 1 through 5

The Alpha and The Omega: Contradictions of UPC and Trinity Doctrines

“Before Abraham Was Born, I Am” - Understanding John 8:58

Did God Forsake Jesus on the Cross?

Greek Philosophy and the Trinity

His Majesty King Jesus

How God Conceived Jesus in Mary’s Womb

In The Beginning Was The Word – The True Meaning Of John 1:1 "

Isaiah 7:14 Explained - "Immanuel, God With Us"

Isaiah 9:6 Explained - "The Mighty God & Eternal Father"

Is Jesus Christ To Be Worshipped As God? "

Jesus Became The Only Begotten Son of God AT THE RESURRECTION

Jesus, Descendent Of David,Resurrected Seed Of God

“Let us” in Genesis 1:26 is NOT the Trinity

Comments On 1 Timothy 3:16

John 1:1-18 Retranslated: With Translation Notes

 

 


 

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