THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF CHRIST
We often think of Jesus Christ only as He appeared here on earth but Scripture actually records His presence long before His appearance at Bethlehem.
1. What is written in John 1:1, 3, & 14 about Jesus Christ?
2. What does Jesus say of His own pre existence in John 8:58?
Look up Ex. 3:14. What title did God use of Himself?
3. What does Jesus ask in John 17:5 that reveals His existence before Creation?
4. What is true about Christ in Colossians 1:16, 17?
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST APPEARS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AS THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH
There are times when a person of Deity appeared to individuals of the Old Testament. Scripture indicates this idea of Deity as it relates words of worship or of the way in which this person reveals prerogatives of Deity; things that only God can do; the special rights which are not possible or allowed for anyone else.
5. Write down what you discover in the following verses.
(A) Gen. 16:7-13
(B) Gen. 18:1-33
(C) Gen. 22:9-18
(D) Ex. 3:1-6
(E) Joshua 5:13-15
(F) Judges 13:19-22
THE DEITY OF CHRIST
Jesus’ deity is an essential part of the grace and salvation Christian’s claim which, apart from Jesus’ deity, is a false and baseless claim.
Our salvation is based on the truth that Christ (the Eternal Son), took upon Himself the limitations of a human body.
THE CERTAINTY OF CHRIST: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent…” (John 17:3) God made certain that those who He has called to eternal life would find the Way. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day…” (John 6:44) “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…” (John 14:6). God created a divine roadmap marked with many signs pointing to Jesus Christ.
6. Centuries before the birth of Christ, what “sign” did the prophet say God would give by which the Savior of the world could be positively identified? Isaiah 7:14
The virgin birth of Jesus is agreeably a “sign” by which humanity might identify the Messiah; but should it also be emphasized that it was an absolute necessity for Him to meet God’s requirement for being a Redeemer? From the point of view of the Christian, the matter of Jesus’ birth mother being a virgin is an issue that impacts the very foundation of our Christian faith, the deity of Jesus Christ. At the “point of the spear” of the Christian belief in the deity of Jesus is Isaiah 7:14.
The point of view of the Jew is different and relevant. The difference between Jew and Christian is Jesus Christ and His claim of deity. One of the key points of the Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah regards the Christian claim of His virgin birth and how it pertains to His deity. Reaching into the bag of evidentiary scripture supporting their claim, Christians immediately pull out Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:14 may not be the best verse to convince your Jewish friends, since they will argue that Christians have mistranslated the verse in order to make their case that Jesus is Messiah. Their argument is that the Hebrew word for “virgin” is “bethulah”; Isaiah does not use the Hebrew word “bethulah” in Isaiah 7:14 but instead uses the Hebrew word, “almah”, a Hebrew feminine noun for a girl who has reached puberty but is still under the shielding protection of her family; she is a young, marriageable (i.e. unmarried) girl. Does this mean that the Christian translation of “young woman” as “virgin” was wrong?
Contextually Drawn Conclusion: In the Hebrew, almah by definition characterizes a young female of marriageable age. Within the culture, and the extreme manner to which the Jews adhered to the Jewish Law, there is the undeniable implication of virginity by virtue of marriageability. The context of the Old Testament scriptures clearly and definitively leads to the conclusion that God would use a young female of marriageable age- thus a virgin- to impregnate by His Spirit. Scholars generally agree that there is not a single passage of Scripture where an almah is not a bethulah. In other words, there is no Hebrew text in the Old Testament in which a young maiden of marriageable age is not a virgin.
Why Jesus Had to Be Born of A Virgin
God so finely and perfectly designed His plan of redemption that a man conceived in sin by man could never be worthy to cover the sins of the world. Psalm 49:7 says, “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him…”. Moses tried to offer himself an atonement for the sin of his people (Ex 32:32) but God would not accept him. Why not? Because, by God’s own Law, a brother cannot by redeeming, redeem; a man cannot give to God his own ransom. Moses was a mere man, himself blemished and flawed by sin and, as such, did not meet God’s required perfect standard.
Conversely Jesus was in every way the complete and perfect conformance to God’s perfect Law given to Israel.
- In birth Jesus, having a human mother that conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was “genetically” perfect, untainted by the inherent sin nature that polluted the human gene pool since Adam.
- In His living Jesus without flaw obediently fulfilled every requirement of the Law regarding relationships man to man and the relationship of man to God.
- In His dying, Jesus without flaw obediently fulfilled every requirement of the Law regarding the sacrificial system for sin, the atonement for sin, and the redemption of sinners.
- In His resurrection Jesus proved beyond any shadow of doubt He had the power and the authority that He claimed as being, Himself, God!
Even if not one single writer of Scripture ever stroked the word “virgin”, the contextually drawn conclusion can only be one: Jesus Christ could NOT have been fathered by a man!
- In order to be a man, He had to be born of a woman.
- In order to be sinless, He had to born of a virgin.
- In order to be God, He had to be conceived by the Holy Spirit.
- In order to meet the standards and requirements of God’s perfect redemptive Law, He had to be God.
There is no other possible conclusion!! Perhaps the greatest discussions about Jesus Christ have to do with His deity. By that we mean His claim and the claim of Scripture that He was equal in nature, essence, power, dignity and holiness as God the Father.
7. Was the prophecy fulfilled exactly as Isaiah stated? Matt. 1:18 25
8. What did Isaiah 9:6 say about the titles Christ would have?
9. When the angel announced the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:31 35), whose son was He?
10. What three things are mentioned about Jesus (the Word) in John 1:1?
11. John 5:10 18 records an incident in the life of Jesus with an unbelieving crowd of Jews who said it was “unlawful” to heal on the Sabbath day (no work of any kind was supposed to be done on the Sabbath). Verse 16 reveals their anger at what He’d done.
What was Jesus’ answer in v. 17?
12. In v. 18, the Jews now had two reasons for having Jesus killed; what were they?
These Jews understood exactly what Jesus meant. Just as humans only have human children (the same essence and nature as themselves) they are equal because they are all human. The Jews knew God the Father is deity; therefore when Jesus claimed God was HIS Father, He was claiming deity; equal in essence and nature as God.
13. What did Jesus say in John 5:21 that reveals His equality with the Father?
In this verse; Jesus was claiming authority only God possessed; the giving of life.
14. What does Jesus say about Himself in John 5:23?
What does this say about the cults who will NOT worship Christ equally with the
15. What is the promise of verse 24?
CULTS ON “DEITY”
Mormonism First, it should be emphasized here that statements made here are NOT intended to disparage the good character of followers of Mormonism. The intent here is to simply point out the flaw in the religion of Mormonism that calls itself “Christian”. Mormonism is often referred to as a “cult” based upon doctrines and beliefs that stray from long-held Christian tradition beliefs. The doctrine of Jesus’ deity is a foundational difference where Mormonism disagrees with Christianity. Christians say, “Mormons Do Not Believe in Deity of Jesus”, yet Mormons say that they do believe in deity of Jesus. The problem is that Mormons use “the same vocabulary but a different dictionary”.
The religion of Mormonism began not with Jesus Christ before the beginning of time but with a man named Joe little more than 2 centuries ago. Joseph Smith began the religion of Mormonism with this doctrine:
God himself, was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!…it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 305)
Past president of the LDS Church George Hinckley said this in a talk in Geneva, Switzerland, June 6, 1998. The Deseret News reported:
In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints “do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.” (Deseret News, Church News section, Salt Lake City, Utah, week ending June 20, 1998, p. 7)
In contrast to Mormonism, the traditional Christ of whom we worship is the one that God has commanded that we “all should honor just as we honor the Father… for he who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” (John 5:23) As traditional Christians, we exalt and worship God as God in the Highest, God of all gods, King of all kings and, as such, we uphold Jesus Christ with equal honor and praise.
Mormonism gives Jesus Christ the SAME honor that they give God, and they argue that they believe in the “deity” of Jesus. However, Mormons have brought God down to their own bar of the definition of “deity”. And, as such, Jesus Christ is by the lowered standard of deity equal with the standard of deity they give to God. In other words, by lowering the bar of “deity”- i.e. “God himself, was once as we are now, and is an exalted man…”- Mormons make it possible to deny the claims of Christians who say that Mormons do not believe in the deity of Christ. Thus, on the surface, Christians are easily fooled into thinking that Mormons believe the same as we and are, therefore, “Christians”.
This leads to the need to set the bar as to what defines “Christian”:
The first use of the word Christian occurred about 2000 years ago: “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) Being labeled a Christian during the time of the book of Acts was not a complimentary label. In fact, it was a term of derision. Christians, according to this bar, are people who believe the teachings of Jesus as recorded in Scripture and eyewitness testimonies of the disciples and apostles.
Clearly, every one of the Apostles would vehemently deny the words and doctrines of Joseph Smith. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the same Jesus to whom Peter gave his answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter is NOT speaking of a Jesus who as the son of a “God” who was once as Peter is.
Jehovah Witnesses: Following the origins of Mormonism in 1820, another well -known cult called the Jehovah’s Witnesses came into existence. The historical origins of the Jehovah’s Witnesses go back to 1874 in Pittsburg, PA to Charles Taze Russell and his doctrine which taught that Christ’s invisible return in 1874 would be followed soon afterward, in the spring of 1878 to be exact, by the Rapture- the bodily snatching away of believers to heaven. When this expected Rapture failed to occur on time in 1878, Russell formed the publication called Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879. Jehovah’s Witnesses, like Mormons, view Jesus as “a god” rather than as God and thus also deny the deity of Jesus Christ. In fact, their doctrine states that Jesus is the created archangel, Michael.
In addition, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus’ resurrection was a bodily resurrection, thus denying the sign Jesus gave in John 2:19, 21.
According to Russell’s “Studies in The Scriptures” Vol. V; p.454,
“Since the man Jesus was the ransom-price, given for the purchase of Adam and his race…for the man Jesus is dead, forever dead, and could not be a father or life-giver to the world.”
What the Bible teaches:
Paul wrote not just of a spirit-risen but also of a bodily-risen Jesus to the Corinthian church, “…if Christ has not been raised your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) Jesus died bodily, arose from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven bodily, and will return to reign bodily.
16. In Philippians 2:6, who did Paul say that Christ was equal to?
What did Christ do in order to become our Savior (v.7)?
17. Read John 10:22 33. The question in v.24 reveals their “blindness” to the things He’d already spoken and the miracles He’d already performed. These were proofs of His deity.
(A) What did Jesus say about Himself in John 10:30?
(B) What did the observers understand Him to be saying (v.33)?
(C) In verses 37 Jesus made a simple statement. What was His challenge in v.38?
18. Read Mark 2:1 12. In v.5, what did Jesus say to the paralyzed man?
What correct observation did the scribes make in v.7?
What question did Jesus ask in v.9?
What proof did Jesus give that He had the “authority” to forgive sin in verses 10 12?
The point of the incident was this: The authority Jesus had to forgive sin (something only God had the authority to do), was based in His equality with the Father, a fact proven when He healed the man, a miracle only God could do.
18. Read John 20:24 28 about the doubts Thomas had about Jesus’ resurrection.
What did Thomas say when Jesus later appeared to him (v28)?
19. Read John 20:30,31. According to John, why was the purpose for the miracles
20. Read the account of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14:22 33. After the
disciples saw this, what did they do? (verse 33).
21. How did Peter (a full blooded Jew) describe Jesus in Matthew 16:16?
22. How is Jesus Christ described in Hebrews 1:2?
23. How is Jesus described in the first half of Hebrews 1:3?
What did Jesus DO in v.3?
Where is He now seated?
ALTHOUGH JESUS CHRIST WAS FULLY GOD HE WAS ALSO FULLY MAN
24. How is Jesus shown to be human in these verses?
1 Timothy 3:16
25. How does Paul describe Jesus becoming man in Romans 8:3?
26. How does Paul describe the “mystery of godliness” in 1 Timothy 3:16?
27. According to Hebrews 2:14, why did Jesus come to earth to live as a human being, then die?
28. What is the reason Hebrews 2:17 states for Jesus being in human flesh?
29. Read Hebrews 4:14 16.
(A) According to verse 15, how was Jesus like all other people?
(B) How was he different (v.15)?
(C) What comfort are we to gain from these truths? (v.16)
WHO DO YOU SAY JESUS IS?
Jesus once asked his followers, “Who do people say I am?” They replied with a few of the opinions the public had of him at that time. Then Jesus said, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15). That question was important then… and it’s just as important today. The answer is the foundation for guarantee and blessing of eternal life.
Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, fed hungry multitudes, and was a friend to social outcasts and sinners. He spoke words of wisdom and power which astounded his hearers. He lived a sinless life, but was put to death as a common criminal. But his story doesn’t end there. His death, his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven mark the most amazing aspects of his life on earth.
30. When the angel told Joseph about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:21), what did he say about WHY Jesus was coming into the world?
31. Read carefully the prophecy in Isaiah 53:5 6. Why did Jesus Christ suffer (v.5)?
How is man’s sinful attitude described (v.6)?
Who put the punishment for our sin on Christ (v.6)?
32. How are “believers” in Jesus Christ described in 1 Peter 2:9?
How are we described in v. 10?
33. Read I Peter 2:24. Since Christ died for our sins, how are we to live?
What do you think this means?
34. Read 1 John 1:8 2:2.
(A) What must we acknowledge (v.8)?
(B) What is the wonderful truth John speaks of in v:9?
(C) What does John urge us NOT to do (2:1)?
(D) What has God provided for us since we DO sin (v.1)
(E) What is Christ, according to the first part of verse 2?
(F) What is a “propitiation”?
(G) According to verse 3, whose sins did Christ also die for?
35. Read Romans 3:23. Who is guilty of sin?
How has God provided a way of forgiveness (v.24)?
What does “justified” mean?
What does “redemption” mean?
36. How is Jesus described in Romans 3:25? (Remember your definition of propitiation in 1 John 2:2)
Hebrews 10:4 says it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. According to Romans 3:25, God “overlooked” the sins of the Old Testament, because they were covered (“atoned”), by the blood of animal sacrifices. But, they were only covered and not fully forgiven. They could not be forgiven until Christ died for them. Christ has become the final sacrifice. When Christ died, God the Father took all the sins of the Old Testament and placed them on His Son. In a moment of history, Christ died for all the sins of the world; past, present & future.
37. Read Ephesians 2:1 10, and answer the following questions.
(A) How is our life described in v. 1?
(B) According to v.2; what influences were in our lives?
(C) How is God described in v. 4?
(D) Why? (5 7)
38. How may we NOT earn our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8,9)
(A) How MAY we be saved? (v.8)
(B) Why HAVE we been saved? v.10)
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