Declared To Be God In His Incarnation
Since we left off in the first chapter of John, it seems to be a good place to start as well. The incarnation speaks of Christ becoming man, " The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us "-
Jn.1:14. The Bible tells us that "the Word" existed prior to His becoming flesh which is something that is not true of us. It is taught in Mormonism that we existed previously in the spirit realm prior to our birth. The word of God says, however, " Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual;" -I Cor.15:46
Jesus, although He was born in Bethlehem, did not begin in Bethlehem for He existed in eternity past prior to His birth. Remember the reference in Micah 5:2, "...Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting". Let us compare that with some other things Jesus said. In Jn.17:5 Jesus prayed, " And now O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was". Also Jn.6:38, " For I came down from heaven..."and Jn. 8:23, "...Ye are from beneath; I am from above: Ye are of this world; I am not of this world." So the birth of Christ was in reality an entrance into our realm, the world in which we live, from another realm which was heaven.
If Jesus was God, we would expect a rather unusual entrance into our world. And as it turns out, that is exactly what we see. For Jesus was the only person ever to be born of a virgin. There are those who question the virgin birth. But does that really matter? As Paul said, " For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar." - Rom.3:3-4. Those who speak out against it manifest themselves as unbelievers and who should take the word of an unbeliever against the word of a Holy God.
In their scholarship many resort to text tampering to call the word of God into question. For example on that great prophecy concerning the virgin birth in Is.7:14, they point out that the Hebrew word 'Bethulah' means a chaste virgin. If God meant a true virgin birth in Is.7:14 He would have used the word 'Bethulah'. Funny how unbelievers know so much about God. But they continue in their attack on the doctrine by saying that Is.7:14 uses the Hebrew word 'Almah' which just means a young maiden. What they don't tell you, however, is that the word Bethulah is twice used of a married woman; Deut.22:19 and Joel 1:8. Also the word Almah is used of a pure, chaste virgin in Ge.24:43, Ex.2:8 and Song of Solomon 1:3. How true, the words of the Son of God, " Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God " - Mt.22:29. Furthermore Is.7:14 says that this is to be a sign and in connection with the sign a name is given, Immanuel, which means God with us. In Mt.1:22-23 the Bible says that the birth of Messiah was a fulfillment of Is.7:14. " Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Since there is only One God, there can be no question about who that God is. Also, the word used in the greek text for virgin is, 'Parthenos' which means a pure chaste virgin thus showing us that Is.7:14 meant to convey to us the idea of a pure chaste virgin.
In the book of Hebrews, the author writes, " For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? (Jesus was obviously not an angel as the Watchtower Society teaches) 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? - Heb.1:5-6. Notice carefully how the text says, LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM. Is it not written, " Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."? It was Jesus Himself who quoted this in Mt.4:10 from the Old Testament verse in Deut.6:13. But notice WHEN God said to " let all the angels of God worship him ". The verse says, " WHEN HE BRINGETH IN THE FIRSTBEGOTTEN INTO THE WORLD ". This is a reference to the incarnation, or birth of the Messiah. Only Luke tells of the appearance of angels in connection with the birth of Jesus. It was at this time that God said to let all the angels worship Him, i.e. the Son. Lk.2:13-14, " And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host PRAISING GOD, and saying, GLORY TO GOD in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." This is the place where God said " Let all the angels of God worship him", which they did by praising Him as God. For the angels knew also that this Son was " God with us ".
It is indeed a great mystery how Jesus could be God the Son, while there is God the Father yet only one God and not two. This is why many have scrapped revelation for reason. Reason has its place but it is not a substitute for revelation. Paul writes in I Tim. 3:16, " And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." At this point some text tampering is again employed. They know exactly where to do it too. For these verses are very obvious in what they are saying. The New World Translation says, " He was made manifest in flesh..." I do not understand why that would be such a great mystery. Are we not all made manifest in flesh? But to say GOD was made manifest in flesh, that's different. That is indeed a great mystery. Furthermore, " God was manifest in the flesh " is consistent with the doctrine of the incarnation of Deity. The word 'God' in this verse is also not without its manuscript evidence even though there are manuscripts which do not contain it. So we are faced with the choice of believing that 'God' was added, or removed from ancient manuscripts. To believe that 'God' was in the original manuscript is consistent with the internal evidence for this doctrine. A little more on this later.
In Jn. 3:16 the Bible says, " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We do not usually associate this verse with the birth of Jesus but rather of his death. His Deity and birth are inherent. The key is the word "only-begotten" Gr.- monogenes. Only begotten is different from being created. When a father begets a son he begets another of the same thing as himself. If he creates something he creates something inferior to himself. In the law of cause and effect the effect can not be greater than its cause. Look at the relationship, for example, of inventor, invention; sculptor, sculpture; songwriter, song; painter, painting etc. A painter can only paint himself but can not make another of what he is except to beget a son in his own image. For Jesus to be the only begotten of the Father He is another of the same thing as His Father and therefore can not be created. Jesus is said to be the ONLY begotten of the Father thus sharing in the nature of the One true God. Everything else that has been created can not and does not share that distinction. Do not confuse this with the fact that the Bible also plainly says that we are sons of God by the new birth. James says, for example, " Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth..." - Ja. 1:18. Also, in II Co.6:18, " And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." This is clearly a relationship that is bestowed upon us through the new birth. It is also, just as clear, that this is a relationship that we were not born with but one that coincided with our regeneration. Therefore it had a beginning. With Jesus however, it is a relationship that He has always had with the Father into eternity past. Jesus is, therefore, the Only Begotten of the Father.
The virgin birth also bears this out. All human beings since Adam have had biological human parents. This was not the case with Adam and Eve, but then they were created. This is not the case with Jesus who was not created. All of us who were born of parents inherited half the genepool of each parent along with each parent's entire ancestry all the way back to Adam and Eve. In the virgin birth, however, Jesus' body was created in the womb of Mary independent of either her, or ( of course ) Joseph. As it is written, " Wherefore when he cometh into the world ( clearly a reference to His incarnation ), He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me;" - Heb.10:5. Also in Heb.7:3, " Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." Jesus was not His flesh. Jesus inhabited His flesh, i.e. tabernacled in the flesh. Whereas the body of Jesus was a divine creation in the womb of the virgin Mary and therefore had a beginning, Jesus Himself was eternal Spirit as is the Father and the Holy Ghost. But it must be remembered that, this divinely prepared body was not genetically related to either parent and therefore inherited no sin from either parent. He was the second Adam, whose body was also a divine creation, 1 Co.15:45-47. The body of Jesus was a direct result of the power of God. " And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God; - Lk.1:35.
The scriptures plainly state that the conception of the Messiah was a miracle, and not after the ordinary manner of conception. Mormonism has a somewhat bizarre idea of the means by which God the Father accomplished this miracle. To begin with they teach that the Father, whose name is Elohim, and the Son, who's name is Jehovah are two separate and distinct Gods. Both are said to have bodies of flesh and bone. Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 130:22 says, " The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's: the Son also..." As a body of flesh and bone, God the Father impregnated Mary Himself by means of the sex act. " When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten Him in His own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who was the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when He took a tabernacle [ body ], it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve..." - Journal of Discourses Vol.1 page 50-51. Here it is stated that the Father was begotten by His Father in heaven. Then the Father begat the son in the same manner as He had been begotten by His Father, and also like that of Cain, Abel, and all Adam and Eve's offspring. Needless to say, if the Father materialized to have intercourse with Mary, then she was no longer a virgin at the time of Jesus' birth. The scriptures say she was a virgin however. Furthermore it is written in Journal of Discourses 4:218, " When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it." "Any other man" suggests that God the Father was also a man. But it gets even worse. Returning to Journal of Discourses 1:50-51, " He (Jesus) was not begotten by the Holy Ghost...Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character who was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven."
Who was this same character who was in the garden of Eden, who begat Jesus after the flesh? Brigham Young wrote in Journal of Discourses 1:50, " When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken- He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do." This was a recurring teaching of Brigham Young. I could cite other quotations to prove this point but Mormonism itself is not the topic of this book. Why Brigham was so hung up on his Adam-God doctrine is not fully known, but he claimed to have received it through revelation.
Jesus conception was a divine miracle. His actual birth itself, however, in Mary's ninth month, was just like ours. Therefore being naturally delivered from Mary, He was in the natural line of Mary's ancestors and therefore was also a descendant of David. For He was born of a descendant of David. David's ancestry indeed led up to the birth of Jesus. Luke records Mary's ancestry whereas Matthew records Joseph's ancestry. Through the virgin birth it begins to make sense how Jesus could be 100% God, and 100% man at the same time. Returning once again to John, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, AND THE WORD WAS GOD... And the Word was made flesh;" - Jn. 1:1,14. One final note on this verse. It is said by some that Jesus was the Logos meaning that He was just a concept in the mind of God that was brought into existence. But to say that is to say that that is all God Himself is for it plainly says that the Word (Logos) was God Himself. God is not only a thought in His own mind. This is ridiculous. Therefore, God was the Word and the Word was God, and yet the Word was with God. Indeed a notable mystery.
New Testament Declares Jesus' Deity
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