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A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 20

Deity of Jesus

From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of the incarnation and the divinity of Jesus. It explores the idea that Jesus is both God and man, emphasizing that during his earthly life, he willingly set aside certain divine attributes while taking on a fully human nature. This transformation was essential for his mission on Earth. The text provides arguments and references from the Old Testament, Gospels, and epistles to support the assertion of Jesus's divinity. It also addresses questions about how Jesus can be both God and man and acknowledges the complexity of understanding his nature after his ascension, concluding that he remains the God-man with associated humanity.

 

Gerry Breshears
A Guide to Christian Theology
Lesson 20
Watching Now
Deity of Jesus

I. Understanding Jesus' Equality with God

A. Poisonous Question: Is Jesus equal as God?

B. John 14:28 - "The Father is greater than I"

C. Jesus as God Man and Submission to the Father

II. The Basic Model of Christology

A. One Eternal Person - The Logos

B. Same Eternal Deity as the Father

C. Same Temporal Humanity as Humans

D. Full Unity of the Person of Christ

III. Arguments for the Deity of Jesus

A. Old Testament References to Divine Messiah

B. Gospel Statements of Deity

C. Epistle Statements of Deity

D. Jesus' Actions that Only God Can Do

E. Jesus Identified as Yahweh

IV. The Nature of Jesus' Humanity

A. Glorified Humanity and Appearance in Locked Rooms

B. Revelation Chapter One and a Transformed Appearance

V. Theological Implications of Jesus as the God-Man

A. Jesus as Messiah and High Priest

B. The Mystery of How God Became Man

VI. The Immutability of God and Jesus' Self-Limitation

A. Jesus' Willing Sacrifice of Divine Attributes

B. Maintaining Continuity of Person while Adapting to Different Contexts


Lessons
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  • In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
  • Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
  • This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
  • Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
  • Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
  • This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
  • In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
  • This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
  • This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
  • This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
  • This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
  • Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
  • This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
  • The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
  • Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
  • Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
  • This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
  • This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
  • Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
  • This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
  • Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
  • This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
  • Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
  • This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
  • This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
  • In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
  • This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
  • In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
  • You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
  • From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
  • By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
  • Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
  • Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
  • This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
  • From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
  • This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
  • Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
  • Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.

Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.

A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
th104-20
Deity of Jesus
Lesson Transcript

Model of incarnation, let me review this one more time because it's one of those things that's caught our gut. Let me ask you a poisonous question. Is that all right? Say yes because I'm going to do it anyway. Jesus, is he equal as God?

Yeah.

You're all afraid to say anything because I already told you it's a poisonous question. Well, look at John, look at Gospel of John chapter 14. Look at verse 28. John 14:28. John 14:28. "You heard me say, 'I'm going away and I'm coming back to you.' If you love me, you would be glad that I'm going to the Father for," what's the last phrase there? "The Father is greater than I."

So does this mean that the eternal son is subordinate to the eternal father? No. This is talking about Jesus the God man. And so Jesus the God man has emptied himself as a status of equality. He didn't think that equality with God was a thing to be hung onto. And there's [inaudible] debates about every word in that poem, which I'm not going into. The status of equality, emptied himself as a status of equality and took the status of a human. So the Father is greater than him as God man. He submitted himself and obeyed the authority of the Father as Jesus the God man, not the eternal son, but as the incarnate God man. "The Father is greater than I."

So as God man he says, "The Father is greater than I." That's not a status of his eternal deity. That's a status of him as God man. So the logos, the second person of Trinity who is fully equal with God in every way, and that's what we do next is look at his deity, emptied himself with the use of divine attributes and took a fully human nature. Living as a perfectly spirit-filled man, filled in those blanks, and he submits himself to the will of the Father. John chapter five, the whole chapter is about him being submitted to the will of the Father, the leading of the Holy Spirit. And he is like in the temptation, the very first thing he does after his baptism, depending on which gospel you're looking at, he's either led into the spirit, into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit or driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. He does it in order to glorify the Father.

So that's John 1:18. "I've come to reveal the Father's glory," to redeem the world and become the Messianic King. Those are his purposes, his mission to Messiah. That's the basic model of Christology and that's what I'm going to stand for. So the basic essentials, again going on in your notes, there's one eternal person, the logos, who has the same eternal deity as the Father. He is the same temporal humanity as we have. And there's a full unity of the person of Christ.

Those are the four big affirmations in historic Christology. And we're not going to look at all of these, but I do want to look at the same eternal deity as the Father. And I want to look at it while he's here on earth. And when I think about the deity of the Father, is Jesus God? I'm going to say no, he's not. Jesus is God man. He's God become flesh. And as God man, there is a unity of person that goes on. So being up here as God, he empties himself, comes down here to the level of human. Adds humanity. So this is God man. He lives for 30 some years and he dies, resurrected and ascends back to heaven and all the way along you've got this sign of personhood. He's always the second person of the Trinity, never stops being that. He still has divine essence, but his way of life is now fully human. So he can be tempted, he can be tired, all those things.

So let's begin with divinity. Now I'm talking about Jesus here. I'm not talking to the second person of Trinity. Why do I believe that Jesus is God? So let me ask you, well, let me do better, have you look at it. 1 Timothy 6, 1 Timothy 6. Let's talk about what God is. 1 Timothy 6:16, 1 Timothy 6:16. He's talking about God the Father here. 1 Timothy is talking about God, the blessed only ruler, King of kings and Lord of lords who alone is, what's the first thing there? What's in verse 16? He's immortal, who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. So you've got immortal, unapproachable, invisible. We could add things to it. So when I think of essential characteristics of God, well let's think about some of these. If I think about God being immortal, is Jesus immortal? Is Jesus immortal?

Yeah. Well, he was-

So He didn't die for us?

Well, he was resurrected.

Well, yeah, but he died. Remember, death does not mean cessation existence. Death means separation. Did he go through separation of body and spirit?

Yeah.

Yeah. Did he go through personal separation from the Father? I think he did in those three hours of darkness on the cross, I think he went through spiritual death. Now others would say no, but I think he did. Did Jesus die? Well, the whole point is he dies for us. Is he immortal? The answer is no. Is God immortal? Yes. Is Jesus God? Hmm. How about invisible?

No.

He's not invisible. The whole point is we have seen him, we've touched him. How about immutable?

No.

Jesus begins as what? Little bitty baby. Nursing his mother's breast and all that and becomes a tough guy, adult human. Yeah, He changes. Of course He changes. Is Jesus omniscient? Does he know all things?

No.

No. He doesn't know the day of the second coming. He doesn't know where Lazarus is buried. Jesus specifically says he does not know the second coming. Is he omnipresent?

No.

No. Same thing. So God is immortal, invisible, immutable, omniscient, omnipresent. Jesus is none of those things. And that's why I think he gives up the use of his incommunicable attributes. I think that's what happens. But I see people a lot of times trying to prove that Jesus is God by appealing to attributes. And in fact that will lead you to say He's not God if you're honest about it. Now, the second person of the Trinity is all those things that Jesus is not. Now by Jesus, I mean the God man. So that's where I come out.

So why would we believe that the incarnate one is God? And I would go to the passage like the Daniel 7 passage. So you look at Daniel 7, starting at 13, Daniel 7 starting verse 13. Daniel in his vision looked, "And there before me was one like a son of man." So that's that human-like one, "Coming with the clouds of heaven." He approaches the ancient of days, which would be the Father, led in his presence and he's given authority, glory, sovereign power, all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His messianic dominion is an everlasting dominion and so on.

So he comes to the ancient of days, he's given authority and everyone in heaven worships him. In heaven, who gets worshiped? God only. This is a prophecy of a divine messiah who will be exalted to the right hand of the Father. So that's one of several Old Testament references to a divine messiah. Seems to me. Now, you've got three lines of testimony, three lines of argument for the deity of Jesus. So this is in your notes here, you've got Old Testament reference to divine messiah. You've got Gospel statements of deity, you've got epistle statements of deity, and you've got, Jesus does things that only God can do. So let's look at those in turn.

Gospel statements of deity were probably all know about things like John 8:58 before Abraham was I am. And the people get all excited and want to stone him. We will, we will rock you, which they want to do. But Jesus walks out of the mist. You've got Thomas's testimony. Thomas says, "I'll not believe it unless I stick my finger in his hand and put my hand in his side." Jesus shows up [foreign language] "Hey Thomas, come here, do it." And Thomas' response is, "My Lord and my God." It's a statement of deity. It's not a statement of, my God, who is this? No, it's a statement of deity. He worships. And there are a number of places like that.

I don't go when I've got these arguments coming up where somebody who doesn't believe it, I don't go to the Gospel of John because that's the most doubted Gospel once you get out of the evangelical world. I don't go there. I go to Mark, which Mark is the earliest and most authentic of the Gospels according to many. And if you go to Mark chapter 1, "In the beginning it was the good news about Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God." It's written to Isaiah the prophet. "I will send my message ahead of you who have written my way," and here's the quote from Isaiah, "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him'"

In Mark's gospel, who is the Lord who is coming? Well, it's Jesus. If you go back to Isaiah 40 where this is quoted from, it's Yahweh. What Mark is doing here is he's saying that Jesus is Yahweh come among us because in Isaiah, it's Yahweh, it's [foreign language]. When he copies it here it applies to Jesus, this is as way as Jesus' God come among us. Clear, clear affirmation of deity of Jesus.

You go down a little bit further here in Mark, and these are referenced in your notes, of course, John talks about the one more powerful than I whose straps of sandals are not worthy to stoop down. He says, "I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Who is the baptizer of Holy Spirit in Mark chapter 1? Well, that's Jesus. Go back to Joel chapter 2, one of the ones that talks about that. Who's the baptizer in Joel chapter 2? Well, it's Yahweh. Again Mark is saying Jesus is Yahweh come among us because he does divine things and this is Jesus.

So Gospel statements, there are quite a number of them. But again, if I'm talking to somebody that has a more liberal tradition, I don't go to the Gospels because they doubt the authenticity of the Gospels are taught to do that. I go to a book of, my third line of argumentation is epistles statements. And so what I do is go to the book of Romans. And the book of Romans is universally accepted as being ancient and authentic. Romans comes from Paul and it's a pre destruction of the temple book and it's clearly a key book. And really nobody debates that. If I go to Romans chapter nine, he's talking about his kinsman according to the flesh, the people of Israel in verse five talking about Israel, theirs are the patriarchs. So reminds of Jacob are from Israel and from them is traits, the human ancestry of the Messiah. And look at this next phrase, "Who is God over us all forever praised. Amen."

It could not be more explicit that the Messiah is God over all. That's Romans 9:5. It's a very, very clear statement from an ancient and authentic first century book that says they believe the Messiah is God overall. And attempts to explain that away just simply don't work is some sort of, and from the ministry of Messiah, God be praised. Like if you listen to an orthodox Muslim today and they mention the name of Muhammad, they'll always stop and say, [foreign language] or something like that. It's not that at all because he only does this one time. It's clearly an affirmation of deity of Jesus believed.

I won't take you through all of these. You can look them up yourself, but it's clear the epistle statements of deity are strong. The fourth line of argumentation is that Jesus does things that only God does. So some examples here, if I look at Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 44:24, this is what the Lord says. "Your Redeemer, who formed you from the word," and you tell himself, "I am the Lord. I'm Yahweh." The maker of how many things? I am the Lord, the maker of how many things? "Of all things."

So God is the one who creates all things. Okay? That's the first statement. The minor statement would be in classified Colossians 1:16. Talking here Colossians 1:16. "The son, who is the image of invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." And then verse 16, "For in him all things were created." So Isaiah 44, "I alone create all things." "I alone, Yahweh says, "Create all things." Here it says, "The Son, in him all things were created." So Yahweh alone creates, the son creates. What is the logical conclusion? The son is divine. If Yahweh alone creates, Isaiah 44:24, remember, who stretches out the heavens and spreads out the earth by myself, the maker of all things who stretch out the heavens and spreads out the earth by myself. And then in Colossians 1, "The son is the maker of all things." This says that he's a part of that alone. So it says he's God. Jesus does things that only God can do.

Now again, I'm not going to take you through all of these, but he forgives sin. Now, let's say, oh, Robin Mounts is out back here taking her nap. It's a good thing. It's been a long day already. Let's say that I offend Robin, it could happen. Could Robin forgive me for the offense I've done against her? Could Robin forgive me for the offense I've done against her? Yeah. Could Bill forgive me for the sin that I did against Robin?

Never.

Not only couldn't, but wouldn't. But see, that's the thing is if I'm the one sinned against, I can forgive, but I can't forgive a third party offense. So Jesus takes the guy, says, "Your sins are forgiven." I've got the things here in Mark chapter two. The people object, "Who alone can forgive sins but God only?" To show you that the son of man has authority to forgive sins, "Take up your bed and walk." He takes his bed and walks. Well, there you go.

See? And what he's saying is Jesus has the authority to forgive sins, which is something that only God can do. Same thing about worshiping. Only Yahweh is worshiped by the very statement of Jesus, but then Jesus is worshiped and he accepts the worship, which shows that he is God if he's rightfully worshiped. We could do a lot of these things. So this is Old Testament saved of divine Messiah, Gospel statements that Jesus is divine, epistle statement that Jesus is divine, and then Jesus or one incarnate in him does the things that only God can do. Three arguments why Jesus is God come among us.

Another one on here, I've got lesson on this, is that Jesus identified as Yahweh. So, "Whoever calls up on the name of the Lord will be saved" comes from Joel 2:32. It's the last verse in that statement. "Whoever calls up on the name of Yahweh will be saved in the day of the Lord." But Paul quotes that in Roman's 10:13 and says, "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." And the one who in that place, it's the Lord is Jesus. So he's saying the title that's given to God in Joel 2 is now fulfilled by Jesus. And that's another way of saying. So that's one I was arguing.

There are a number of things beyond that, but this is a basic idea. Why do we say that Jesus, the incarnate one, is divine? We've got a number of passages that prove it. Please, please, please do not go back and say He has attributes of deity because he doesn't. He dies, gets beaten up by soldiers and those kinds of things. So one of my pet peeves, I get annoyed really easily and especially in theology kind of things or use of Bible, I get really annoyed when it's said, "Well, that guy up in heaven, that's Jesus up there in heaven sitting next to the Father who's going to ..." No, no. Or my even less favorite is, "Well, the second person of Trinity is the pre-incarnate Messiah" or "The angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is the pre-incarnate Messiah."

No, no, no. Messiah is an earthbound thing. You can't be the Messiah up in heaven. It's not possible. That's a work down here. He's not the pre-incarnate Messiah. If you ought to do that, say he's the one who will be incarnated as Messiah, but he's not Messiah until he does incarnate. He doesn't have the name Jesus until he gets born of Mary. That's why Gabriel tells Matthew, "Call his name Jesus for he'll save these people from their sin." So I get annoyed really easily. Maybe I'm being over picky, but he's not Jesus until he gets incarnate, then he's Jesus and he'll be Jesus forever, I think. But there's a beginning to Jesus, there's not a beginning to the logos. Anyway, I can unpack that. I get annoyed, but let's quit. Deity of Jesus. Questions.

Is Jesus still the God man? After Jesus ascends, then how does that look?

This is a really good question. The thing that I look at when is he still fully human? When he appears, you've got a locker room, guys have the padlocks on the door to protect themselves, and Jesus shows up in their midst. What's that about? And so a common understanding is that he's at least partially glorified so he can appear in the midst of locked rooms. Normal humans can't do that, but Jesus does.

The one that does it even more to me is in Revelation chapter one, John is there on the island of Patmos exiled and he's in the spirit on the Lord's day worshiping, and he hears a voice behind him and he turns around and the one he sees in Revelation one looks like the ancient of days. This looks nothing like the Jews who made him fish on the seashore of Galilee, or the guy who leaned up against at the last Supper. Completely different. He falls down, his feet were dead. This is not the gentle Jesus with the long hair and a robe.

So something has happened, or maybe John is just speaking symbolically. My answer to your question, does he still have a human body and that kind of stuff is, I don't know. And frankly I don't think you do either. It's okay to have opinions, he will come back in personal bodily form, I think. But what's his status right now? I don't know. I literally don't know. You guys may know better than I do.

But theologically, is it accurate to still say he's the God man?

Yes. I think he's clearly a Messiah still, and I think still has humanity associated because he's our high priest and high priest comes from among the people. So I'm inclined to think, yes, it's human, but exactly how that works out I don't know.

How can the God with whom there is no change become that which he was not?

That's the $100,000 dollars question. And here's my answer. I don't think he changes his essence. I don't think he changes character. When you think about the immutability of God, he does not change his purpose, but he does give up the use of certain divine attributes or mortality, immutability. I don't think he gives up his divinity. He's God. But he willingly and intentionally gives up a lifestyle and certain priorities with that, the glory that comes with that in order to live among us. And so he in a sense, becomes the new temple.

How does he do that? I have to say, I don't know, but we have analogies. If you look at me on one day, I'm Reverend Dr. Gary Pierce, sir. Not that I do that sort of thing, but I am. I'm a full professor of western seminary. I'm a PhD, I'm ordained, all those kinds of things. And I carry a gravitas in authority by virtue of that office and the fact that I'm an old man. But you see me praying a little baby, I'm a totally different guy, but there's still a continuity of person in between those two.

If I'm giggling around with Michael, my grandson, who's nine years old and just full of life and we're running around on the playground and doing crazy things, it's not Reverend Dr. Pierce, sir, and Michael. "Hey, it's Grandpa Gary." Next week I'll be in Boise, Idaho with some of my non-legal grandkids. So I've got barely three year old twins, Luke and Thomas, and I'll absolutely be rolling on the floor with those guys. And I think that's the same kind of thing that happened with Jesus. Same person, different lifestyle for a different context. That's why I put the dots together.

 

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