Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Does John 16:28 prove that Jesus pre-existed?(An Arian issue)

This blog was inspired by a blog from Ivan,found here:

Ivan's blog on John 16:27-30

I recommend his blog to anyone interested in Christological,Jehovah's Witness,or kingdom of God apologetics.

(John 16:27-30, NASB)

for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.”

Ivan(whose blog inspired this post..thanks Ivan) says "if ‘come into the world’ means to be born, then one would expect this to be first and Jesus being commissioned afterwards. But this is not what Jesus says. He says he first came from God and then came into the world."

And I would say:how could Yahushua come into the world without coming from God to do so?How could he have been "born" without God sending his spirit to impregnate Mary,essentially causing his "word of life"(eternal life from the father) to manifest at the "proper time"?(1 John 1:1,2,5:11,Gal. 4:4)We already know from scripture that anything God wills is always with him and comes from him,instigated by an operation of his miraculous and powerful holy spirit.That is how and why any gift from the father could be said to come forth from Him,and in fact descend.

James 1:17:Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights(NIV)

or as the New Living Translation says:

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.

What God decrees,harbors,fancies,and intends is with him,spoken forth,and manifest at the proper time.(Gal. 4:4,Eph. 1:10)I really can't think of anything from the father,any gift,any precious surety,more amazing and poignant than the "purpose he set forth in Christ"(Eph. 1:9),"which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."(Col. 1:27)Yahushua knew he was that "gift" that would "come down"(James 1:17),that "true bread from heaven",from youth on as his parents taught him the scriptures and the Spirit he was full of led and taught him fully.(John 3:34)This gift that came from God was Christ's *flesh*.This *Son of man* was of course from God!Where else would it(the bread,or flesh) and he(Yahushua) be from?

John 6:32:Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the *bread from heaven*, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.

This "bread" was "flesh" that "came down" from heaven as any gift from God would,as opposed to a spirit that transmigrated.(John 6:51)

Yahushua knew who and what he was,how he was present since before the world even was,as "the mystery hidden for ages and generations" that was "*now* revealed to his saints."(Col. 1:26)The revelation of that mystery was,again,Christ the genuine man in the flesh,not a Godman,not an Angel who became human.(except from both camps,Arian and trinitarian, by inference)The eternal life from the father was a "decree before the ages for our glory"(1 Cor. 2:7)and quite honestly and sincerely the Last Adam(that's a human being who needs no ontologies added,either at the same time or before and after) once manifest.(1 Cor. 15:45,Rom. 5:14,John 1:14)

The father Yah was the reliable source of Messiah Yahushua.In fact,he said to David:

2 Samuel 7:12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.

Messiah came from God.He didn't come forth of his own initiative and make claims that weren't true.(John 14:6)

John 8:42:Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.

When Christ said "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world",he was trying to let them know that he was indeed the "Christ,the Son of the Living God."(Matthew 16:16)EXACTLY who he always said he was.He never said "I was the Angel of the LORD" or "I am the same God (in being,not person) as the One who sent me."The revelation that he was the decreed Christ of Yah was and is a truth so important that if one can't or won't accept it,that one will "die in his sin."(John 8:24)That was the purpose and heart of the texts in question.Because:

2 John 1:7:Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Yahushua wanted them to know that he was that "flesh" from heaven.The Messiah in the flesh,a true human being,from God himself,sent to save the world.

Ivan further says:"Another passage that points to a similar concept of being with God but sent to the world is John 17:18 (ESV):

As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world

It is plain that Jesus “sent them,” that is, his disciples, “into the world” in a person-to-person correlation. Yet, Jesus compares this sending to how the Father sent him “into the world.” Jesus’ sending must also have been a person-to-person correspondence."

To which I say:How did Yahushua send his disciples into the world?By letting them know of their divine commission and the work that needed(and still needs) to be done.Why would a pre-existence spring into view (except by presupposition perhaps)in order for God to have "person-to-person" correspondence with his own Son?Are we forgetting that "no one knows the Father except the Son"?(Matt. 11:27)And how do people come to "know" God?Well,by his Spirit.And who was full of that more exceptionally,intimately,and wholly than any other?Yahushua,of course,who was given the Spirit of his loving father generously "without limit."(John.3:34)I would certainly consider that "person to person" correspondence.

When Yahushua said "I am leaving the world again and going to the Father",even though it is the opposite of coming from the father,he is communicating that he is returning to the place from which he originated.He didn't come of his own initiative or from any unreliable source,but from the faithful and true Shema's One God Himself!God is the source and sender and father of the one he made to be Lord and king of the world,Yahushua.(Matt. 28:18,Acts 2:36)Christ was a gift of life,true bread from heaven,for the world who would exercise faith,poignantly and surely from Yahuwah,no other source.:)

When the disciples said "you are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech",the word for "figure of speech" is "paroimia",defined as an enigmatical or fictitious illustration on e-sword.(easily downloadable free bible study software)So basically all the disciples were saying was "what you have said is true,as opposed to false.You are definitely who you say you are.We believe you.You haven't spoken in another enigmatic illustration." NOT,and as opposed to, "You were a spirit entity who transmigrated into a womb to become a man.What you've said is clear in that you were the Angel of the LORD in the Old Testament who now stands before us as a human being!"That notion has to be read INTO the texts.The Greek word for "plainly" means "frankly" or "bluntly."Yahushua could say "frankly" and "bluntly" that he came from God without having to mean "I was a spirit who did."Because,again,how could Yahushua come into the world without coming *from God* to do so?His origin was from no other place!If it were,then he would be a false Messiah.We know that isn't an option.

Further,John writes:

John 16:30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?"

Do you think Yahushua was asking them if they now believed he pre-existed or if they now knew for certain that he was the Christ of Yah?To "know all things" means Christ was full of the spirit of Yah,truly "from God" as the prophesied Messiah to give life to the world,not that he existed for millenniums as another ontology.Again,I think the whole point is that he wasn't a false Messiah from some source other than Yah.

Ivan noted on his blog:

"Even preeminent British scholar James Dunn whom has a tendency to read pre-existence out of the New Testament says,

“Linked with the Father-Son theme is the regularly expressed conviction of his own pre-existence—of a prior existence in heaven with the Father (6.62; 8.38; 10.36; 17.5), of his descent from heaven (3.13; 6.33, 38, 41f., 50f., 58), of his coming from God (3.31; 8.42; (13.3); 16:27f.; 17:8) into the world (3.19; 9.3; 10.36; 12.46; 16.28; 18.37). The climax is probably reached in the most powerful of the ‘I am’ sayings, where Jesus’ claim to pre-existence achieves its most absolute expression—‘Before Abraham was, I am’ (8.58).”- Christology in the Making, pg. 57, 2nd edition."

My response to this point:

Dunn said in his foreword that since his writing of the "Christology" book that his "understanding of the beginnings of Christology has itself developed and become clarified"(xxvi) and that "it becomes clear from John's Gospel",to a degree he hadn't appreciated when he wrote "Christology",that the "main issue of that period was monotheism."(xxviii)And though he doesn't mention John ch. 16 specifically in his foreword,I am left to assume(and you can disagree) that if he thinks the Johannine Christ is NOT an incarnation of a pre-existing "Son of God",then he doesn't think any text of John would solidly support such a thought.He says:

"It would be better to speak of the Johannine Christ as the incarnation of GOD,as God making himself known in human flesh,*not as the incarnation of the Son of God(which seems to be saying something other.)*"(xxviii Foreword to 2nd edition of "Christology in the Making" by James D.G. Dunn)

and also:

"Christ was the incarnate Logos,a self-manifestation of God,the One God insofar as he could make himself known in human flesh.--not the incarnation of a divine power other than God.Christianity was still monotheistic;the only difference was the belief that this God had manifested himself in and as human flesh;this Jesus now provided a definitive 'window' into the One God;he was (and is) "God" as the self-manifestation of God,not as one somehow other than God.".(xxx foreword to 2nd edition of "Christology in the Making" by James D.G. Dunn)

In other words,Christ was the father(and the father's own self-revelation) incarnate in human flesh,not a pre-existing Angel or "Son of God" incarnate in human flesh.And I would agree.And,no,just in case there be any misunderstandings,that point is NOT advocating a Modalist position.It's advocating God the father IN his Son,a separate "being" and individual,*through* whom he made himself known as fully as an infinite, holy, and unseeable God possibly could.(2 Cor. 5:19,Col. 2:9)

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