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Scriptures affirming The Man Jesus christ Pre Existence
Posted 20 August 2009 - 08:32 AM
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Posted 21 August 2009 - 07:57 AM
God had a savior beffore He had a sinner Yes, Jesus was the Saviour of the World before men sinned in adam, Gods wisdom and prudence had Jesus already prepared.. eph 1: 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Do you know what it means to be wise and prudent ?
Posted 21 August 2009 - 07:59 AM
eph 1: [B]8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Do you know what it means to be wise and prudent ?
Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:01 AM
Answer the question..what does being wise and prudent mean do you know ?
Please go deeper/
Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:10 AM
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Posted 23 August 2009 - 09:31 AM
And did not Jesus say that before Abraham..I AM?...John 8:56-58
, and were destroyed of serpents. Remember paul also wrote that rock that followed them [Israel] in the wilderness was Christ.. vs 4 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 2 cor 8 9 9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he [Jesus christ] was rich, yet for your sakes he [Jesus christ] became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. Simply stating He was Jesus christ Rich before He was Jesus christ poor via the incarnation..in both Instances He is the Man Jesus christ.. phil 2: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: He was not in the Form of God in His Deity, for in His Deity He was very God [ Not a Form], but in His Pre existening ManHood as Mediator, He was in the Form of God.. col 1: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 17And he [Jesus christ] is before all things, and by him all things consist. see eph 3 9 also.. Jesus christ is not the Firstborn of all creatures as Deity, for in that regard He was never born or Begotten, so this is speaking of His Mediatorial Manhood..in this regard He is before all things, which makes sense, since all things would be created through his medium as Mediator with God and Man.. Heb 1: 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Deity wasnt appointed Heir of All things, So this is speaking of His Mediatorial Manhood by which also He made the Worlds..So we know vs 2 here is regarding precreation..He was appointed heir of the World before creation..so He existed then.. 1 jn 4: 2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Notice what John is saying here..confessing , agreeing that the Man Jesus christ is come in the flesh..you see, the name Jesus christ emphasizes His Manhood, and if he is being emhasized as coming in the Flesh, then He had to previously exist as Jesus christ before, and in order to come as the same person.. And John solemnly warns, those rejecting this Truth is Not of God, and this is the Spirit of AntiChrist..and I believe John.Amen ! Jesus christ is called the beginning of the creation of God rev 3: 14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; This must refer to His Manhood, and not His Deity..this refers to Him being brought forth in eternity past as the head of the election of grace, his body, the church..which is again stated here: col 1: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. These are Just a few of many other scripture testimony of this sacred being, and His Pre Existence.. Warning, only Gods True elect will begin to accept this Truth, but His enemies will deny it and reject it at all accounts..__________________
Posted 23 August 2009 - 10:14 AM
Yes..and John the baptist said: Jn 1: 30This is he of whom I said' date=' After me cometh[B'] a man[/B] which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
And did not Jesus say that before Abraham..I AM?...John 8:56-58
Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:32 AM
Posted 24 August 2009 - 10:08 AM
Posted 24 August 2009 - 10:19 AM
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Posted 24 August 2009 - 10:26 AM
- (The term "Angel of the LORD" is first mentioned in Genesis 16:7 - The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert (New International Version).)
- A certain "Suffering servant", from the Book of Isaiah, is believed by many Christians to be Jesus. However, this may simply be a prophecy rather than an appearance.
- The vision of Isaiah (Is 6) may be regarded as a Christophany. It appears to have been seen as such by John the evangelist, who, following a quote from this chapter, adds 'Isaiah said this because he saw His glory and spoke of Him' (John 12:41).
- A Christophany also is believed to have occurred when Jacob wrestled with a man in Gen. 32:30. Jacob says he has "seen God face to face," but Hosea 12:4 mentions an angel. This can be reconciled, if it was the Angel of the LORD, as Christ said He "and the Father are one" (John 10:30), or if Christ was actually there.
- Another possible Christophany is in the Garden of Eden, where God walks with Adam and Eve. He also sacrifices animals and covers their nakedness with the skins in Genesis 3:21, indicating a physical presence. Some typological commentators believe that Adam and Eve were shown the plan of salvation, then instructed in blood sacrifice as a proleptic memorial.
- One example is the "Man" who appears to Joshua, and identifies Himself as "the commander of the army of the LORD." (Joshua 5:13-15). The standard argument that this was in fact Christ is that He accepted Joshua's prostrate worship, whereas angels refuse such worship; see Revelation 19:9-10. Additionally, He declared the ground to be holy; elsewhere in the Bible, only things or places set aside for God or claimed by Him are called holy; see Exodus 3:5. Note that Jewish commentators  reading the same text do not accept that this figure was Christ (or even Adonai).
- Another example of a Christophany is in Daniel 3:25, when the fourth man in the furnace is described as "The Son of God" (KJV translation).
- When Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?" He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding" (Judges 13:17).
- A New Testament Christophany is Paul's vision of Christ on the road to Damascus, and the subsequent one Ananias has.
- Another New Testament example is the vision of St John the Divine, recounted in Rev 1:12-18." (wikipedia)
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8—The Model for Spiritual Unity (2:5–8)
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (2:5–8)
In his book Miracles, C. S. Lewis offers some helpful insights for understanding the unfathomable reality of Christ’s incarnation:
In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders. Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the deathlike region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both coloured now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too.
In this descent and re-ascent everyone will recognise a familiar pattern: a thing written all over the world. It is the pattern of all vegetable life. It must belittle itself into something hard, small and deathlike, it must fall into the ground: thence the new life re-ascends. It is the pattern of all animal generation too. There is descent from the full and perfect organisms into the spermatozoon and ovum, and in the dark womb the slow ascent to the perfect embryo, to the living, conscious baby, and finally to the adult. So it is also in our moral and emotional life. The first innocent and spontaneous desires have to submit to the deathlike process of control or total denial: but from that there is a re-ascent to fully formed character in which the strength of the original material all operates but in a new way. Death and Re-birth—go down to go up—it is a key principle. Through this bottleneck, this belittlement, the highroad nearly always lies.
The doctrine of the Incarnation, if accepted, puts this principle even more emphatically at the centre. The pattern is there in Nature because it was first there in God. All the instances of it which I have mentioned turn out to be but transpositions of the Divine theme into a minor key. I am not now referring simply to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. The total pattern, of which they are only the turning point, is the real Death and Re-birth: for certainly no seed ever fell from so fair a tree into so dark and cold a soil as would furnish more than a faint analogy to this huge descent and re-ascension in which God dredged the salt and oozy bottom of Creation. (New York: Macmillan, 1947, 115–17)
The Incarnation is the central miracle of Christianity, the most grand and wonderful of all the things that God has ever done. That miracle of miracles is the theme of Philippians 2:5–8. Some scholars believe this passage was originally a hymn, sung by early Christians to commemorate and celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God. It has been called a Christological gem, a theological diamond that perhaps sparkles brighter than any other in Scripture. In a simple, brief, yet extraordinarily profound way, it describes the condescension of the second Person of the Trinity to be born, to live, and to die in human form to provide redemption for fallen mankind.
Yet as profound and unfathomable as this passage is theologically, it is also ethical. As the introductory words (Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus) make clear, it is primarily designed to motivate Christians to live like their Lord and Savior. Paul was not merely describing the Incarnation to reveal its theological truths, magnificent as those are. He presents the supreme, unparalleled example of humility to serve as the most powerful motive to believers’ humility. The Incarnation calls believers to follow Jesus’ incomparable example of humble self-denial, self-giving, self-sacrifice, and selfless love as He lived out the Incarnation in obedient submission to His Father’s will (cf. Luke 2:49; John 3:16–17; 5:30; 12:49; 15:10).
Verse 5 is a transition from exhortation to illustration, and the phrase this attitude looks both backward and forward. It looks backward to the principle just given, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (vv. 3–4). It looks forward to the illustration of that principle in Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of it as described in verses 6–8.
The goal of believers having this attitude is spiritual unity in the church by their being “of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (v. 2). Unity in the church can come only from an attitude of genuine humility, of believers truly regarding others as more important than themselves—the attitude that was supremely manifested in Christ Jesus during His incarnation. The apostle John makes it clear that “the one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Jesus commanded: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).
Addressing the ethical impact of this passage, Paul Rees writes:
“Don’t forget,” cries Paul, “that in all this wide universe and in all the dim reaches of history there has never been such a demonstration of self-effacing humility as when the Son of God in sheer grace descended to this errant planet! Remember that never—never in a million aeons—would He have done it if He were the kind of Deity who looks ‘only to his own interests’ and closes His eyes to the ‘interests of others’! You must remember, my brethren, that through your union with Him, in living, redemptive experience, this principle and passion by which He was moved must become the principle and passion by which you are moved.” (The Adequate Man: Paul in Philippians [Westwood, N.J.: Revell, 1954], 43)
In yourselves is not directed at the individual believer’s personal virtue, but targets the whole church, which is so susceptible to the division and strife produced by pride and self-exaltation. The whole church must manifest the humility of the Lord and head of the church. One of the most revealing instances of that humility was His washing the disciples’ feet during the Last Supper. The menial task of washing dirty feet was reserved for the lowest servants. Jesus had just been acknowledged as the prophesied Deliverer and Messiah, the “King of Israel,” at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem a few days earlier (John 12:12–15). He was well aware “that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God” (13:3). Yet in gentle humility He “got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (vv. 4–5). This act was especially poignant because the disciples, insensitive to Jesus’ coming suffering, were engaged in wrangling with each other over which of them would be the “greatest” in the Messiah’s kingdom (cf. Luke 22:24).
Afterward the Lord asked, “Do you know what I have done to you?” Knowing full well that they did not understand the significance of what He had just done, He did not wait for an answer but continued to explain:
You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:12–17)
That demonstration of humility so clearly exemplifies the attitude which was also in Christ Jesus that it may well be the very one the apostle had in mind when he wrote this passage. It also exemplifies his admonition to the church in Rome that “we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself” (Rom. 15:1–3). Accentuating again the inseparable relationship between humility and spiritual unity, he added, “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (vv. 5–7).
Because Paul consistently followed that principle, he could remind the Corinthians, “I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many,” and then admonish them to “be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 10:33–11:1; cf. 2 Cor. 8:7–9). Similarly, he reminded the Thessalonians that “our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake,” offering the encouraging commendation that “you also became imitators of us and of the Lord, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (1 Thess. 1:5–7).
The way of humility is not the way of the world. It is especially not the choice of its honored leaders, who are expected to take the very best of everything for themselves. They are accorded the highest places of honor and respect, and they are expected to be served rather than to serve. Jesus described the scribes and Pharisees as men who
tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. (Matt. 23:4–7; cf. 20:25–28 for a similar Gentile attitude)
Most Jews of Jesus’ day, including the Twelve for most of His ministry, expected the Messiah to come as a conquering, reigning, and highly honored deliverer. Like those Jews, if Christians were somehow by themselves to imagine a plan for the incarnation of God’s Son, they doubtless would expect Him to be born into a prominent family and attend the finest schools. He would be surrounded by the brightest minds and most capable helpers and live in regal splendor, with countless assistants to do His bidding and satisfy His every need and want. He would have constant protection from physical danger and from destructive criticism. And He would deserve it all.
But that was not God’s way. His only begotten Son was born into the humblest of families in the humblest of places. In the eyes of those around Him, including His own family and friends, He lived an unexceptional life. The twelve men He chose to be His apostles were, with the possible exception of Matthew, common men with little education, skills, or position. He submitted to every humiliation and indignity from His enemies and refused to defend Himself. The highest of all became the lowest of all.
Obviously, believers cannot follow the example of Christ’s deity, incarnation, moral and spiritual perfection, miracles, or redemptive work. But they are commanded to follow His example of humility as expressed in His incarnation. In marked contrast to the glory-loving scribes and Pharisees, Jesus commanded His followers not to
be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (Matt. 23:8–12)
As he expounded Jesus’ ethically flawless example of humility, Paul also chronicled theologically the descent of the Son of God from heaven to earth, describing the exalted position that He left, then presenting a series of downward steps from that glory and honor to ever-increasing indignity. These parallel categories will be dealt with together in regard to each of the descending stages mentioned in this passage.
Posted 31 August 2009 - 04:03 PM
The Exalted Position Jesus Left
although He existed in the form of God, (2:6a)
Jesus’ humiliating step downward was from the exalted position seen in the truth that He existed in the form of God. Both before, during, and after His incarnation, He was, by His very nature, fully and eternally God. Existed translates a present active participle of the compound verb huparcho, which is formed from hupo (“under”) and arche (“beginning”) and denotes the continuance of a previous state or existence. It stresses the essence of a person’s nature, that which is absolutely unalterable, inalienable, and unchangeable. William Barclay comments that the verb refers to “that part of a [person] which, in any circumstances, remains the same” (The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Rev. ed. [Louisville, Ky.: Westminster, 1975], 35).
Jesus Christ eternally and immutably existed, and will forever continue to exist, in the form of God. Morphe (form) refers to the outward manifestation of an inner reality. The idea is that, before the Incarnation, from all eternity past, Jesus preexisted in the divine form of God, equal with God the Father in every way. By His very nature and innate being, Jesus Christ is, always has been, and will forever be fully divine.
The Greek word schema is also often translated “form,” but the meaning is quite different from that of morphe As Barclay points out,
Morphe is the essential form which never alters; schema is the outward form which changes from time to time and from circumstance to circumstance. For instance, the essential morphe of any human being is humanity and this never changes; but his schema is continually changing. A baby, a child, a boy, a youth, a man of middle age, an old man always have the morphe of humanity, but the outward schema changes all the time. (Philippians, 35–36)
To the Colossians, Paul expressed the truth of Christ’s deity in these words: “He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). Speaking of Christ, John opened his gospel with the declaration: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1–2, 14). Jesus said of Himself, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58), and later prayed, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (17:5, 24). The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:2–3).
In light of the profound reality of Jesus’ full and uncompromised deity, His incarnation was the most profound possible humiliation. For Him to change in any way or to any degree, even temporarily by the divine decree of His Father, required descent. By definition, to forsake perfection requires taking on some form of imperfection. Yet without forsaking or in any way diminishing His perfect deity or His absolute holiness, in a way that is far beyond human comprehension, the Creator took on the form of the created. The Infinite became finite, the Sinless took sin upon Himself. The very heart of the gospel of redemption is that the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Although that infinitely marvelous and cardinal gospel truth is impossible to understand, it is necessary to believe.
The example for those who have saving faith in Christ is clear. Because of their relationship to Christ, they have special standing and privilege before God. Through Christ, they are God’s children. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12); and because they are His children, “when He appears, [they] will be like Him, because [they] will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). Although they will always be His servants, He deigns to call them His friends: “I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Believers are indwelt by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:17) and by the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Rom. 8:9, 11; 2 Tim. 1:14). While on earth, they are the living temples of God (1 Cor. 6:19) and “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). They have been divinely “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” chosen “in Him before the foundation of the world,” predestined “to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself” (Eph. 1:3–5). They are “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29), “called according to His purpose, justified,” and one day will be glorified (8:28, 30). They are “living stones, being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:5, 9; cf. Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
But Christians are God’s children solely by adoption (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5), not by inherent right. Every marvelous blessing and privilege they have is entirely because of divine grace, theirs because of their union with God’s only true eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, if God’s eternal Son humbled Himself in such an incomparably sacrificial way, how much more should God’s adopted children be determined to live humbly and sacrificially?
It is tragic that, in self-centered disregard both of their Lord’s teaching and example, some Christians take pride in their position as children of God. As “children of the King,” they believe that they deserve to live like royalty, although the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, often had “nowhere to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20; cf. John 7:53–8:1) and commands His followers to “take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29). It is not by accident that the first Beatitude reads: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
Posted 31 August 2009 - 04:04 PM
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (2:6b)
From His exalted position as God, Christ’s first step downward was not to regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Although He continued to fully exist as God, during His incarnation He refused to hold on to His divine rights and prerogatives. Equality with God is synonymous with the preceding phrase “form of God.” In repeating the declaration of Christ’s true nature and essence, Paul emphasizes its absolute and incontestable reality. It is interesting that isos (equality) is in a plural form (isa, “equalities”), suggesting that Paul may have been referring to every aspect of Jesus’ deity. The term refers to exact equivalence. An isosceles triangle has two equal sides. Isomers are chemicals that differ in certain properties and structure but are identical in atomic weight. In becoming a man, Jesus did not in any way forfeit or diminish His absolute equality with God.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus never denied or minimized His deity. He was unambiguous in acknowledging His divine sonship and oneness with the Father (John 5:17–18; 10:30, 38; 14:9; 17:1, 21–22; 20:28), His “authority over all flesh” and power to “give eternal life” (John 17:2), and His divine “glory which [He] had with [the Father] before the world was” (John 17:5; cf. v. 24). Yet He never used His power or authority for personal advantage, because such prerogatives of His divinity were not a thing to be grasped. That was the choice that set the Incarnation into motion. He willingly suffered the worst possible humiliation rather than demand the honor, privilege, and glory that were rightly His. Nor did He use the powers of His undiminished sovereign deity to oppose the purpose of His Father because the price was too high.
To be grasped translates the Greek noun harpagmos, which refers to something that is seized or carried off by force. It was also sometimes used of a prize or award. Because Jesus already possessed equality with God, the meaning of to be grasped is not taking hold of but of holding on to, or clinging to. He had all the rights and privileges of God, which He could never lose. Yet He refused to selfishly cling to His favored position as the divine Son of God nor view it as a prized possession to be used for Himself. At any time He could have appealed to His Father and at once received “more than twelve legions of angels” to come to His defense (Matt. 26:53). But that would have thwarted His Father’s plan, with which He fully concurred, and He would not do it. Although He was doubtless terribly hungry after fasting for forty days in the wilderness, He refused to turn stones into bread in order to feed Himself (Matt. 4:3–4). Yet He graciously multiplied the loaves and fish so the hungry multitudes might be fed (Mark 6:38–44; 8:1–9).
It is that attitude of selfless giving of oneself and one’s possessions, power, and privileges that should characterize all who belong to Christ. They should be willing to loosen their grip on the blessings they have, which they have solely because of Him. Christians are set apart from the world as children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Yet they must not clutch those privileges and blessings. Instead, like their Lord, they must hold them loosely and be willing to sacrifice them all for the benefit of others.
but emptied Himself, (2:7a)
In the next step downward, Jesus continued to not cling to His divine prerogatives. Instead, He emptied Himself. The Greek conjunction alla (but) means “not this but that,” indicating a clear contrast of ideas. Although He was absolutely “full” of deity, as it were, He emptied Himself of all of its prerogatives. Emptied is from kenoo, which means to empty completely. It is translated “nullified” in Romans 4:14 and “made void” in 1 Corinthians 1:17. Jesus Christ emptied Himself completely of every vestige of advantage and privilege, refusing to assert any divine right on His own behalf. He who created and owned everything forsook everything.
It must always be kept in mind that Jesus emptied Himself only of certain aspects of His prerogatives of deity, not of His deity itself. He was never anything, and never will be anything, but fully and eternally God, as Paul was careful to state in the previous verse. All four gospels make it clear that He did not forsake His divine power to perform miracles, to forgive sins, or to know the minds and hearts of people. Had He stopped being God (an impossibility), He could not have died for the sins of the world. He would have perished on the cross and remained in the grave, with no power to conquer sin or death. As R. C. H. Lenski comments, “Even in the midst of his death, he had to be the mighty God in order by his death to conquer death” (The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961], 782). Another scholar, Bishop Handley C. G. Moule, writes,
Whatever is meant by the “made Himself void” [emptied Himself], eautonekenosen, which describes His Incarnation here, one thing it could never possibly mean—a “kenosis” which could hurt or distort His absolute fitness to guide and bless us whom He came to save. That [emptying] placed Him indeed on the creaturely level in regard of the reality of human experience of growth, and human capacity for suffering. But never for one moment did it, could it, make Him other than the absolute and infallible Master and Guide of His redeemed. (Philippian Studies [London: Pickering & Inglis, n.d.], 99)
The Son of God emptied Himself of five divine rights. First, He temporarily divested Himself of His divine glory. Shortly before His arrest, Jesus lifted “up His eyes to heaven” and implored: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:1, 5; cf. v. 24). The Son of God forsook the worship of the saints and angels in heaven and submitted to misunderstanding, denials, unbelief, false accusations, and every sort of reviling and persecution by sinful men. He gave up all the shining brilliance of heaven to suffer an agonizing and ignominious death on the cross.
It was not that He forfeited His divine glory but rather that it was veiled, hidden in His humanity (John 7:5, 24; cf. 2 Cor. 4:4–6) from men’s view. Glimpses of it were seen in His many miracles, in His gracious words, in the humble attitude that Paul here calls His followers to emulate, and certainly in His ultimate sacrifice for sin on the cross. It was briefly and partially manifested to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:31–32; cf. 2 Peter 1:16–18). But it was not witnessed again until His resurrection and ascension, and then only by those who belonged to Him.
Second, Jesus emptied Himself of independent divine authority. The operation of the Trinity is, of course, a great mystery. Within the Godhead there is perfect harmony and agreement in every possible way and to every possible degree. Jesus unambiguously stated His full equality with the Father when He declared, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30; cf. 17:11, 21). Yet He just as clearly declared during His incarnation that “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30), and “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). While teaching in the temple, Jesus said, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me” (John 7:28–29). In the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal and arrest, He pleaded three times: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me”; yet He followed each request with the submissive, “yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39–44). The writer of Hebrews notes that, “although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).
Third, Jesus emptied Himself of the voluntary exercise of some of His divine attributes, though not the essence of His deity. He did not stop being omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, or immutable; He chose not to exercise the full limit of those attributes during His earthly life and ministry. He did, however, exercise some of them selectively and partially. Without having met him, Jesus knew omnisciently that Nathanael was “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit, because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 1:47; 2:25). Through His omnipresence, He knew where Nathanael was even before He saw him (1:48). Yet He confessed that, as to the exact time of His return, “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36).
Fourth, Jesus emptied Himself of His eternal riches. “For your sake He became poor,” Paul explains, “so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Although many commentators have interpreted His “poverty” as a reference to His earthly economic condition, it has nothing to do with that. The point is not that Christ gave up earth’s riches, but that He gave up heaven’s riches. As already noted, He forsook the adoration, worship, and service of angels and the redeemed in heaven, because “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
Fifth, He emptied Himself temporarily of His unique, intimate, and face-to-face relationship with His heavenly Father—even to the point of being forsaken by Him. To fulfill the divine plan of redemption, the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). That was the Father’s will, which Jesus came to fulfill and prayed would be done. Yet even the brief separation from His Father caused by His sinbearing caused Him to cry “out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’” (Matt. 27:46). It was the unbelievably horrible prospect of being alienated from His Father and bearing sin that had caused Him earlier to sweat drops of blood in great agony, being “deeply grieved, to the point of death” (Luke 22:44; Matt. 26:38).
Christians obviously cannot empty themselves to the degree that the Lord emptied Himself, because He started so high and Christians start so low. Believers have infinitely less to empty themselves of. Even what they have is given to them by His grace. Believers are obligated to follow their Lord’s example by emptying themselves of everything that would hinder their obedience and service to Him.
Just as Jesus did not cease to be God when He emptied Himself, neither do Christians cease to be His children when they empty themselves as He did (cf. Eph. 5:1–2). Just as Jesus’ self-giving obedience made Him pleasing to the Father (Matt. 3:17), so does believers’ self-giving obedience make them pleasing to Him (25:21, 23). The humble believer is aware of his rights and privileges as a child of God but refuses to cling to them. He empties himself of all claims to any earthly benefits that those rights and privileges might seem to merit.
taking the form of a bond-servant, (2:7b)
In the next statement of His descent, as He further emptied Himself, Jesus forsook the full rights of lordship by taking the form of a bond-servant, a slave. Although He had the inherent morphe (form) of God (v. 6), He willingly took upon Himself the form (morphe), the very essence and nature, of a bond-servant. Just as certainly and fully as He “existed in the form [morphe] of God,” He now existed in the form of a bond-servant. He did not merely put on a slave’s garment, so to speak; He actually became a slave in the fullest sense.
A doulos (bond-servant) owned nothing, not even the clothes on his back. Everything he had, including his life, belonged to his master. Jesus did own His own clothes, but He owned no land or house, no gold or jewels. He owned no business, no boat, and no horse. He had to borrow a donkey when He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, borrow a room for the Last Supper, and even was buried in a borrowed tomb. He refused any property, any advantages, any special service to Himself. Relative to His glory, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords willingly became the Bond-servant of bond-servants. The one who “was in the beginning with God” and through whom “all things came into being” (John 1:2–3) claimed as His own nothing that He had created. Among other things, a bond-servant was required to carry other people’s burdens. As the supreme Bond-servant, Jesus carried the burden that no other man could carry, the sin-burden for all who would believe. As Isaiah revealed, “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isa. 53:6).
Jesus came to do His Father’s will and to serve the needs of His people in His Father’s name. He completely waived His rights as the Son of God and became a bond-servant, also claiming no rights as the Son of Man. As He Himself testified while heading toward Jerusalem for the last time: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). A few days later, during the Last Supper, He asked the disciples rhetorically, “Who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
Through His provision of salvation, Jesus served others more completely than any other servant or slave who has ever lived. But He was also an example of servanthood for His disciples to follow. He reminded them that “a disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master” (Matt. 10:24) and that, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:14–17). He declared that “the greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 23:11). Yet after they have faithfully done “all the things which are commanded,” Christians are to take no credit for themselves but rather confess with genuine humility: “We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10).
Posted 31 August 2009 - 04:06 PM
and being made in the likeness of men. (2:7c)
Continuing His move downward, Jesus was made in the likeness of men. God made Him thus by His miraculous conception and virgin birth (Luke 1:30–35). Homoioma (likeness) refers to that which is made to be like something else, not just in appearance (cf. v. 7) but in reality. Jesus was not a clone, a disguised alien, or merely some reasonable facsimile of a man. He became exactly like all other human beings, having all the attributes of humanity, a genuine man among men. He was so obviously like other human beings that even His family and disciples would not have known of His deity had not the angels (Matt. 1:20–21; Luke 1:26–35; 2:9–11), God the Father (Matt. 3:17; 17:5), and Jesus Himself (John 8:58; 14:1–4; 16:13–15; 17:1–26) revealed it to them. And despite His countless miracles, His enemies rejected the idea of His deity out of hand. In their eyes, He not only was merely human but the lowest kind of human, a blasphemer (John 5:18; 10:33).
It is important to understand that Jesus did not become the second, or last, Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), in the sense of being like pre-Fall mankind. Rather, in the Incarnation, He took upon Himself all the frailties, limitations, problems, and suffering that were the heritage of the Fall, enduring all its terrible earthly consequences.
Without a human father, Jesus was “born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4) in a “fleshly body” (Col. 1:22) and, as any human child, He needed the attention and care of loving parents (Luke 2:40–51). Except in degree, He grew and developed like other children, “increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (v. 52). He became hungry and thirsty, suffered pain, and felt sadness. Like other men, He became tired and weak and needed sleep. “Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same” (Heb. 2:14); and although He was completely without personal sin, He nevertheless was “tempted in all things as we are” (Heb. 4:15; cf. Matt. 4:1–11). As the writer explained earlier, it was because “He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, [that] He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).
Because Jesus was “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3), He was subject to physical death. In fact, it was only through His death that He could fulfill His divine purpose of redemption. Again as the writer of Hebrews explains, Jesus “had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17). He came to die.
Although Jesus forgave sins (Matt. 9:2, 6; Luke 7:47) and acknowledged the propriety of His being worshiped as the Son of God (Matt. 28:17; John 9:38), He did not ask for or accept any special privilege or honor as a man. In the greatest conceivable humility, He lived and acted not merely as a man among men, but as a Servant of servants. He took His place among the common people (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26–29).
Being found in appearance as a man, (2:8a)
The descent continued with Jesus being found in appearance as a man, advancing the truth that He was “made in the likeness of men.” Having been made a true human being by divine power through the virgin conception, Christ was found, or recognized, as a man by those who saw and observed Him during His incarnation. Schema (appearance) is the source of the English word “scheme.” Unlike morphe (“form,” vv. 6–7) and homoioma (“likeness,” v. 7), which refer to essence and basic nature, schema refers to outward shape or form; not to actuality but to appearance. Jesus suffered, and still suffers, the added humiliation of being considered a mere man. Paul used the word in speaking of “the form (schema) of this world [which] is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31). Both Paul and Peter used a compound negative form (suschematizo) in warning believers to “not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2) and to “not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).
As Isaiah had predicted some seven hundred years earlier, the Messiah “was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isa. 53:3). And as John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:10–11). They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42). Sadly, “not even His brothers were believing in Him” (John 7:5). Some of the religious but unbelieving Jews declared: “We know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from” (John 7:27), and “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33). Still others accused Him of having a demon (John 7:20; 8:48).
He humbled Himself (2:8b)
Continuing this profound description of Christ’s descent, Paul says that Jesus humbled Himself. The emphasis here moves from Jesus’ nature and form to that of His personal attitude. He was not merely humiliated by the nature and circumstances of His incarnation. Humbled Himself translates tapeinoo, which has the idea of lying low. Jesus lowered Himself not only relative to God, but also to other men.
The most dramatic and poignant time of Jesus’ self-abasement was during His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He was mocked, falsely accused, spat upon, beaten with fists, scourged, and had part of His beard painfully plucked out. Yet He was never defensive, never bitter, never demanding, never accusing. He refused to assert His rights as God or even as a human being.
Seeing the ethical implications of this humbling, Paul Rees perceptively wrote:
Look at Him—this amazing Jesus! He is helping Joseph make a yoke in that little carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. This is the One who, apart from His self-emptying, could far more easily make a solar system or a galaxy of systems.
Look at Him again! Dressed like a slave, with towel and basin for His menial equipment, He is bathing the feet of some friends of His who, but for their quarrelsomeness, should have been washing His feet .
“‘He humbled himself!’ “Don’t forget this,” cries Paul to these dear friends of his at Philippi. “Don’t forget this when the slightest impulse arises to become self-assertive and self-seeking, and so to break the bond of your fellowship with one another!” (The Adequate Man: Paul in Philippians [Westwood, N.J.: Revell, 1954], 45–46)
by becoming obedient to the point of death, (2:8c)
In His stepping downward, Jesus was willing to suffer humiliation and degradation even to becoming obedient to the point of death. His obedience and its impact on redemption is the theme of Romans 5:12–19, where the key thought is “through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (v. 19). Ralph Martin insightfully observes that
His obedience is a sure token of His deity and authority, for only a divine being can accept death as obedience; for ordinary men it is a necessity. He alone as the obedient Son of His Father could choose death as His destiny; and He did so because of His love, a love which was directed both to His Father’s redeeming purpose and equally to the world into which He came. “I come to do thy will” (Heb. 10:7f.) was the motto-text of His entire life. (The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975], 102. Italics in original.)
One would think that somewhere short of that ultimate sacrifice He would have said, “It is enough!” But His perfect submission took Him all the way to death, because that was the Father’s will. Even in agony, as He implored God in the garden, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” He acknowledged that avoiding crucifixion was not possible within His Father’s will as He continued to pray, “yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). Commitment to God’s will was His will.
Speaking of that heart-wrenching time, the writer of Hebrews says of the Lord: “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.” Yet, as he goes on to explain, “although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:7–9; cf. 10:7).
Long before His arrest Jesus had declared, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again” (John 10:17). Peter vehemently objected to Jesus’ clear prediction of His impending and necessary death and was strongly rebuked: “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’” (Matt. 16:22–23). Because Jesus’ mind was set entirely on God’s interests, not man’s or His own, He willingly and gladly became obedient to the point of death. “While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).
The Father did not force death upon the Son. It was the Father’s will, but it was the Son’s will always to perfectly obey the Father. He had a free choice. Had He not had a choice, He could not have been obedient. “No one has taken [My life] away from Me,” He said, “but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father” (John 10:18). He was commanded by the Father, but not compelled. As love incarnate, He became the perfect example of the truth He Himself had declared: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
even death on a cross. (2:8d)
In the final feature of His descent and degradation, Jesus submitted even [to] death on a cross. There were many ways by which He could have been killed. He could have been beheaded, such as John the Baptist was, or stoned or hanged. But He was destined not for just any kind of death but for death on a cross.
Crucifixion is perhaps the most cruel, excruciatingly painful, and shameful form of execution ever conceived. It was originally devised by the ancient Persians or Phoenicians and later perfected by the Romans. It was reserved for slaves, the lowest of criminals, and enemies of the state. No Roman citizen could be crucified, no matter how egregious his crime. In his book The Life of Christ, Frederick Farrar describes crucifixion as follows:
A death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and ghastly—dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, shame, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of intended wounds—all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish. (Vol. 2 [New York: E. P. Dutton, 1877], 403–4)
The Jews considered crucifixion to be a form of hanging, and those who were hung to be cursed by God. The law demanded that a man’s “corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance” (Deut. 21:23). For that reason, the idea of a crucified Messiah was an insurmountable stumbling block to unbelieving Jews (1 Cor. 1:23). Like Peter, they could not even conceive of the Messiah being put to death, much less being put to death by an ignominious, horrifying, humiliating, and accursed death on a cross. The curse of Deuteronomy 21:23 meant being outside God’s covenant, banned from His people and His blessing. But Jesus bore the curse for believers to bring them to God and to glory.
But in God’s perfect plan, the crucifixion of His Son not only was acceptable but mandatory. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law,” Paul explains, “having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Gal. 3:13). As Peter declares, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). In God’s infinite wisdom, death on a cross was the only way of redemption for fallen, sinful, and condemned mankind. Crucifixion was bloody, as were the Old Testament sacrifices that prefigured it. Priests in the service of the temple were butchers, blood-splattered in their duty. The Lamb of God would also die a bloody death.
After reflecting on the divine plan of salvation for the first eleven chapters of Romans, Paul declared in awe and wonder: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33). (MacArthur's New Testament Commentary: Philippians, complete with random bolding and highlighting, blessings,
Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:18 PM
Posted 03 September 2009 - 11:28 PM