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    October 1, 1889

    “The Divinity of Christ” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times 4, 19.

    E. J. Waggoner

    HIS PRE-EXISTENCE, AND EQUALITY WITH THE FATHER

    The fact that Jesus is spoken of as the only begotten Son of God should be sufficient to establish a belief in his divinity. As Son of God, he must partake of the nature of God. “As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26. Life and immortality are imparted to the faithful followers of God, but Christ alone shares with the Father the power to impart life. He has “life in himself,” that is, he is able to perpetuate his own existence. This is shown by his own words when, showing the voluntary nature of his sacrifice for man, he said: “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” John 10:17, 18.BEST October 1, 1889, page 297.1

    That Christ is divine is shown by the fact that he receives worship. Angels have always refused to receive worship and adoration. But we read of the Father, that “when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Hebrews 1:6. If he is to receive worship from angels, it follows as a matter of course that he should receive worship from men; and we find that even while here on earth, in the likeness of man, he received worship as God. The prophet John thus records the adoration which Christ will finally receive equally with the Father: “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13.BEST October 1, 1889, page 297.2

    If Christ were not God, this would be idolatry. The great indictment against the heathen is that they “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.” Romans 1:25. It matters not what the position of a creature may be, whether a beast, a man, or an angel, worship of it is strictly forbidden. Only God may be worshiped, and since Christ may be worshiped, Christ is God. So say the Scriptures of truth.BEST October 1, 1889, page 297.3

    It is hardly necessary, with all this army of testimony, to speak of the pre-existence of Christ. One of the strangest things in the world is that men professing to believe and reverence the Bible, will claim that Christ had no existence prior to his birth of the Virgin Mary. Three texts only will be quoted here to disprove this theory, but texts which will be quoted later, on another point, will just as fully prove the pre-existence of Christ. The first text is in the prayer of Jesus, on the night of his betrayal. He said: “And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John 17:5. We don’t know what could be plainer, unless it is the statement that he made the world. John says that “all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3.BEST October 1, 1889, page 297.4

    But stronger still are the words of the prophet, who foretold the place of the birth of the Messiah, in these words: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. He who would dispute the pre-existence of Christ, in the face of these texts, would deny that the sun shines at midday, if it suited his notion to do so.BEST October 1, 1889, page 298.1

    In arguing the perfect equality of the Father and the Son, and the fact that Christ is in very nature God, we do not design to be understood as teaching that the Father was not before the Son. It should not be necessary to guard this point, lest some should think that the Son existed as soon as the Father, yet some go to that extreme, which adds nothing to the dignity of Christ, but rather detracts from the honor due him, since many throw the whole thing away rather than accept a theory so obviously out of harmony with the language of Scripture, that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since that is so “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” Colossians 1:19. Or, as the apostle states in Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” It would be difficult to frame language more expressive of the divine nature.BEST October 1, 1889, page 298.2

    Some have difficulty in reconciling Christ’s statement in John 14:28, “My Father is greater than I,” with the idea that he is God, and is entitled to worship. Some, indeed, dwell upon that text alone as sufficient to overthrow the idea of Christ’s divinity; but if that were allowed, it would only prove a contradiction in the Bible, and even in Christ’s own speech, for it is most positively declared, as we have seen, that he is divine. There are two facts which are amply sufficient to account for Christ’s statement recorded in John 14:28. One is that Christ is the Son of God. While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning. Then, too, the statement is emphatically true in view of the position which Christ had assumed. He “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7, Revised Version. He was “made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death.” Hebrews 2:9. In order to redeem men, he had to come where they were. He did not lay aside his divinity, but he laid aside his glory, and veiled his divinity with humanity. So his statement, “My Father is greater than I,” is perfectly consistent with the claim, made by himself as well as by all who wrote of him, that he was and is God.BEST October 1, 1889, page 298.3

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