When was the Word made flesh? Did the Son of God fully understand the struggles of humanity before He came to this earth? Was He required to come to this earth and live 2000 years ago before He understood what our struggles were really like? Consider the following by E.J Waggoner in Present Truth, December 19, 1895
It is quite commonly assumed that the Word was made flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth eighteen hundred years ago, in order that He might learn man's condition and needs, and thus be able to sympathise with and help them. That this is a mistaken idea can be seen by a moment's reflection, as well as by plain statements of Scripture. The Psalmist says, "He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." Ps. ciii. 14. Again, "O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising. Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether." Ps. cxxxix. 1-4. It is He upon whom men must depend for a knowledge of themselves. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins." Jer. xvii. 9. "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Jer. x. 23.
All this was as true eighteen hundred years before Christ as eighteen hundred years after. God knew men as well, and sympathised with them as much, four thousand years ago as He does to-day. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, "in all their affliction He was afflicted." Isa. lxiii. 9. The prophet could say of a truth, seven hundred years before Christ, "Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." Isa. liii. 4. God was in Christ, not that He might know men, but in order that man might know that He does know them. In Jesus we learn how kind and sympathising God has always been, and have an example of what He will do in any man who will fully yield to Him.
Still in the Flesh.-"Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God." 1 John iv. 2, 3. To confess Christ, it is not enough to believe that He once lived and suffered and died and rose again. We must confess not merely that He did come in the flesh, but that He "is come in the flesh." He is a present Saviour. As in all the afflictions of the Israelites of old He was afflicted, so now "we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Heb. iv. 15. He still feels everything that touches us, for He is still in the flesh. Even in the heavenly places. He is still "the Man Christ Jesus." 1 Tim. ii. 5. He is our forerunner, that is, one of the brethren who has gone before to prepare a place for the rest. When He comes again, He will come in the flesh for His flesh did not see corruption and the same flesh that went into the grave also ascended to heaven. "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that He might fill all things." Eph. iv. 10.
In Every Man.-The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, literally, "tabernacled in us." But since all human flesh is the same, and Christ took the flesh common to humanity, to show how closely God is identified with the human family, it follows that He is in all, just to the extent that any will allow Him. Remember that "the life was the light of men," and that it "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." "He is not far from every one of us," which means that He is very near to every one of us, so near that "in Him we live, and move, and have our being." Acts xvii. 27, 28. The demonstration of the fact that the Word is in all flesh, is seen in that all know themselves to be sinners, and that even the wickedest men have at times prickings of conscience, and desires and even determinations to live better. This is the work of the Spirit, Christ's representative, striving with them.
Still further, we have the words of Moses, in Deut. xxx. 11-14, quoted by the Apostle Paul in Rom. x. 6-8.
From these two texts we learn that "the Word" of which Moses speaks is Christ, the same Word of which John writes. So we read, "The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart." Rom. x. 8. This is not spoken to those who are perfect, but to those who are being exhorted to hear and do the commandments of God. "The Word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." Deut. xxx. 14. It is not there because we have done it, but in order that we may do it. Therefore it must be in every man, since God is no respecter of persons, desiring that all shall repent and live.
Yet again we read, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate?" 2 Cor. xiii. 5. The reprobate is the one who is rejected as worthless. But God does not reject anyone who has not first rejected Him. He will never leave any man who has a desire for His presence. He does not leave men to themselves until they drive Him away. Christ, therefore, the Word who is God, is in every soul that comes into the world, lingering there until ordered out.
Confessing Christ.-We have read that every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. Now read once more Rom. x. 6-8, which tells us that the Word, even Christ, is very nigh us, in our mouth, and in our heart, and read onward, "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." To confess Christ, therefore, is to acknowledge that He is in us with power, even the power of the resurrection, and that He has a right to be there, having purchased us by His death; and that means to yield ourselves to Him fully (for He will not use any force), that His life may be manifested in us in its perfection, and not fitfully in the intervals when we do not repress it. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Prov. iii. 6. Then we may say, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Gal. ii. 20.