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18. The Core Issue

Posted Jul 15, 2007 by Adrian Ebens in Return of Elijah
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This brings us to the core issue of determining equality. When we seek to prove that Christ is inherently equal to the Father, whose methodology are we using? Who is the one that introduced such a concept of ascertaining value? Was it not Satan in the Garden of Eden?

God tells us clearly:

Isa 55:8,9  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It is not God’s thoughts that drives man to attribute His Son with divinity and consequent value by inherent power, but the thoughts of His enemy. Since God’s kingdom is relational, should we not value Christ in respect of His relationship to His Father rather than seeking to prove His value and Divinity by His inherent power? Does not the Bible tell us clearly that Christ received all things through a relationship?

Heb 1:1-4  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath 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; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

The Bible clearly tells us that Christ’s excellent name is by inheritance – meaning through a relationship with His Father. For him who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The Son of God was begotten by the Father in eternity (John 3:16; John 1:1). He proceeded and came forth from the Father (John 8:42). He is the express image of His Person (Heb 1:2) and therefore was given to have life in Himself as the Father has life in Himself (John 5:26).[1]

At this point many say “You are saying Christ is not eternal!” Christ certainly is eternal because He was set up from everlasting. The word everlasting means veiled, vanishing point or time out of mind. He has come forth from the time of eternity – the time that is out of mind. So there never was a time that Christ was not in close communion with the Father, because the only time we have in our mind is the time that starts “In the Beginning”, beyond that we have no concept of time. At any rate, this is not what makes Christ valuable to us or Divine. It is simply that He is the express image of the Father and has received all things by inheritance.     

Having been released from the enslaving principle of trying to prove Divinity by inherent power we are free to allow Bible passages and Spirit of Prophecy statements to read plainly.

Notice the following:

“The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that he might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon his Son. The Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gathered around them. The Father then made known that it was ordained by himself that Christ, his Son, should be equal with himself; so that wherever was the presence of his Son, it was as his own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son he had invested with authority to command the heavenly host.” 1SP 17

It is important to note, what exactly transpired in this meeting. Did God at this meeting confer special honour upon His Son? Was this the point where He was exalted? Notice again:

The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son and show the relation He sustained to all created beings. PP 36

And then a little further down it states:

There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. PP 38

This being the case, in the meeting assembled by the Father, it was made known to the heavenly host what the Father had ordained from the beginning.

The key point here is that the power and authority that Christ possessed was given to Him by His Father. It was the equality that the Son possessed in relationship that enabled Him to possess equality of power and position – not the other way around.[2] Christ does not have to prove His pedigree to be considered equal. His relationship with His Father and His Father’s Word is enough.

This battle between Christ being the Son of God by relationship as opposed to being the Son by inherent power is clearly revealed in the Baptism of Jesus and the Temptation in the Wilderness.

The Father says in Matt 3:17 “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” Christ was approved by His Father simply by His relationship. When Satan came to Him in the wilderness he demanded that Christ prove His Divinity by His inherent power. Christ absolutely refused to do so and yet every time we seek to prove that Christ is equal with God by His inherent power it is as if we would seek to turn stones into bread for Jesus to satisfy Satan’s request!

We could spend much more time on this, but I assert that to seek to prove the underlying assumption that position of Divinity is only ascribed to Beings of highest inherent power is false.

[1] “The controversy between Christ and Satan began in heaven (Rev. 12:7) in a face-to-face combat. Satan was not content with the position which he held as Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), or light-bearer, as the name signifies; but he indulged the ambition to "be like the Most High," and thus to be light itself (1 John 1:5) and the source of light. Since light is only a manifestation of life (John 1:4), this was the demand of a created being (Eze. 28:15) to be a source or fountain of life, which could only be granted to the begotten Son (John 5:26), one with the Father, the real Fountain (Ps. 36:9). SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1902 April 19 Page 13,14

[2] One point that I believe is important to distinguish here, is that Christ’s ability to have equality of relationship with the Father; meaning that He could fully understand Him, required Him to possess, the Father’s divine nature. I suggest that this is why Christ was begotten and not created. The divine nature was essential to the equality of the relationship, but the divine nature possessed by Christ was not the basis of equality but the provided the ingredients for relational equality.