|Chapter 4: GOD THE SON
Seventh-day Adventists Believe...
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ.
Through Him all things were created, the character of God is
revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the
world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly
man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced
temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the
righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested
God's power and was attested as God's promised Messiah. He
suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and
in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to
minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will
come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people
and the restoration of all things.--Fundamental Beliefs, 4
GOD THE SON
The wilderness had become a nightmare of vipers. Snakes
slithered under cooking pots, coiled around tent pegs. They
lurked among children's toys, lay in wait in the sleeping
pallets. Their fangs sank deep, injecting deadly poison.
The wilderness, which once had been Israel's refuge,
became its graveyard. Hundreds lay dying. Realizing their
predicament, terrorized parents hurried to Moses' tent,
pleading for help. "Moses prayed for the people."
God's answer? Mold a serpent, and lift it high--and all
who looked on it would live. "So Moses made a bronze
serpent, and put it on a pole; and...if a serpent had bitten
anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived"
The serpent has always been Satan's symbol (Genesis 3;
Revelation 12), representing sin. The camp had been plunged
into Satan's hands. God's remedy? Not looking at a lamb on
the sanctuary altar, but beholding a bronze serpent.
It was a strange symbol of Christ. Just as the likeness
of the serpents that stung was lifted up on a pole, Jesus,
made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), was to be
lifted up on the shameful cross (John 3:14,15). He became
sin, taking upon Himself all the sins of everyone who has
lived or will live. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be
sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in
Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). By looking to Christ hopeless humanity
can find life.
How could the incarnation bring salvation to humanity?
What effect did it have on the Son? How could God become a
human being and why was it necessary?
The Incarnation: Predictions and Fulfillment
God's plan to rescue those who strayed from His all-wise
counsel (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9) convincingly demonstrates
His love. In this plan His Son was "foreordained before the
foundation of the world" as the sacrifice for sin, to be the
hope of the human race (1 Peter 1:19,20). He was to bring us
back to God and provide deliverance from sin through the
destruction of the works of the devil (1 Peter 3:18; Matt.
1:21; 1 John 3:8).
Sin had severed Adam and Eve from the source of life, and
should have resulted in their immediate death. But in
accordance with the plan laid before the foundation of the
world (1 Peter 1:20,21), the "counsel of peace" (Zech.
6:13), God the Son stepped between them and divine justice,
bridging the gulf and restraining death. Even before the
cross, then, His grace kept sinners alive and assured them
of salvation. But to restore us fully as sons and daughters
of God, He had to become a man.
Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them hope
by promising to introduce a supernatural enmity between the
serpent and the woman, between his seed and hers. In the
cryptic statement of Genesis 3:15 the serpent and its
offspring represent Satan and his followers; the woman and
her seed symbolize God's people and the Saviour of the
world. This statement was the first assurance that the
controversy between good and evil would end in victory for
The victory, however, would be painful: "`He [the
Saviour] shall bruise your [Satan's] head, and you [Satan]
shall bruise His [the Saviour's] heel'" (Gen. 3:15). No one
would come out unscathed.
From that moment, mankind looked for the Promised One.
The Old Testament unfolds that search. Prophecies foretold
that when the Promised One arrived, the world would have
evidence to confirm His identity.
A Prophetic Dramatization of Salvation
After sin entered, God instituted animal sacrifices to
illustrate the mission of the Saviour to come (see Gen.
4:4). This symbolic system dramatized the manner in which
God the Son would eradicate sin.
Because of sin--the transgression of God's law--the human
race faced death (Gen. 2:17; 3:19; 1 John 3:4; Rom. 6:23).
God's law demanded the life of the sinner. But in His
infinite love God gave His Son, "`that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life'" (John
3:16). What an incomprehensible act of condescension! God
the eternal Son, Himself pays vicariously the penalty for
sin, so that He can provide us forgiveness and
reconciliation to the Godhead.
After Israel's exodus from Egypt, the sacrificial
offerings were conducted in a tabernacle as part of a
covenant relationship between God and His people. Built by
Moses according to a heavenly pattern, the sanctuary and its
services were instituted to illustrate the plan of salvation
(Ex. 25:8,9,40; Heb. 8:1-5).
To obtain forgiveness, a repentant sinner brought a
sacrificial animal that had no blemishes--a representation
of the sinless Saviour. The sinner then would place his hand
upon the innocent animal and confess his sins (Lev. 1:3,4).
This act symbolized the transfer of the sin from the guilty
sinner to the innocent victim, depicting the substitutionary
nature of the sacrifice.
Since "without shedding of blood there is no remission"
of sins (Heb. 9:22), the sinner then killed the animal,
making the deadly nature of sin evident. A sorrowful way to
express hope, but the sinner's only way to express faith.
After the priestly ministry (Leviticus 4-7), the sinner
received forgiveness of sins through his faith in the
substitutionary death of the coming Redeemer, which the
animal sacrifice symbolized (cf. Lev. 4:26,31,35). The New
Testament recognizes Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as "the
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John
1:29). Through His precious blood, "as of a lamb without
blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:19), He obtained for
the human race redemption from the ultimate penalty of sin.
Predictions About a Saviour
God promises that the Saviour-Messiah--the Anointed
One--would come through Abraham's line: "`In your seed all
the nations of the earth shall be blessed'"
(Gen. 22:18; cf. 12:3).
Isaiah prophesied that the Saviour would come as a male
child, and would be both human and divine: "For unto us a
Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government
will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince
of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). This Redeemer would ascend the throne
of David and establish an everlasting government of peace
(Isa. 9:7). Bethlehem would be His birthplace (Micah 5:2).
The birth of this divine-human person would be
supernatural. Citing Isaiah 7:14, the New Testament states,
"`Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and
they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated,
`God with us'" (Matt. 1:23).
The Saviour's mission is expressed in these words: "`The
Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has
anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent
Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord'" (Isa. 61:1,2;
cf. Luke 4:18,19).
Amazingly the Messiah would suffer rejection. He would be
perceived as "a root out of dry ground." "He has no form or
comeliness, and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we
should desire Him....Despised and rejected by men, a man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief....We did not esteem Him"
A close friend would betray Him (Ps. 41:9) for thirty
pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12). During His trial He would be
spat upon and beaten (Isa. 50:6). Those who executed Him
would gamble for the very clothes He wore (Ps. 22:18). None
of His bones were to be broken (Ps. 34:20), but His side was
to be pierced (Zech. 12:10). In His afflictions He would not
resist, but "as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He
opened not His mouth" (Isa. 53:7).
The innocent Saviour would suffer immensely for sinners.
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;...
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for
our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed....And the Lord has laid on
Him the iniquity of us all....He was cut off from the land
of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was
stricken" (Isa. 53:4-8).
The Saviour Identified
Only Jesus Christ has fulfilled these prophecies.
Scriptures trace His genealogy to Abraham, calling Him the
Son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1), and Paul affirms that the
promise to Abraham and his seed was fulfilled in Christ
(Gal. 3:16). The Messianic title "Son of David" was widely
applied to Him (Matt. 21:9). He was identified as the
promised Messiah, who would occupy the throne of David
Jesus' birth was miraculous. The virgin Mary "was found
with child of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 1:18-23). A Roman
decree brought her to Bethlehem, the predicted birthplace
One of Jesus' names was Immanuel, or "God With Us," which
reflected His divine-human nature and illustrated God's
identification with humanity (Matt. 1:23). His common name,
Jesus, focused on His mission of salvation: "`And you shall
call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their
sins'" (Matt. 1:21).
Jesus identified His mission with that of the Messiah
predicted in Isaiah 61:1,2: "`Today this Scripture is
fulfilled in your hearing'" (Luke 4:17-21).
Although He made a profound impact on His people, His
message was generally rejected (John 1:11; Luke 23:18). With
few exceptions He was not recognized as the world's Saviour.
Instead of acceptance, He met death threats (John 5:16;
Toward the end of Jesus' three-and-a-half-year ministry,
Judas Iscariot, a disciple, betrayed Him (John 13:18; 18:2)
for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14,15). Instead of
resisting, He rebuked His disciples for trying to defend Him
Though innocent of any crime, less than twenty-four hours
after He was arrested He had been spat upon, beaten, tried,
condemned to death, and crucified (Matt. 26:67; John
19:1-16; Luke 23:14,15). Soldiers gambled for His clothing
(John 19:23,24). During His crucifixion none of His bones
was broken (John 19:32,33,36), and after He died soldiers
pierced His side with a spear (John 19:34,37).
Christ's followers recognized His death as the only
sacrifice of avail to sinners. "God demonstrates His own
love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ
died for us" (Rom. 5:8). "Walk in love," he wrote, "as
Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an
offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma"
The time of His Ministry and Death
The Bible reveals that God sent His Son to earth in "the
fullness of the time" (Gal. 4:4). When Christ began His
ministry He proclaimed, "The time is fulfilled" (Mark 1:15).
These references to time indicate that the Saviour's mission
proceeded in harmony with careful prophetic planning.
More than five centuries earlier, through Daniel, God had
prophesied the exact time of the beginning of Christ's
ministry and the time of His death.(*1)
Toward the end of the 70 years of Israel's captivity in
Babylon, God told Daniel that He had allocated to the Jews
and the city of Jerusalem a probationary period of 70 weeks.
During this time, by repenting and preparing themselves
for the Messiah's coming, the Jewish nation was to fulfill
God's purposes for them.
Daniel also wrote of "`reconciliation for iniquity'" and
a bringing in of "`everlasting righteousness'" as marking
this period. These Messianic activities indicate that the
Saviour was to come within this time (Dan. 9:24).
Daniel's prophecy specified that the Messiah would appear
"`seven weeks and sixty-two weeks'", or a total of 69 weeks,
after "`the going forth of the command to restore and build
Jerusalem'" (Dan. 9:25). After the sixty-ninth week the
Messiah would be "`cut off, but not for Himself'" (Dan.
9:26)--a reference to His vicarious death. He was to die in
the middle of the seventieth week, bringing "`an end to
sacrifice and offering'" (Dan. 9:27).
The key to understanding time prophecies lies in the
Biblical principle that a day in prophetic time is
equivalent to a literal solar year (Num. 14:34; Eze.
4:6).(*2) According to this year-day principle, the 70
weeks (or 490 prophetic days) then represent 490 literal
Daniel states that this period was to begin with "`the
going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem'"
(Dan. 9:25). This decree, giving the Jews full autonomy, was
issued in the seventh year of the Persian King Artaxerxes
and became effective in the fall of 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:8,
12-26; 9:9).(*3) According to the prophecy, 483 years (69
prophetic weeks) after the decree "`Messiah the Prince'"
would appear. Four hundred and eighty-three years after 457
B.C. brings us to the fall of A.D. 27, when Jesus was
baptized and began His public ministry.(*4) Accepting these
dates of 457 B.C. and A.D. 27, Gleason Archer comments that
this was "a most remarkable exactitude in the fulfillment of
such an ancient prophecy. Only God could have predicted the
coming of His Son with such amazing precision; it defies all
DANIEL 9 TIME CHART
At His baptism in the Jordan, Jesus was anointed by the
Holy Spirit and received God's recognition as the "Messiah"
(Hebrew) or the "Christ" (Greek)--both meaning the "anointed
one" (Luke 3:21,22; Acts 10:38; John 1:41). Jesus'
proclamation, "`the time is fulfilled'" (Mark 1:15), refers
to the fulfillment of this time prophecy.
In the middle of the seventieth week, in the spring of
A.D. 31, exactly 3 1/2 years after Christ's baptism, the
Messiah brought the system of sacrifices to an end by giving
His life. At the moment of His death the veil of the Temple
was super-naturally "torn in two from top to bottom" (Matt.
27:51), indicating the divine abolition of all Temple
All the offerings and sacrifices had pointed forward to
the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Messiah. When Jesus
Christ, the true Lamb of God, was sacrificed at Calvary as a
ransom for our sins (1 Peter 1:19), type met antitype, and
shadow melded into reality. The earthly sanctuary services
were no longer necessary.
At the exact time prophesied during the Passover
festival, He died. "Indeed," Paul said, "Christ, our
Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). This
amazingly accurate time prophecy gives one of the strongest
evidences of the fundamental historic truth that Jesus
Christ is the long-predicted Saviour of the world.
The Resurrection of the Saviour
The Bible predicted not only the Saviour's death but also
His resurrection. David prophesied "that His soul was not
left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption" (Act 2:31;
cf. Ps. 16:10). Although Christ had raised others from the
dead (Mark 5:35-42; Luke 7:11-17; John 11), His own
resurrection demonstrated the power behind His claim to be
Saviour of the world: "`I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And
whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die'"
After His resurrection He proclaimed, "`Do not be afraid;
I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was
dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have
the keys of Hades and of Death'" (Rev. 1:17,18).
The Two Natures of Jesus Christ
In stating, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us"
(John 1:14) John set forth a profound truth. The incarnation
of God the Son is a mystery. Scripture calls God's being
manifested in the flesh "the mystery of godliness"
(1 Tim. 3:16).
The Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the
Godhead, became the helpless babe in the manger. Far
superior to any of the angels, equal with the Father in
dignity and glory, and yet He condescended to wear the garb
One can barely grasp the meaning of this sacred mystery,
and then only by calling on the Holy Spirit for
enlightenment. In trying to comprehend the incarnation it is
well to remember that "`the secret things belong to the Lord
our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us
and to our children'" (Deut. 29:29).
Jesus Christ Is Truly God
What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is divine? How did
He perceive Himself? Did people recognize His divinity?
1. His divine attributes.
Christ possesses divine attributes. He is omnipotent. He
said the Father has given Him "`all authority...in heaven
and on earth'" (Matt. 28:18; John 17:2).
He is omniscient. In Him, Paul said, "are hidden all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).
Jesus asserted His omnipresence with the assurances "`Lo,
I am with you always, even to the end of the age'" (Matt.
28:20) and "`Where two or three are gathered together in My
name, I am there in the midst of them'" (Matt. 18:20).
Although His divinity has the natural ability of
omnipresence, the incarnate Christ has voluntarily limited
Himself in this respect. He has chosen to be omnipresent
through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18).
Hebrews attests to His immutability, stating, "Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever"
His self-existence was evident when He claimed life in
Himself (John 5:26) and John testified "In Him was life, and
the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). Christ's
announcement "`I am the resurrection and the life'" (John
11:25) affirmed that in Him is "life, original, unborrowed,
Holiness is a part of His nature. At the annunciation,
the angel said to Mary, "`The Holy Spirit will come upon
you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;
therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be
called the Son of God'" (Luke 1:35). At the sight of Jesus
demons cried out, "`Let us alone!...I know who You are--the
Holy One of God'" (Mark 1:24).
He is love. "By this we know love," John wrote, "because
He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16).
He is eternal. Isaiah called Him "Everlasting Father"
(Isa. 9:6). Micah referred to Him as the One "`whose goings
forth have been from of old, from everlasting'" (Micah 5:2).
Paul dated His existence "before all things" (Col. 1:17),
and John concurred: "He was in the beginning with God. All
things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was
made that was made" (John 1:2,3).(*7)
2. His divine powers and prerogatives.
The works of God are ascribed to Jesus. He is identified
as both the Creator (John 1:3; Col. 1:16) and the Sustainer
or Upholder--"in Him all things consist" (Col. 1:17; Heb.
1:3). He is able to raise the dead with His voice (John
5:28,29) and will judge the world at the end of time (Matt.
25:31,32). He forgave sin (Matt. 9:6; Mark 2:5-7).
3. His divine names.
His names reveal His divine nature. Immanuel means "God
with us" (Matt. 1:23). Both believers and demons addressed
Him as Son of God (Mark 1:1; Matt. 8:29; cf. Mark 5:7). The
sacred Old Testament name of God, Jehovah, or Yahweh, is
applied to Jesus. Matthew used the words of Isaiah 40:3,
"`Prepare the way of the Lord,'" to describe the preparatory
work for Christ's mission (Matt. 3:3). And John identified
Jesus with the Lord of hosts sitting on His throne (Isa.
6:1,3; John 12:41).
4. His divinity acknowledged.
John depicted Jesus as the divine Word that "became
flesh" (John 1:1,14). Thomas acknowledged the resurrected
Christ as "`My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:28). Paul
referred to Him as the One "who is over all, the eternally
blessed God" (Rom. 9:5); and Hebrews addressed Him as God
and Lord of Creation (Heb. 1:8,10).(*8)
5. His personal testimony.
Jesus Himself claimed equality with God. He identified
Himself as the "`I AM'" (John 8:58), the God of the Old
Testament. He called God "`My Father'" instead of "our
Father" (John 20:17). And His statement "`I and My Father
are one'" (John 10:30) sets forth the claim that He was of
"one substance" with the Father, "possessing the same
6. His equality with God assumed.
His equality with God the Father is taken for granted in
the baptismal formula (Matt. 28:19), the full apostolic
benediction (2 Cor. 13:14), His parting counsel (John
14-16), and Paul's exposition of the spiritual gifts (1 Cor.
12:4-6). Scripture describes Jesus as the brightness of
God's glory and "the express image of His person" (Heb.
1:3). And when asked to reveal God the Father, Jesus
replied, "`He who has seen Me has seen the Father'"
7. He is worshiped as God.
People worshiped Him (Matt. 28:17; cf. Luke 14:33). "`All
the angels of God worship Him'" (Heb. 1:6). Paul wrote that
"at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,...and that
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord"
(Phil. 2:10,11). Several benedictions accord to Christ the
"glory forever and ever" (2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; cf. 2
8. His divine nature a necessity.
Christ reconciled humanity to God. People needed a
perfect revelation of God's character in order to develop a
personal relationship with Him. Christ filled this need by
displaying God's glory (John 1:14). "No one has seen God at
any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the
Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:18; cf. 17:6). Jesus
testified, "`He who has seen Me has seen the Father'"
In total dependence on the Father (John 5:30) Christ used
divine power to reveal God's love. With divine power He
revealed Himself as the loving Saviour sent by the Father to
heal, restore, and forgive sins (Luke 6:19; John 2:11;
5:1-15,36; 11:41-45; 14:11; 8:3-11). Never, however, did He
perform a miracle to spare Himself from the personal
hardship and sufferings that other people would have
experienced if placed in similar circumstances.
Jesus Christ is "one in nature, in character, in purpose"
with God the Father.(*10) He truly is God.
Jesus Christ is Truly Man
The Bible testifies that in addition to His divine
nature, Christ has a human nature. The acceptance of this
teaching is crucial. Every one who "confesses that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is of God" and every one who
does not "is not of God" (1 John 4:2,3). Christ's human
birth, development, characteristics, and personal testimony
provide evidence of His humanity.
1. His human birth.
"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
Here "flesh" means "human nature," a nature inferior to His
heavenly one. In plain language Paul says, "God sent forth
His Son, born of a woman" (Gal. 4:4; cf. Gen. 3:15). Christ
was made in "the likeness of men" and "in human form" (Phil.
2:7,8, RSV). This manifestation of God in human nature is
"the mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16).
Christ's genealogy refers to Him as "the Son of David,"
and "the Son of Abraham" (Matt. 1:1). According to His human
nature He "was born of the seed of David" (Rom. 1:3; 9:5)
and was the "Son of Mary" (Mark 6:3). Though He was born of
a woman as is every other child, there was a great
difference, a uniqueness. Mary was a virgin, and this Child
was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20-23; Luke
l:31-37). He could claim true humanity through His mother.
2. His human development.
Jesus was subject to the laws of human development; He
"grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom" (Luke
2:40,52). At the age of 12 He became aware of His divine
mission (Luke 2:46-49). Throughout His boyhood He was
subject to His parents (Luke 2:51).
The road to the cross was one of constant growth through
suffering, which played an important role in His
development. "He learned obedience by the things which He
suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of
eternal salvation to all who obey" (Heb. 5:8,9; 2:10,18).
Yet though He experienced development, He did not sin.
3. He was called a "man".
John the Baptist and Peter refer to Him as "a Man" (John
1:30; Acts 2:22). Paul speaks of "the grace of the one Man,
Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:15). He is the "Man" who brought "the
resurrection of the dead" (1 Cor. 15:21); the "one Mediator
between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). In
addressing His enemies, Christ refers to Himself as Man:
"You seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which
I heard from God" (John 8:40).
Jesus' favorite self-designation, one He used 77 times,
was "Son of Man" (cf. Matt. 8:20; 26:2). The title Son of
God focuses the attention on His relationship within the
Godhead. The name Son of man emphasizes His solidarity with
the human race through His incarnation.
4. His human characteristics.
God made humans "a little lower than the angels" (Ps.
8:5). Similarly Scripture presents Jesus as One "who was
made a little lower than the angels" (Heb. 2:9). His human
nature was created and did not possess superhuman powers.
Christ was to be truly human; this was part of His
mission. Being so required that He possess the essential
characteristics of human nature He was "flesh and blood"
(Heb. 2:14). "In all things," Christ was made "like" His
fellow human beings (Heb. 2:17). His human nature possessed
the same mental and physical susceptibilities as the rest of
humanity: hunger, thirst, weariness, and anxiety (Matt. 4:2;
John l9:28; 4:6; cf. Matt. 26:21; 8:24).
In His ministry to others He revealed compassion,
righteous anger, and grief (Matt. 9:36; Mark 3:5). At times
He felt troubled, and sorrowful, and He even wept (Matt.
26:38; John 12:27; 11:33,35; Luke 19:41). He prayed with
cries, and tears, once to the point of perspiring blood
(Heb. 5:7; Luke 22:44). His life of prayer expressed His
complete dependence on God (Matt. 26:39-44; Mark 1:35; 6:46;
Luke 5:16; 6:12).
Jesus experienced death (John l9:30,34). He was
resurrected, not as a spirit, but with a body (Luke 24:
5. The extent of His identification with human nature.
The Bible reveals that Christ is the second Adam, He
lived "in the likeness of sinful flesh" or "in the likeness
of sinful man" (Rom. 8:3; 8:3, NIV). To what extent did He
identify with or become identical to fallen humanity? A
correct view of the expression "the likeness of sinful
flesh," or sinful man, is crucial. Inaccurate views have
brought dissension and strife throughout the history of the
a. He was "in the likeness of sinful flesh."
The uplifted serpent in the desert, described earlier,
provides an understanding of Christ's human nature. As the
brass image made in the likeness of the poisonous serpents
was lifted up for the people's healing, so the Son of God
made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" was to be the Saviour
of the world.
Before the incarnation Jesus was "in the form of God,"
that is to say the divine nature was His from the beginning
(John 1:1; Phil. 2:6, 7 NIV, NEB). In taking the "form of a
servant" He laid aside divine prerogatives. He became His
Father's servant (Isa. 42:1), to carry out the Father's will
(John 6:38; Matt. 26:39,42). He clothed His divinity with
humanity, He was made in the "likeness of sinful flesh," or
"sinful human nature," or "fallen human nature," (cf. Rom.
8:3).(*11) This in no way indicates that Jesus Christ was
sinful, or participated in sinful acts or thoughts. Though
made in the form or likeness of sinful flesh, He was sinless
and His sinlessness is beyond questioning.
b. He was the second Adam.
The Bible draws a parallel between Adam and Christ,
calling Adam the "first man" and Christ the "last Adam" or
"second Man" (1 Cor. 15:45,47). But Adam had the advantage
over Christ. At the Fall he lived in paradise. He had a
perfect humanity possessing full vigor of body and mind.
Not so with Jesus. When He took on human nature the race
had already deteriorated through 4,000 years of sin on a
sin-cursed planet. So that He could save those in the utter
depths of degradation, Christ took a human nature that,
compared with Adam's unfallen nature, had decreased in
physical and mental strength--though He did so without
When Christ took the human nature that bore the
consequences of sin, He became subject to the infirmities
and weaknesses that all experience. His human nature was
"beset by weakness" or "compassed with infirmity" (Heb. 5:2;
5:2,KJV; Matt. 8:17; Isa. 53:4). He sensed His weakness. He
had to offer "prayers and supplications, with vehement cries
and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death" (Heb.
5:7), thus identifying Himself with the needs and weaknesses
so common to humanity.
Thus "Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that
is, the humanity of Adam before the fall; nor fallen
humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity of Adam
after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the
innocent infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen,
because it had never descended into moral impurity. It was,
therefore, most literally our humanity, but without
c. His experience with temptations.
How did temptations affect Christ? Was it easy or
difficult for Him to resist them? The way He experienced
temptations proves that He was truly human.
i. "In all points tempted as we are."
That Christ was "in all points tempted as we are" (Heb
4:15), shows that He was a partaker of human nature.
Temptation and the possibility of sinning were real to
Christ. If He could not sin He would have been neither human
nor our example. Christ took human nature with all its
liabilities, including the possibility of yielding to
How could He have been tempted "in all points" as we are?
Obviously "in all points" or "in every way" (NIV) does
not mean that He met the identical temptations we meet
today. He was never tempted to watch demoralizing TV
programs, or to break the speed limit in an automobile.
The basic issue underlying all temptations is the
question of whether to surrender the will to God. In His
encounter with temptation Jesus always maintained His
allegiance to God. Through continual dependence on divine
power He successfully resisted the fiercest temptations even
though He was human.
Christ's victory over temptation qualified Him to
sympathize with human weaknesses. Our victory over
temptation comes by maintaining dependence upon Him. "God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what
you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way
of escape, that you may be able to bear it " (1 Cor. 10:13).
It must be recognized that in the end "it is a mystery
that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be
tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without
ii."Suffered, being tempted."
Christ suffered while subjected to temptation (Heb.
2:18). He was made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb.
2:10). Because He Himself faced the power of temptation, we
can know that He understands how to help anyone who is
tempted. He was one with humanity in suffering the
temptations to which human nature is subjected.
How did Christ suffer under temptation? Though He had
"the likeness of sinful flesh," His spiritual faculties were
free from any taint of sin. Consequently His holy nature was
extremely sensitive. Any contact with evil pained Him. So,
because He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His
holiness, temptation brought more suffering to Jesus than to
How much did Christ suffer? His experience in the
wilderness, Gethsemane, and Golgotha reveal that He resisted
temptation to the point of shedding His blood
(cf. Heb. 12:4).
Christ not only suffered more in proportion to His
holiness, He faced stronger temptations than we humans have
to. B.F. Wescott notes, "Sympathy with the sinner in his
trial does not depend on the experience of sin but on the
experience of the strength of the temptation to sin which
only the sinless can know in its full intensity. He who
falls yields before the last strain."(*16) F.F. Bruce
concurs by stating, "Yet He endured triumphantly every form
of testing that man could endure, without any weakening of
His faith in God or any relaxation of His obedience to Him.
Such endurance involves more, not less, than ordinary human
Christ also faced a powerful temptation never known to
man--the temptation to use His divine power on His Own
behalf. E.G. White states, "He had received honor in the
heavenly courts, and was familiar with absolute power. It
was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as it
is for men to rise above the low level of their depraved
natures, and be partakers of the divine nature."(*18)
d. Could Christ sin?
Christians differ on the question of whether Christ could
sin. We agree with Philip Schaff, who said, "Had he [Christ]
been endowed from the start with absolute impeccability, or
with the impossibility of sinning, he could not be a true
man, nor our model for imitation: his holiness, instead of
being his own self-acquired act and inherent merit, would be
an accidental or outward gift, and his temptations as unreal
show."(*19) Karl Ullmann adds, "The history of the
temptation, however it may be explained, would have no
significancy; and the expression in the Epistle to the
Hebrews `he was tempted in all points as we,' would be
6. The sinlessness of Jesus Christ's human nature.
It is self-evident that the divine nature of Jesus was
sinless. But what about His human nature?
The Bible portrays Jesus' humanity as sinless. His birth
was supernatural--He was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt.
1:20). As a newborn baby He was described as "that Holy One"
(Luke 1:35). He took the nature of man in its fallen state,
bearing the consequences of sin, not its sinfulness. He was
one with the human race, except in sin.
Jesus was "in all points tempted as we are, yet without
sin," being "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from
sinners" (Heb. 4:15; 7:26). Paul wrote that He "knew no sin"
(2 Cor. 5:21). Peter testified that He "`committed no sin,
nor was guile found in His mouth'" (1 Peter 2:22), and
compared Him with "a lamb without blemish and without spot"
(1 Peter 1:19; Heb. 9:24). "In Him," John said, "there is no
sin....He is righteous" (1 John 3:5-7).
Jesus took upon Himself our nature with all its
liabilities, but He was free from hereditary corruption or
depravity and actual sin. He challenged His opponents,
"`Which of you convicts Me of sin?'" (John 8:46). When
facing His severest trial, He declared, "`The ruler of this
world is coming, and he has nothing in Me'" (John 14:30).
Jesus had no evil propensities or inclinations or even
sinful passions. None of the avalanche of temptations could
break His allegiance to God.
Jesus never made a confession of sin or offered a
sacrifice. He did not pray, "Father, forgive Me," but
rather, "`Father, forgive them'" (Luke 23:34). Always
seeking to do His Father's will, not His own, Jesus
constantly maintained His dependence on the Father
(cf. John 5:30).
Unlike that of fallen humanity, Jesus' "spiritual nature"
is pure and holy, "free from every taint of sin."(*21) It
would be a mistake to think He is "altogether human" as we
are. He is the second Adam, the unique Son of God. Nor
should we think of Him "as a man with the propensities of
sin." While His human nature was tempted in all points in
which human nature is tempted, He never fell, He never
sinned. Never was there in Him an evil propensity.(*22)
Indeed, Jesus is humanity's highest, holiest example. He
is sinless, and all He did demonstrated perfection. Truly He
was the perfect example of sinless humanity.
7. The necessity of Christ's taking human nature.
The Bible gives various reasons as to why Christ had to
have a human nature.
a. To be the high priest for the human race.
As Messiah, Jesus had to occupy the position of high
priest or mediator between God and man (Zech. 6:13; Heb.
4:14-16). This function required human nature. Christ met
the qualifications: (i) He could have "compassion on those
who are ignorant and going astray" because He was "beset by
weaknesses" or "compassed with infirmity" (Heb. 5:2,
5:2,KJV). (ii) He is "merciful and faithful" because He was
in all things made "like His brethren" (Heb. 2:17). (iii) He
"is able to aid them who are tempted" because "He Himself
has suffered, being tempted" (Heb. 2:18). (iv) He
sympathizes with weaknesses because He "was in all points
tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
b. To save even the most degraded person.
To reach people where they are and rescue the most
hopeless, He descended to the level of a servant
c. To give His life for the sins of the world.
Christ's divine nature cannot die. In order to die, then,
Christ had to have a human nature. He became man and paid
the penalty for sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor.
15:3). As a human being He tasted death for everyone
d. To be our example.
To set the example as to how people should live, Christ
must live a sinless life as a human being. As the second
Adam He dispelled the myth that humans cannot obey God's law
and have victory over sin. He demonstrated that it is
possible for humanity to be faithful to God's will. Where
the first Adam fell, the second Adam gained the victory over
sin and Satan and became both our Saviour and our perfect
example. In His strength His victory can be ours
By beholding Him, people "are being transformed into the
same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18). "Let us fix
our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith....Consider him who endured such opposition from
sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart"
(Heb 12:2,3,NIV). Truly, Christ "suffered for us, leaving us
an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21;
cf. John 13:15).
The Union of the Two Natures
The person of Jesus Christ has two natures: divine and
human. He is the God-man. But note that the incarnation
involved the eternal Son of God taking on Himself human
nature, not the man Jesus acquiring divinity. The movement
is from God to man, not man to God.
In Jesus, these two natures were merged into one person.
Note the following Biblical evidence:
Christ Is a Union of Two Natures
The plurality associated with the triune God is not
present in Christ. The Bible describes Jesus as one person,
not two. Various texts refer to the divine and human nature,
yet speak of only one person. Paul described the person
Jesus Christ as God's Son (divine nature) who is born of a
woman (human nature; Gal. 4:4). Thus Jesus, "being in the
form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with
God" (divine Nature), "but made Himself of no reputation,
taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of
men" (human nature; Phil. 2:6,7).
Christ's dual nature is not composed of an abstract
divine power or influence that is connected with His
humanity. "The Word," John said, "became flesh and dwelt
among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John
1:14). Paul wrote, God sent "His own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3); "God was manifest in the flesh"
(1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2).
The Blending of the Two Natures
At times the Bible describes the Son of God in terms of
His human nature. God purchased His church with His own
blood (Acts 20:28; cf. Col. 1:13,14). At other instances it
characterizes the Son of Man in terms of His divine nature
(cf. John 3:13; 6:62; Rom. 9:5).
When Christ came into the world, "a body" had been
prepared for Him (Heb. 10:5). When He took upon Himself
humanity, His divinity was clothed with humanity. This was
not accomplished by changing humanity into divinity or
divinity into humanity. He did not go out of Himself to
another nature, but took humanity into Himself. Thus
divinity and humanity were combined.
When He became incarnate, Christ did not cease to be God,
nor was His divinity reduced to the level of humanity. Each
nature kept its standing. "In Him," Paul says, "dwells all
the fullness of the God-head bodily" (Col. 2:9). At the
crucifixion His human nature died, not His deity, for that
would have been impossible.
The Necessity of the Union of the Two Natures
An understanding of the interrelationship of Christ's two
natures gives a vital insight into Christ's mission and our
1. To reconcile humanity with God.
Only a divine-human Saviour could bring salvation. At the
incarnation Christ, in order to impart His divine nature to
believers, brought humanity into Himself. Through the merits
of the blood of the God-man believers can partake of the
divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
The ladder in Jacob's dream, symbolizing Christ, reaches
us where we are. He took human nature and overcame, that we
through taking His nature might over-come. His divine arms
grasp the throne of God, while His humanity embraces the
race, connecting us with God, earth with heaven.
The combined divine-human nature makes effective Christ's
atoning sacrifice. The life of a sinless human being or even
an angel could not atone for the sins of the human race.
Only the divine-human Creator could ransom humanity.
2. To veil divinity with humanity.
Christ veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity,
laying aside His celestial glory and majesty, so that
sinners would be able to exist in His presence without being
destroyed. Though He was still God, He did not appear as God
3. To live victoriously.
Christ's humanity alone could never have endured the
deceptions of Satan. But in Him dwelt "all the fullness of
the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). He was able to overcome sin
because He relied completely upon the Father (John 5:19, 30;
8:28), and "divine power combined with humanity gained in
behalf of man an infinite victory."(*23)
Christ's experience in victorious living is not His
exclusive privilege. He exercised no power that humanity
cannot exercise. We may also "be filled with all the
fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19). Through Christ's divine power
we can have access to "all things that pertain to life and
The key to his experience is faith in the "exceeding
great and precious promises" through which we "may be
partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter
1:3,4). He offers the same power by which He overcame so
that all may faithfully obey and have a victorious life.
Christ's comforting promise is one of victory: "`To him
who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I
also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne'"
The Offices of Jesus Christ
The offices of prophet, priest, and king were unique,
generally requiring a consecration service through anointing
(1 Kings 19:16; Ex. 30:30; 2 Sam. 5:3). The coming Messiah,
the Anointed One--prophecies pointed out--was to hold all
three of these offices. Christ performs His work as mediator
between God and us through the offices of prophet, priest,
and king. Christ the Prophet proclaims God's will to us,
Christ the Priest represents us to God and vice versa, and
Christ the King wields God's gracious authority over His
Christ the Prophet
God revealed Christ's prophetic office to Moses: "I will
raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their
brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall
speak to them all that I command Him" (Deut. 18:18).
Christ's contemporaries recognized the fulfillment of this
prediction (John 6:14; 7:40; Acts. 3:22,23).
Jesus referred to Himself as "prophet" (Luke 13:33). He
proclaimed with prophetic authority (Matt. 7:29) the
principles of God's kingdom (Matthew 5-7; 22:36-40), and
revealed the future (Matt. 24:1-51; Luke 19:41-44).
Before His incarnation Christ filled the Bible writers
with His Spirit and gave them prophecies about His
sufferings and subsequent glories (1 Peter 1:11). After His
ascension He continued to reveal Himself to His people.
Scripture says He gives His "testimony"--"the spirit of
prophecy"--to His faithful remnant (Rev. 12:17; 19:10; see
chapter 17 of this book).
Christ the Priest
A divine oath firmly established the Messiah's
priesthood: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, `You
are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek'"
(Ps.110:4). Christ was not a descendant of Aaron. Like
Melchizedek, His right to the priesthood came by divine
appointment (Heb. 5:6,10; see chapter 7). His mediating
priesthood had two phases: an earthly and a heavenly.
1. Christ's earthly priesthood.
The priest's role at the altar of burnt offering
symbolized Jesus' earthly ministry. Jesus qualified
perfectly for the office of priest: He was truly man, and He
was "called by God" and acted "in things pertaining to God"
with the special task of offering "gifts and sacrifices for
sins" (Heb. 5:1,4,10).
The priest was to reconcile the worshipers to God through
the sacrificial system, which represented the provision of
atonement for sin (Lev. 1:4; 4:29,31,35: 5:10; 16:6; 17:11).
Thus the continual sacrifices at the altar of burnt offering
symbolized the availability of continual atonement.
These sacrifices were not sufficient. They could not make
the offerer perfect, take away sins, or produce a clear
conscience (Heb. 10:1-4; 9:9). They were simply a shadow of
the good things to come (Heb. 10:1; cf. 9:9,23,24). The Old
Testament said that the Messiah Himself would take the place
of these animal sacrifices (Ps. 40:6-8; Heb. 10:5-9). These
sacrifices, then, pointed to the vicarious sufferings and
atoning death of Christ the Saviour. He, the Lamb of God,
became sin for us, a curse for us; His blood cleanses us
from all sins (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 John 1:7;
cf. 1 Cor. 15:3).
So during His earthly ministry Christ was both priest and
offering. His death on the cross was part of His priestly
work. After His sacrifice at Golgotha, His priestly
intercession centered in the heavenly sanctuary.
2. Christ's heavenly priesthood.
The priestly ministry Jesus began on earth He completes
in heaven. His humiliation on earth as God's suffering
servant qualified Him to be our High Priest in heaven (Heb.
2:17,18; 4:15; 5:2). Prophecy reveals that the Messiah was
to be a priest on God's throne (Zech. 6:13). After His
resurrection the humiliated Christ was exalted. Now our High
Priest sits "at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty
in the heavens," ministering in the heavenly sanctuary
(Heb. 8:1,2; cf. 1:3; 9:24).
Christ began His intercessory work immediately following
His ascension. The ascending cloud of incense in the holy
place of the Temple typifies Christ's merits, prayers, and
righteousness, which makes our worship and prayers
acceptable to God. Incense could be offered only on coals
taken from the altar of burnt offering, which reveals an
intimate connection between intercession and the atoning
sacrifice of the altar. Thus Christ's intercessory work is
built on the merits of His completed sacrificial atonement.
Christ's intercession offers encouragement to His people:
He is "able to save to the uttermost those who come to God
through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for
them" (Heb. 7:25). Because Christ mediates for His people,
all of Satan's accusations have lost their legal basis (1
John 2:1; cf. Zech. 3:1). Paul asked rhetorically, "Who is
he who condemns?" Then He offered the assurance that Christ
Himself is at God's right hand, interceding for us
(Rom. 8:34). Affirming His role as Mediator, Christ said,
"Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father
in My name He will give you" (John 16:23).
Christ the King
God "has established His throne in heaven, and His
kingdom rules over all" (Ps. 103:19). It is self-evident
that the Son of God, as one of the Godhead, shares in this
divine government over the whole universe.
Christ, as the God-man, will exercise His kingship over
those who have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. "Your
throne, O God," it said, "is forever and ever; a scepter of
righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom"
(Ps. 45:6; Heb. 1:8,9).
Christ's kingdom was not established without strife, for
"the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take
counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed
[Messiah]" (Ps. 2:1). But their schemes fail. God will
establish the Messiah on His throne by decree: "`I have set
My king on My holy hill of Zion'"; He has declared, "`You
are My Son, today I have begotten You'" (Ps. 2:6,7; Heb.
1:5). The name of the King who is to occupy the throne of
David is "`THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS'" (Jer. 23:5,6) His
rule is unique, for He is to function on the heavenly throne
as both priest and king (Zech. 6:13).
To Mary the angel Gabriel announced that Jesus was to be
that Messianic ruler, saying, "He will reign over the house
of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end"
(Luke 1:33). His kingship is portrayed by two thrones
symbolizing His two kingdoms. The "throne of grace" (Heb.
4:16) represents the kingdom of grace; the "throne of His
glory" (Matt. 25:31) stands for the kingdom of glory.
1. The kingdom of grace.
Immediately after the first human had sinned, the kingdom
of grace was instituted. It existed by the promise of God.
Through faith people could become its citizens. But it was
not fully established until the death of Christ. When He
cried out on the cross, "It is finished," the requirements
for the plan of redemption were met and the new covenant
ratified (cf. Heb. 9:15-18).
Jesus' proclamation, "`The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God is at hand'" (Mark 1:15) was a direct
reference to the kingdom of grace soon to be established by
His death. Founded on the work of redemption, not Creation,
this kingdom receives its citizens through regeneration--the
new birth. Jesus ruled, "`Unless one is born of water and
the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'" (John 3:5;
cf. 3:3). He compared its growth to the phenomenal
development of a mustard seed and the effect of yeast on
flour (Mark 4:22-31; Matt. 13:33).
The kingdom of grace is not seen in outward show, but by
its effect on the heart of the believers. This kingdom,
Jesus taught, "`does not come with observation; nor will
they say, "See here!" or "See there!" For indeed, the
kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:20,21). It is not a
kingdom of this world, He said, but a kingdom of truth. "`I
am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I
have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the
truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice'" (John
18:37). Paul said this kingdom is Christ's kingdom of
"righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" into
which believers have been transferred (Rom. 14:17;
The establishment of this kingdom was an excruciating
experience, affirming that there is no crown without a
cross. At the close of His public ministry Jesus, the
Messiah, the God-man, came to Jerusalem as the rightful heir
to the throne of David. Seated on a donkey, as was the
Jewish custom for a royal entry (Zech. 9:9), He accepted the
masses' spontaneous, enthusiastic display of support. During
His triumphal entry into the royal city "a very great
multitude" spread their clothes to form a royal carpet,
cutting down palm branches and shouting, "`Hosanna to the
Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the
Lord!'" (Matt. 21:8,9) thus fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy.
Now Christ presented Himself as the Messianic king.
Unfortunately, His claim to the throne did not go
unopposed. Satanic hatred against the "sinless One" reached
its culmination. In a twelve-hour period the defenders of
the faith, the Sanhedrin, had Him arrested secretly, put Him
to trial, and condemned Him to death.
During His trial, Jesus publicly affirmed that He was the
Son of God and King of His people (Luke 23:3; John
18:33-37). In response to His claim He was scornfully
clothed in a royal robe and crowned, not with a crown of
gold, but of thorns (John 19:2). His reception as king was
sheer mockery. Beating Him up, the soldiers scoffed, "`Hail,
King of the Jews!'" (John 19:3). And when the Roman
governor, Pilate, presented Him to the nation, saying,
"`Behold your King!'" His own people unanimously rejected
Him, crying out, "`Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify
Him!'" (John l9:14,15).
Through the deepest humiliation--death on the
cross--Christ established the kingdom of grace. Soon
afterward exaltation ended His humiliation. Upon His
ascension He was enthroned in heaven as Priest and King,
sharing His Father's throne (Ps. 2:7,8; cf. Heb. 1:3-5; Phil
2:9-11; Eph. 1:20-23). This enthronement did not give Him,
as the divine Son of God, any power that was not already
His. But now, as the divine-human Mediator, His human nature
participated in the heavenly glory and power for the first
2. The kingdom of glory.
A representation of the kingdom of glory was given at the
Mount of Transfiguration. There Christ presented Himself in
His glory. "His face shone like the sun, and His clothes
became white as light" (Matt. 17:2). Moses and Elijah
represented the redeemed--Moses representing those who have
died in Christ and will be resurrected, and Elijah
representing believers who will be taken to heaven without
experiencing death at the Second Advent.
The kingdom of glory will be established with cataclysmic
events at Christ's return (Matt. 24:27,30,31; 25:31,32).
Following the judgment, when the Son of man's mediatorial
work in the heavenly sanctuary has ended, the "Ancient of
Days"--God the Father--will bestow upon Him "dominion and
glory and a kingdom" (Dan. 7:9,10,14). Then the "kingdom and
dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole
heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most
High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all
dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Dan. 7:27).
The kingdom of glory will finally be established on earth
at the end of the millennium, when the New Jerusalem will
descend from heaven (Revelation 20,21). By accepting Jesus
Christ as our Saviour, we can become citizens of His kingdom
of grace today and the kingdom of glory at His second
coming. Before us lies a life with unlimited possibilities.
The life Christ offers is not a life filled with failure and
scattered hopes and dreams, but one of growth, a successful
walk with the Saviour. It is a life that increasingly
displays genuine love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal.
5:22,23)--the fruits of the relationship Jesus offers to all
who commit their lives to Him. Who can resist such an offer?
1. On the 70-week prophecy, see 70 Weeks, Leviticus, and
the Nature of Prophecy, ed., Frank B. Holbrook
(Washington,D.C.: Biblical Research Institute, General
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, l986), pp. 3-127.
2. On the Biblical foundations of the year-day principle,
see William H. Shea, Selected Studies on Prophetic
Interpretation (Washington,D.C.: Review and Herald, l982),
3. The dates for the reign of Artaxerxes have been firmly
established by the Olympiad dates, the Ptolemy's Cannon, the
Elephantine Papyri, and the Babylonian Cuneiform tablets.
4. See also C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares (Mountain View,
CA.: Pacific Press, 1981), vol. 1, pp. 216-218.
5. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), p. 291.
6. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA.: Pacific
Press, 1940), p. 530.
7. That Scripture alludes to Jesus as the "only begotten"
and the "first born" and speaks of the day of His begetting
does not deny His divine nature and eternal existence. The
term "only begotten" (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 1 John 4:9)
comes from the Greek word monogenes. The Biblical use of
monogenes reveals that its range of meaning extends to
"only" or "unique," depicting a special relationship, not an
event in time. Isaac, for example is called Abraham's "only
begotten son," although he was not Abraham's only son, or
even his firstborn son (Gen. 16:16; 21:1-21; 25:1-6). Isaac
was the unique son, the only one of his kind, destined to
become Abraham's successor. "Jesus Christ, the pre-existent
God, the divine creative Word, at His incarnation became in
a unique sense the Son of God--which is why He is designated
`monogenes' the only one of His kind, altogether unique in
many aspects of His being and life. No other child of the
human race was so compacted in his being, had so unequaled a
relation to the Godhead, or did such a work as is true of
Him. So `monogenes' describes a relation between God the
Father and Jesus Christ the Son as separate Persons of the
Godhead. This is a relation that belongs to Christ's
complex, divine-human personality, in connection with the
economy of the plan of salvation." (Committee on Problems in
Bible Translation, Problems in Bible Translation
[Washington,D.C.: Review and Herald, l954], p. 202).
Likewise, when Christ is called the "firstborn" (Heb. 1:6;
Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15,18; Rev. 1:5), the term does not refer
to a point of time. Rather, it emphasizes importance or
priority (cf. Heb. 12:23). In Hebrew culture, the firstborn
received the family privileges. So Jesus, as the firstborn
among men, won back all the privileges man had lost. He
became the new Adam, the new "firstborn" or head of the
human race. The Biblical reference to the day in which Jesus
was begotten is based on a similar concept to those of the
only begotten and the firstborn. Depending on its context,
the Messianic prediction, "You are My Son, today I have
begotten you" (Ps. 2:7), refers to Jesus': incarnation (Heb.
1:6), resurrection (Acts 13:33; cf. v. 30), or enthronement
8. Additional evidence is found in laws of Greek grammar.
(1) The anarthrous use of "Lord" (used without a definite
article). The LXX translates YHWH with an anarthrous kurios.
Very often, when one finds an anarthrous kurios in the New
Testament it indicates God (e.g. Matt. 7:21; 8:2,6,25). (2)
A single article qualifies two substantives. Thus e.g.
Christ is described as God in the phrases "our great God and
Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13), "the righteousness of our
God and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1). (3) When there
are two substantives and the second is in the genitive case
without an article, for either substantive, the quality of
the one is attributed to the other. Thus in the same way
that Rom. 1:17,18 speaks of "righteousness of God" and
"wrath of God," so Jesus is described as "Son of God"
9. White, "The True Sheep Respond to the Voice of the
Shepherd, "Signs of the Times, Nov. 27, l893, p. 54.
10.White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.
11.These expressions have often been used by Seventh-day
Adventist writers to describe Jesus' identity with the human
race, but never do they imply that He was in any way sinful.
Throughout its history the official church position has been
to uphold the absolute sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
12.Christ took upon Him "the same susceptibilities, mental
and physical" as His contemporaries (White, "Notes of
Travel," Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Feb. 10, 1885, p.
81)--a human nature that had decreased in "physical
strength, in mental power, in moral worth" --though not
morally depraved, but totally sinless (White, "`In All
Points Tempted Like As We Are,'" Signs, Dec. 3, l902, p. 2;
White, Desire of Ages, p. 49).
13.Henry Melvill, in Sermons by Henry Melvill, B.D., ed.,
C.P. McIlvaine (New York, N.Y.: Stanford && Swords, 1844),p.
47. By "innocent infirmities" he meant hunger, pain, sorrow,
etc. He called this view of the pre-and post-Fall nature of
Christ "the orthodox doctrine" (ibid.).
14.White, Letter 8, 1895 in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible
Commentary, ed., Francis D. Nichol, rev. ed. (Washington,
D.C.: Review and Herald, 1980), vol. 5, pp. 1128, 1129; cf.
SDA Bible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 7, p. 426.
15.Cf. White, "In Gethsemane," Signs, Dec. 9, 1987, p. 3;
White in SDA Bible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 7, p. 927.
16.Brooke F. Wescott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand
Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1950), p. 59.
17.F.F. Bruce, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews
(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, l972), pp. 85,86.
18.White, "The Temptation of Christ," Review and Herald,
April 1, 1875, p. .
19.Philip Schaff, The Person of Christ (New York, NY:
George H. Doran, 1913), pp. 35,36.
20.Karl Ullmann, An Apologetic View of the Sinless
Character of Jesus, The Biblical Cabinet; or Hermeneutical
Exegetical, and Philological Library (Edinburgh, Thomas
Clark, 1842), vol. 37, p. 11.
21.White, "In Gethsemane," Signs, Dec. 9, 1897, p. 3; cf.
White, Desire of Ages, p. 266.
22.White, Letter 8, 1895, in SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5,
pp. 1128, 1129, In E.G. White's time the following
definitions of Propensity were used; "Propensity," from the
Latin propensus, is defined as "Natural inclination; bias,
bent" (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 3rd ed.,
[Springfield, MA: G.&& C. Merriam Co., l916]); cf. Nuttall's
Standard Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: De
Wolfe, Fiske && C., 1886). Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
defines it as "the quality or state of being propense
[leaning toward, in a moral sense]; natural inclination;
disposition to do good or evil; bias; bent, tendency"
(Webster's International Dictionary of the English Language
[Springfield, MA: G.&& C. Merriam && C., 1890]). One of E.G.
White's favorite authors, Henry Melvill, wrote, "But whilst
he took humanity with the innocent infirmities, he did not
take it with the sinful propensities. Here Deity interposed.
The Holy Ghost over-shadowed the Virgin, and, allowing
weakness to be derived from her, forbade wickedness; and so
caused that there should be generated a sorrowing and a
suffering humanity, but nevertheless an undefiled and a
spotless; a humanity with tears, but not with stains;
accessible to anguish, but not prone to offend; allied most
closely with the produced misery, but infinitely removed
from the producing cause (Melvill, p. 47). See Tim Poirier,
"A Comparison of the Christology of Ellen White and Her
Literary Sources" (Unpublished MS, Ellen G. White Estates,
Inc., General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,
Washington, D.C. 20012).
23.White, "Temptation of Christ," Review and Herald, Oct.
13, l874. p. ; cf. White in SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7,
pp. 907, 904; vol. 5, p. 1113