Discover the Eternal Son of God | Christology | Jesus’ pre-existence

Discover the Eternal Son of God |  Christology | Jesus’ pre-existence

Jesus as the "Son of God"

The term "Son of God" is mentioned approximately forty-five times within the Holy Scriptures, appearing once in the Old Testament (Daniel 3:25) and predominantly in the New Testament. The plural "sons of God" is utilised in both Testaments to generally denote God's children.

In the New Testament, "Son of God" exclusively refers to Jesus Christ in every instance but one, where Luke 3:18 refers to Adam. Notably, the Apostle John frequently employs this term, using it eighteen times across his Gospel, epistles, and Revelation. It appears eight times each in the writings of Paul, Matthew, and Luke, and twice in Mark.

Variations of the Term

The New Testament presents several variations of "Son of God," including "Son of the Father" (2 John 3), "Son of the Highest" (Luke 1:32), "Son of the most high God" (Mark 5:7), "Son of the Blessed" (Mark 14:61), and "Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16), among others. Additional expressions like "beloved Son," "only begotten Son," and "dear Son" highlight the special relationship between Jesus and God.

From a human perspective, Jesus is referred to as the "Son of man," the "son of Abraham," and the "son of David," emphasising both his divine and earthly lineage.

Jesus' Own Claims

Jesus openly claimed his divine sonship. In a conversation with a man born blind, upon being asked if he believed in the Son of God, Jesus revealed himself as the one speaking with him (John 9:35-37). Furthermore, during His trial, when the high priest asked if He was the Son of God, Jesus affirmed the title (Luke 22:70).

Christ as the "Prince of Princes"

Daniel, the prophet, heralds Christ our Savior as the "Prince of princes" (Daniel 8:25), "Messiah the Prince" (Daniel 9:25), and refers to Him as "Michael your prince" (Daniel 10:21) and "Michael...the great prince who stands for...your people" (Daniel 12:1). These passages clearly identify Michael as the "Prince of princes," equating Him with the Messiah. Given that God the Father is celebrated as the "King of kings" and frequently called the "King of Israel" in the Old Testament (Isaiah 44:6; Zephaniah 3:15), it follows logically that the "Prince of princes" is His Son, the Messiah.

The New Testament elaborates on this title, proclaiming our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the "Prince of life" (Acts 3:15), "a Prince and a Savior" (Acts 5:31), and the "prince of the kings of the earth" (Revelation 1:5). This Prince, this Messiah, is affirmed as the Son of the living God (Acts 3:13, 15), linking the "God of Abraham" with "his Son Jesus," the "Prince of life." This connection underscores the divine authority and messianic role of Jesus, solidifying His identity as both the Son of God and the "Prince of princes."

The "Son of God" in Daniel's Prophecy

The term "Son of God" makes a singular appearance in the Old Testament, specifically in Daniel 3:25, where King Nebuchadnezzar witnesses a figure in the fiery furnace described as "like the Son of God." The interpretation of this phrase varies among translations, with some rendering it as "a son of the gods" and others as "the Son of God." Nebuchadnezzar later describes this figure as an angel sent by God (Daniel 3:28), and the Douay Bible refers to it as "the angel of the Lord" entering the furnace.

The recognition of the figure as the "Son of God" by Nebuchadnezzar puzzles many scholars. The Hebrew captives had effectively conveyed their faith and the principles of righteousness to those around them, including the king. They had testified of Christ, the coming Redeemer, enabling Nebuchadnezzar to identify the divine figure in the furnace as the Son of God. This narrative underlines the impactful witness of faithful lives and the prophetic acknowledgment of Jesus' divine intervention and presence.

The Declaration of "My Son" in Psalm 2:7

Psalm 2:7 poses no conundrum for the Christian faithful, as it is universally recognised as a clear Messianic prophecy, directly applicable to Christ our Lord. This verse, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee," transcends its Old Testament origins, finding profound fulfilment in the New Testament, particularly in relation to the resurrection of Jesus.

The New Testament reiterates and amplifies this declaration, linking it unequivocally to Jesus. In Acts 13:33, it is stated: "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." This passage affirms the divine sonship of Jesus, emphasising His resurrection as the ultimate testament to His identity as the Son of God and the fulfilment of Messianic prophecy.

Jesus as the "Firstborn"

The title of "firstborn" is notably mentioned in Psalm 89:27, declaring, "I will make him my firstborn." This concept is significantly applied to Jesus in the New Testament, illustrating His preeminence and foundational role in God's plan of salvation. Notable references include:

  • "the firstborn among many brethren" in Romans 8:29, emphasising Jesus' role as the leader and forerunner of all who would follow Him in faith,
  • "the firstborn of every creature" in Colossians 1:15, highlighting His supremacy over all creation, and
  • "the firstborn from the dead" in Colossians 1:18, signifying His role as the pioneer of resurrection, leading all who are resurrected into eternal life.

Some may misinterpret these verses to suggest that Jesus is a created entity. However, these references speak to His being begotten, not born, within the context of creation. The scriptures clarify that Jesus is distinct from created beings, embodying the very essence of God, Jehovah, the self-existent One. Further scriptural references such as "the first fruits of them that slept," "the first-born among many brethren," and "the first-born from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, 18; Hebrews 1:6) articulate that Jesus is foremost in rank among all resurrected beings. His preeminence is rooted in His death and resurrection, which underpin the resurrection of others, irrespective of their occurrence before or after His own.

This interpretation aligns with 1 Corinthians 15:23, which states, "But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming." The term "order" here, derived from a military lexicon, signifies "rank," placing Christ at the pinnacle among all resurrected beings. This concept is harmonised in Colossians 1:18, "And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence."

These expressions collectively underscore Jesus' unique position as both the preeminent being in the universe and the central figure in the Christian faith, marking Him as the foremost in rank, the first in resurrection, and the leader of the redeemed.

Believing in Jesus as the "Son of God"

Believing in Jesus, especially in the nascent days of Christianity, fundamentally meant recognising Him as the "Son of God." This acknowledgment was essential for early Christians, for it affirmed Jesus' identity as the Messiah, "the sent of God." Following his conversion, Saul of Tarsus (later Paul) immediately began to preach, focusing his message on proclaiming Christ as the Son of God, as evidenced in Acts 9:20 where it states, "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."

Mark clearly articulates his stance regarding Jesus from the outset of his Gospel, declaring, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). This affirmation of Jesus' divine sonship was a pivotal issue that incited opposition from Jewish leaders of His time. They challenged His Messiahship and consequently His claim to being the "Son of God." During His trial, they questioned Him directly, "Art thou then the Son of God?" to which He affirmed, "I am" (Luke 22:70; Mark 14:62). This claim was the basis for their argument that He deserved death under their law: "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God" (John 19:7).

John's writings, including his Gospel and epistles, are devoted to reinforcing the truth that accepting Jesus as the Son of God is a profound act of faith, central to Christian belief. He emphasises this point, stating, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31), and further reinforces it in 1 John 5:13: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." Through these passages, John aims to assure believers of the eternal life promised to those who accept and believe in Jesus as the Son of God, underlining the essence of Christian faith.

Jesus as the Eternal Son of God

Jesus Christ embodies a dual nature: as per His human essence, He is known as the "Son of man," whereas His divine essence reveals Him as the "Son of God." His existence stretches back to "the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2, margin) and predates the foundation of the earth (Proverbs 8:23). Jesus Himself proclaimed, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58), asserting His eternal presence alongside God from the beginning (John 1:2). This divine willingness saw Him departing His celestial abode to redeem humanity from sin and death, culminating in the pivotal moment when "God sent forth his Son" (Galatians 4:4).

The Son of God actively fulfilled the Father's intentions during the creation of the celestial hosts. Even before the existence of angels, Christ held the title of the Son of God, sharing an unbreakable unity with Him. Throughout His time on earth, He was known as the Son of man, embracing both His divine origin and human experience.

Regarding Christ's eternal nature, He declared, "Before Abraham was, I am," affirming His self-existence and pre-existence as the Son of God. This declaration reinforces the perpetual bond and communion between Christ and the eternal God, showcasing their eternal coexistence without a beginning. This emphasises the profound, everlasting union between Christ and God, a testament to Christ's timeless existence and divine essence.

These revelations about Jesus Christ, underscored by both scripture and the Spirit of prophecy, affirm His eternal sonship and divine mission. Reflecting on these profound truths, we are drawn to the disciples' realisation and declaration: "Of a truth thou art the Son of God" (Matthew 14:33). Through this lens, we gain a deeper appreciation for the immutable and everlasting nature of Jesus as the Son of God, anchoring our faith in His divine authority and salvific work.

The very fact that the Lord Jesus assumed the title "Son of God" is evidence of Heaven's love for man, for a father-son relationship draws from the human heart feelings of tenderness and love. We need to ever remember that God used a concept that not only is understandable by the human race but which commands respect and love.

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