Who Was that Baby?

by APC on December 04, 2014

 

 

 

The Identity of Jesus Christ

As we enter into the Christmas season—centering on Jesus Christ and His birth—it is important for all Christians to know the true identity of Jesus Christ. Our key verse is found in Deuteronomy 6:4:

Here O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD (KJV).

Old Testament Revelation

Deuteronomy 6:4 was revelatory in the Old Testament time because polytheism—the worship of many gods—was rampant in culture. This verse reveals that there is one God. The belief in one God is known as monotheism. Jesus later explained that this was the first of all the commandments in Mark 12:29.

When we read in Scripture the many names of God—Elohim, Lord, Father, Holy Spirit, etc.—these all refer to one God, not many.

The Old Testament gives us clues as to Jesus’ identity. We receive a prophecy of the birth of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (KJV).

In this scripture alone, the child that is born in Bethlehem—Jesus—is called the mighty God and everlasting Father.

Who Did Jesus Say He Was?

In John 10:30 Jesus says, “I and my Father are one” (KJV). Later in Scripture we read the Pharisees and religious leaders went to stone Jesus because they said he had blasphemed (made Himself equal to) God. Again, Jesus identifies Himself in John 14:8–10:

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? (KJV).

One God Manifested in Three Ways

Scripture teaches us that there is one God, who is manifested in three different ways. However, much of mainstream Christianity believes that there are three separate persons. This belief is known as the Trinity. The ideology of the Trinity states God exists in three separate coequal and coeternal persons—God the Father as a person, the son of God as a person, and the Holy Spirit as a person.

The concept of the Trinity does not come from Scripture, but from a shift in doctrinal position at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. Three “persons” are never associated with God in Scripture except in Hebrews 1:3, which refers to the “express image”—Jesus—as the “icon” of something bigger (God).

Colossians 2:9 tells us, “For in [Jesus] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (KJV). From Scripture we know that all of God was in Jesus Christ. I John 3:1–5 explains that we are all sons of God, and He was manifested to take away our sins because in Him there was no sin. In Scripture, any “plurality” describing Jesus refers to His attributes: titles, roles, manifestations (the way He reveals Himself), modes of activity, and aspects of His self-revelation.

There are not three distinct centers of consciousness. One God of glory has revealed Himself in three different ways. He has revealed Himself to us as the:

  • Father in parental relationship to all of humanity,
  • Son in human flesh, and
  • Holy Spirit in spiritual action.

These three manifestations of God are ways for Him to show and reveal Himself to us, all as one God.

The Father

God is the Father of creation, believers, and the only begotten son (Jesus). Malachi 2:10 tells us, “Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?” (KJV). Very plainly, Scriptures indicated one God created all things.

Galatians 4:6 expounds further into our relationship with God saying, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (KJV). We have the spirit of adoption working in us, and we can call God our Father.

Hebrews 1:5 indicates “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son” (KJV). From these scriptures, we can see that God is the Father in all creation.

The Son

The Son (Jesus) refers to God’s incarnation—His presence in bodily form. The man Jesus was literally conceived of the Spirit of God, and therefore, was known as the Son of God. Luke 1:35 explains the conception of Jesus:

And the angel answered and said unto [Mary], The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (KJV).

God manifested Himself in a bodily form through Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit (also known as the Holy Ghost) refers to God in activity, specifically in relationship in our hearts. God’s Spirit is used for anointing, indwelling in, and sanctifying humanity—we have the Holy Ghost working in us. Acts 1:5 tells us that believers would be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and that through the Holy Ghost they would receive power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Spirit actually best describes God’s fundamental nature. John 4:24 notes directly that “God is a Spirit.”

Why is it Important to Understand the Nature of God?

In 325 AD when the Council of Nicaea introduced the concept of the Trinity, they not only changed the true identity of God, but also the fundamental doctrine. Once the identity of God was changed, the doctrinal mode of baptism was changed as well.

Scripture is very specific concerning the method of salvation, as it dictates how believers are to respond to the Gospel. Our obedience to the Word is important in our walk as Christians. Resources (including the Encyclopedia Britannica written in the early 1900s) show the Apostle’s teachings directed how people were baptized—the mode was in the name of Jesus. All Christians followed this doctrinal directive, even those belonging to the Catholic church.

Matthew 28:19 is a commonly misunderstood and misapplied scripture in the New Testament. Jesus told His disciples to, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (KJV). No concept of a Trinity is identified in this verse. We are commanded to baptize in the name. The name is singular.

Why Was God Manifested as Three?

Hebrews 2:9 explains that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels and that he would “taste death for every man.” God had three manifestations to redeem fallen man. As the Father He made us; as the Son, He bought us back from our sins; as a Spirit, He creates and molds us in the way of righteousness. God had many different roles, but only one name. He had different titles, but one name.

Our Savior

Isaiah 45:21 notes that God said, “there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me” (KJV). God identifies Himself as our Savior! We are then shown in Luke 2:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (KJV). Jesus was the child born in the city of David, and He is called our Savior by the angel of the Lord.

Acts 4:12 notes, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (KJV). From all three scriptures we can see that both God and Jesus have been identified as our Savior, and there is no other name whereby we can be saved.

What is the Name?

In John 5:43 Jesus says, “I am come in my Father’s name…” (KJV). In culture today, sons are commonly named after their fathers. Jesus had His father’s name as well—His father’s name was Jesus. We learned in Luke 1:35 that the Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary and she conceived Jesus. Jesus later shares the name of the Holy Ghost in John 14:26: “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, who the Father will send in my name…” (KJV).

There was only one name. That name was Jesus! Through Scripture we can discern the name “Jesus” was tied to the three manifestations of God. And, all of them were one.

In Matthew 28:19 the disciples baptized in the name. There name is singular. Just as we all have one name, there was only one name in which to baptize unto salvation. Jesus said He had come in His father’s name. His name was Jesus. The Comforter (the Holy Ghost) would come in Jesus’ name.

Peter preached the Gospel message on the day of Pentecost, and all disciples were present to hear that message—including Matthew. There was no disagreement regarding the method of salvation in Acts 2:38:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (KJV, emphasis added).

Peter, as well as the other disciples, were correctly fulfilling Jesus’ command to baptize in the name. They evoked the name Jesus in baptism—not titles. “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). There is only one message and only one way to baptize unto salvation.

When Jesus gave His command in Matthew 28:19 to baptize in the name—which is Jesus—there is no other place in Scripture where people were baptized any other way:

  • Acts 2:38—Peter commanded people to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 8:12—After Philip preached, the people were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 10:48—All in Cornelius’ house were commanded by Peter to be baptized in the name of the Lord (Jesus Christ).
  • Acts 19:5—Paul passing through Ephesus baptized believers in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Who Was Jesus Christ?

Jesus is God incarnate—invested with a bodily nature and form. We are told in Colossians 2:9 that in Jesus dwelled the fullness of the godhead bodily. All of God was in Jesus (a human body). Because God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit has not flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), God needed a body to sacrifice for our sins (II Corinthians 5:19).

Paul shared in Hebrews 9:22 without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. To fulfill the Old Testament law, and become the ultimate sacrifice, God had to don a body. Therefore, God chose to wrap Himself in flesh and become the ultimate sacrifice in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 1:22 explains how a virgin would be with child, and the child’s name would be Emmanuel, being interpreted, “God with us.” God was still God of the universe when He was wrapped in flesh dwelling among us. Jesus wasn’t just an ordinary human being—He was God manifested in the flesh. Because Jesus was God wrapped in flesh, we can expect the extraordinary with Him!

Many people are confused at Jesus’ baptism, when there was a voice from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove (Luke 3:22). God is God, and can be anywhere at any time. He is not limited by boundaries, and was not limited by boundaries when He was in human form. Paul said great is the mystery of godliness (I Timothy 3:16)! God could appear as Jesus in the flesh, a voice from heaven, and a figure like a dove all at the same time.

Jesus’ Humanity

We read in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (KJV). But, later in verse 14 scripture states, “And the Word was made 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” (KJV).

The Word was God, and that Word (God) was made flesh and dwelt among us (Jesus). If God was in Jesus, and Jesus was a man. What is the difference between Jesus and us?

Jesus Had No Sin

Scripture tells us in I John 3:5, “And ye know that [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (KJV). Peter indicates the same in I Peter 2:22 and the writer of Hebrews notes that Jesus was in all points tempted yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus’ Deity

While Jesus was human, He was also divine. Colossians 1:12–20 states:

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; (KJV).

Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins through His death on the cross. He is the head of the body of believers, and it is through Him that we obtain salvation.

We must learn to distinguish between the two aspects of Jesus Christ—divine and human. Sometimes He spoke from His human standpoint (He could thirst) and sometimes He spoke from his divine standpoint (He could save). While we can distinguish the two aspects of Jesus as human and divine, we cannot separate them.

The Office of the Son

God’s manifestation of the Son had a beginning and it has an ending. Hebrews 1:5 indicates Jesus’ beginning (He was begotten on a day). There was an appointed time that Jesus was born, and today He exists as a continual mediator between believers and God by His sacrifice on Calvary (I Timothy 2:5). Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross continues to flow today to cover every sin we’ve ever committed—past, present, and future.

Jesus’ role will one day end as the Redeemer, and will reign as the one true God. Scripture states in I Corinthians 15:24–28:

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all (KJV).

We won’t see three people in heaven. We will see what John saw and described in Revelation 4:2: “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (KJV). Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, which was, and which is to come (Revelation 1:8)—He is the first and the last (Revelation 1:17). When John looked up into heaven, he saw Jesus sitting upon the throne.

Jesus was that Baby

Through this study, we can discern who the child born in Bethlehem was—Jesus Christ. It is because of God’s grace that we have an opportunity to fellowship with Him in a way He always wanted us to live. He has given us His Word to understand who He is, and what He has done for us.

 

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on December 3, 2014