Concerning the Person of Christ
Table of Contents
- “Godhead” Defined
- CONCERNING THE PERSON OF CHRIST
- THE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT THE AGES
- Christ Having Only Divinity but Not Humanity
- Christ Having Only Humanity but Not Divinity
- Christ’s Divinity Being Incomplete
- Christ’s Humanity Being Incomplete
- Christ’s Divinity and Humanity Being Separated
- Christ’s Divinity and Humanity Being Merged into One
- Christ Having Both Divinity and Humanity— Each Being Complete yet Both Being United in the Body of One Person
- THE REVELATION OF THE SCRIPTURE
- Christ Being God
- Christ Being a Man
- Christ Being Both God and Man
- Christ Being the Creator
- Christ Being a Creature
- Christ Being Both the Creator and a Creature
- Christ Still Being the Creator Although He Has Become a Creature
This book is composed of messages given by Brother Witness Lee in Hong Kong in 1970. In 1971 these messages were published with some added material by the Gospel Book Room, Taipei, Taiwan.
In the following pages, the word Godhead (Gk. θεóτης) is used several times. The following definition is given for readers who may be unfamiliar with this term.
Godhead (Gk. θεóτης), used in Colossians 2:9, refers to what God is as the Deity and as an object of worship.
We, the children of God, are born of Him and therefore possess His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). But we do not participate in His Godhead; we do not possess His deity.
CONCERNING THE PERSON OF CHRIST
There are two great mysteries in the Bible: one is the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and the other is the person of Christ. Christ is both God and man, and in His one person there are two natures, divinity and humanity. Our mind cannot thoroughly comprehend this. We can only accept this fact according to the revelation of the Scripture.
THE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT THE AGES
Before considering the revelation of the Bible concerning the person of Christ, let us look at the views and teachings of different men throughout the ages concerning this matter. From the first century A.D. to the middle of the sixth century, the so-called bishops held different teachings concerning Christ’s person. Hence, there were often disputations and eventually divisions in the church in the first six centuries. These different views and teachings can be summarized and classified into seven kinds. Among these, only one is proper and may be considered the orthodox teaching. The other six are improper; they are either wrong with respect to Christ’s humanity or mistaken regarding His divinity, and they either overly separate Christ’s divinity from His humanity or merge His divinity and humanity into one. We shall briefly discuss the seven different schools.
Christ Having Only Divinity but Not Humanity
The first school relates to the erroneous teaching of the Docetists (A.D. 70-170). They said that Christ had divinity only and was without humanity. To the Docetists all matter was essentially evil. Since Christ is holy, they said that He could never have the defilement of the human flesh and that the body that He took on Himself while on earth was not a real body but a mere illusion. His birth was not a real birth, and His death was not a real death.
Of course, this teaching is altogether absurd and clearly contrary to the revelation of the Scripture. The Bible definitely and explicitly says that the Lord is the Word of God who became flesh (John 1:14), who “also Himself in like manner partook of the same [i.e., blood and flesh]” (Heb. 2:14), and who became a man (1 Tim. 2:5). Having a human body and human nature, He is a complete, true man.
Just as is mentioned in 1 John 4:2-3, this school denied that Christ has come in the flesh. The Gospel of John refutes the Docetists at its very beginning by declaring that Christ is the Word and that He is God who became flesh (John 1:1, 14).
Christ Having Only Humanity but Not Divinity
The second school involves the heresy of the Ebionites (A.D. 107). They maintained that Christ had the human nature but was without the divine nature and that His life followed the common human pattern, although His behavior bore a special relationship to God.
This teaching is even more absurd than the preceding one. It closely resembles the false teachings of the modernists today and contradicts the Bible to the uttermost. The Bible definitely states that Christ is a man, and it also clearly reveals that He is God (John 1:1; Heb. 1:8; Rom. 9:5). Christ possesses complete and perfect humanity as well as complete and perfect divinity.
Christ’s Divinity Being Incomplete
The third school involves the erroneous teaching of the Arians. They said that Christ’s divinity was incomplete and that He came into being through the union of the Logos and the human body. Therefore, He cannot compare with God but is merely all-excelling, being the most outstanding, the noblest, and the highest among the creatures—for the Word is not God who is uncreated; rather, He is the chief of all creation. Arius asserted that Christ was created by God before the ages, preceding all other created things. Hence, there was a time when He did not exist. He further affirmed that because Christ died without sin, He could be resurrected, ascend to the heavens, and thus become God. The first general council assembled at Nicaea in A.D. 325 declared Arianism a heresy and rejected it.
Under careful examination, the false doctrine of the Arians is found to contain three points that are contrary to the revelation of the Scripture: (1) The Bible says clearly that “the Word was God” (John 1:1), yet Arius asserted that the Word is not the self-existent God and therefore maintained that Christ’s divinity is imperfect and cannot compare with God. This is truly a great heresy! (2) The Scripture says that Christ is the very God who exists from the beginning (v. 1) and who is self-existent and without beginning. However, the Arians said that there was a time when Christ did not exist and that He became God only after His resurrection and ascension. This kind of teaching is also a great insult to Christ’s person. (3) The Bible indeed says that Christ is the “Firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15) and also that Christ is “the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14), but it does not say that He was created before the ages, as was arbitrarily asserted by the Arians. In summary, they totally denied Christ’s uncreated divinity and were too dogmatic concerning the time of Christ’s becoming a created one. Justifiably, their teaching was pronounced a heresy and rejected by the general council at Nicaea.
Christ’s Humanity Being Incomplete
The fourth school involves the absurd teaching of the Apollinarians. They said that Christ’s humanity was incomplete because He had a human body and a human soul, but He did not have a human spirit, which is mysteriously replaced by the Logos. The so-called Christ is thus formed with these three: Logos, soul, and body (unlike a normal human being, which is made up of spirit, soul, and body). The second general council which assembled at Constantinople in A.D. 381 pronounced this doctrine a heresy.
Of course, this doctrine greatly contradicts the revelation of the Bible. Although the Bible says that Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20), having complete divinity, it also says that He was born of Mary (Luke 2:5-7), having perfect humanity. He was born a child (Isa. 9:6) and grew up in a normal human way (Luke 2:40, 52). He possesses not only a human body (Heb. 2:14) and a human soul (Matt. 26:38) but also a human spirit (Mark 2:8). Hence, the Scripture clearly reveals to us that Christ is a man with spirit, soul, and body, possessing perfect humanity.
Christ’s Divinity and Humanity Being Separated
The fifth school relates to the false doctrine of the Nestorians. They maintained that the two natures, divinity and humanity, in Christ were distinct and separate. They reasoned that if there are two natures, there must be two persons. Therefore, they over-divided the two natures in Christ even to the extent of saying that there are two distinct beings—God and man—in the one body of Christ. The third general council which assembled at Ephesus in A.D. 431 rejected this doctrine as improper.
The teaching of the Nestorians is also evidently contrary to the biblical revelation. In the Old Testament the Bible shows that the Ark of the Testimony, which typifies Christ, was made of wood and overlaid with gold—it was a product of two natures. Gold typifies Christ’s divine nature, while wood typifies His human nature. Although gold and wood are of two distinct natures, they were united as one to become an Ark. This indicates that although Christ possesses two natures, divinity and humanity, He is still one; and His two natures, although each is distinct, are not separate but rather are united into one. Although Christ has both divinity and humanity, the two natures are in one person. He does not have one body consisting of two separate persons, God and man.
Christ’s Divinity and Humanity Being Merged into One
The sixth school relates to the wrong teaching of the Eutychians. They denied the distinctness and the coexistence of Christ’s divinity and humanity. Instead they asserted that the two natures were merged into one, which was neither divine nor human but a third nature resulting from the merging of divinity and humanity. In this merging, Christ’s divinity was dominant, and His humanity was absorbed by His divinity. Hence, the Eutychians were also known as the Monophysites. This teaching was rejected in the fourth general council at Chalcedon in A.D. 451.
Eutychianism also contradicts the Scripture. In the Old Testament the Bible shows that the meal offering, which typifies Christ, consisted of oil mingled with fine flour (Lev. 2:4; Exo. 29:40). Oil, which typifies the Holy Spirit, is related to Christ’s divine nature, while fine flour, which typifies Christ’s behavior, is related to His human nature. Although oil and fine flour were mingled into one, they were still two in nature—they were not merged into one to become a third nature. But Eutyches maintained that the two natures of Christ, divinity and humanity, were merged into one and became a third nature, just like an acidic substance being mixed with an alkaline substance becomes a neutral mixture. Actually, the two natures of Christ, divinity and humanity, are mingled like oil with fine flour. In this mingling, they do not become a third nature, as transpires when an acidic and an alkaline substance are mixed.
Christ Having Both Divinity and Humanity— Each Being Complete yet Both Being United in the Body of One Person
The seventh school is the proper teaching of the orthodox school. After four general councils, a fifth general council was assembled in Constantinople in A.D. 553, where all those of the orthodox school acknowledged that Christ has both divinity and humanity, each being complete but united in the body of one person—without separation, without confusion, and without being changed into a new nature. Our Lord is definitely the Son of God and the Son of Man as well. He is the complete God and a perfect man as well. He is truly God and truly man, and He is both God and man. He has complete divinity as well as perfect humanity. The two natures in Him are neither confused nor separated. Although He has two natures, He is still one person. His person cannot be divided, and His natures may not be confused. This is the proper revelation as shown in the entire holy Word of God; this is also the orthodox view of the church of God through the ages. Our Lord is both God and man, one person with two natures, without separation and without confusion. This is truly a mystery of mysteries, and it is worthy of receiving our worship and praise forever!
THE REVELATION OF THE SCRIPTURE
Although the person of Christ is a great mystery, the Bible speaks very clearly regarding this matter. This matter which is revealed in the Scripture is a mystery, but the words which the Bible uses in unveiling it are clear. Hence, although we cannot completely understand such a mystery, we can comprehend and receive the words that the Bible speaks concerning it.
Christ Being God
Both in the Old and New Testaments, the Bible many times and in many ways clearly says that Christ is God.
In the Old Testament
Hebrews 1:5 tells us that the word spoken by God in 2 Samuel 7:14, “I will be his Father, and he will be My son,” refers to Christ. God is His Father, and He is God’s Son. Such a designation, according to the biblical sense, shows equality with God (John 5:17-18). Beginning with Genesis, there are many places in the Old Testament that speak concerning Christ. However, it is not until 2 Samuel 7 that it speaks of God as His Father. He is God’s Son, has the Godhead, and is equal with God. He came as the Son of God with the Godhead to be the Christ of God to accomplish God’s will.
Throughout the Psalms, Christ is repeatedly referred to as God. Psalm 2:7 says, “He said to Me: You are My Son; / Today I have begotten You.” This word refers to God raising the Lord Jesus from the dead (Acts 13:33) and declaring Him to be the Son of God who possesses the divine essence of the Godhead (Rom. 1:4). Although He became the Son of Man and put on human nature and a human body, God raised Him up from the dead, declaring Him to be the Son of God in His humanity, being so much better than the angels (Heb. 1:4-5). In a psalm praising Christ, the psalmist declares, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; / The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom” (Psa. 45:6). Hence, O God in this verse is directed to Christ. The psalmist plainly addressed Him as God and praised Him as such. He is not only the fairest One among the sons of men (v. 2) but also God who has the throne forever and the scepter. He who is the fairest man is God, the very God who reigns on the throne for eternity.
In Psalm 102 the psalmist declares, “My God, /…Your years are throughout all generations. / Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, / And the heavens are the work of Your hands. / They will perish, but You endure; / Indeed all of them will wear out like a garment; / Like clothing You will change them, / And they will be changed. / But You are the same, / And Your years are without end” (vv. 24-27). This is a word of praise to God, saying that God is both the Creator and Ruler of the heavens and earth, and that He is ever unchanging. According to Hebrews 1:8-12, this word speaks of Christ. Here again, the Bible clearly says that Christ is God and praises Him as the Lord who created and rules the heavens and the earth, who is the same, and whose years are without end.
David declared, “Jehovah declares to my Lord, / Sit at My right hand” (Psa. 110:1). In Matthew 22:42-45 the Lord pointed out that here David called Him Lord. This proves that He is God; otherwise, how could David call Him Lord, since according to the flesh He is the Son of David? Although He became flesh and was made the Son of David, as God He is David’s Lord, the One who sits in heaven and is equal with God.
The book of Isaiah says, “In that day the Shoot of Jehovah will be beauty and glory” (4:2). This Shoot is Christ, who came forth from Jehovah God. Therefore, He, as the Shoot that came out from God and possesses the Godhead, is for the manifestation of God’s beauty and glory, and we indeed see God’s beauty and glory manifested through Him. The prophet Isaiah declared, “I saw the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne, and…the whole earth is filled with His glory” (6:1, 3). John 12:38-41 says that here Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord Jesus. This shows us that the Lord Jesus is God who is high, who sits upon the throne in heaven, being praised by the seraphim, and whose glory fills the whole earth. Hallelujah! Our Lord is the most high God who sits on the throne and whose glory fills the universe. He is worthy not only to receive praises from the heavenly angels but, much more, to be praised and worshipped by us.
The Old Testament prophecy, “The virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel [that is, God with us]” (Isa. 7:14), was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus (Matt. 1:20-23). Although the Lord was a man conceived and born through a virgin, men called Him “God with us,” for when He was in the flesh, He was God with men. He is God who became a man and dwelt with men; hence, He is the very God who is with men. Isaiah 9:6 says, “A child is born to us, / A Son is given to us; / …His name will be called / …Mighty God, / Eternal Father.” This word cannot be more clear and emphatic in saying that our Lord is not only the very God but also the Father. He was born in the flesh as a child, yet He is the mighty God; He came into time as a Son, yet He is the eternal Father. Jesus who became flesh is God. The Son who came into time is the Father. He is our God, and He is also our Father.
Isaiah 11:10 says, “In that day the root of Jesse, / Who stands as a banner to the peoples…” Here the root of Jesse refers to Christ (cf. Rev. 22:16, which says that He is the Root of David). Isaiah 11:1 says that He is a sprout that came forth from the stump of Jesse and a branch from his roots. This indicates that He became a man and was a descendant of Jesse; He came forth from Jesse. But verse 10 says that He is the root of Jesse, indicating that He is God who is the root of Jesse, and Jesse came out of Him. Isaiah 40:3-11 says, “The voice of one who cries / In the wilderness: Make clear / The way of Jehovah; / …Then the glory of Jehovah will be revealed, / …Behold your God! / Behold, the Lord Jehovah will come as a mighty One, / …He will feed His flock as a Shepherd.” Based upon Matthew 3:3, which quotes the word “the voice of one who cries,” we understand that this passage here in Isaiah 40 refers to Christ. He is God’s expressed glory, just as Hebrews 1:3 says, “Who [Christ], being the effulgence of His glory.” He is the God of God’s people; when He comes, it is the Lord coming to His people, as a mighty One and also as a Shepherd. Of course, these words will be fulfilled even more at His second coming. But when He came the first time, it was also the manifestation of God’s glory, the coming of the very God Himself, for He is God, the very Lord God Himself.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 says, “I will raise to David a righteous Shoot; / …And this is His name by which He will be called, / Jehovah our righteousness” (cf. 33:15-16). This means that Christ on the one hand is a righteous Shoot that came out from David, that is, a descendant of David, and on the other hand, He is Jehovah our righteousness. He is God as well as man.
Micah 5:2 says, “You, O Bethlehem… / From you there will come forth to Me / He who is to be Ruler in Israel; / And His goings forth are from ancient times, / From the days of eternity.” Matthew 2:4-6 clearly points out that this passage speaks of Christ. Although He was born in Bethlehem and came out from there, His root or source is from ancient times, from the days of eternity. Only God is from ancient times and from the days of eternity. Hence, this proves that He is God, the very God who is from ancient times, from the days of eternity.
Furthermore, the Angel of Jehovah, as mentioned in Exodus 3:2-12; Judges 6:11-24; 13:15-24; Zechariah 1:11-12; and 2:8-11, refers to Christ. These places clearly indicate that the Angel of Jehovah is Jehovah God Himself. (Zechariah 12:8, which says, “Like God, like the Angel of Jehovah,” proves this.) This shows that Christ, who was sent of God as the Angel of Jehovah to accomplish God’s will, is the God who sent Him, the very Jehovah God.
In the above quoted passages, the Old Testament clearly reveals that Christ is God, having the Godhead, God’s status, God’s position, and divine power—He is nothing less than God Himself.
In the New Testament
Matthew 1:20-23 says, “That which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. Now all this has happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel’ (which is translated, God with us).” In this passage there are three main points which strongly prove that our Lord is God Himself:
(1) He was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God Himself. Hence, when He was born of the Holy Spirit, God was incarnated. This exactly agrees with John 1:14, which says that He is God who became flesh.
(2) God ordained His name to be called Jesus. Jesus in Greek is equivalent to Joshua in Hebrew (Num. 13:16; Heb. 4:8), which means “Jehovah Savior.” This tells us that this Jesus is Jehovah God who became our Savior. Hence, He is God Himself.
(3) God not only ordained His name to be Jesus, but men also called Him by the name Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” This also indicates that He is God. He—the One who became flesh and tabernacled among men—is God with men. In His God-ordained name Jesus, there is Jehovah, and in His name Emmanuel, by which men called Him, there is God. He is Jehovah, and He is God. He is Jesus, Jehovah Savior, and He is also Emmanuel, God with us.
The New Testament shows us that on a number of occasions (particularly immediately before the Lord’s birth, at His baptism, and at His death), God clearly revealed either directly or through angels and men, that the Lord is the Son of God, that is, that the Lord has divinity and the Godhead, and is equal with God (John 5:17-18).
The word spoken by the angel Gabriel, who was sent from God when Jesus was to be conceived, was, “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High…The holy thing which is born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:32, 35).
Then later God spoke from heaven after the baptism of Jesus and said, “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight” (Matt. 3:17). When John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend upon the Lord, he said, “I have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). When the Lord first began calling people to follow Him, Nathanael said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God” (v. 49).
After the Lord walked upon the sea, caused Peter to do the same, and calmed the wind, the disciples said, “Truly You are the Son of God” (Matt. 14:33).
After Peter had received the revelation from God, he declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16:16).
At the time of the Lord’s transfiguration on the mountain, God spoke out of the cloud and said, “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight” (17:5).
The centurion and those with him guarding Jesus said, “Truly this was the Son of God” (27:54).
When the Pharisees said that Christ was the Son of David (22:42), the Lord said, “How then does David in spirit call Him Lord?” (v. 43), quoting the word (v. 44) from Psalm 110:1, proving that David in spirit had called Him Lord. Here He admitted that He is the Lord of David. Although He became flesh and was made a son of David, He is actually the Lord of David because He is God.
Matthew 28:19 says, “Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In this word to His disciples, the Lord placed Himself one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, thus proving that He has the same divinity and Godhead as the Father and the Holy Spirit.
A passage in the Gospel of Mark says, “Jesus…said to the paralytic, Child, your sins are forgiven. But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, Why is this man speaking this way? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except One, God?” (2:5-7). This not only proves that the Lord Jesus is God who can forgive sins, but it also indicates that the Lord confesses that He is God, the God who alone can forgive sins. Later in the same passage He also showed those who criticized Him that, just like God who searches men’s hearts, He knew the reasoning in their hearts and stood in the position of God to exercise God’s authority to forgive men’s sins (vv. 8-12).
Further, Mark 10:17-18 says, “As He went out…someone… asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One—God.” The Lord Jesus’ word proves that He admitted that He is God who alone is good. By saying this, the Lord wanted the one who confessed that He is good to confess also that He is God, the only good One.
The Gospel of John states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (1:1-2). According to verse 14, the Word here is the incarnated Lord Jesus. He not only was with God in the beginning, but He is the very God.
The Gospel of John further states, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (v. 18). This tells us that the Lord, being the only begotten Son of God, is the expression of God. No man has ever seen God, yet He declared God. The Father is the invisible God, the hidden God; the Lord Jesus is the manifest God.
The Lord Jesus said, “All may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (5:23). Here the Lord shows that He enjoys the same honor with the Father because He is the Father, and He is also God.
Jesus said to the blind man whom He had healed, “Do you believe into the Son of God? He answered and said, And who is He, Lord, that I may believe into Him? Jesus said to him, You have both seen Him, and He is the One speaking with you. And he said, Lord, I believe” (9:35-38). Here the Lord Himself told the blind man whom He had healed that He was the Son of God. The Lord’s own word indicates that He is the Son of God, has the Godhead, and is equal with God.
In such verses as John 10:30, and 17:11 and 22, the Lord Jesus clearly said that He and the Father are one. Just as the Father is God, He also is God. In addition, John 13:3 says, “Jesus, knowing…that He had come forth from God and was going to God.” This word proves that the Lord and God are one. He had come forth from God and was going to God (not to where God is), because He is God.
Then, again, the Lord said to His disciples, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (14:7, 9-10). When men saw Him, they saw the Father; when they knew Him, they knew the Father. He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him, because He and the Father are one; He is the Father, and He is also God.
The Lord Jesus also said, “All that the Father has is Mine” (16:15). This means that all that God is rests in the Lord, as Paul also testified in Colossians 2:9: “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” for He is God as well as the Father.
The Lord prayed to the Father on the last night prior to His crucifixion, saying, “Now, glorify Me along with Yourself, Father, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). According to His word, He shared the glory with the Father even before the world was. This proves that He is the same as God in the beginning because He is the God who is in eternity.
The disciple Thomas said to the Lord after His resurrection, “My Lord and my God!” (20:28). In the following verse, the Lord confirmed Thomas’s word, for He actually is both Lord and God.
In stating, “These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (v. 31), John declared that his entire Gospel was written in order to prove that the Lord is the Son of God—He is the same as God, having God’s nature and Godhead.
The book of Acts also says that the Lord is the Lord (2:36; 9:5; 10:36) as well as the Son of God (9:20; 13:33). This proves that the Lord has God’s divine nature and the Godhead and is the same as God.
There are numerous verses in the Epistles which state that the Lord is the Lord as well as the Son of God, thus strengthening the evidence that He has God’s divine nature and the Godhead. In addition to these, the following few verses clearly and definitely show that our Lord is God; He is no less than the unique God Himself. “Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). This word cannot be more clear in saying that Christ is God, blessed forever. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14). Here the Lord is placed on the same level as God and the Holy Spirit. This proves that the Lord has the same divine nature and the Godhead as God and the Holy Spirit.
“Who [Christ Jesus] existing in the form of God” (Phil. 2:6), and “Who [the Son of His love] is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). The Lord not only has the form of God, but He is the image of God, for He is the very God. Colossians 2:2 and 9 tell us that the mystery of God is Christ and that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. All that God is, is Christ; all that is of the Godhead rests in Christ, for He is God Himself. “Confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). Christ in the flesh was God manifested in the flesh. It was actually the flesh, yet God was manifested in it. This is really a great mystery! Christ who became a man was God manifested in the flesh, and He is God Himself. “Who [Christ], being the effulgence of His [God’s] glory and the impress of His substance” (Heb. 1:3). In the foregoing passage we have seen that Christ is God manifested, and here it says that He is the effulgence of God’s glory, the impress of His substance. He is God’s expression, His manifestation. “But of the Son…O God…” (v. 8) is a quotation from Psalm 45:6 proving that the Son (Christ) is God. Following this, Hebrews 1:10-12 is a quotation from Psalm 102:25-27 proving that He is God who is the same and whose years will not fail. “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we might know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). It says that the Son of God is the true One. He is come that we may know Him who is true and that we may be in Him who is true. This true One is the true God, and He is eternal life. According to 1 John 1:2, eternal life refers to the Lord Himself. Hence, 1 John 5:20 also tells us that the Lord is the true God.
There are also many verses in Revelation defining the Lord’s nature: “From Him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:4-5). Here the Lord is placed on the same level as God and the Holy Spirit, proving that He has the divine nature and the Godhead, just as God and the Holy Spirit do. “I am the First and the Last” (v. 17). Revelation 2:8 and 22:13 say the same thing. The First and the Last in the universe surely is God who is from eternity to eternity (Psa. 90:2). Hence, this word also proves that the Lord is the eternal God. In Revelation 2:18 the Lord refers to Himself as “the Son of God.” Here once again, the Lord Himself admits He has the divine nature and the Godhead. The terms the Root of David and the Offspring of David are used in Revelation 5:5 and 22:16 in reference to the Lord. Just as the Offspring of David denotes that the Lord is a man and that He came out of David, so the Root of David denotes that He is God and that David came out of Him. “To Him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever” (5:13). The Lamb refers to the Lord. This verse states that He and God together receive equal praises from every creature in the universe. This proves that He and God are one and that He is equal with God in honor and glory. “The Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22). This verse shows that the Lord and God are the temple (singular number), proving that the Lord and God are one. “The glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (v. 23). Just as the light is in the lamp and is one body with the lamp, so God is in Christ and is one body with Christ. God is the content of Christ, and Christ is the expression of God. Christ and God are one. In the phrase the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1), the word throne is singular. God and the Lamb share one throne—this also places the Lord on a level equal with God. According to the preceding passage, God is the light, and the Lord is the lamp; therefore, God is in the Lord. It must be that God is in the Lord sitting on the throne. Otherwise, how could two sit on the same throne together? In any case, all these passages prove that the Lord and God are one. In Revelation 22:13 the Lord Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” However, in Revelation 1:8 it is the Lord God who says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” This unmistakably proves that the Lord is God, “He who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” Following this, He says that He is “the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (22:13). Our Lord is the God who is self-existing and everexisting, without beginning and without end, yet who is the beginning and the end. May we offer up to Him the worship which He as God is worthy to receive! May we forever praise Him as God, the true God, the complete God! Amen! Hallelujah!
Christ Being a Man
The Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, contains many passages which clearly reveal that Christ is a man.
In the Old Testament
The first prophecy in the Old Testament concerning Christ says, “I will put enmity / Between you [the serpent] and the woman / And between your seed and her seed; / He will bruise you on the head, / But you will bruise him on the heel” (Gen. 3:15). This verse prophesies that Christ, as the seed of the woman, would bruise the head of the serpent, the devil. Later, He actually was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4) and became the seed of the woman; that is, He became a man, and through His death destroyed the devil (Heb. 2:14). This is the first place in the Scripture that speaks concerning Christ being a man. When God promised Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 22:18), the promised seed He referred to was Christ (Gal. 3:16). Christ causes all the nations of the earth to be blessed. However, He needed to become the seed of Abraham, that is, to become a man so that the people on this earth could be blessed through Him. Hence, He actually became the seed of Abraham (Matt. 1:1) as a man. Later, in Genesis 26:4 and 28:14 God gave Isaac and Jacob the same promise, saying that Christ would be their seed and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in Him. These are prophecies concerning Christ becoming a man. Genesis 49:10 says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah,… / Until Shiloh comes.” Shiloh here, which means “peace-bringer,” refers to Christ. This is a prophecy concerning Christ who was to become the seed of Judah, that is, to become a man—the Peace-bringer.
Moses prophesied to the Israelites, “A Prophet will Jehovah your God raise up for you from your midst, from among your brothers, like me” (Deut. 18:15). This Prophet of whom he prophesied is Christ (Acts 3:22-23). His word here shows us that in order for Christ to be this Prophet, He needed to be one of the brethren of the Israelites, that is, He needed to become a man.
“The fruit of the earth” is referred to in Isaiah 4:2. According to the first half of this verse, this refers to Christ. Isaiah 11:1 says, “Then a sprout will come forth from the stump of Jesse, / And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” Based on the following verses 2 through 5, this word refers to Christ. He is a sprout out of the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots. This also means that the Lord needed to become a man. “A man will be like a refuge from the wind / And a covering from the tempest, / Like streams of water in a dry place, / Like the shadow of a massive rock in a wasted land” (32:2). Based on this passage in Isaiah, we can see that “a man” is Christ. Christ who is our refuge is a man.
“Here is My Servant… / A bruised reed He will not break; / And a dimly burning f lax He will not extinguish” (42:1, 3). Matthew 12:18-21 indicates that this refers to the Lord Jesus. He, the Servant of God, is a man. Taking the status of a man, He ministers to God as a Servant.
“Indeed, My Servant… / His visage was marred more than that of any man, / And His form more than that of the sons of men” (Isa. 52:13-14). According to this description, the Lord needed to be a man in order to be God’s Servant. His visage was marred, more than that of any man, and His form more than that of the sons of men—this shows that He is a man.
The entire chapter of Isaiah 53 prophesies concerning Christ. “He grew up like a tender plant before Him, / And like a root out of dry ground. / He has no attracting form nor majesty that we should look upon Him, / Nor beautiful appearance that we should desire Him. / He was despised and forsaken of men, / A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; / And like one from whom men hide their faces, / He was despised; and we did not esteem Him… / He was cut off out of the land of the living / …And they assigned His grave with the wicked, / But with a rich man in His death… / He… was numbered with the transgressors” (vv. 2-3, 8-9, 12). These few verses fully depict the conditions and experiences of a man. Hence, Christ has to be a man, and He indeed became a man.
“Indeed, days are coming, / Declares Jehovah, / When I will raise up to David a righteous Shoot; / …And this is His name by which He will be called, / Jehovah our righteousness” (Jer. 23:5-6). This word refers to Christ. He is David’s Shoot, that is, David’s descendant (Matt. 1:1; Rev. 22:16). He is “Jehovah our righteousness”; He is also David’s Shoot. He is God; He is also a man. Isaiah 4:2 says that He is “the Shoot of Jehovah”—He comes out of God and has God’s nature. Jeremiah says that He is the Shoot of David—He comes out of man and has a human nature.
The prophet Daniel declared, “I watched in the night visions, / And there with the clouds of heaven / One like a Son of Man was coming; / And He came to the Ancient of Days, / And they brought Him near before Him. / And to Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, / That all the peoples, nations, and languages might serve Him” (Dan. 7:13-14). In the visions Daniel saw Christ receiving the kingdom from God and coming back to the earth to rule (cf. Luke 19:15: “When he came back, having received the kingdom”). Christ in this vision appeared as a Son of Man. This means that when He receives the kingdom and comes back again to this earth to rule as King, He will be a man (Matt. 26:64). In His status as a man, He receives the kingdom from God and comes back to rule over the nations of the earth.
“You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, / So little to be among the thousands of Judah, / From you there will come forth to Me / He who is to be Ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2). This prophecy says that Christ would be born in Bethlehem (John 7:42) and become a man to rule for God. This also proves that Christ needs to be a man.
There are additional Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ: “I am about to bring forth My servant, the shoot” (Zech. 3:8), and “Here is a man, whose name is the Shoot; and he will shoot forth from his place and will build the temple of Jehovah. Indeed, it is he who will build the temple of Jehovah; and he will bear majesty and will sit and rule on his throne; and he will be a priest on his throne” (6:12-13). All these designations refer to Christ. He is God’s Servant, He is a man, and He is called the Shoot. He will build the temple of Jehovah, and He will sit on the throne and rule and be a Priest. He can do all these things because He is a man. In His status as a man, He will come and do all these things. These are strong proofs that Christ needs to be a man, a real man with the human nature.
Furthermore, Zechariah 13:7 says, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, / And against the man who is My Fellow, / Declares Jehovah of hosts. / Strike the Shepherd, / That the sheep may be scattered.” In Matthew 26:31 the Lord points out that this word refers to Him. He is God’s Shepherd; He is the man who is God’s Fellow. Although He is God’s Fellow, He is still a man. This also proves that the Lord needed to be a man.
In the New Testament
The Old Testament shows that Christ needed to be a man. In order to be a man, He needed to become the seed of the woman as well as a seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, and David. At the beginning of the New Testament, Matthew 1 shows that Christ actually became the son of Abraham and the son of David (v. 1); He also became a descendant of Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Jesse (vv. 2, 5-6), born of the virgin Mary (v. 16). He definitely became the seed of the woman to be a real man, just like any ordinary man, having ancestors and a genealogy.
Later, the second half of Matthew 1; Luke 1:30-31; and 2:5-12 tell us that Christ was conceived through the Holy Spirit and, following the normal human course, came out of His mother’s womb to be a child. Thus, the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6, “A child is born to us,” was fulfilled.
Luke 2:21-24 shows that this child, who was born from His mother’s womb, was circumcised on the eighth day according to the law of the Israelites and was given the name Jesus. And when the days of His mother’s purification were fulfilled, He was brought to the temple and was presented to God. Everything was done according to the ordinary human way, proving that He definitely was a man.
Again later, Matthew 2 shows how Christ as a child was protected with His mother, taken away by Joseph to escape to Egypt (v. 14), brought back to the land of Israel (v. 21), and settled in Nazareth and was thus called a Nazarene (v. 23).
Luke 2:40-52 also shows that the boy Jesus “grew and became strong,” went year by year to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and “advanced in wisdom and stature and in the grace manifested in Him before God and men.” He had the proper living of a normal boy growing into manhood.
Matthew 13:55 says that He was “the carpenter’s son,” and Mark 6:3 says that He was “the carpenter.” This tells us that after He grew up, He worked with Joseph as a carpenter. This fully proves that He is absolutely a man.
In Matthew 4:3-4, after His baptism and before He started His ministry, the devil came to tempt Him, luring Him to manifest Himself as the Son of God. But the Lord replied, “Man shall not live…” This answer indicates that He acknowledged Himself to be a man and held firmly to the status and position of a man.
Later, on numerous occasions He called Himself “the Son of Man,” thus acknowledging that He was a man (8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8, 32, 40; 13:41; 16:13, 27; 17:9, 22; 20:18, 28; 24:30, 37; 25:31; 26:24).
Even in the Gospel of John, a book which testifies that He is God, the Son of God, He not only called Himself the Son of God, acknowledging that He has the divinity and the Godhead and is the same as God (5:17-23, 25-27; 8:36; 9:35-37; 10:33, 36; 14:13; 17:1), but He also called Himself the Son of Man, confessing that He is a man, has the human nature, and is the same as man (1:51; 3:13; 5:27; 6:27; 8:28; 12:23; 13:31).
Finally, in Matthew 26:63-64 before His crucifixion, the high priest who was judging Him asked Him if He was the Son of God. On one hand, the Lord answered, “You have said rightly.” Yet, on the other hand, He still called Himself the Son of Man, holding firmly to His human status.
His birth, His living, and His actions on earth prove that He is a man: Philip saw Him as “the son of Joseph, from Nazareth,” a real man (John 1:45). Coming into His own country, His own people called Him “this man.” They knew that He was the carpenter’s son and that He had a mother, brothers, and sisters (Matt. 13:54-56). These facts strongly prove that He is absolutely a man, not any different from an ordinary man. He reclined at the table and ate with men just like an ordinary man (9:10-11; Luke 7:36; John 12:2). When He was crucified, the soldiers divided His garments (19:23-24), thus proving that He put on clothing just like a normal human being. He, “being wearied from the journey” and being thirsty, asked a woman for a drink (4:6-7). He wept as did those who were present at that time (11:33, 35). He “laid aside His outer garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself;…poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (13:4-5). All these actions prove that He was absolutely a man.
The Lord was a man while He was on the earth before His death. But even after His resurrection, His ascension to heaven, and His coming again in the future, He is still and forever will be a man in eternity. After His resurrection He appeared to His disciples and said to them, “See My hands and My feet…Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you behold Me having. And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet…And they handed Him a piece of broiled fish; and He took it and ate before them” (Luke 24:39-40, 42-43). This proves that after His resurrection He is still a man, has flesh and bones, and eats like a man. He told the high priest, “From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power” (Matt. 26:64). This means that after ascending to heaven, He is still a man. He told His disciples, “The Son of Man is to come in the glory of His Father with His angels” (16:27). Again, in Matthew 26:64 He says, “You will see the Son of Man…coming on the clouds of heaven.” This means that when He comes again in the future, He will still be a man. He said to Nathanael, “You shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). This describes His condition in the future, in eternity. He will still be the Son of Man; He will still be a man unto eternity.
In addition to the four Gospels, other New Testament books contain verses which prove that He is a man: He is “Jesus the Nazarene, a man” (Acts 2:22). Stephen saw Him in heaven as “the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (7:55-56). Romans 1:3, “His Son, who came out of the seed of David according to the flesh,” clearly proves that He is a man of blood and flesh. He is “the one man Jesus Christ” (5:15). He is “the last Adam,” and He is “the second man” (1 Cor. 15:45, 47). He is the One who died for all (2 Cor. 5:14). He is the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). “Out of whom, as regards what is according to flesh, is the Christ” (Rom. 9:5) proves that He is a man with flesh who came out of Israel. That He was “born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4) certainly proves that He is a man. He became “in the likeness of men,” and was “found in fashion as a man” (Phil. 2:7-8). This absolutely proves that He became a man. First Timothy 2:5 refers to “the man Christ Jesus.” He was made a man who is a little inferior to the angels (Heb. 2:6-9). “Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same” (v. 14). This means that He became a man of blood and flesh. The statement, “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2), clearly shows that He became a man. He is “One like the Son of Man” (Rev. 1:13). He is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (5:5). This means that He is a descendant of Judah. This also proves that He is a man. He is “the Offspring of David” (22:16); surely proves that He is a man.
Christ Being Both God and Man
In all the verses mentioned above, whether in the Old or New Testament, we can clearly see that, on the one hand, Christ is God and, on the other hand, He is man. On the one hand, He is man, and on the other hand, He is God—He is a mysterious One, God as well as man, man as well as God.
In the Old Testament
On the one hand, Christ is “a child,” and on the other hand, He is the “Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6). He is both.
Christ is the Shoot of David, the descendant of David; yet He is also “Jehovah our righteousness,” God becoming our righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6). He is a descendant of man—He is a man, and He is the very God Himself—He is both.
Christ is a man who came out of Bethlehem, but He is also God who is from ancient times, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2). On the one hand, He is a man in time, and on the other hand, He is God in eternity. He is both.
In the New Testament
Christ is both the Son of David—a man, and the Lord of David—God Himself (Matt. 22:42-45). Christ is the Son of Man “who came out of the seed of David” having humanity, and He was designated to be “the Son of God in power,” having divinity, God’s nature (Rom. 1:3-4). Christ is a man of flesh who came out of Israel, yet He “is God over all, blessed forever” (9:5).
He is the One “existing in the form of God” but who became “in the likeness of men” and was “found in fashion as a man” (Phil. 2:6-8). He is God who became a man. Hence, He is God, and He is also man; He is man, and He is also God.
The Lord Jesus said with His own mouth, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16). The Root of David refers to God out from whom came David; the Offspring of David refers to a seed, a man, who came out of David. Therefore, Christ Himself acknowledged that He was man as well as God. He is both.
Thus, the Bible clearly reveals that our Lord is God as well as man, the true God and the true man, the perfect God and the perfect man. He is nothing less than God and nothing less than man, having complete divinity and complete humanity.
He is God with the divine nature; He is also man with a human nature. The Gospel of John continually shows these two aspects of Him. He is God who knows everything and sees everything (1:47-48), who is omnipresent, and who descended out of heaven yet is still in heaven (3:13). He is a man who can get weary and thirsty (4:6-7). He can also weep (11:35). Both God and man are complete and perfect in Him. This is really mysterious. It is no wonder that His name is called “Wonderful” (Isa. 9:6).
Christ Being the Creator
God is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; 2:1-3). Since Christ is God, He surely is also the Creator of all things. This is clearly revealed in the Scripture: “My God, / …Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, / And the heavens are the work of Your hands” (Psa. 102:24-25). We have seen that this word refers to Christ. Christ is God who created heaven and earth. “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not one thing came into being which has come into being” (John 1:3). “Through whom are all things, and we are through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6). “Because in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him” (Col. 1:16). “Through whom [the Son] also He [God] made the universe” (Heb. 1:2).
These verses explicitly tell us that Christ is the Creator of all things; all things have been created and came into being through Him.
Christ Being a Creature
Man is a creature (Gen. 1:27; Acts 17:26). Since Christ is a man, surely He is also a creature. This is revealed in the following two verses.
Colossians 1:15 says that the Son is “the Firstborn of all creation.” This says in plain words that Christ is related to creation. He is the Firstborn of all creation, the First of all creatures.
In Revelation 3:14 Christ calls Himself “the beginning of the creation of God.” This tells us that He is the chief of the creation, the first One of all creatures.
In some translations the above two passages do not match the meaning in the original Greek text (the Chinese Version is an example of this). Some do not understand these two passages properly; hence, they deny that Christ is a creature. However numerous authoritative versions such as the King James Version, the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the Amplified New Testament, the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Conybeare’s Translation, Wuest’s, Darby’s New Translation, the Concordant Version, and the Berkeley Version translate Colossians 1:15 either “the firstborn of every creature” or “the firstborn of all creation.” According to the original text, this translation is correct. Based on the proper translation, “the Firstborn of all creation,” in 1934 Brother Watchman Nee delivered the following word: “In creation the Son is the Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15), and the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14). According to His eternal plan and before the foundation of the world, God ordained that the Son become flesh and accomplish redemption (1 Pet. 1:20). In God’s plan the Son was the first in creation” (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Vol. 11, p. 734).
Firstborn in Greek is prototokos. Proto means “the first one, or the beginning”; tokos means “born, produced.” Hence, prototokos means “the first one born, the one produced in the beginning”; it can thus be translated “the firstborn.” The New Testament uses this word six times in referring to Christ. It says that He was the “firstborn son” of Mary (Luke 2:7), He is the “Firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29), He is the “Firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15), He is the “Firstborn from the dead” (v. 18), He is the “Firstborn” of God (Heb. 1:6), and He is the “Firstborn of the dead” (Rev. 1:5). Although the above six references use different terms, all the terms refer to Christ being the Firstborn. That Christ is “the Firstborn of all creation” means that He is the first One, the chief of all creation. This absolutely does not mean that He is before all creation and is therefore not included in all creation.
Colossians 1:15-18 says twice that the Lord is the Firstborn. Verse 15 says that the Lord is the “Firstborn of all creation,” and verse 18 says that He is the “Firstborn from the dead.” The Firstborn from the dead means that the Lord is the first One among the resurrected. The Firstborn of all creation means that He is the first One among the created. This means that all in all, whether among the created ones or the resurrected ones, the Lord is the Firstborn, the Beginning, and occupies the first place.
There are two great categories of things in the universe: the created and the resurrected. In this passage, the second half of verse 15 through verse 17 speaks of the first category, including all creation, among whom the Lord is the Firstborn, the first One. Verse 18 is concerned with the second category, including the church, among whom also the Lord is the Firstborn, the first One. In both categories the Lord is the Firstborn, the first One. This passage proves that in all things He is the Firstborn, and He has the preeminence. Whether among the created or the resurrected, He is the Firstborn; He is the Head; therefore, He is above all and has the preeminence in all things. The central thought of this passage is that Christ has the preeminence in all things. Unless He is the Firstborn of all creation and the first One of all creation, how could He have the preeminence among all creation?
Christ is a creature because He became flesh (John 1:14), partook of blood and flesh (Heb. 2:14), was born a child (Isa. 9:6), and became a man (1 Tim. 2:5). Flesh, blood and flesh, child, and man surely indicate creatures. Are not flesh and blood and flesh created things? Are not child and man created things? Of course they are! Since Christ became these things, how can we say that He is not a creature? If we acknowledge that Christ is a man, then we must admit that He is a creature; if we deny that He is a creature, then we deny that He is a man.
We saw earlier that Christ was a man in the flesh before His death, and that after His resurrection, He is still a man with bones and flesh—He still has a created body; however, it is a resurrected body. Furthermore, He still wears the created human nature in heaven today, just as the last line of stanza 5 in Hymns, #113 says: “He wears our nature on the throne.”
Even in the future when He shall come again and in eternity, forever He is a man and always wears the human nature. Since He became flesh and put on human nature, He will never put it off. From His incarnation to eternity He is always a man, always wears the created human nature, and always is a created one.
Christ is the “only begotten Son” of God (John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9); He is uniquely one, has divinity and the Godhead, and is without beginning, existing in Himself just like God. But Christ as the Firstborn of all creation or Firstborn in resurrection did not come into being by Himself; rather, He had a beginning in creation and resurrection. As to His being the Firstborn of all creation, He has the created human nature. As to His being the Firstborn of the resurrected, He has the uncreated, divine nature and the created, resurrected human nature as well. He, the Firstborn of the resurrected, became the firstborn Son of God. As to His uncreated divine nature, He is God’s only begotten Son and is the same as God, without beginning and self-existing. However, according to His uncreated, divine nature, plus His created, resurrected human nature, He is God’s firstborn Son, the Firstborn of the resurrected, but not without beginning and not self-existing, but rather, beginning from resurrection. Regarding His created human nature, He is the Firstborn of all creation, so He surely is not without beginning, nor is He self-existing; rather, He began from creation. He is the uncreated, selfexisting One; He is also the Firstborn of the created ones and the resurrected ones. He is called the Firstborn of all creation because even before creation God foreordained that He (Christ) should become a created man, just as we have quoted earlier from Watchman Nee’s word: “According to His eternal plan and before the foundation of the world, God ordained that the Son become flesh and accomplish redemption (1 Pet. 1:20). In God’s plan the Son is the first in creation.” This is not in accordance with Arius’s assertion that Christ was created before the foundation of the world. Such an assertion is without scriptural basis. The Bible shows that before the foundation of the world, even before anything was created, God foreordained that Christ become a created man in order to accomplish His purpose. Hence, in God’s plan and in His eternal view, Christ is the first one of creation—He is the Firstborn of all creation, the Head of all the created ones. Therefore, to say that Christ is created and that He is the Firstborn of all creation is altogether in agreement with the scriptural revelation and is altogether founded on scriptural ground.
Christ Being Both the Creator and a Creature
According to the complete revelation of the Bible, Christ is both the Creator and a creature, because He is God and He is man—He is God who creates; He is also man who is created. As to His being God, He is the uncreated Creator, the I AM who is without beginning. But as to His being man, He is created, the Firstborn, with a beginning. We must see and know these two aspects of Him. We must see that He is God, and He is also man; He is the Creator, and He is also a creature; He is the I AM; He is also the Firstborn; He is without beginning, and He is also with a beginning. Otherwise, our understanding of Him is inaccurate, unorthodox, and contrary to the scriptural revelation and will invariably fall into error and incompleteness.
Our knowledge of the Lord should not be limited by our own view; rather, we should accept the whole revelation of the Bible. However much the Bible reveals is what we should receive. Some think that since the Lord is God, how could He become a man? Likewise, some think that since the Lord is the Creator, how could He become a creature? Although they believe that the Lord is God and man as well, they only believe Him to be the Creator, not a creature. But the Bible clearly reveals that the Lord is the Creator and that He became a creature, just as on one hand, He is God, and on the other hand, He became a man. We must know and accept the various aspects of what the Lord is and not ignore or deny any aspect of what He is.
We should never try to use our limited, logical mind to analyze our unlimited Lord. The Pharisees recognized that Christ was the Son of David, based on one aspect of the Bible; however, they did not know that the Bible also reveals another aspect of the Lord—that Christ is also David’s Lord. We should be warned not to repeat their mistake by limiting ourselves to one aspect of the biblical revelation of Christ and neglecting or rejecting the other aspect. The Scripture, on one hand, says that Christ is the Creator; on the other hand, it says that He is a creature. This is the complete, clear revelation of the Bible; we should not deviate from it or come short of it. Our all-inclusive Lord is too wonderful! He is so wonderful that it is hard for us to comprehend Him. He is really worthy to be called “Wonderful!” He is really worthy also to be appreciated and loved by us!
If we confess only that our Lord is the Creator yet deny that He is a creature, in principle this is the same as those who deny that the Lord came in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3). Hence, we should never deny the created aspect of our Lord simply because of our narrow, limited view. He is the uncreated God; He is also a created man. He is the Lord of creation, and He is also a creature, even the Firstborn of all creation.
Christ Still Being the Creator Although He Has Become a Creature
When Christ became a creature, He did not lose His eternal, uncreated nature—He remains the Creator. In like manner, when He became a man, He did not lose His divine nature—He is still God. Although He became a created man, He remains the uncreated God. Although He became a creature, He still is the Creator. Now He is the all-inclusive Christ who has both divinity and humanity and who has the uncreated divine life as well as the created human life. He is the uncreated I AM; He is also the created Firstborn. May we love and worship Him forever and ever! Amen!