Once again it is the time of year that we remember and celebrate the first coming to Earth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, came to save sinners and give us eternal life (John 3:16). Sinners are people who have a sin nature, naturally rebel against God, and break his commandments. Everyone who descended from Adam and Eve, which includes all of us, has a sin nature (1 Cor 15:20–22). The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). Jesus came to live the sinless life we could not live (Heb 4:15), pay the just penalty for our sins by dying in our place (Heb 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 1 Pet 3:18), and then, being raised from the dead (1 Cor 15:1–11), give eternal life to those who would trust Him (John 10:10, Rom 5:17). Scripture teaches that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16).
Christians have held to the doctrine of the Trinity for millennia. Although not explicitly stated, the scriptures teach this mysterious truth: God consists of three persons: Father, Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit (e.g., 1 Cor 8:5–6, 2 Pet 1:1, 1 John 5:20, John 10:30). Jesus, the Son of God, has existed from eternity past. Scripture teaches that the universe was made by and through the Son (see below); He was there from before the beginning. Jesus was therefore an eyewitness to and participant in the creation of the universe.
In Genesis 1 during creation week, God revealed He was a plurality:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:26–27, ESV)
In Exodus, Moses is called by God to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses, asks God what to tell the Israelites about His plan:
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you;’ and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Ex 3:13–14, KJV)
God tells Moses His name is “I AM.” This name implies God is the self-subsistent one responsible for all existence. What is amazing is that Jesus, centuries later when talking to the Pharisees, claimed to be this same “I AM.”:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:56–59, KJV)
The Pharisees and Jews were angry with Him because, from their point of view, Jesus, in claiming to be God, committed blasphemy (John 10:22–33).
Later Jesus said that He had existed before the creation of the world:
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:4–5, KJV)
Jesus is referred to as The Lamb of God in scripture. By this is meant that He was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for our sins. Interestingly, the atonement had been ordained from the beginning of the creation:
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8, KJV) 1
Details of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice had been prophesied by Isaiah centuries before Jesus arrived on earth:
He is despised and rejected of men; A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: And we hid as it were our faces from him; He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, And carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; And with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: And who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Is 53:3–9, KJV)
Indeed, Jesus was silent before his accusers:
Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. (Matt 27:13-14, KJV)
And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. (Luke 23:8-9, KJV)
Jesus was taken from prison and judgment:
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? (Matt 27:15– 17, KJV)
Jesus made his grave with the wicked:
And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. (Mark 15:27, KJV)
Jesus also made his grave with the rich in his death:
When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (Matt 27:57–60, KJV)
Now, not surprisingly, skeptics have long said that the book of Isaiah must have been written after the death of Jesus because they cannot accept the supernatural prophecies of the Old Testament. Interestingly, radiocarbon (C14) dating of the Great Isaiah Scroll found at Qumran using accelerator mass spectrometry gave a date of 202–107 B.C. This date was corroborated by dates assigned using paleographical (335–327 B.C.) and internal (125–100 B.C.) criteria. 2 3 This application of C14 dating is well within its useful range because C14 has a half-life of about 5730 years, and the amount of C14 in the atmosphere 2000 years ago can be determined through calibration. These results provide strong scientific evidence for the supernatural origin of the scriptures.
The New Testament teaches that the creation was made by, through, and for Jesus, the Son of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1–5, ESV)
This very Word, that created the world, took on flesh:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, ESV)
That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: and these things we write, that our joy may be made full. (1John 1:1–4, ASV)
The books of Colossians and Hebrews tell us more about the Son of God, the Creator:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col 1:15-17, ESV)
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Heb 1:1–3, KJV)
So, this Christmas let us remember Christ not only as our Savior, but as our Creator.
All of us at TASC wish you and yours a sweet Christmas season.
- 1This is the natural translation based upon the word order of the Greek. The KJV, Young’s Literal Translation, the International Standard Version, and the Geneva Bible all translate this verse in the same way. The Greek text shows this order: 8 καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνοµα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου (lamb) τοῦ ἐσφαγµένου (slaughtered) ἀπὸ (from) καταβολῆς (foundation) κόσµου (world). Holmes MW, The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition, (Lexham Press; Society of Biblical Literature, 2011–2013), Rev 13:7–8.
- 2VanderKam JC (1994) The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI 19.
- 3Bonani G, Ivy S, Wölfli W, Broshi M, Carmi I, Strugnell J (1992) Radiocarbon dating of fourteen Dead Sea scrolls. Radiocarbon 34(3): 843–849.