IS JESUS CHRIST GOD
Jesus, in all his earthly ministry never claimed to be God. His only claim was that he was the Son of God. This, to the Jews, was blasphemy. The Jews believe that whoever claims to be the Son of God has placed himself on the same level with God.
For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
They believed such a person must be a god and will wield the capacity to do virtually all God can do. To them, being the Son of God meant being in the same class as God. This isn’t the same thing as being God; this is about being in God’s class. The writings of Paul agrees.
who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
Paul didn’t say ‘Jesus who is God,’ but instead, he described Jesus to exist in the form (the Greek word ‘morphe,’ meaning nature) of God. In other words, he was the image/exact representation of God (2 Cor. 4:4, Col. 1:15). He was the perfect visible resemblance/likeness of the invisible God. This is similar to a King sending his Son for an operation. His Son will also go and appear in a kingly manner, with kingly splendour, yet isn’t the king.
Every believer in Christ today is in God’s image and likeness (holiness and righteousness – Eph. 4:24). That doesn’t make us God and man at the same time. We are completely mortals in this realm.
Jesus Christ as the logos (mind, plan, thought, intent) of God and his first born, was from the womb like God. He manifested so. However, he accepted a lowly position [of being mortal in every way] by manifesting as a mere man, and not as the immortal every Son of God should be.
Contextually, Paul was teaching the Philippians humility. Though Jesus was in the form of God, he served humbly as a mere man and wasn’t thinking about taking advantage of his rights as the Son of God; one who is in the class of God.
In verse 7, Jesus is described to have ’emptied himself.’ Some translations say ‘he made himself of no reputation.’ These phrases are misunderstood by some to suppose that Jesus, since he was God, created the human version of himself. However, scriptures make it clear that Yahweh did the creation alone. Yahweh is one (not two in one or three in one), and he created alone.
The LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh), who has taken up your cause, and who gave you life in your mother’s body, says, I am the LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh) who makes all things; stretching out the heavens by myself, and giving the earth its limits; who was with me?
Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God. Yahweh is one.
Jesus didn’t exist as a person with God prior to his manifestation on earth. He only existed in God’s mind as God’s plan for humanity. He became a person when he manifested as flesh; the begotten Son of God, born by a woman through the power of God.
Jesus had already existed as a person as at the time the book of Philippians was written. It was therefore right for it to read “he emptied himself,” instead of “it emptied itself.” Although it was the logos that emptied it self, leaving God (not as God but as his plan) and manifesting as flesh, it had become a person now and must be addressed with the masculine pronoun ‘He.’
Contextual reading makes it clear who Paul is asking the Philippians to emulate in humility. He mentions the man Jesus Christ (verse 5). Though once God’s thought only, he had manifested already and had even ascended to God’s right hand. It was God’s thought that was emptied into a person. The man therefore must be addressed as such (a person).
Reading below verses 6-7 of Philippians 2, it becomes clearer that Jesus is neither God nor a high profile person existing with God from the beginning.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Not once, I have asked trinitarians to explain how Jesus is God when scriptures say he was exalted by God. Expectedly, they hadn’t much to say. The above scripture clearly talks about two people; One exalting another and a second being exalted. Jesus Christ, as God’s Son, has been exalted by his father (God).
The word ‘exalted’ in Phil. 2:9 is the Greek word ‘huperupsoo,’ which means to elevate someone above others or to raise someone to the highest position. God exalted [elevated, raised, lifted] Jesus and gave him power and authority to Lord over all creations.
The word ‘exaltation’ makes it clear that Jesus isn’t God but was lifted by God. It also makes it clear that the position God lifted Jesus to is one he hasn’t had before. If Jesus existed with God as a person from the beginning and then took the form of flesh later on, after his earthly life, the bible could have said he was restored back to being God or that he was restored back to being the high profile person he was previously in heaven.
However, the bible doesn’t use the word ‘restored.’ It uses the word ‘exalted.’ Restored expresses the fact that one has regained a position he once had. ‘Exalted’ talks about a position the person being described has never had before.
If Jesus is God, why does the scriptures say he was exalted by God? If Jesus is a part of God that existed with him as a person from the beginning, after he died and resurrected, why did the bible say he was exalted? Why didn’t it say his normal position was restored?
Think about these things.
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Agaga Fredrick Abangji is a writer, reporter, content writer, believer in Jesus Christ, and a creator of religious literature. A student of Bingham university – Nasarawa state, studying mass communication.