Christian Churches of God
The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ
(Edition 2.1 19980404-19980822)
Radical Unitarianism is denied by the pre-existence of Jesus Christ, claiming his existence from the beginning of his human birth. Binitarianism sees the Godhead in two persons. Ditheism claims the existence of the two gods from eternity. Some people go from Binitarianism to Ditheism even if they do not have a good understanding of these two doctrines and their origins. What’s the Biblical position?
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 2003 Wade Cox)
(Summary by Luca Tarabori, Ed. Wade Cox)
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The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ
The Bible clearly states the existence of one God that no man has ever seen, nor will ever see, because He only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto (1Tim. 6:16). Thus Christ, even if pre-existent before his human birth, has never had an existence equal to God. The Bible states that Jesus the Christ existed as a spiritual being, before the earth was created.
The prelude of John’s Gospel, indicates his relation to God in the following way: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." (Jn. 1:1). This text, initially claims the close relationship and the devotion of Jesus Christ to God and later discloses the work of Jesus: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (v.2).
Radical Unitarians and those who deny the pre-existence of Christ before Mary, claim it is not Christ, but an imaginary form of God’s power as His divine expression. John is against this view, and says: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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." (Jn. 1:6-14).
Thus the undefined article (a) has to be deduced, if necessary and inserted. Many translators think that it must be so in John 1:1 and have translated as: "The word was a god" which is not usually the way Trinitarians think. In any case, John 1:1, as is normally translated, is not correct and even if we maintain the order of words, the real translation should use the term "towards God" and not "with God" as is the case with Trinitarians. Despite this, the Radical Unitarians use this text as an example of the imaginary power of God that becomes flesh, excluding that it was Christ who become flesh. This misunderstanding is the basic reason of their false doctrine.
The claim also of Christ as creator from John 1:3 is from staircase parallelism in the text and is incorrect. We see below he made the age or the aeon from the texts.
This is not the only perversion of the Greek text because other translations are also as such. John testified: "This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me." John states clearly that Christ had existence before him. We know that John was six months older, and it was impossible for Jesus to physically exist before him. Thus John talks clearly of a heavenly existence that the ancient texts indicate as God (elohim or theoi).
Then John says that… "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (Jn. 1:18). Here there is a second distortion of monogenes theos in the Greek text meaning only begotten God and not only begotten Son, as it is mistranslated. There is much evidence for what we say and it has been ignored by mainstream Christianity and Binitarians.
The author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that the creation of the age or aeon was through Christ: "God, who at sundry times and in diverse 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 ages rendered worlds;" (Heb. 1:1-2). Even though he was the being who acted for God in the creation of this age, he humbled and put himself under the angels for our salvation. But it wasn’t always like that, because the writing shows that he was equal to his brothers (angels) that he might be the faithful and merciful high priest (Heb. 2:17).
Jesus himself declared his pre-existence several times. A number of the OT texts indicate a being called elohim talking to the patriarchs and prophets. As the name of the only true God is never mentioned, who could this elohim be? According to the Scripture it could be none other than the anointed of God (Christ), called the Angel of Yahovah.
Even if this evidence is confirmed more from the Gospels that say… "That the father put all in his hands and that he came from God and to God he will return…", Trinitarians would simply understand it as Christ being generated like any other human being in Mary’s womb. Others, on the contrary, claim his pre-existence, but they admit a kind of separation between him and the only true God. This doctrine originally entered the Christian Church in the name of Modalism, stemming directly from the worship of Attis that considered the Father and the Son as two services of the one God. This was later called Binitarianism, after the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, and it turned into Trinitarianism in 381 CE at Constantinople. By the third and fourth centuries the priests of Attis in Rome claimed Christianity had stolen their doctrines.
The Scripture clearly claims that Christ is not the Almighty God (Eloah), but he has been sent to the world to do His will. Christ cried and said: "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. (Jn. 12:44) and John claims that… "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (Jn. 3:17). The text shows that he was sent to the earth by the Father and it demonstrates beyond any question, his pre-existence in heaven.
Other important texts claim the pre-existence of Christ and his relation to the Father. An important example is given from the letter of Paul to Philippians: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 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;" (Phil. 2:5-10).
The text has a clear meaning in Hebrew and scholars often mistranslate it. It claims that Christ was in the form (morphe) of God, but he didn’t think to be equal to Him, as Satan did (Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:6-15). He humbled (emptied) himself, becoming human and suffered until his death on the cross.
Thus, according to the Scripture, Christ was pre-existent and enjoyed the glory and the honour similar to the sons of God. Jesus himself claims his high lineage, saying:… "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." (Jn. 17:5). Job states the glory belonging to God as the creator of the world: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"(Job 38:4-7).
We know from the word of God that Satan was the bearer of Light or Morning Star of the planet and that Christ will replace him at his glorious coming. But he is also identified as the Lord of the Sabbath, because after the creation he rested on the seventh day; he blessed and sanctified it (Gen. 2:1-3). The Gospel of Matthew states he is a Lord… "For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day" (Mat. 12:8). In the Acts of the Apostles, we note that an Angel of the Lord spoke with Moses and followed him into the wilderness. Stephen later identified him as he who gave the law on Mount Sinai (Acts 7:30, 35-39).
The book of Isaiah, according to the Septuagint, states he was the Angel of the Great Council (Isa. 9:6) and Paul says he was received as an angel of God, i.e. like Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:14), affirming this angel was Christ: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did eat the same spiritual meat; And all did drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1Cor. 10:1-4)
Claiming that Christ was only an idea in the mind of God, whom nobody has ever seen, or saying that he only came into existence when he was born as a human being, would be breaking Scripture.
We read in Genesis that the Elohim or God of Jacob was also The Angel of Redemption, who blessed Joseph and that he was recognised as… "And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." (Gen. 48:15-16)
Redemption is a privilege of Christ as he is the chosen of God, the Messiah, pre-existent as the Lamb of Redemption and Elohim of Jacob or Israel (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). This is the elohim who talked with Adam (Gen. 3:8), and he closed the ark before the flood (Gen. 7:1-16). According to the Hebrew term, he is called Yahovah and he was given Israel as his heritage from his God.
Beyond any doubt, we’ve come to the conclusion that all of the NT presents Christ as a pre-existent being at the creation of the world. This is confirmed by the words of Jesus: "Before Abraham was, I am." (Jn. 8:58). This is a clear statement, but it is also considered as an admission of his godhead. According to some people he was God, for others he was an angel, but the Bible states he was both. As we will see the problem lies in the translation and not in the divine inspiration. We quote "God" always in the same way, while ancient languages used a name for each situation. Afterwards another problem was made by Trinitarians, by using heathen theology. Hence Jesus was the angel (messenger), the Son of God, the Morning Star, but was also God (elohim). Moreover, we know that some texts are simply forgeries of Trinitarians, i.e. 1Timothy 3:16; 1John 5:7; particularly the Alpha and Omega in Revelation (Rev. 1:8).
From the Holy Scripture we know that the Supreme God is the only true God. He was called Yahovah of Hosts, but also Eloah, and He only deserves worship and prayer (Job 33:26). This was the name used in the Torah and the same name is repeated several times in the Book of Job, which seems to be among the oldest books of the Holy Scripture.
In the book of Ezra there’s the relationship between the Most High and His Temple (Ezra 7:23), made by His Elohim (1Cor. 3:17).
The prophets talk only in the name of the great Eloah of Israel (Ezra 5:1-8). Zerubbabel rose up and began to build the house of God and all the prophets helped him (Ezra 5:2); and He is the God of heaven and earth and they are all His servants (Ezra 5:11). Sacrifices were only for the Eloah of the heaven and were offered by his priests (Ezra 6:9-10). The Law reflects the Eloah (Ezra 7:14) and all offerings and invocations were to be made to Him, God the Most High (Ezra 7:14-16).
His will dominate everything (Ezra 7:18-21); whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven (Ezra 7:23). Magistrates are introduced in his name and they judge according to His laws, and whosoever will not do the law of God must be judged (Ezra 7:25-26), for they are elohim acting for the will of the great Eloah.
These texts show the relationship between God and the elohim. He is the Father and they are all his sons, including Satan (Job 1:6; 2:1). Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses. Although he didn’t bring against him a railing accusation, he said: "The Lord rebuke thee" (Jude 9).
All the sons of God come from Him, and the attribute of the Father belongs also to the sons. Thus the Messiah is an Angel of the Great Council, and in Isaiah 9:6 he is called everlasting Father.
Paul the apostle says there are many families in heaven and earth (Eph. 3:15). Therefore claiming the elohim are not the family of God is contrary to Scripture. In effect, even the structure of the law given on Mount Sinai is based on this Family. "Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?" (Mal. 2:10). This is what the prophet asks himself, claiming to belong to Him. The elect, thus, are all to become elohim like the Angel of Yahovah who guides us (Zech. 12:8).
The ancient church understood this truth and thought this church would become Theoi: i.e. God. Paul said there were many gods (theoi) and many Lords, both in heaven and in earth (1Cor. 8:5). Referring to the fallen angels on the earth. John, Polycarp, Polycrates, and Irenaeus held that we would all become theoi. The Bible says clearly that the subordinate elohim in Psalm 45:6-7 was Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:8-9). Hosea holds that this elohim was the angel who disputed with Jacob (Hos. 12:3-4). We understand this angel as the elohim of the house of David (Zech. 12:8) and that he was also called Yahovah, and was sent to Israel by the Yahovah of Hosts, God the Most High (cf. Zech. 2:3-11).
So we have two Yahovah, one of whom is subordinate to the other because he was created, and they are both Elohim. From Psalm 82:6 we know that we all will become elohim, for one Eloah has created and will create many elohim.
The prince of elohim is a being called the Lord’s Angel or the Angel of Presence, who talked with Abraham in Genesis 22:1-11. He disputed with Jacob and gave the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. We have also understood that the term Yahovah was used for several beings, like the angels which presented themselves to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 18:2). These beings were elohim even if the text says that Abraham… "saw three men [mortals] standing near him". Abraham ran towards them and referred to them as Yahovah not adonai (Gen. 18:2-3; cf. The Companion Bible fn. to v. 3 re the original Hebrew). That means "He causes to be" an name of God rather than "Lords". One thing was sure, they were all angels (probably one of these was Christ), but none of them could have been the Father who lives in a dimension not accessible to men.
The Bible states there is only One True God, the Most High, called Yahovah of the Hosts or Yahovih; while Yahovah (without specification) is an elohim of Israel, also named the Lord’s Angel which also belongs to the sons of God. We can all become elohim, but none could ever become the only Eloah, because there’s only One God who anointed Christ and sent him into the world (Jn. 17:3). Eloah stands in unreachable light and no man has ever see or heard him (Jn. 1:18; 5:37-1 Tim. 6:16).
It is without doubt that the Messiah as the Angel of the Lord or the Angel of Presence is the same Angel of Redemption of Jacob (Gen. 48:15-16), who helped Job in his affliction (Job. 33:23-26). The terms elohim, yahovah and adonai are always plural and they refer to multiple beings which clearly are not the only true God, but Angels of the Lord. One of these beings is sent by the Yahovah of Hosts to save Zion; He is the same angel referred to in Zechariah, who will hold up the nations with an iron rod.
Thus Christ was not only pre-existent, but also he was the elohim or Elohi of Israel, the Yahovah, sent from the Yahovih or Yahovah of Hosts, the Elyon (God the Most High), the only true God (Eloah). He is the only object of worship in the Temple, like the Ha Elohim: The Elohim, God the creator of all things.
So Christ was always faithful to Him who anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). He was never the Eloah (Elahh for Chaldees and Allah’h for Islam) nor the Ha Elohim (or Elohim).
This belief is based on the ideology of Psalm 45:6-7 and Hebrews 1:8-9. It was held by ancient apologists like Irenaeus at Lyons in the second century. This theology was held by the Goths, Vandals, Alans, Suevi, Heruli, Britons, Lombards, Germans, all the north tribes and mainly by the disciples of the apostles, hundreds of years before the Council of Nicea of 325 CE, when the Binitarian heresy began. Later in Constantinople 381, the theology of Basil of Cappadocia, Gregory of Nissa and Gregory of Nazianzus accepted the Trinity doctrine. Finally the Romans and the Greeks succeeded in the destruction of original faith.
The Trinitarians described in a deceitful and dishonest way the faith of the One True God as Arianism, to give the impression that their doctrine was older and that this originated only in the fourth century from Arius. On the other side Trinitarians claim the Unitarian doctrine is false, saying that the Spirit was a creation of the son while this is the doctrine of the Filioque that Catholics produced in the Council of Toledo in the sixth century. This doctrine was refused also by the Greeks. The people who claim this are deceitful and they don’t know what they are saying.
The people of God have supported this ancient creed for two thousand years and many have died claiming this truth. They have been criticised for many years for this doctrine, but never like in the twentieth century. Faith has been abandoned, destroyed with no visible persecutions, Church after Church. The Great Seducer has struck the Churches from the inside, making them fall in the great apostasy announced by the Holy Scripture.